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Category » Personal Growth & Development « @ Barbara J. Henry

Mental Health: Vital to Personal Growth and Development

May is National Mental Health Month, and several things can be done to promote mental health, an important part of personal growth and development.


If a poll were taken that asked: What is your major concern in life? Would you answer ‘good health?’ I would.
Our health determines, to a large measure, everything else we do.
All aspects of health are equally important if we are to have normal productive lives.
Good health should be an ongoing concern and to highlight its importance,  this month is national mental health month; several things can be done during May and after to promote mental health, an important part of personal growth and development.

Here are a few suggestions you may consider  to promote mental health:

Laugh, consciously look for things  that are funny, even if it means laughing at yourself, and laugh out loud at them;

Meditate on those things that are important to your life, i.e., the goals and dreams you want to accomplish;

Journal daily to help relieve some of the stress  caused  by living in a fast paced society;

Use Positive Self-talk and Affirmations to encourage and motivate yourself to get moving when things get challenging.
Do these things regularly so that you continue to get their benefits.

In addition to the above suggestions, be sure you eat nutritious food, get plenty of rest, exercise regularly, limit your alcohol intake, and stay away from cigarettes and drugs.
Doing these things consistently will foster good mental health and personal growth and development long after the month of May has ended.

Spring Cleaning

No matter how cold or dreary the winter, with spring comes hope, optimism, and renewal, a time for personal and spiritual growth.


Spring is my favorite season, and each year, I look forward to the ground hog’s answer to this question: More winter or an early spring?

The winters are long and brutually cold here in the Midwest and around late February, I begin to get anxious for a change. Many times, I have marked off the days that signify winter’s end, knowing full well that ‘ole man winter’ doesn’t go away on a set day or time.

No matter how cold or dreary the winter, with spring comes hope optimism, and renewal, a time for personal and spiritual growth.

Spring is also the time to refresh our spirits and renew our commitments to grow ourselves in some meaningful way.
Each of us knows which area (s) of our lives that need a “spring cleaning,” and if we are not quite sure, we should ask those with whom we spend  the most time.
When we decide to work on that area or those areas, we will see noticeable improvements; others will too.

Let’s get started on our spring cleaning early, so that we can enjoy the wonderful, carefree days of summer knowing that not only are we where we want to be in our lives, we are also where we should be as well.

What to Do Next?
1. Decide to do your spring cleaning early;
2. Identify the area(s) of your life needing an over haul;
3. If you are not sure where to start, ask your loved ones for help;
4. Work on improving the identified area(s) until you or your loved one see noticeable improvements;
5. Enjoy the rest of spring and the carefree days of summer.

5 Ways to Validate Yourself During Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, in the USA, the perfect time to celebrate and validate yourself and women everywhere!


Today, women are recognized, honored, and respected  for the many valuable contributions made over the decades, but we know this was not always true.

Marches, protests, sit-ins, and other actions were necessary to draw attention to our plight that would force a change in the laws which hindered our progress.

Now, we women are found in all levels of leadership, from presidents and ceo’s  of giant corporations to small classes of children, and everything in between.

Because these successes were hard won, they must be acknowledged, and since March is Women’s History Month,  in the US, it is the perfect time  to celebrate and validate yourself and women everywhere!

The meaning of the word validate as it appears in The Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus, has similar connotations, and two of them caught my attention; they are: ”to  support” and “to recognize”.

The month of March is a fitting time to begin the support and recognition of yourself and all of the wonderful women you know. This can be done in any number of  ways,  but these five (5), I believe, are especially effective:

1. Encourage the women you know who are on the  cutting edge in large corporations and those who are stay at home moms;

2. Provide physical and/or financial resources when you  know their efforts benefit you and women in general;

3. Get your family members and friends to support their campaigns, corporate positions, etc;

4. Keep up with what is happening in their lives and affairs that directly affect you and others you know;

5. Let them know you are supportive; ask them what you can do to help; tell them what you are doing already.

Of course there are countless other things you can do, but if you begin with these five, you will not only tell them, but you will show them how much you appreciate their efforts, and in validating them with your support and recognition of their work, you will also celebrate  and validate yourself !


Leave a comment to let me know your thoughts about this post.

What Are You Afraid Of ?

Fears, we all have them, and we all wrestle with them throughout our lives, but until we develop the courage to confront them, to look the monsters in the eyes, they will continue to consume most of our waking hours and days.

Fear cripples personal growth and development more than any other singular thing because it keeps you from carrying out the daily actions necessary for growth and success. You must face your fear, no matter how great or overwhelming it appears, before you can become the person you were created to be.

Granted, this task will not be an easy one, and it will not happen overnight, but the decision to face your fear can be determined quickly, especially when you take notice of how fears hinder personal growth and development.

Decide now, today! to face your fears; insist on seeing them for what they are: great opportunities for personal growth, a better future, as well as a springboard to serving  others, not only in your network, niche, or circle, but also in the  world.


* Identify your greatest fear(s);
* Create daily actions to help you overcome it(them);
* Ask someone who is concerned about your well-being and
success to help you;
* Work diligently on overcoming your fear(s) until you have
mastered it(them);
* Celebrate the small victories you experience along the way.

What are you doing to confront and overcome your fear(s)? Leave a comment.

You Make a Difference!

Your questions, opinions, decisions, everything you do, is important, because you make a difference!

Have you ever decided to withhold your opinion because you thought it would not matter in the final outcome?
Do you keep your questions hidden inside because  you do not think they are important enough to ask?
Have you stayed home during local or national elections thinking your one
vote would not matter that much, or affect  the outcome?
Do you ever keep major decisions a secret because you think they impact  no  one  but  you?

If you answered yes to any of the questions, you need to know that you are important,  and what you do or fail to do, affects not only you, but those around you as well. Your questions, opinions, decisions, everything you do, is important, because you make a difference.

It is probably sobering, but we are all connected in many ways, and when this fact is fully understood, I believe we will become more concerned about and considerate of each other.

The great writer John Donne said it best in his  “Meditation 17″: ‘No man is an island, entire  of  itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less… Any man’s death, (actions, inactions, paraphrased added) diminishes me because I am involved…, and therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls;  it tolls for thee.”
Each of us matters; we have unique perspectives, talents, and gifts, and when we fail to express our uniqueness-share what we have been given- the ‘Whole’ suffers a great loss.

Remembering Donne’s words will help you to feel a sense of pride as you share whatever it is you alone possess.

Share your comment in the space provided.

‘Waiting,’ a Time to Grow and Serve

Waiting for your ‘ship to come in’ is the best time to grow by serving those in your network.

All too often we get discouraged and become disgruntled because things are not happening in our lives and careers as quickly as we think they should, and there may be justification for us to think  as we do.
Oftentimes, we have done all the work and paid all of our dues, but still the calls don’t come and the letters, texts, and emails are non-existent.
During  these times, it is so easy to lose hope, courage, and we consider ‘throwing in the proverbial towel.’ We just want a break already! After all, everything that we were told to do, we have done, but alas, our situation does not change.

What to do in times like these? How do you keep your hopes and dreams alive when all you see is more of the same inaction, and hear more of  your
sighs of disappointment?

These questions plague me now as they have in the past, and I thankfully remember what I did in the past to add more meaning to my life when it appeared that no change would  ever come.
In the past, when  no action seemed apparent on the surface, I engulfed myself  in serving others; I consciously decided to help others, if and when I could, make their dreams come true.

Frequently, we assume that delays  in  our lives or careers mean failure, but more often than not, there is no delay at all, but rather a conflict in timing.
Yes, in timing,  my timing, your timing,  and the timing that has been perfect  throughout time.
I must remember when I don’t get what I should when I think I should, that there is a “universal time” for all things to occur, and I  must trust that timing in my life and affairs.

During the “waiting period”,  there is so much that I can do.
For example, I can focus on some area in my life that needs improvement, and I can  consciously work on growing or enhancing that area. Who knows, it may be just what is needed for me to fully appreciate what I am waiting on when it finally arrives.
Growing the self is always in season, therefore  personal development is always needed.

As I wait for my ship to come in, I can also help as many as possible reach their goals, and fulfill their dreams.
Doing this takes courage, generosity, and a genuine concern for others. But, by doing these things,  I believe we will not only improve the lives of others, we will also expand so that when our ship finally does arrive, we will be able to fully appreciate all of its contents.

Consider adopting this perspective in the future when it appears that ‘waiting’ has taken over your life.

Please leave  your comment. I would like to know what you think about this post.

10 Ways to Become Your (own) Best Friend

“You should treat yourself as well as you treat your best friend!”

The phrase ‘best friend’ is a familiar one to all of us, and if I were to ask you to define the term, it would not be difficult to do.
Most of us are fortunate enough to have had friends all of our lives, and some of us still have our friends from childhood as our best and most trusted allies.

Over the years you  have confided in your friends and they in you.
You have fought, made up, and grown closer as a result of your battles.

I need to ask you a couple of questions here: Do you treat yourself as well as you treat your best friend? Are you as happy in your company as you are in the presence of your most trusted confidante?
I believe you need to be as kind to yourself  as you   are to those close to you, and until you are able to to do so, you need to keep working on your friendship with you.

Here are 10 things that will help you to improve your relationship with yourself, and as a result, all of your other relationships will also improve:

1.Accept yourself: You must come to terms with who you are  and learn to like yourself as you are. You can not give others what you do not have.

It took me a while to get this one right. You see, for  the longest time while growing up , and even into my adult years, I was quite uncomfortable with my Oriental  features; I did not like my eyes, nor my high cheek bones that made my eyes appear even more slanted.
It took a lot of living, as well as support from my mom and other loved ones, to get me to the point where I was able to accept my uniqueness;

2. Love yourself: This is difficult to do if you have not accepted who you are, how you look;

3. Forgive yourself: Too often we are very hard on ourselves for something we did or failed to do in the past. Instead of being so unforgiving toward yourself, you should determine what if anything you can do now to set things right, and begin doing it as soon as possible;

4. Protect yourself: It is important to protect yourself  from the negative influences that are so prevalent in our society. Not only must you protect your physical self, you need to protect your emotional, mental, and psychological self as well, just to name a few;

5. Discipline yourself: This seems easy enough, but how often do you consciously think about the need to physically exercise or to exercise discipline in your  life?

6. Pamper  Yourself: Right after discipline? Yes, because they are the flip sides of each other. Let me explain: Discipline is needed to focus on and to achieve a desired goal. If  you act only when you want to , it will take  longer for you to achieve the goal, if it is achieved at all. But when the goal is reached as a result of the discipline you exercised, and the actions you took, a little ‘pampering’  is  acceptable as a reward for completing or achieving the goal.

7. Respect Yourself: You must respect or value yourself ; you should respect and uphold the things that make you who you are: your uniqueness, your value system, the talents and gifts you have been given;

8. Challenge yourself: Like the discipline  you must dole out to yourself when needed, you must also challenge yourself to continue growing, stretching. You should seek ways to promote your personal growth  so that you can always give more value in quantity and quality to those around you;

9. Encourage Yourself: This can come in any form that is needed at any given time. Of course we would like for others to encourage us, but we must be our biggest fan, our most energetic cheerleader;

10. Enjoy Yourself: Enjoying yourself, the things you love doing, even when no one else is around, will help you to become your truest and best friend.
As a result of habitually doing these things to affirm and to improve our lives, we will become better: better people, better friends to others, and equally important, best friends to ourselves.

Please leave a comment to  let me know your thoughts on this post.

Winning Through Disappointments

The way we  handle disappointments in striving toward our goals determines our failures, successes,  as well as the overall quality of  our life.

Each of us has  our share of disappointments as we strive to reach those coveted goals and dreams in life.
It does not matter how motivated or inspired we are about what we hope to accomplish: Disappointments happen, in our personal relationships, our careers,  and in life in general. The way we handle disappointments in striving toward our goals determines our failures, successes, as well as the overall quality of our lives.

As with any disappointment or setback, we must evaluate it closely to see what if anything we did or failed to do, that caused the problem.
Correcting the flaw as quickly as possible, without casting blame or pointing fingers, will minimize the damage as well as the time it will take for us to get back into the fight.
Yes, you will need some time to recover, to regroup, and lick  your wounds, but you must not delay action too long because you know just how damaging inaction or idleness can be to your success.

The next time you are faced with a disappointing situation, try the following action steps to help you get back on track:

1. Acknowledge your feelings, and don’t be too hard on yourself or others who may be involved. This must be done as soon as possible if the situation is going to improve;

2. Determine  what if any role you played in causing the problem;

3. Identify and execute the action(s) you can take now to set things right;

4. Ask help from those for whom there exist mutual support and respect. Doing so will shift most of the stress from you;

5. Find the lesson(s) the experience has to teach you, and use it to help you
in some area of your personal development.

Disappointments will happen; they are a part of life, but you do not have to let them derail your goals and dreams or determine the quality of your life.

Please leave a comment.

Warning! Comfort Zones Dangerous to Self-Growth/ Personal Development

Our goals and dreams will not be realized until we leave our comfort zones and pursue them (goals, dreams) with a tenacity that refuses to  yield!

Are you moving closer to your dreams daily because of  the action you take to make your dreams come true?

Have you left your comfort zone ( s ) far behind because you have a clear vision of your dream? Or, do you cling to those things that comfort like one clings to an old hat or a pair of  worn comfortable shoes?

To realize your dreams, you must be willing to step outside of your area of comfort again and again.
Yes, I know this is scary, but the truth of the matter is, we must grow in all areas of our lives to embrace our dreams. Those soft, cuddly places in our lives, with which we are so comfortable, do not allow us to grow; they keep us where we are: content and comfortable. These two boarders do not budge; they have to be ‘thrown’  out.

No doubt, you have heard this saying: In order to reach your goals, or realize your dreams, ‘you must become comfortable with being uncomfortable’. Our goals and dreams will not be realized until we leave our comfort zones and pursue them (goals,dreams) with a tenacity that refuses to yield!
The more growth, or risks of the right kind, the more discomfort of the right kind, the closer you get to realizing your dreams. This should motivate you to keep stretching and moving forward.

After a certain age, all of our personal growth is from the inside out.  This is exactly what is needed if we are to realize our loftiest dreams.

So, when are you stepping outside of  your comfort zone? Don’t continue holding on to it for dear life!
Release your tight grip so that you can move forward to realize your loftiest dreams and to embrace your true destiny.

I welcome, I read, and I respond to all comments.

Believe in You

To accomplish anything worthwhile in life, you must first believe that it can be done, and that you are the one to do it.

Too often we take ourselves out of the competition, no matter what it is, before we even enter it. I know this is what I did many times in the past, because I did not have confidence in myself  or in my abilities.
Lack of confidence can be caused by many things. For example, past failures (mainly because we gave up too soon) can weaken our confidence.
Family members and friends, who were not supportive, or not as supportive as we needed or wanted them to be, often time contribute  to our failure as well.

Underestimating the amount of time or work necessary to complete a task because we failed to do the needed research before diving into the project,  can also lead to failure.
The list of causes as to why we fail can go on indefinitely, but when we examine the many reasons failures occur, we will conclude, if we are honest with  ourselves,  that  the  main  reason  for our   failures  is due to our not  believing in ourselves  or in our abilities to get the job done.

Somehow, over the course of your life, you have stopped believing in yourself, and because this is so, the things attempted are abandoned at the first sign of resistance or trouble.
You  should remember that many times in life, those of us interested in self- help and personal development,  must go where our paths lead, even when you  have to travel alone, as many of life’s challenges require us to do, and to accomplish anything worthwhile  in life, you must first believe that it can be done, and that you are the one to do it.

Frequently, the only way to improve ourselves, our situations, is to do those things that require the most from us, but we can and we will succeed in doing all that is needed as we believe in ourselves and take the right decisive steps, and by knowing this: There is within each of us whatever we need to succeed  in life.
Let us begin with this fact!

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