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Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Tracee Lydia Garner is a bestselling, award-winning author who writes stories full of complex heroes and heroines, relationships and families that experience tough but realistic life challenges in their quest for love. Tracee works in health and human service by day, has a degree in communication and is a speaker and advocate for people with disabilities. Learn more about Tracee and her books at her website. 

Recently, trying to think of some good but interesting information to share with you for the post, it got me to thinking about the 3/22 post I read outlining the health benefits of journaling by Helen Bennett. I reflected on ways I try to ensure my own mental health and what routines and regimens I do to stay healthy.

As a wheelchair user with limited range of motion and mobility, a brisk run around the block is out of the question, so I went back to a talk I just gave recently to my local Toastmasters group. I work full time outside the home, and I spend my nights writing and publishing my novels. Weekends find me promoting my books at author conferences and book fairs. Mental and physical health is just something we all do with little thought, but here’s a rundown of exactly what I’m doing to ensure I stay aware to stay well.

1. Self-Association
2. Self-Talk
3. Self -Listening
4. Self Watch

What does all that mean? First, in order to have control of our influence(s), you first have to monitor who we associate with. Take out your phone and scroll through your list of contacts. Who in that list do you dread speaking to? Who do you get excited about? Call them instead. For all of us, there is someone on that list that is draining, maybe even a little selfish, and when you see their name on your screen or pick up the phone and hear their voice, you’re like, “oh no!”

Why is this? How can you make it better? How does that person make you feel?

Next is Self-Talk (or Speak) and it’s pretty self explanatory - what you say is what you are. If you really believed that, you may start trying to trap negativity before it gets out of your mouth. Speak positively and negativity will run away.

Lastly, Self-Watch and Self-Listen are really important. We live in a world where we are bombarded by images. I don’t watch much television, and this year I’ve decided I’ll be turning off the telly more than ever. I feel so much better without a constant barrage of data yelled to me. How annoying. Know what else? I get so much more done with my writing if I’m able to focus and not constantly turning my head to look at what’s on the television. DVR your programs so you can cut down on television and the commercials.

Turn off your TV Week, now called Screen Free Week is May 1 - 7. Look at some of the sites that talk about the origination of this observance as they often offer alternatives, fun meet-ups where you get together, get to know your neighbors and work on different causes and projects that really need our attention. Within that week, try to pay more attention to how you feel. What did you do? What didn't you do? 

Here’s another thing about so much television: you may find you want to consume less material and merchandise because the power of suggestion (through commercials) isn’t there to tell you what you’re “missing”. I’m not at all saying TV is bad; I like TV. I’m saying we likely don’t realize the effects it can have on us even when we don’t think it does or we believe that it’s just background noise and we’re not really paying attention.

With Self-Listening, do you ever listen to positive affirmations or uplifting stories in the morning? Or do you hear first about congestion for your (already dreaded) morning commute and who died? Try to begin the day by saying five great (and truthful) things about your life, your family, your work and/or yourself. See how you feel. See if that has some small impact to help you start out better. There’s plenty of folly to be had in the day. Why invite it first thing in the morning?

This all seems so simple, but when you’re busy and cruising through life, it’s so easy to get caught up and forget to observe the little things.

This is all part of my mental and physical health regimen. I hope there are some things you can take to add to your own.

Deadly Affections
How far would you go to uncover the truth?

Psychologist Leedra Henderson has a hidden motive in abandoning everything to accept a new job at the Anchored Empowerment Center. She secretly hopes that the new position will help her to investigate her own past – and to finally uncover the real story behind a string of mysterious deaths at her childhood foster home. 

Now a strong, independent woman, Leedra doesn't need help: she wants to seek justice, and she will. Alone.

Can you really limit your involvement when love is on the ticket?

Dexter Parker needs his own answers about that time in the foster home so long ago. A grown man reeling from the fallout of a broken marriage, Dexter’s rational mind tells him never to try the risks of love again – but he knows he could fill in the blanks for Leedra, if only it doesn’t end up costing him his heart. 

More urgently, Dexter needs to save the determined Leedra from the results of her detective work, before it all blows up in her face and costs both of them their lives.

Can the pair set aside their painful histories, avenge the lives that have been lost and – who knows – discover new love?

Watch the video

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