How to Overcome Mood Swings



Did you ever find yourself slipping into, how shall I say it, a less than happy mood. Every now and then one of us has such a – let’s call it – “Bad Hair Day!” Fortunately, being together as many years as we have been (54 this month), usually when she is up, I am down and vice-versa. So, when she is down, I bring her back up and when I am down, she brings me back up. And the good news is that it usually only lasts a few hours. Today started out that way.

One of the things we have missed on this latest adventure is our line dancing and so today we decided that we would play some line dancing music we have on our computers. Nothing works better as we both love country music and it doesn’t take long for us to get our feet tapping and before we know it, we are line dancing doing some of our favorite line dances.

While we do not follow what many might consider a hectic pace, you know, rushing around doing a bunch of things all at once, our lives aren’t sedentary either. When we “relax” you might find us in front of the television, our computers, or doing a hobby (I write, she makes jewelry or some type of craft work).

I used to consider myself a “multi-tasker” but lately I am finding that I prefer to do one thing at a time. True, there are times one might see me watching TV while reading a book or have my nose in my Smart Phone. Fact is, I am not multi-tasking – I am in the company of others that are watching something on TV that I am not particularly fond of and so, they are doing their thing while I am doing mine – it is just that we are in the same room.

Besides, lately it has been proven that multitasking doesn’t necessarily reduce stress but increases it. Increased stress is a sure-fire way to cause our brains to deteriorate. The older I get the more I realize that I need to stop and pause every now and then and take in what we could call “ordinary moments.”

For instance, one of the daily routines I follow (when I am home) is to stretch as soon as I get out of bed, then I write in my journal, post a quip or two on Facebook, have my breakfast, and then on many days, go to our line dance practice. While away, I have done some (not the line dancing) of these daily routines although I must admit I have not been consistent.   And believe me, such a routine requires me to be consistent to feel good about myself. Also, when one enjoys line dancing and the music that accompanies it as much as we do, it doesn’t take long to feel lost without it.

So, on my daily list of “to-do’s” we plan on doing today, first thing was to make sure that when my computer is on, line dancing music is playing in the background. I am sure, that even though our intentions are to catch up on some computer work, we will be taking line dancing breaks today.

Another thing I have been attempting to do the older I get is to practice mindfulness (you know being in the present moment and appreciating whatever is happening around us right now). As a result, one of the things on my ‘list of to-do’s’ today is to take a ten or fifteen minute walk (assuming the weather will cooperate as we have been having rain) so that we can take in our environment and sense what is happening around us as we walk.

Personally, I love to walk and it has been recommended as a great form of exercise. However, the type walk I am contemplating is a “mindfulness walk.” My wife cannot walk as fast as I do and so, such a walk will be good for the two of us. I say this because this type of walk is one in which we can notice how we might just smell the rain in the air, picture the colors around us be it the color of the various trees or flowering shrubs, how some grass may be growing rather well while other spots appear brown and dying, and who knows we may even hear the birds singing.

All this takes us out of the condo and into a different environment. In doing so, we have an opportunity of becoming one with nature, even if only for ten or fifteen minutes. Such a change improves ones’ mood and wakes us up to all there is to be thankful for.

If we recall our working years, we probably remember that being on the “fast track” as one way of stating it, only caused more stress and if let to run its’ course was a sure way to a heart attack not to mention all the other diseases that might be attributed to stress. Being mindful at our age (and any age for that matter) is one way to eliminate much of the stress in our lives.

So, if one would prepare a list of things to do to assist with removing some of the stress in our lives, such a list might include such things as:

Take a walk either alone or with your significant other at least fifteen minutes each day.

On this walk, rid your mind of everything except what you see and hear while you are walking.

Don’t look for anything in particular – that way when you see a bird, a squirrel, a chip monk, other people walking and talking, or what have you – you will be surprised which adds to the joy of taking the walk.

Know that by doing this small ritual once a day, you are taking care of you. And this is important because as you well know, there are many others in your position that do not have such an opportunity to take a walk every day.

Doing this daily may also provide you with five things:

By opening your mind as you walk to what is around you, hopefully you will feel more peaceful and as a result see things more clearly than what you did before your walk.  Result – peace of mind due to opening your mind.

Leaving the confines of your home, apartment, condo or what have you to walk in nature’s environment, may just give you a better appreciation of nature.

Smelling the rain, taking in the fragrance of the various flowers and all that mother nature has to offer also gives you the opportunity to have a chance to breathe deeply, something I know I do not do often enough.

While on this walk do your best to only take in what you see and smell during this short walk. Once the walk is over, your mind should be clear.  A clear mind is one that should see things in a different light and thus may provide you with some problem-solving moments.

Being with ourselves taking in all that is around us while not thinking of anything else should also provide us with a sense of gratitude. Gratitude for all that we have versus thinking about what we don’t have.

I started this piece to overcome a feeling of moodiness and it served its purpose so much so that I thought I may as well use it for my weekly post to my rants and raves on this site.  Hope you enjoy!



What is an Oxymoron?


Recently I came across an article on “oxymorons” and decided to write a post about them. For those of you unfamiliar with the term – as was pointed out in the article, the rhetorical term oxymoron is made up of two Greek words which mean sharp and dull and that in and of itself is oxymoronic.

You may recall from your high school English class, an oxymoron is a compressed paradox: a figure of speech wherein seemingly contradictory terms appear side by side.  Allow me to provide you with an example: “Jumbo Fried Shrimp.”

Seeing that I do not sleep much, I wondered if there was an oxymoron associated with the word insomnia. Sure enough, a comedian from long ago – W.C.Fields used an oxymoron when describing a cure for insomnia. His statement was: “The best cure for insomnia is to get a lot of sleep!”

If there is one thing we writers know – it is that oxymorons are part of our everyday speech. Think about it – take a look back in history as well as what is happening in many other countries in the world today. What is going on in them – Civil wars!

Did you ever find yourself in a conversation with say a colleague or it might have even been a relative and during the course of the conversation, the other party said to you: “You clearly misunderstood me.”

Or here is one, you are sitting on the couch watching an action movie when the pilot of the plane in the movie looks back at the passengers (back in the days when the passengers could see the pilot in the cockpit) and says: Prepare yourselves for a Crash landing! Let me take this scenario one step further – when the movie is over – you look at your partner and exclaim, That movie was awful good!”

And then there are some oxymorons that just blow my mind – like exactly what is a Devout atheist? Or you need some work done on your house and the contractor that comes by to provide you with a quote to do the work says: “This is an Exact estimate!” What’s with that – is it exact or an estimate?

Or you pick up your newspaper and the headlines reads: Seven-year old child was found missing this morning.  Was he or she found or is he or she still missing?

Well, hopefully with my Shrewd dumbness you found this post seriously funny. Should you care to comment on this weekly attempt to make even just one of you smile or laugh, I would welcome your unbiased opinion!

Until next time!


Morning Rituals


Morning Rituals 

One of the things I have found to get me up and motivated each day is to have what some might call morning rituals. Developing these ‘rituals’ and following through with each of them every morning sort of sets the tone for how well the day is going to go.

Do I do all of them every morning – probably not. Do I do most of them – most definitely. Let’s face it, if I do all five, it will be a fantastic day, three – probably a good day, and less than three – well, how did that old saying once go “You get what you pay for?” Fact is that I try to do all five whenever possible because in doing so, I feel in control of my morning and if you are in control of your morning, well – you are probably in control of your entire day. It’s a win-win situation.

Some of the five rituals may seem somewhat dumb but – hey, as the saying goes: “Whatever works” and once we pass a certain age – believe me when I say, we are always looking for what works.

  1. I Make My Bed


It may seem trivial and some may say that it is not the man’s job to make the bed, but it is hard for me to not make the bed once I am out of it for the day. Call it what you will but following this strategy enables me to execute what becomes my first task of the day. And once the tone is set, hopefully the rest of the day will be met with a similar strategy and continue to provide me with a sense of control over my life.

We all have our good days and our bad days – but come on, how long does it take to make your bed?  Performing this simple task gives one the feeling that, no matter how devastating the day may become, I will have proven to myself that I am still in control. I haven’t fallen into the abyss yet – I still am in control of my actions and what may lie ahead.

Another way to look at this routine is that at the end of the evening, while getting ready for bed, having to “turn down the bed” as they say in the movies reminds me that I was in control from the very beginning of the day which should enable me to go to sleep knowing that the day was not a total loss.

  1. I Meditate

I was not always into mindfulness practice (meditating in this case) and being truthful here, like step number one, I may not do it every day, but for the most part, I do try to spend at least 10 to 12 minutes every morning meditating. I have a program on my telephone that enables me to turn the world off so to speak and just sit there in the quiet listening to absolutely nothing (nothing other than the sound of the gong in the background). This focusing on nothing enables me to focus better later in the day when I may be involved in another project or in a conversation with my wife.

  1. I Exercise

While our main form of exercise is line dancing four days a week, another ritual I make it a point to do every morning is exercise and by exercise, I mean stretching exercises. I do a minimum of ten repetitions of various stretching exercises that takes anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes every morning. I do not mean workout type exercises. I merely am trying to wake up all parts of my body from my head to my toes. This type exercise enables me to wake me up and put me in touch with my body.  You would be amazed how, getting into one’s body, even for only a few minutes, helps set the mood for the day and causes one to quiet whatever mental chatter there may be going on at the time immediately preceding the start of the routine.

  1. I Drink Coffee or Sometime Tea

Something is to be said for sitting alone drinking one’s cup of coffee or tea mindfully every morning. Doing so enables me to be present in the moment just sitting there giving all my attention to the act of drinking coffee or tea. While I like and drink some other beverages, my favorite beverages are French Vanilla or Hazelnut coffee and Vanilla Chai tea.

  1. I Journal and Create “To-Do” Lists

I sit and do two kinds of writing first thing in the morning:

One is for keeping track of what all we have done, how we feel physically, talks about the weather, some of the crazy things happening in the world today and whatever our plans for the day might be. The other is a list of things I hope or plan to accomplish before day’s end. So, one might say that the journal is to keep a record of what we do in our daily lives while the other is prioritizing things that need to be accomplished so that we can continue to enjoy all that our lives have to offer.

Some people create a gratitude journal and while I have tried to do this in the past, there isn’t a day that goes by that I am not grateful for how far we have come in these, our twilight years, the accomplishments we have achieved, and the places we have been to and seen. Life is good!