Book Tour…Day Three

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shutterstock_101697520Welcome Back to Day Three of

my Book Tour for

Put Away Your Phone!

Today we’ll be visiting Chris Graham in the UK for…

The Story Reading Ape Blog

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In this guest blog, I get a little personal and share some info about myself and my life. I’ll also fill you in on some details about Put Away Your Phone! shutterstock_103611593Click on the link above to have a peek. Once there, please click on the next link there, to take you back to my website and an update about what’s scheduled for the next day!

(If you get lost along the way-it happens-you can always come back to my blog page!)

For Kids Eyes Only…dreamstime_xl_48637133

(and kids at heart)

Hey Everyone! In case you hadn’t heard…Each day I’m going to have a trivia question for you to answer. If your a child, they may be kind of tricky, so have an adult help you. Go ahead and search the internet for the answer if you need to. When you’re done researching, submit your answer in the comments section below.

Today’s Trivia Question:shutterstock_339905630

What are three activities that people use their smartphone for? (other than phone calls)

Submit your answer below as a comment on today’s blog. Your name will be put in a hat to be drawn for 5 prizes to give away at the end of the tour.

Check back in tomorrow for the answer!

Yesterday’s trivia question answer to:

What are the top two most popular smartphone brands in the world?

Answer: Apple sold 74.8 million iPhones compared to Samsung’s sales of 73 million smartphones in the fourth quarter of last year.*

Coming tomorrow:shutterstock_69053353

On Day 4 of my Book Tour, we’ll be stopping close to home again for an “educational” blog and you have a chance to download some fun & educational sheets (grades K-3) that I made customed to the theme of the book.

See ya tomorrow…

 

*forbes.com

Book Tour…Day One

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Welcome to my Virtual Book Tour!

I’m so thrilled that you’ve joined me today to celebrate the release of my debut fiction picture book…

Put Away Your Phone!

Are you ready for some fun? Well, what are we waiting for? Follow me and let’s begin day one of the tour…

Just so you know, today we’ll be visiting 

Lauri Fortino’s Frog On A Blog

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In this guest blog, I present some smartphone statistics and info on the issue of smartphone use in our society. Also, I explore the message behind Put Away Your Phone! and…wait!

I don’t want to give away too much. Why don’t you go see for yourself…

shutterstock_103611593Click on the link above to start the tour and have a peek. Once there, please click on the next link there (at the bottom of the post) to take you back to my website and an update about what’s scheduled for the next day!

(If you get lost along the way-it happens-you can always come back to my site and look for the Book Tour page in the Put Away Your Phone! menu heading or follow this link for my blog page!)

For Kids Eyes Only…dreamstime_xl_48637133

(and kids at heart)

Hey Everyone! Each day I’m going to have a trivia question for you to answer. If your a child following along, they may be kind of tricky, so have an adult help and go ahead and search the internet for the answer. When you’re done researching, submit your answer in the comments section below.

shutterstock_270963242Today’s Trivia Question:

As of 2015, how many people in the world have a smartphone?

Don’t forget to submit your answer below. Your name will be put in a hat to be drawn for 5 prizes to give away at the end of the tour.

Check back in tomorrow for the answer!

Coming tomorrow:shutterstock_69053353

On Day 2 of my Virtual Book Tour, we’ll be sticking close to home. I’m doing this tour a little unconventionally and mixing it up a bit! We’ll visit a guest blog one day and then come back to my headquarters for the next. I think this is easier when following links, and besides, I got plenty up my sleeve to keep this fun and interesting!

*Just so you know…the link for the next day (Day 2) doesn’t become active until then, so NO PEEKING! until then-lol. I put it there just in case anyone gets lost!

See ya tomorrow…

A Happy Mom Is a Great Mom

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Picture1

I’m a mom of two kids who are now in their twenties. The world has changed quite a bit since they were little and I hope my husband and I have given them all the love and skills they need to be healthy and accomplished adults. Above all, I hope we’ve shown them how to be happy.

Picture2I think most parents hope to be great parents. I did (and still do every day).

I would say that the key to great parenting involves loving your kids unconditionally, providing a safe environment for them to live in and teaching them how to keep safe, instilling in them tools to cope with what life throws at them and showing them what happiness looks like. Simple right?

Not really. Any great parent knows that you can give and give and give your child everything they need or desire, but their true happiness lies within themselves. This self-realization and these skills sometimes take years to figure out. Some people, never learn how to find their inner happiness. Picture3

A parent can show their child ways to achieve happiness, but they can’t give it to them. No matter how much affection, toys, or attention we provide to our kids, eventually kids need to find their own happiness.

How can we show kids ways to achieve their own happiness? By loving, inspiring and empowering them.Picture4First, we need to show them how much they are loved. Telling them every day that they are loved is never too much. Everyone needs to feel loved-kids even more so. A great big hug or a soft brush of fingertips through their hair. Both of these are great ways to provide the basic need of love.Picture5

Next, we can inspire them with possibilities as to what they can do and be in their life. How? Leading by example and displaying great values.

Gratitude, Kindness, Compassion, Empathy, Non-Judgement and Forgiveness.

There is a definite connection with values and happiness. What researchers are now looking at is how we can achieve more happiness when we live our life according to who we are — not living life by constantly aspiring to be someone else.

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Who wouldn’t feel happy when they take the time to stop and notice all the wonderful parts of their life. The ability here is to do just that-STOP and NOTICE. When was the last time you took a moment to notice the wonderful people, animals, places, and events that are happening in your life? Did you feel grateful? Did you show your gratitude and say thank you or make a thankful gesture?

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It’s difficult to make the time for something so simple, but the benefits of doing this is time well spent. It feels so good when we show our gratitude, kindness, compassion and empathy towards other people and other things in our life. Kids can see this and they can see how happy this makes us. Eventually, they start noticing what they are grateful for, they act on this, and they feel happy too. All the basic values are connected and practicing them connects us to others.

Showing non-judgement is the highest form of kindness. It’s so easy to look for the negative in other people. As humans, we seem to naturally do this, even if we don’t necessarily intend to at first. Usually, the number one target of our judgement is ourselves.

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Showing less (and if possible no more) judgement to ourselves and others is a sure way to help kids find happiness. The more we demonstrate compassion, the easier it is to forgive. Everyone makes mistakes-even adults. Just like kids, we’re all still growing and learning throughout our lives. We forget that we, as adults, still need to hear this. Kids need to be shown this the most and it’s important for them to know that nobody is perfect.Picture9

 

The final way to show kids how to find their happiness is through empowerment. To empower a child is to lift them up and reassure them that they’re awesome and capable. Every child needs to know that WHO they are is important and that they have significance in the world. What they have accomplished and what they want to accomplish, is also just as important. 

 

dreamstime_xl_14950621Everyone needs to know that they have a purpose. This brings meaning to our lives. Sometimes, kids get too much negative reinforcement of this from school, their social situation, the news and other facets of their life that affect them. If they are shown that they have a purpose in this world because they are important, any child or person for that matter will feel happiness within themselves.

It’s an overly technological, somewhat violent and complicated world out there. This could leave very little space for happiness. We need to show the kids of this next generation that much more love, inspiration, and empowerment. How are YOU going to show a special child in your life how to achieve their happiness?Picture10

 

 

Picture1Tracy Bryan is a mom and a self-published author for kids aged 4-12. She writes whimsical picture books about emotions, mental health, mindfulness and social issues.

Tracy’s latest release is called Put Away Your Phone! This quirky and important tale about modern technology stars a little girl and her dislike for grown-ups who are always on their phone. Put Away Your Phone! will be released May 5th.  Click here for details about Tracy’s Book Launch Party and other Coming Soon EventsTo learn more about Tracy, please visit the homepage on tracybryan.com

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Book Tour…Final Day & Contest Winners!

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shutterstock_92095205
Welcome Back to the FINAL Day of

my Book Tour for

Put Away Your Phone!

 

Yesterday’s trivia question answer to:

What does Emma say to grown-ups who are always on their smartphones?

Answer: PUT AWAY YOUR PHONE!

 

dreamstime_xl_43071157Well I hope you had fun playing! Once I’ve pulled all the names, I’ll be contacting each winner so they can claim a copy of the book. 

 

 

 

51ncURier1L._SX398_BO1,204,203,200_If YOU want a copy of Put Away Your Phone!, get your softcover, hardcover or kindle format here

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and don’t forget your Teacher’s Guide here

 

 

 

 

Last, but certainly not least…

I want to thank all my blog hosts for featuring me on their sites.

Thank you…Lauri Fortino at Frog On A Blog!

Thank you…Chris Graham at The Story Reading Ape!

Thank you…Laura Backes & Jon Bard at Writeforkids!

And …Thank you Laura Jensen Kimball at Wackystackbooks!

It has been a pleasure and a whole lot of  fun…

thank YOU!

Now, until my next blog (which probably won’t be for awhile)…looking forward to blogging and reading with you!

And remember…

PUT AWAY YOUR PHONE!

Tracy:)shutterstock_222786712

Book Tour…Day Two

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shutterstock_101697520

Welcome Back to Day Two of

my Book Tour for

Put Away Your Phone!

Today we’ll be stopping at a different page on my site

In this blog, I introduce the issue of modern technology and how it can affect kids. Also, you get to read a little bit about the kinds of electronics that my kids used growing up and how these affected our family.

shutterstock_103611593Click on the link above and have a peek. Once there, please click on the next link there, to take you to the next stop on the tour and an update about what’s scheduled for the next day!

(If you get lost along the way-it happens-you can always come back to my blog page!)

 

 

For Kids Eyes Only…dreamstime_xl_48637133

(and kids at heart)

Hey Everyone! In case you hadn’t heard…Each day I’m going to have a trivia question for you to answer. If your a child, they may be kind of tricky, so have an adult help you. Go ahead and search the internet for the answer if you need to. When you’re done researching, submit your answer in the comments section below.

Today’s Trivia Question:shutterstock_99147956

What are the top two most popular smartphone brands in the world?

Submit your answer below as a comment on this blog. Your name will be put in a hat to be drawn for 5 prizes to give away at the end of the tour.

Check back in tomorrow for the answer!

Yesterday’s trivia question answer to:

As of 2015, how many people in the United States have a smartphone?

Answer: Today, nearly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults own a smartphone.*

 

Coming tomorrow:shutterstock_69053353

On Day 3 of my Book Tour, we’ll be taking a trek across the pond to Chris Graham’s The Story Reading Ape Blog. Please keep in mind the time change between me here in Florida and the time in the UK-Chris’ post time is 01:00 AM LONDON, UK time (about 5 hours ahead of US Eastern) 

I’m so excited to visit! 

See ya tomorrow…

 

 

*pewresearch.org

Time to Put Away Your Phone?

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People using cell phones Original Filename: people cell phones.jpg

With my new picture book Put Away Your Phone! soon to be released, I’m kind of focused lately on the theme of technology in our culture. More specifically, the influences of electronic devices and the profound effects that they have on our physiology and behavior.

shutterstock_230613061It fascinates me how attached people have become to their devices. The standing joke used to be that kids and teenagers were the ones that spent the majority of their time on their devices. They seemed to always be “plugged in” via phone, game controller, music player, computer or tablet. Yet, if you look around you, chances are you will see at least two or more people, of all ages, fiddling with some sort of technological device.

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This is just a fact of life in contemporary society. Most people spend a good deal of their time plugged into a device. Whether it be work or play, people currently need technology in order to function more efficiently in their everyday life. We need to read, watch, listen, communicate and interact with technology a lot of the time.

Without it, we would be…just human.

shutterstock_259848635Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for our technological progress. I can’t even imagine living without heat on a cold day. Not to mention, I wouldn’t be able to write this blog without it. I’m just saying… that maybe we use electronic devices too much sometimes or maybe use them when they’re not really necessary. We may even rely on them too much too-when we’re bored or tired or feeling some other human feeling that is uncomfortable. These are times we don’t need technology in our every moment of life.

shutterstock_117281728So, what’s the harm in this? Well, aside from headaches, sore eyes, irritability, and frustration, excessive screen time appears to impair brain structure and function. (1)shutterstock_184296587

 

 

I’m not sure about you, but this freaks me out just a bit.

How is our brain affected by technological devices?

shutterstock_157691252Most of the activities that involve using our devices bring us some form of pleasure-even just a little. As humans, we process this pleasure in our brains, releasing the neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine is part of the reward system that creates that “wanting feeling” of whatever it is that brings us pleasure (food, warmth, devices). If this feeling is ongoing in our brain, this, in turn may provoke a pleasure seeking compulsive behavior in us. (2) These are the foundations of addiction.

shutterstock_156991493This doesn’t necessarily mean that every person who frequently uses their device will get an addiction to it. It does mean, that these people are more prone to creating addictive (pleasure seeking) behavior the more that they use their device.

In fact, currently, there is a name for this condition and it’s called Nomophobia.

1440732737419Nomophobia (or, no-mobile-phone-phobia): is defined as 1) the feelings of anxiety or distress that some people experience when not having their phone (“I don’t know where my phone is!), and 2) the degree to which we depend on phones to complete basic tasks and to fulfill important needs such as learning, safety and staying connected to information and to others (“I’ll just get my phone to help me”). (3)

According to a recent survey that was done at The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction in Connecticut, 40 percent of people with smartphones said they’d rather give up brushing their teeth for a week than go without their phone. (4)

Teenager texting even when brushing teeth, cellphone addiction

 

Sixty-five percent, or about two in three people, sleep with or next to their smart phones. (Among college students, it’s even higher). Thirty-four percent admitted to answering their cell phone during intimacy with their partner. One in five people would rather go without shoes for a week than take a break from their phone. More than half never switch off their phone. A full 66 percent of all adults suffer from “Nomophobia.” (5)

 

So…even when it brings the feeling of pleasure…if you really don’t need it, are YOU going to put away your phone?Children using smartphones

 

2015-08-06 20.09.05Tracy Bryan is a self-published author for kids aged 4-12. She writes whimsical picture books about emotions, coping skills, mental health, and mindfulness. Tracy has a series of books about addiction for children and their families that provide essential tools in educating, understanding, and preventing addiction. Also, due this spring, Tracy is releasing her debut fiction picture book called Put Away Your Phone! This quirky and important tale about modern technology stars a little girl and her dislike for grown-ups who are always on their phone. To learn more about Put Away Your Phone! or Tracy and to preview any of her books, click here.

 

 

(1) https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201402/gray-matters-too-much-screen-time-damages-the-brain

(2) https://www.psychologistworld.com/biological/neurotransmitters/dopamine.php

(3) http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/scientists-study-nomophobia-mdash-fear-of-being-without-a-mobile-phone/

(4) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/08/nomophobia-cell-phone-addictio_n_1500670.html

(5) https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201307/smartphone-addiction

 

 

 

 

 

Put Away Your Phone! (Part of The Awesomeness Blog)

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shutterstock_193745954Have you ever noticed that everywhere you go, people are always on their smartphones or some other electronic device? They’re talking on them, looking into them, playing or in someway fidgeting with them?

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I think you might like the new book I’m working on then. This will be my first fiction picture book-it’s totally fun and made-up!

It’s called ‘Put Away Your Phone!’

The story is about a girl who’s so annoyed by grown-ups who are always on their phones, but isn’t quite sure how to deal with her frustration. Her name is Emma and she has a bit of a temper.

 

shutterstock_134453168One day she goes to the zoo with her family, but continues to see grown-ups everywhere on their phones. Instead of ruining her day by getting frustrated, Emma tries to be mindful and decides to count how many grown-ups she can see on their smartphones.

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Emma encounters more than just people and animals as she counts her way through the zoo. Lets just say that she gets so frustrated with grown-ups that she gets herself into a pretty “wild” situation!

Will Emma find her way out of this situation? How many grown-ups does Emma count? Does Emma discover that there is an importance for smartphones?

shutterstock_136072976I won’t give away any more details because I really think you should check it out when it’s completed. Plus, I usually use photographic images for my books, but this one will have hand drawn pictures by a professional children’s Illustrator!

Even though this book is recommended for kids aged 4-8, it will be a fun read for all ages-kids, teens and even adults. Put Away Your Phone! will be out Spring 2016! Keep your eyes open for its release day!shutterstock_96269153I wrote this book because I’m getting tired of seeing people on their phones all the time too! Smartphones are really handy sometimes-to get important work messages, to contact family and friends, to look up information, to use as a camera, map, game or other fun and helpful app. They are especially useful in an emergency.shutterstock_295081580

 

 

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However, it seems that so many people lately just look at their smartphones and electronic devices because they’re bored. It’s right there in front of them, so why wouldn’t they pick it up and have a look at it? Just to check their email messages, to see if they have a new text or Facebook notification, browse the internet or even play a game with it…

…just because they have nothing else to do. Unfortunately, sometimes all these devices leave everybody feeling frustrated!

shutterstock_174227450Emma’s not the only one that gets annoyed when she tries to talk to someone, and can’t get their attention because they are looking into their electronic device! Has this ever happened to you? Or have you ever been distracted from paying attention to someone else because your using a device? I have…I love my computer and sometimes I’m on it a lot! I’m sure sometimes I seem very distracted! 

shutterstock_339905630This is okay sometimes and everybody everywhere does it with some kind of electronic device. We live in a very technological world that relies on electronics in it so it can function properly. But…maybe we need to learn to pay attention more to what is happening around us. It’s difficult to do this when we’re looking into our electronic devices.

Maybe, everyone could practice “noticing” more, don’t you think? Adults, teens and kids. Maybe all the kids can teach everyone something about using electronic devices in a more balanced way. Sometimes, we have to know when to turn off our devices. We should all pay more attention to what or who is in front of us-other people and animals!shutterstock_113942491

 

 

 

Here’s my idea…

From now on, to find more happiness in our lives we can all try to follow this simple rule…

shutterstock_192837389If you absolutely don’t “need” your electronic device… Put away your phone, game, and anything else that distracts you from noticing the happiness that might be right in front of you. Simple right? Just put it away at least for an hour, then maybe two or three. Just try it.

You just never know what awesomeness you might notice…

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shutterstock_54538534   Hi! I’m Tracy Bryan…

I’m a self-published author for kids aged 4-12. I write whimsical picture books about emotions, self-esteem, values, and mindfulness. I also like to write about social issues and other important topics that affect kids and their families. If there is something that you would like to know more about and you wish there was a book about it, email at the address below.

I live in Central Florida (near Disney World) with my family-my husband, son and two dogs named Jack and Rusty. I also have a daughter who lives in Canada with her boyfriend (who is also like a son to me). If you want to learn more about me, read the first post of The Awesomeness Blog , just below this one. There’s pictures too!

You can visit my website by clicking on any heading at the menu above. This will redirect you to tracybryan.com. You can also email me at tracy@tracybryan.com. Hope to hear from you and look forward to blogging and reading with you! 

Did You Know?shutterstock_274007783

 

About half of U.S. smartphone owners check their devices several times an hour or more frequently, including 11% who say they check it every few minutes and 41% who check it a few times an hour. Another 20% of Americans claim to check their phones about once an hour, leaving 28% who check them less frequently.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/184046/smartphone-owners-check-phone-least-hourly.aspx

Please Climb On The Rocks…Mahalo!

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shutterstock_18066238My roots branch from the Eastern Atlantic coast, in Nova Scotia. I was born here, yet I lived a lot of my life in Ontario, Canada. Recently, I moved back towards the coastline, only much farther south, to my current home in Central Florida. shutterstock_247720651

There is something very enchanting about any coastline and about the mystical formations that are created and thrive here.

shutterstock_231731302During my childhood summers spent on the rocky beaches of Nova Scotia, I discovered plenty of coastal formations and treasures!

As soon as school was out, I trekked with my family to the magical world of the East Coast. Just like any typical Maritimer, I visited with my relatives and watched the summer pass by as I played on the beaches and swam in the ocean all day long. 

shutterstock_230073820The Eastern Atlantic coastline is part of the Appalachian mountain chain. These are really old mountains that consist of sedimentary rocks-rocks formed out of debris over time due to weathering and from water and other marine conditions.*

shutterstock_230073817I remember seeing many of these massive rocks as a kid, because they were scattered everywhere along the shores of the beaches that we went to. 

shutterstock_329392487The rocks had a smooth surface and jagged edges and merged with each other to create a path-like entrance in places that begged to be explored!

Everyone climbed on these rocks and tottered along them with a carefree spirit. There were no signs on them that cautioned to stay off them.

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These rocks were magical castles and make-believe forts to us kids.

Looking back, never once did I hesitate climbing and exploring these enchanted formations. Dangerous? Probably… but, not even a stubbed toe or scraped knee could keep me off my wonderful coastal playground!shutterstock_141611107

As an adult, I have seen many Appalachian-like rock formations all over the world, but none that have mesmerized me like those of my childhood on the east coast.

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At least not until recently, when I visited the beautiful islands of Hawaii.

 

 

shutterstock_215789164The Hawaiian Islands were formed from volcanoes that erupted billions of years ago. The lava that flowed from these eruptions later became many different types of rock formations and can be seen throughout the various islands.

shutterstock_2350435 All of these extraordinary rock structures started as a single molten rock called basalt. Even though basalt is the most common type of rock on earth, I have never seen this form of basalt lava rock before like I had in Hawaii. The Hawaiian Islands are almost entirely built from basalt lava as well as another rock called Pahoehoe. shutterstock_344068067This is the Hawaiian word for a ropy, wrinkled-looking lava flow. (1) It has a smooth surface that is so lava-like to look at and it was formed in a flowing manner all down the landscapes. Fascinating!

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Pahoehoe lava flowing down Hawaii’s gentle volcanic slopes form natural tubes or caves. Many billions of years ago, as the lava surface chilled in the air, the molten rock underneath continued to flow, creating its own conduit. Big flows are often a series of tubes.(2) 

I had the opportunity to explore a lava tube on one of the islands I visited. I wanted to climb in and all over this magical cave and set up fort the minute I entered it. As I ventured into the tube, I was transported back in time…

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…to the rock formations of my childhood. 

 

shutterstock_139072745There are so many volcanic rock formations that I have had the opportunity to discover and enjoy on the Hawaiian islands, but I definitely like the captivating flow of the basalt lava rock deposits the best.

What is it about these rocks that I am so entranced by?  

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Well, I guess you could say that they bring me home to my roots…shutterstock_140183965

 

…and my summer playground by the shore.

 

Aloha!

 

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Tracy Bryan is a self-published author for kids aged 4-12. She writes whimsical picture books about emotions, coping skills, mental health and mindfulness. Tracy also likes to tackle social issues and speak directly to her readers about important topics that affect everyone.

Tracy lives in Central Florida with her family and two dogs Jack and Rusty! Please visit Tracy’s website tracybryan.com or email her at tracy@tracybryan.com

 

 

*To learn more about the Appalachian mountains and sedimentary rocks, please visit http://geology.com/rocks/sedimentary-rocks.shtml

shutterstock_165326042(1 & 2) http://www.livescience.com/32018-photo-glossary-hawaii-volcanic-rocks.html

Calm Waters Ahead… by Tracy Bryan

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shutterstock_234217486For someone like me, who has anxiety and depression, getting through the Christmas holidays can sometimes feel like riding the waves in a choppy ocean. Just when I get my boat steered into safe waters, along comes another wave on the horizon. No matter how much I prepare myself for the stormy seas of life, I am continuously astonished by how many storms and difficult situations that I am faced with, specifically during the holidays!

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Now I realize that a little chaos must be expected during the holiday season-hustle and bustle is so normal this busy and somewhat frantic time of year. Usually, I can ride it out, but by the time it’s all over and the waves aren’t as frequent, I’m exhausted from the constant anxiety that I’ve had to surf through, along the way.  Don’t get me wrong, the joy of the holidays is totally worth all the storminess. What I find unbearable is the aftermath of riding these waves- when my depression hits.

shutterstock_319603955Mayo Clinic defines depression as a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.

shutterstock_90137416Most depression disorders are common and treatable. Depression basically causes changes in a person’s brain chemistry and function. It seems to be inherited, but this is not always the case. There is much scientific research and evidence to support what depression is, but the causes of this disabling disease are still very debatable in the scientific community. Like all brain disorders, depression is triggered by anxiety and stress and can be the outcome of other chronic anxiety disorders. Sometimes, I feel like I have all of them.

shutterstock_217754836Depression just sucks! It can make you feel so sad and hopeless sometimes. One minute you could be feeling great and then the next minute, all it takes is one or a series of stressful moments that can set it off again. There are even times when everything in your life can be almost perfect, but depression seeps its way into your day,

just because it can. shutterstock_348911324     Thank goodness depression can be managed with a treatment plan. Medication and behavioral therapy are just two of the treatments available to cope with this condition.

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When I was young, people didn’t believe kids could have depression-it just wasn’t heard of. Doctors thought that kid’s brains weren’t completely formed enough to get depression like adult brains. Currently in the United States, the prevalence of major depressive disorder is approximately 1 percent of preschoolers, 2 percent of school-aged children and 5 to 8 percent of adolescents…depression appears to be increasing in successive generations of children, with onset at earlier ages.1

shutterstock_110826650I’m a firm believer in spreading awareness about important topics and issues, in order to provide helpful resources to anyone that wants or needs them. As a way of bringing awareness about childhood depression, I’m determined to write my next book about it. Possibly, this will not only offer a valuable tool to kids and their families that suffer from depression, but also inspire hope that they can get treatment for this condition.

shutterstock_340496960As for me…I do have a treatment plan for my depression and I continue to practice it daily-medication, coping skills that I learned in psychotherapy and mindfulness-based relaxation techniques. I think Christmas holidays will always be challenging for me, especially when I can’t predict when the next wave of depression will strike.

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I know that the waters will calm eventually though and it will be smooth sailing for me…at least for a little while!

Either way, Happy New Year! 

 

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Tracy Bryan is a self-published author for kids aged 4-12. She writes whimsical picture books about emotions, coping skills, mental illness and mindfulness. Tracy also likes to tackle social issues and speak directly to her readers about important topics that affect everyone.

Tracy lives in Central Florida with her family and two dogs Jack and Rusty! Please visit Tracy’s website tracybryan.com or email her at tracy@tracybryan.com

1 www.aafp.org/afp/2000/1115/p2297.html

 

 

Being Jolly…and Mindful

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shutterstock_326565467As I finish putting up the last of my Christmas decorations, I’m thinking to myself, Am I ready for the holidays? Ready for the hustle and bustle of the holidays that lies ahead of me?

I hope so…

shutterstock_116034259Every year, I assure myself that I WILL get through this hectic time of year, I always do. However, there is also that fear, lurking in my mind, that at times threatens this assurance I make to myself. But, this is only a THOUGHT, right?

Thoughts can be ignored, and why would I let fear overtake all my jolliness. So, the question I should be asking myself is, How do I ignore these negative thoughts about fear? shutterstock_326350340

This is where my mindfulness practice comes in handy. As soon as those inevitable thoughts about fear come creeping into my mind, I switch it off. Yup, it’s as simple as that! If I begin to think thoughts like, I feel stressed! or I can’t possibly do all the things that I have to do-I’ll never finish in time! I simply stop thinking and doing what I’m thinking and doing and I take a deep breath in-I have a MINDFUL MOMENT.

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It doesn’t matter where I am. So far, I have managed to be able to mindfully breathe through uncomfortable feelings, anywhere and everywhere I am. Mindful moments also allow me to respond to situations, instead of reacting to them.

shutterstock_161373815I can take a mindful moment anytime…after stopping whatever I’m doing, with eyes closed or not, I breathe for a few moments, until I can feel my body calming and my breath slowing down. This is the part I love about mindful breathing…it’s like magic how it helps me regulate and manage my emotions-how appropriate for Christmas!

Once I’m a little more balanced, I notice what is going on around me…is there a certain thing, person, place or situation that is stressing me out? First, by listening to what is going on in my body, I can become aware to what is going on in the present moment-aware to what is making me feel so stressed.

shutterstock_78908107Why I am feeling so stressed doesn’t necessarily matter right this moment though, because thinking doesn’t help me get through this! JUST BEING with my experience allows me to become aware to how I can feel less stressed-just being with my feelings and the fear in my body. shutterstock_343823687

 

 

Once I have calmed my body and I continue to have a clear mind, I am able to recognize the stressor better. I now understand what I am afraid of, and this is half the battle of dealing with it. It’s so important to get rid of the fearful feelings in my body first. Now that these are gone, or at least calmed, I can see the fear for what it really is-

just mind chatter-y thoughts of self-doubt.shutterstock_320803694

 

shutterstock_225487396So, back to those feelings of I feel stressed!… Well, now I don’t really feel this anymore. I have changed my feeling because I now know that it can’t threaten me-it’s only a thought! All gone bad feeling! My response to my fear…ignore it.

My other fear of I can’t possibly do all the things that I have to do-I’ll never finish in time! is a little bit different-it’s a fear that I think will happen. How can I possibly predict something that will happen in the future? I can’t! Being able to see this now, after taking a few moments to feel this fear, I realize that what happens will happen.shutterstock_329761073

I will do my best to mindfully face it when it happens! That’s the best I can hope for and honestly, that’s enough for me. Why waste all my time and jolliness on a fear that may not even happen? I have better things to do, like wrapping Christmas presents.

Most importantly, I have better things to BE…shutterstock_326363414

                                                               …like being mindfully jolly!

 

shutterstock_300312797Tracy Bryan is a self-published author for kids aged 4-12. She writes whimsical picture books about emotions, coping skills, mental illness and mindfulness. Tracy also likes to tackle social issues and speak directly to her readers about important topics that affect everyone.

Tracy lives in Central Florida with her family and two dogs Jack and Rusty! Please visit Tracy’s website tracybryan.com or email her at tracy@tracybryan.com