My book of poetry, "Stripping- My fight to find Me" is a story of the triumph of the human spirit. It is a story of our deep need for connection and the infinite power of love to heal.

Hello,
It’s Sunita here.

I am a poet, an author, a wife, a mother, a clinician and a childhood trauma survivor. I healed when I understood that I was broken,
not a victim. I learnt that everything I needed was within me. And that my mental health and my inner life was the essence and driving force of my existence.

I now want to challenge and inspire you to move beyond your old stories so you can embrace possibility and fulfill your potential. So, if that is where you are in your life, I invite you to come visit with me every Friday.

The conversation is honest, the topics are varied, the perspectives are from many angles, but the bottom line is always
Self Love Self Care First. I hope you will join me in a journey of discovery, wonder, growth and a celebration of our truth.

And love

Because what else is there to talk about?

Be well, Do well, Live well,
Warmly,
Sunita

Friday, January 25, 2019

Winter Blues- My top 5 Proactive Self Love Self Care Tips to Feel Better


Hello,
It's Sunita here.

We experienced the first severe winter temperature dip in New Jersey this week. Mercury took a dive down to the single digits. I, like most other people took sensible precautions to prevent myself from suffering any serious damage from the extreme cold. I filled my car with gas. I made sure there was a blanket and some emergency supplies in my car. I dressed with warm layers. I had gloves and a hat. I made sure my phone was charged. Basically, I did everything I could to make sure I would not suffer from hypothermia and frost bite in case I were to be exposed to the brutal cold for an extended period of time.

But what about our mental health? You maybe familiar with the term Winter Blues. SAD, Seasonal Affect Disorder, is a recurrent type of depression associated with the change of seasons. It typically starts in fall and persists through the winter months.

There is no equivalent of reports of a weather channel for our mental health. We must be the ones who monitor how we feel.

This week's blog is inspired by a good friend of mine who just recently connected her mood swings, anxiety and depression to the weather. After some candid self reflection as she looked back, she realized that she had probably suffered from SAD for some years. She courageously said No to suffering any more and took proactive measures.

My Top 5 Proactive Self Love Self Care Tips to combat the Winter Blues

#1   Seek professional help if you are having a tough time moderating your mood.  If you already have a therapist working with you, discuss the option of increasing the frequency of your sessions during the winter months. If you are working with a psychiatrist, discuss how your medications are working for you. There maybe need for adjustments.

#2  Exercise. Get up. Move. There is compelling evidence that exercise improves our mood. How Exercise Might Keep Depression at Bay- NY Times

#3 Call a friend. Schedule time with close friends just like you would schedule a doctor's appointment . It is imperative that you stay connected with those that love you and support you. That connection is balm for your brain and soul. We are wired for connection for a good reason. It makes us feel good, safe and secure.

#4 Plan for your Heart Bliss. Focusing on what you love to do is a wonderful way to combat the blues. When we struggle with our mental health, we often times neglect to draw from the things that give us pleasure. That's part and parcel of depression and anxiety. By proactively scheduling time for what gives you happiness, despite feeling like you don't want to, you can fight this urge to withdraw from joyful stimulus.

#5 Eat well A balanced diet with minimal amounts or no processed foods will work best for you. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and added sugar. Increase your fresh fruits and vegetable intake. Consult with a nutritionist to see what would be the best food plan for you.

My friend did all of the above and in a few weeks showed remarkable and noticeable improvements. As a matter of fact, I had to be on my toes to keep up with her energy :) and cheer! It was infectious and contagious. And exciting!

You have to have the will to feel better. And you must be committed to doing the work it takes to get better. But the fact to remember is that you can feel better!

Be proactive! Practice Self Love Self Care First! Join the movement!

Wishing you a week of energetic happiness,
Be well Live well Do well,
Warmly,
Sunita


Friday, January 18, 2019

What is Self Love? A Leading Researcher Explains




My daughter Nina and I- a few hours after she was born
Hello,
It's Sunita here!

As I continue to live, learn and grow through the lens of Self Love Self Care First, I am begining to understand it from the perspective of many dimensions.

Today, I want to talk about the foundation of self love.

What is self love?
Self love is a virtue that entails bonding with yourself.

It sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? Well, it's not. There is an intricate complexity to how we see ourselves in our mind's eye. Researchers in the field of Attachment  have shown that the earliest learning ground we have for self love is in the womb, and immediately therafter with our primary caregiver/caregivers. 

Attachment theory states that a strong emotional and physical attachment to at least one primary caregiver is critical to personal developement. John Bowlby first coined the term as a result of his studies involving the developmental psychology of children from various backgrounds.


Since we do what we know, if a primary caregiver did not develope a strong sense of self in their childhood, they will be less than optimal in doing their job as the person imprinting their offspring. So attachment patterns are passed down through generations. I obviously, am oversimplifying a very complex cascade of events that shape us, but you get the drift.

Dr, Jon G. Allen, a leading researcher in the field of Attachment speaks of self love in this way, 

"Self-love is embedded in an attachment relationship, more specifically a secure attachment relationship with yourself."

Dr. Allen explains how self esteem and self worth is not something we possess, but rather something we do to value ourselves. He connects it to our inner dialog with ourselves and explains how the tone of how we speak to ourselves and the content of that conversation was determined long before we even uttered our first word. Our primary caregivers determined that voice.

We can be very harsh in our treatment of ourself. That is active self harm and self hate. He goes on to cite how 'failing to do' also significantly contributes to self neglect and self sabotage.

love/http://saynotostigma.com/2010/11/attachment-is-the-cradle-of-self-love/

We develope self love when someone loves us. When that does not happen, or occurs in a deficient or broken manner, then we suffer greatly. But, the great news is that we can learn to change these deeply embedded, damaging patterns.  I know that personally for a fact. There is hope!

I leave you with this question today.
What is the tone of your conversation with yourself?

Be well Do well Live well,
Sunita

#selfloveseflcarefirst  #jointhemovement

I invite you to read Sovereign as a post script to today's blog. It is the last in the collection of the 65 poems I wrote as I was healing from trauma. My book Stripping : My Fight to Find Me is available at SunitaMerriman.com

Please be sociable and share.



Friday, January 11, 2019

Glenn Close Wins Best Actress, Drama - 2019 Golden Globes- What she has to say about Heart Bliss and my #3 Tips to get there




Hello,
It's Sunita here.

I remember driving into Manhattan with my husband on a crisp Saturday afternoon last November. It was our 'just us time together' and we had plans to see The Wife at the Angelika Film Center. I didn't know anything about the movie. All I knew was that Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce were starring in it. That was a good enough invitation for me.

Once having experienced the story through their incredible performances, I left the theatre with a whole lot of emotions that were complex and thought provoking. It was obvious to me that Glenn Close had given the best that she had to offer to this role and I was delighted to see her recognized at the Golden Globes last week.

However, what has been even more exciting to me is the response she is getting to her acceptance speech. It was from her heart, authentic and deeply moving. It did not seem that she expected to win which gave her words a kind of sponteneity and honesty that comes from being put in the spotlight without any anticipation of having to make a speech.

Glenn Close's tribute to her mother (at 1:22-1:39 of the clip) is touching and poignant.

And sad.

She speaks about what her mother shared with her at age 80. 'I feel I haven't accomplished anything'

Glenn goes on to passionately promote the right to be able to do what we love to do. She says, 'We have to find personal fulfilment. We have to follow our dreams.'

I couldn't agree more with Glenn.

Self Love Self Care First leads us to being able to recognize, understand, and then nurture the gifts and talents we have. I speak of Heart Bliss. To me Heart Bliss is what we feel when we do things that make our heart sing. Being able to pursue what gives us Heart Bliss allows us to create a life of acheivement that is meaningful and honors our uniqueness.

That is a life well lived.

Don't wait another day if you have not yet found your path to your Heart Bliss.

Here are 3 tips to get started on your amazing journey,

STOP! Pay attention to what makes you happy, engaged and excited. Think about what makes time stand still for you.

START! to write down what you were doing at those moments (playing an instrument, writing, helping someone out, writing code, gardening, etc. It could be anything. Don't assign value to the activity based on what others may say. Remember, this is your Heart Bliss. It is your experience of it that matters. That is your truth.

STAY! the course of pursuing your Heart Bliss. In the end, it will be the journey that is your reward and achievement.

STOP!           START!             STAY!

Remember it took Glenn Close 45 years to get the opportunity to be on that stage last week. And it took The Wife 14 years to get made. But she wouldn't change anything because all along she was doing what she loved to do and was meant to do. She was lucky that she knew that acting was her passion at a young age. But whatever your age is today, it doesn't matter.

There is no expiration date on living your truth.

In the end, never pusuing your dream will hurt much more than the effort to get on 'your' track.

Trauma, depression and anxiety robbed me of living my truth, despite the outside world success I had acheived. Now having been healed, my mind, body and soul work differently. They are all integrated, inspired, peaceful and calm. And focussed on guiding me to live my best life and be my best self.

If I can do it, so can you!

Be well Do well Live well,
Sunita
#selfloveselfcarefirst  #jointhemovement




Friday, January 4, 2019

The Secret to Making Lasting Changes


Hello,
It's Sunita here.

It is the start of a new year again...

We are bombarded with headlines and blogs about making New Year Resolutions. Photographs and posts of people sharing their new year resolutions are plentiful on social media. Conversations usually center around the question, “So, any new year resolutions?

I had to cut my workout at my gym short on January 1st because it was too crowded for me to focus. But I know that things will change by February. And then by summer, usually it’s only the ‘regulars’ and new members who are still slogging it out.

The complexity to human behavior patterns is beyond the scope of my expertise and cannot be discussed in a single note, even if it was. However, I know firsthand that the only motivation that drives us to succeed to make healthy lasting changes comes from within us.

No one else can motivate us to make choices that result in us being more, doing more and having more of what we desire. That drive is internal.

But that’s not the secret that I am talking about...

I’m talking about what makes us get up when we fall. Because success is not a straight ride to the top. Ask anybody that has achieved anything meaningful, significant or noteworthy. They will tell you stories of the many failures they suffered through to finally get it ‘right’.
So, what’s the secret?
It is having infinite love for oneself.
That drives the ambition to go beyond where we are today. Self-love is the foundation upon which we can have the courage to say- we deserve more. It is the place from where we say, I am strong enough to do whatever it takes to achieve my goal. But more importantly, if I fail today, it’s okay because I will succeed tomorrow.

Self-love prevents us from taking a punitive direction of thoughts when things don’t go the way we had planned.

So, you couldn’t get to the gym today. You have 2 choices of looking at that. One is, “Boy, what a failure I am. Can’t even keep my New Year resolution for a month. I’m a loser”. The other is, “I’m disappointed that I couldn't work out according to my plan. I don’t feel good about that. Let me see what happened with my time yesterday. What can I do to make sure I stick with my exercise program because it sure feels good when I do, and I deserve that?” Looking at the reasons for not being able to carve the time for exercise does require honesty, but that’s another discussion.
We must be our biggest champions in order to succeed. The reminder to love ourselves must always be a conscious thought . The compassion required to forgive ourselves when we fall short is critical for us to be able to get past failures and forge ahead with optimism.
We must believe that we deserve to be more, do more and have more of whatever it is that we desire.
For that, we must love ourselves unequivocally and unconditionally.
And that is the secret.
So why not start 2019 with a commitment to Self Love Self Care First?
Try it. I promise you that it works!
Be well, Do well, Live well
Sunita