Anxiety and Depression: Go Together Like a Horse and Carriage 1

DSCF0573ani“It’s deep down in the earth, not on its surface, that we find diamonds and oil. Ergo, it’s when we are in the deepest darkness that we find enlightenment.” #susankorwin

Anxiety and Depression usually go hand in hand, and living with both can be torture.

Let’s start with anxiety:

With anxiety, you can’t stop worrying. You worry about your health, you worry about your kids, you worry about your spouse, you worry about the future. Actually anxiety is worrying on steroids! It’s the constant fear that anything and everything in your life that could go wrong, WILL go wrong. People with anxiety you can’t just “calm down”, and telling someone with anxiety to get over it and calm down is like telling someone in a room with a T-Rex not to worry. It’s the constant “what ifs”, the constant knot in the stomach of impending doom when, in reality, there is no impending doom. People with anxiety tend to feel depressed because they can’t control their thoughts, ergo……depression and hopelessness set in.

It’s like a black hole. Depression sucks in all the negativity and forces you to focus on that. It alters your reality to make life seem worthless. The black hole, so capable of drawing in every bad word, bad moment, bad action and bad event, seems to effortlessly repel anything even slightly positive or hopeful. As you can already imagine, having both anxiety and depression is torturous.

The most important thing to realize if you suffer from this is that you are not alone. More than 50% of the population deals with some form of anxiety and depression. Is it a new phenomenon? Is it because of social media? I don’t really think so. I think certain people are wired to feel more anxious and depressed. It’s in our genes. But that doesn’t mean we can’t handle it with certain tricks and tools, one of which being something called grounding, which forces one to state facts about their immediate surroundings: The clouds are white and moving quickly,  I hear the wind blowing,  My seat is soft. This, as opposed to listening to irrational thoughts: I feel ill,  I can’t breathe. I’m stuckI’ll never get better.  Grounding reinforces reality, and sometimes that’s what the brain needs. Second, exercise, in any form (I love to dance)  channels  energy into something positive and helps distract one from all the tedious worrying. Exercise isn’t just beneficial physically: It’s crucial to eradicating stressful thoughts and feelings. And every night before bed, focus on three good things that happened, no matter how minuscule. We’re not all born with coping skills, and many people live in survival mode instead of really living. It’s not always so easy to redirect stressful thoughts. When we are in the throes of panic, it’s an impossibility! But don’t lose hope, and if one thing doesn’t work, try another.

If you’re reading this and can relate,  trust me, you’re not alone. More people than you think are suffering as you are. We are all on the same team, “Team Human”, and let’s be honest, it’s a difficult team to be on. It’s stressful, difficult and worrying, but at the same time, there are those moments that are bright and beautiful. We all must communicate, because talking about our feelings is the first step to helping ourselves, whether it be a therapist, a coach or your spouse or partner. Depression and anxiety have many solutions, so get ready to wear your camo, tell yourself the enemy won’t defeat you, and that, my friend will get you through this!


Shoes, Strangers and Serendipity 0

CIMG6437I am a huge believer in serendipity. According to, the word “serendipity” means “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way”. Whatever name you would call it…fate or serendipity, my story today is one about that. It is also about kindness received when it was most needed and perhaps least expected. I am hoping it will inspire everyone who reads this to pay it forward when the opportunity arises……

In order to understand the gist of this story, I must go back in time to 2009. You will see later why this is an important part of the story. The action that I took back then led to another action, which led to the basis of this post. While visiting my son in Boston, and walking the streets in heels that were killing me, I was desperate to find a shoe store so I could relieve the aching in my feet. There was nothing in that section of town except a “Crocs” Store, which, if anyone knows me, was the absolute last place I was going to go to buy a pair of shoes. After some nagging from my son and husband to just buy anything so I could walk comfortably, I agreed to walk into the store. Lo and behold, I noticed a pair of stylish sandals with a three inch heel! Could these actually be Crocs? I was told they were just released as a new style, I tried them on, and sighed with relief at the comfort and great look of these shoes. For the past 6 years, whenever I needed to wear a comfortable pair of stylish shoes, those Crocs were my mainstay. At the end of last summer, I was browsing an outlet center and noticed a Crocs Outlet Store. They miraculously had the same style shoes and they came in various colors! I was told by the salesperson to get them in a size larger than the ones I originally purchased since outlet sizes run a little different. I did just that and went home with five new pairs!

Ok, now back to the present time. I never did get a chance to wear those new Crocs last season since they were purchased at the end of the summer and Fall was fast approaching. They sat in my closet until about two weeks ago. It was then, knowing that I had a lot of little errands to run, and with the temperature reaching near 80 degrees, that I decided it would be a great opportunity to wear one of the new pair. After doing some grocery shopping, I noticed that my toe was being rubbed in a very irritating way by the strap on the sandals. It got to be unbearable, and I noticed a dreaded blister starting to form. I was so disappointed because I never had this problem with the original pair. It was then that my date with destiny was set in motion. I happened to be very close to a Marshall’s store, and decided to run in and buy any pair of shoes in order to relieve the discomfort of the ones I had on. I was browsing the aisles for about 10 minutes when an attractive lady came up to me and asked, “are those Crocs that you are wearing?” She said how much she admired the way they looked, and I mentioned that it was ironic that I was there to buy another pair of shoes to replace them because they were killing me. In a split second it hit me: I asked her what size shoe she wore and she said “8″. Since the shoes were an 8, I told her to try them on.

They fit her perfectly, and she sighed with the same relief that I did six years ago in Boston! She also explained that she had a foot injury and was also browsing the aisles in order to find something to wear to replace her high heels. When I told her she could wear the shoes home, she looked at me in disbelief. “Are you serious?” I told her that I was probably going to either donate them or just throw them away, so if she could use them and be happy, it would be my absolute pleasure to give them to her. Maria (by then we asked each other’s name) then told me that, although she is usually always upbeat, had been having an unusually bad day, and it was almost like I was sent there for a reason to cheer her up. She kept asking me if I was sure about the shoes, whether she could reimburse me for them, etc, etc. I insisted that we were both benefiting from this situation…giving is just as rewarding as receiving….and so both our moods were boosted. I also told her that I had four other pairs at home that I will gladly give her since I will never wear them. She insisted on paying, but I wouldn’t hear of it. We then laughed at the situation. Here was I barefoot in a department store, while she was going to walk out wearing MY shoes.

During this whole interaction with Maria, we both felt an instant bond with each other. Two strangers, yet there was a comfort and connection. We exchanged numbers, said our goodbyes,and decided to meet later in the week for lunch. I then walked around Marshall’s for about a half hour completely barefoot until I found something to go home in. A kind stock boy helped me out when I told him why I wasn’t wearing shoes. The next day, I received a lovely text message thanking me again for the shoes and for being so kind. We both said that we couldn’t wait to meet for lunch. Since that day, we have met for lunch a few times, and it’s like two people separated at birth. We have so much in common that I feel as if I have known her all my life. She is beautiful inside AND out, and we look forward to meeting again.

If Maria had been too shy to ask me about my shoes, this whole thing probably would not have happened. If I hadn’t offered to take off my shoes and give them to her, who knows? But, here’s the deal: Generosity may or may not be contagious, and sometimes we give with no reward. However, helping strangers can come with fringe benefits either way–making our society a better place, feeling happier because being kind releases those much-needed endorphins, and maybe even expanding the small social network that makes up our world. I am so happy that my feet were killing me that day because if they hadn’t, I would never have met my new friend!

©2016 Susan Korwin


Create Happiness Even Though Life Is Not and Never Will be Perfect 0

image-2015-08-10.jpgcp“The word ‘happiness’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness”….Carl Jung

The other day, I was walking down the street and a homeless person smiled at me and told me to have a nice day. I told him to have a nice day too and he said that everyday for him is nice because he is alive and grateful for the little things. I know so many people who are healthy, who have many friends and loving families, yet they are not happy and just plain miserable. Interesting isn’t it? It just proves the notion that happiness does not come from the outside, but is purely an “inside job”. Our world doesn’t change all that much by having more wealth, a bigger house, etc. The wrapping paper may be fancier, but the box inside is still cardboard. The way you view yourself, the kindness you show others, and how often you choose to smile does not depend on whether you have it all, or whether things are going exactly the way you dreamed they would.

You may be thinking that if only you had (the big house, the fancy car, the great job), then you will be content and happy. But, even if you did get one or all of these things, life is still going to hit you with curve balls. Life is filled with highs and lows, and if we don’t learn to enjoy the minutia, those low times are going to leave us crippled with misery instead of just merely disappointed and willing to make the best of things. At this moment, focus on what you enjoy every single day. Right now I am sitting with a cup of hot coffee. This simple pleasure brings me joy. Maybe you have a pet that brings you joy when he or she licks your face or just sits at your feet. Focus on that when things look bleak.

Realize that you are not perfect, I am not perfect….no one is perfect. I am not a world-famous author, but I am content knowing that I put my thoughts down on paper and achieved a goal that I worked hard at. If I thought about how I am not selling millions of copies or my face is not on the cover of Time Magazine, I would never be happy. Self-respect and happiness comes from small actions and achievable goals. Don’t be hard on yourself!

Happiness has nothing to do with what you have because what you have changes on a constant basis. Happiness is about how you interpret what’s in front of you, how proud you are of the way you live your life, and how willing you are to enjoy simple pleasures, even if things aren’t perfect. Take it from me, one day things are going great, and the next you’re hit with a thunderbolt. We have no control over that. You just never know when your “now” is going to run out, so ask yourself, “How can I be joyous and content in this moment?” Try to focus on what’s right and not what’s wrong. You are not a victim, you are part of this imperfect “world” called “life”, and you are here for a reason.

©2015 Susan Korwin



Betrayal and How to Deal With It 0

mt5PTvSZOv1HtM6BdoDV2A.jpgb“The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies. It comes from friends and loved ones”….unknown

Betrayal is probably the most devastating loss a person can experience. To be betrayed, the person must first experience trust in the betrayer. It is fairly impossible for you to be betrayed if you did not trust the individual in the first place. Therefore,the definition of betrayal involves the act of someone violating your trust in them. Betrayal can happen to anyone….whether you are a celebrity, a political figure, wealthy or poor. Betrayal is not always obvious either…. sometimes the signs are there but we give people the benefit of the doubt or are in denial.  At other times, there are no signs and this type of betrayal can be all the more difficult to deal with. Next to a death of a loved one, betrayal (loss of trust) is the most devastating loss a person can deal with. When an individual is betrayed by someone, they lose trust in that person. When we trust another person, we feel confident that they will not hurt us.  Betrayal only occurs due to the deliberate behavior of another person, from their carelessness, from their own personal weakness. Unlike a loss such as death or illness, betrayal of another person is a choice. The person who was betrayed believes that the choice was wrong and preventable.

Whatever the course or the source of your betrayal, it is important that you don’t blame yourself or think that you did something to provoke the betrayal. Betrayal has many motives, and it is not your fault. Just as in any loss or shock to our emotional core, we go through several stages: shock/denial, bargaining, anger, sadness, and acceptance. Very often, one or more of these stages may be experienced more intensely than another, or one might not be experienced at all. However, the most important part of this theory is that it is not possible to reach the final stage of acceptance without moving through the prior stages.  The first stage of shock or denial is when you are initially confronted with the betrayal. You may feel like you are out of your body, or feel like someone just punched you in the gut. This stage, however, is usually fairly short, especially if the individual acknowledges the betrayal and the loss. Once the betrayal is acknowledged, the anger arises. Feeling anger is perfectly fine and very normal. Wanting to retaliate, wanting to hurt the person back is also very normal. But don’t get too blinded by anger that you do something that will only come back to “bite you” in the end. Stay focused and don’t do anything you will regret later.

When we are angry or hurt, we need to “vent”. But venting to the person who betrayed us is counterproductive. They are just going to be on the defensive, and that will only make you angrier. You need to vent to someone who will listen and comfort you through your anger, preferably a trusted friend, a family member, a life coach, a therapist or your minister or rabbi.

Writing down your feelings, either through a journal or just a slip of paper can also be a great way to release your feelings of anger.  You can even write a letter to the person who hurt you. However, don’t send it to them. A letter format is frequently helpful in working through the anger stage of grief because it feels as if you are talking to the person and able to vent. Be careful that you don’t misplace your anger by taking it out on people who are not to blame. That is why it is so important to find a way to release it. Another great way is to get a punching bag, throw away reminders of that person, or just plain break some plates or jars (in a safe way).

As you go through the stage of anger, your sadness will start to arise too. You think how your trust was shattered and how you may never be able to trust again. You need to release the sadness just as you need to release the anger. Again, you can write your feelings in a journal, but it is most important to allow yourself to cry and cry and cry. Crying is a healthy way to release sadness. Don’t be afraid to just let it happen.

Grieving and the process of grieving is a healing process. It is built-in to our systems to help us cope with the many losses we experience in life. If we trust the process fully, we will heal. Trusting the process means allowing our feelings to evolve in any shape and form.  Feelings are never wrong or bad. We will experience a whirlwind of emotions that can be incredibly intense, and this is all natural. If you trust this healing process, I promise you will finally get to a point of acceptance. This is the point where rational decisions can be made and proper action can be taken. At this point you are able to think clearly about the situation and decide what is the best course of action to take. And, of course, that action will vary depending on the person and the situation.


Now, we get to the final process which was not listed above, and that is forgiveness. This is probably THE most difficult stage. How can we forgive someone who deliberately and knowingly deceived us and betrayed us? How can we forgive a monster? It’s difficult. But, here’s the truth: In order to truly be free, we must find a way to stop drinking the poison and expecting the other person to die. They won’t, but the poison will seep into every area of your life…your relationships, your family, your health, your sanity and your happiness. The anger and the bitterness will slowly eat away at you while the betrayer enjoys their life.

But let’s just take a minute here to understand what forgiveness is and what it isn’t.

Forgiveness does not mean you are a pushover and that you condone what happened to you.  It doesn’t mean that everything is now sunshine and roses. It doesn’t mean that you have to be friends with the person who betrayed you. What it does mean is that instead of holding on to the hot coals, we accept what happened and realize that the other person is damaged and carrying tons of emotional baggage. Forgiveness on your part helps YOU drop all YOUR emotional baggage and lighten your load. Forgiveness is about your own inner healing and extending kindness to yourself.

In closing, just remember this: every test in our life can make us bitter or better. Every problem comes to either break us or make us. The choice is ours whether we become a VICTIM or a VICTOR.  Our hearts are muscles. What happens when a muscle gets torn? It grows back even stronger!

©2015 SusanKorwin






It’s Not Easy to Lose our Parents….Especially from Unnatural Causes 1

CIMG3568I was cleaning up some papers in my office and came upon a handmade birthday card that my mom and dad gave me a few years before they both passed away. I took a photo of the back of the card for the purposes of this blog article, but the front and middle are just as beautiful, with a photo of my mom holding me as a newborn pasted on. I think of my parents every single day, but finding this card sparked some raw emotion and the tears started flowing again, just as they did many years ago when I lost, first my mom, then two years later….my dad.

My mom was a vibrant human being. She was an artist, a chef, a caterer, an avid tennis player, and a friend to everyone who met her. Out of the blue, when she was in her 70′s, she had a massive stroke that left her paralyzed on one side. She was never the same mom, and it was as if the mom I knew died the day she had that stroke. But, in her heart, she was the same, and I learned to get used to this “new” version of the strong mom I had always known. She used to cry all the time and was severely depressed by her condition. How could one blame her? She went from being totally independent one minute to totally dependent on others to feed her. dress her and bathe her. She couldn’t do her art, and it was up to her family to cheer her on through this terrible ordeal. Eventually, she got used to her situation, and she started drawing again with her one hand. She would create hand-painted stationery for anyone who was kind to her, including doctors, nurses, rehab technicians and the like. Her heart was pure gold. One day, about two years after her stroke, she had a seizure. She was rushed to the ER and my dad was told that an MRI showed a mass in her brain. It was then that he was told that she had the worst kind of brain tumor…..a glioblastoma. When I heard the news, it was as if I was hit by a train in my stomach. How could this happen now? She was just beginning to adapt to her new reality, and now this. My dad refused to let her die, even though the doctors told him there was no hope. She went through grueling treatments of radiation therapy, which only made her worse. We finally told him to let her be…..I sat by her side every single day until she took her last breath. The day she died, a part of me died too.

My dad, who for some time before my mom died, was told he needed dialysis since his kidneys were failing, refused to take it because he wanted to be able to take care of my mom and not be away from her for a second. Once she passed away, even though he had lost his will to live, we talked him into taking the dialysis because we didn’t want to lose him too. He wasn’t thrilled about it, but I think he did it for his kids. After two years, while I was visiting him, he told me he wanted to die. He no longer had anything to live for, and he wanted to be with my mom. He begged me to let him quit dialysis. As a daughter, my heart broke and I pleaded with him to change his mind. He was adamant. I then spoke with his doctor who advised me that it is his choice and I should respect his wishes. So….again, I had to watch a parent slowly die in front of my eyes. The only positive thing about my dad’s situation, is that he was THE happiest I had ever seen him when he actually knew that he could now soon be reunited with my mom. He couldn’t wait! It took two weeks exactly for his kidneys to fail, and I was there with him when he died.

I don’t care how old we are….the death of a parent is never easy. It always feels sudden — even when it’s not. People often expect that the death of someone older or someone who’s been ill for a long time will feel easier to endure because it’s predictable. Yet the disappearance from your life of a figure you’ve known since birth is, when it finally happens, always a sudden change. I know my parents lived a full and exciting life. They traveled the world, they had tons of friends, they lived to meet their grandchildren. This is a lesson for all of us:Take a look at your life. How would you describe it? Contented? Rushed? Exciting? Stressful? Moving forward? Holding back? For many of us it’s all of the above at times. There are things we dream of doing one day, there are things we wish we could forget. But..think about it: We have no clue what is ahead of us. Love your parents, love your fellow man, live your life, and forget about petty nonsense. I wish, just for one day, I could hear my parents’ voices again. I wish I could hear my dad sing, and I wish I could smell the aroma of my mom’s cooking. Thank goodness they left me with so many great memories.


Encouragement and Inspiration is Sometimes Found in the Most Unlikely Places 0

Have you ever experienced unexpected moments when someone or something, without effort or intention,changed your day? Allow me to share with you what I experienced, which defines the word “ironic”. This post may be a little lengthy, but I had to write about this. The other day, I had to go to my friend Elle Madrona’s condo on 58th Street to pick her up along with a few others and drive them to an event. She told me to come upstairs for an hour or so and just tell the doorman that I am her friend so that I can just park in front instead of going into the paid garage next door. I pulled into the circular driveway in front of the building and signaled to the doorman inside to come out. He walked to my window and I told him I was told I could park here for an hour or so. He very kindly said, “you can park, but not here because this will block the driveway.” He then pointed to a van parked along the side and said, “pull in next to that van, but in reverse”. I was stunned! The van took up 3/4 of the already small space between two cement pillars, AND there was a curb and not a ramp to drive up to. I politely told him that there was no way on earth that I am capable of maneuvering that kind of park. I already pictured my car not only bottoming out from going over that curb, but also sideswiping the huge cement pillar! With that, he looked me straight in the eyes and said, “I KNOW you can do it! You are more capable than you think you are, and stop having a negative attitude”! I then retorted, “You don’t understand, I CAN’T do it! I am not a parking garage attendant who is used to backing cars into tight spots!”. Again, he said “I have faith in you and you are going to do it!”. Well, this went on for a while. By this time, we already knew each others’s names and I said, “Michael, I am just going to park in the garage. It’s worth the $40.00 not to damage my car!”. Again, he told me that I am not giving myself enough credit, and I started to drive toward the garage. As I passed that spot, something propelled me to take the chance. I figured if I go very slow, even if I can’t do it, there wouldn’t be too much damage. I put the car in reverse, Michael stood behind guiding me, and lo and behold…..I did it! I pulled into a seemingly impossible parking position! We both “high fived”, and it was then that I told him that I was a Life Coach and how ironic that HE motivated ME to step out of my comfort zone! Just as I tell my clients, when we do something that scares us, there is no better feeling. As we walked to the elevator, I thanked this wonderful guy for cheering me on. He again said, “Susan, you have greatness in you. Don’t ever forget it”. Can you believe it? How ironic is this story? So…..where do YOU find encouragement and inspiration…… Books? Websites? Blogs? Colleagues? Friends? A walk in the park? I found it in a kind and inspiring doorman named Michael!10308896_10204045577489795_4903618788753005866_n


Birds of a Feather Flock Together 0


We all have heard the expression “birds of a feather flock together”. Basically, you will notice that people who spend a lot of time with each other usually adapt the same characteristics, mannerisms and positive as well as negative traits. I always say that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. The best thing you can do is to evaluate, whether you like it or not, the relationships you spend the most time with, and walk away if that person is not a positive influence. I have been honored with many amazing friendships..some for many years and some fairly new. But, not everyone is meant to stay in your life indefinitely. It’s never easy walking away from a relationship/person you know in your heart is toxic, but it is the best decision you will ever make. A person who is trying to better themselves cannot spend the majority of their time with a negative person or situation. A person who wants to maintain a good reputation cannot spend the majority of their time with a dishonest person. You will end up lowering yourself to their level and taking on the qualities that you are working so hard to avoid. You will be defined by the people you “hang with”. It is about you understanding your worth. Because of my career, I meet a lot of people, both on the internet and in person. I have been fooled several times when I discovered that some who claim to be one thing, and who they actually are, contradict each other. Those relationships must end. Some of these people have become bitter, but that’s the way it has to be. When I need to move on because I cannot deal with people with no integrity, then I must move on. Period. Don’t worry about pleasing everyone. Remember that who you associate with can really put a damper on your joy and your professional life that you worked so hard to build up. Don’t let it happen to you! Know your truth. Birds of a feather really do flock together, so take a really close look at who you are keeping company with. Make sure you are surrounded by people who really care about you and your happiness and growth. You don’t want to be flying with the birds who only look for their prey.


Words Hurt….Many Have the Scars To Prove It 0

1640227895_1381863825 I just got finished watching a documentary on the composer Stephen Sondheim, and one of the things he talked about was an incident with his mother which propelled me to write this status. On her way to surgery, she handed him a note that read, “before I go to have my open-heart surgery, I want you to know my biggest regret in life: giving birth to you.” He said he was completely and utterly stunned and felt like a bullet hit him in the chest. Even today, he still sheds tears from the hurt those words caused him. We all know the saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” If only that were true! But….it’s not! Words can hurt a lot more than sticks and stones. They may not break bones, but they can surely break hearts. Words can devastate. Words can wound; words can kill. Words can ruin reputations and destroy relationships. There’s just no doubt about it:words hurt. They leave long lasting emotional cuts and bruises…scars that don’t heal. When someone hurts us with their words, we play the tape over and over. No matter how many times we try to dismiss the hurtful tirade, the pain keeps coming back. There may be words from your childhood that you still can’t escape. Stupid. Fatso. Ugly. Lazy. Dummy. Loser. Moron. Sissy. Chicken. And on and on. It starts with one word when we’re young, but as we grow, the hurtful sentiments become phrases and even paragraphs. If we don’t find a way to heal, they can cause lasting, permanent damage. What’s so sad is that the people who verbally abuse are usually angry, bitter, resentful people who want everyone to be as miserable as they are. Their words are a reflection of their souls. The tongue only speaks what comes from the heart. Today I am suggesting that we ALL pay careful attention to what we say. We can destroy someone or we can build someone up with just our words. I know, especially as a Life Coach, that my words have healed many who have been scarred. Remember, words can be weapons. Words can destroy. The scars they leave can be more painful than a physical assault. Broken bones heal, but a broken spirit takes much longer…and sometimes never does!


Holiday “Blues”? You Can Beat Them and Here’s How! 1


 ”Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” — Unknown

Here we are again, another Holiday season beginning with Thanksgiving and ending on January 1. Everywhere we go, we are inundated with images and music representing holiday joy, generosity, peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind. For many of us, it is indeed a time of joy and hope, but in a poll conducted by, more than 80% of us find the holiday season to be “somewhat” or “very” stressful — that ranks navigating the holidays right up there with interviewing for a new job or asking for a raise! What is it that causes us all to be so hot and bothered? The images of blissfully happy couples and families with children sitting around the fireplace may be a trigger for someone who may not have that in their life, but many other factors can contribute to the holiday blues. Some contributing factors include fatigue, unrealistic expectations and financial difficulties. Along with our usual work and household obligations, there are the parties to attend and shopping trips to make. Cramming so many more activities into our day is indeed a stress and anxiety booster. We may feel the pressure to be generous to our friends and family, but worrying about extended family, co-workers, the doorman, hairdresser, etc., makes it hard to know when to draw the line. Also, many of us have lost loved ones who represented a large part of enjoying the holidays. This can also be truly painful. On top of all that, there is more traffic, parking is nowhere to be found and the stores are over crowded! All these factors combined can contribute to what is commonly referred to as the “holiday blues”. Symptoms of the blues include feelings of sadness, loneliness, stress, anger and tension. You may experience changes in sleep patterns, headaches, excessive alcohol consumption, overeating and feelings of guilt. It all comes down to this: Many of us have unrealistic expectations of the holiday season and what we are “supposed” to feel. We think that we should be able to do everything, buy everyone on our list the gifts they deserve, and at the same time, be joyful….even though we may not feel that way! You can enjoy the holidays and every season by simply changing your approach. Recognize the demands you are placing on yourself, change your routine, and I promise your holiday will be less stressful. First, have a talk with your family or a loved one. Make a plan based on what is really important to all of you. Don’t just assume that they need that expensive gift. If you find that you are invited to too many holiday parties, plan your time realistically. Don’t feel obligated to attend events that cause more headaches than merriment. Make a budget and stick to it! Write out in advance exactly how much money you have in your budget for everyone on your list. Remember, using your imagination can cut down on many of the expensive price tags. For instance, it’s so easy to make your own gift basket. Fill a basket or pail with items found in your local grocery, add a bottle or two of wine, cover it with decorative paper, and voila! You’ve saved an enormous amount of money. My mom used to make the most delicious homemade chocolates. She’d wrap them in homemade gift bags and give them out to bank tellers, doctors, nurses and the staff at my husband’s office. Never underestimate the power of a gift made from the heart! If you have absolutely no extra money to spend this season, don’t beat yourself up. Sharing photos and memories with relatives is another wonderful way to show you care. Maybe you can visit a nursing home. You’d be amazed how much better you feel when you give of yourself and help those less fortunate. This is the true spirit of the holidays! I’ve said this in many of my other articles, but it holds true for the holidays as well. Choose to surround yourself with supportive and positive people! Misery loves company, and there are many holiday “Scrooges”who would love to have you share their view of the world. Say, “bah humbug” to them! If you are feeling lonely, there are plenty of ways to make friends. Besides Facebook and other social media outlets, there are many groups and organizations to join in order to meet like minded people. By sitting alone and feeling sorry for yourself, you are only making matters worse. Take the first step. You’d be surprised how many people out there are waiting to meet you! Set healthy limits. One of the reasons we get down during the holidays is because we “let ourselves go”. We tell ourselves that it’s the holiday, so we might as well eat, drink and be merry! That’s fine…in moderation. The more you let yourself go, the more miserable you will become. Promise yourself that you will stop at one cookie, avoid high calorie drinks (like egg nog), and limit your intake of finger foods which can pile on the calories. Over indulging at the holidays adds to fatigue and low energy. Remember also that exercise is a great anti-depressant. If you haven’t started an exercise regimen, this is THE time to start! You can do anything from Yoga, boxing, pilates, anything that you enjoy. I personally love dancing, but you can try different forms of exercise until you find the one you will commit to each and every day for at least 30 minutes. Not only will you feel less “blue”, but you’ll be physically healthier too! Find joy in the simple things each day. Make a mental or written list of things in your past that you remember as pleasurable. For me, I think of my parents taking us to Montreal to visit all my relatives over the holidays. I can still smell the aroma of the baking breads and cakes coming from my grandmother’s oven, and the feeling of jumping into the freshly fallen snow and sledding around Mont Royal. Thinking back to an uplifting memory can reinstate the same feeling of joy that you felt at the time. You can also learn how to meditate, which can be a great way to release stress. Close your eyes and breathe deeply from the abdomen for 5-10 minutes each day. Allow all your stressful thoughts to drift off. In the end, the most important thing you can do to overcome the blues is to practice gratitude. Even if you lost someone dear to you and they can’t be with you this year to celebrate, be grateful for the time you had with them and the memories you have accumulated. Value everything in your life, even the holiday “chores”. Look for the silver lining, not the gold medal! I would like to end this by wishing you all peace of mind, prosperity through the year, happiness that multiplies, and good health to you and yours! Happy Holidays!! Susan

Copyright 2013 Susan Korwin


John Lennon Still Alive Through His Messages of Inspiration 0

Today is the anniversary of the death of John Lennon.  I remember that day vividly, and it felt like a family member had died. I met him a few times since he lived next door to my brother on 72nd Street. He really was, without a doubt, THE biggest or one of the biggest musical influences, promoter of peace and talent of this generation. He was the author of many inspirational messages, way before inspirational messages were popular. I want to share a few of my favorites in his honor.

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

“We live in a world where we have to hide to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight.”

“If being an egomaniac means I believe in what I do and in my art or music, then in that respect you can call me that… I believe in what I do, and I’ll say it.”

“When you do something noble and beautiful and nobody noticed, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.”

Rest in peace John Lennon, for your music and your message is still just as relevant now as it was then!john-lennon-lennon-disc-2-cover-art-19160