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Defining Your Keystone Goal Defined
by On February 5, 2013

Over the last few weeks we have had several folks reach out to ask about their Keystone Goal.  Questions have ranged from “What is it?” to “Why is it important?” to “How in the heck do I DO it?”  I LOVE that people are asking.  It shows that the concept is resonating and that folks are interested in improving their lives.  They get that when they have clear, energizing goals, that will help them achieve what they want in business and in life.

In this post, I will attempt to more clearly define the Keystone Goal and where it lies in the big picture of success.  Before we go any further, I HIGHLY recommend that anyone who is curious about the concept of a Keystone Goal pick up a copy of Roger Seip’s Train Your Brain For Success book as he pretty much coined the term Keystone Goal and spends a good amount of text defining it.  Anything you read in this post comes straight from the book.  I’m not trying to get selly-selly by any means, I just want to make sure I give credit where credit is due.

Consider this post a Cliff’s Notes version of his chapter on the Keystone Goal.  If Cliff’s notes were novel-length… (get comfy before you read this one).

Let’s start with the obvious question, “What is a Keystone Goal?”  Stated simply, this is the one goal that, simply by nature of accomplishing it, will support the rest of your goals getting accomplished as well.  The “Keystone” term  actually comes from architecture.  When building an archway, the keystone is the last piece that goes in and supports loads from multiple angles.  Without the keystone, the structure would crumble, but with it, it is virtually indestructible.  For those of you looking for a visual, the observatory deck of the St. Louis Arch is the keystone of that structure.

Or perhaps this image helps as well:

Can you see how if this piece wasn’t in place, the rest of the structure wouldn’t work?  The same theory applies to your Keystone goal.  Without that one accomplishment, the rest of your goals wouldn’t get done.  Well, they might get done at an individual level, but if you are reading this post, just knocking out one tiny goal at a time probably isn’t of major interest to you.

The important thing to remember is that the Keystone isn’t a lone-wolf goal.  It is one of several goals you should have.  It just happens to be the one that ties everything together.  It is NOT some flash-in-the-pan want or an afterthought related to something that would be kinda cool to have or do.  Like all goals, it should provide focus, direction and a sense of urgency.  More on those aspects in Roger’s book.

So let’s talk about why your Keystone Goal is important.  First off, if you haven’t connected with your “Why” or if you are unfamiliar with what that means, STOP and watch this video.  When it comes to setting goals and operating (read: LIVING) in general, it is MUCH more effective to be coming from a place of Why rather than a place of How or What.  This is a topic that has been written on over and over again, but if you don’t have a clear understanding of WHY you are doing something, it really doesn’t matter HOW or WHAT you do.  Your Why provides purpose.  Once you have that clear, the How and What don’t really matter.  If you wanted more than anything to win a bicycle race, would you care if you won by a tire width or 3 bike lengths?  Would you care if you won it in a solo sprint or sliding across the line in a fantastic group crash?  NO!  You won!

The main reason why your keystone goal is important is because when defined and articulated clearly, it serves as the foundation for EVERYTHING you do to move you towards it.  Any time you find yourself questioning yourself, you can ask yourself, “Does this support me accomplishing my Keystone Goal?”  If the answer is no, it’s a great way to “right the ship” and get yourself moving in the right direction.  Your Keystone Goal is the thing that’s going to motivate you to read instead of watch TV or drink a glass of water instead of a Coke.

OK, let’s cut to the chase, How do I establish a Keystone Goal?  Again, I’m pulling this straight from Train Your Brain For Success but there are 5 steps to follow in order to best leverage the power of your Keystone Goal:

1.  Write down your top 6-7 mid-range goals.  A good rule of thumb is to look at what you want/need to accomplish in the next 90 days.  Anything shorter-term than that may not allow enough “oomph”, and anything longer than that can too easily get overwhelming as it is outside what your brain can realistically visualize.

2.  Identify the Keystone.  As you are looking at the goals you wrote down, there should be one of them that kind of trumps the rest.  Your Keystone is that goal.  It’s the one that, by focusing intensely on its accomplishment, you support the majority of your other goals.  In some instances, the Keystone Goal will create the others as a byproduct.  In other cases, your Keystone Goal will require the accomplishment of other goals as a stepping stone to its accomplishment.*  Take a look at your list and find where that is true in one of your goals.  For me, it is tied to a sales number.  Reason being, in order to hit that sales number, I have to accomplish a bunch of stepping stone goals along the way (like # of new coaching clients, # of booked speeches and income needs).

* I pretty much copied this verbatim from the book.

3.  Solidify your WHY.  We already discussed this above, but get hyper-clear on why accomplishing this one particular goal is important to you.  How will you feel when you do it?  How will pursuing it make you better?  What else will I be able to be/do/have once I accomplish this?  Your Keystone Goal will provide incredibly clear answers to these types of questions.

4.  Make it Visual.  You’ve figured out what your Keystone goal is.  GREAT!  Find a visual representation of it and put that somewhere you can see it ALL THE TIME.  Print off your sales number in big numbers, write it on your bathroom mirror, on the bottom of the inside of your windshield; anywhere you KNOW you will see it several times a day.  This forces you to think about your Keystone Goal and helps you visualize your life once you accomplish it.  If your Keystone is a new house, print off the MLS and put it on the fridge.  Some folks call this dream boarding.  Pinterest can be a huge help on this.  If you need help on using that site, call my wife.  She’s an expert (and yes, I’m talking about in the 10,000 hours of experience sense).

5.  Create a supporting ritual.  This is as simple as letting the first words out of your mouth be your Keystone Goal or as complex as 2 hours of affirmations and Power Half Hour exercises.  Get yourself doing SOMETHING that is a
habit of excellence.  It should definitely be something that keeps you motivated about accomplishing your Keystone Goal.

1-3 above are more how to do it, 4 and 5 are more what to do with it.  If you focus on those 5 steps, you should get yourself moving in the right direction VERY quickly.  And remember, your Keystone should be temporary.  What I mean is that once you get good at setting goals and accomplishing them, you’re going to need a better goal to go after.

I trust this has been helpful.  I welcome any comments or questions, I’ll be mindful to answer them ASAP.

BTW, here’s the Visualization for my Keystone.  Enjoy!

 

Organize Your Mind to Organize Your Life
by On November 14, 2012

By Margaret Moore, Special to CNN

updated 12:55 PM EST, Sun January 22, 2012

Editor’s note: Margaret Moore (aka Coach Meg) is the co-author of “Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life.” She is the director of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital and the founder and CEO of Wellcoaches Corporation.

(CNN) — If there’s one big lesson I’ve learned over the past decade while training thousands of health and wellness coaches and coaching many clients, it’s this: An organized mind enables full engagement in a health-giving style of life.

So I jumped at the opportunity to co-author “Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life” with Harvard psychiatrist Paul Hammerness, where we translate the science of brain organization into six principles, or “rules of order,” and offer self-coaching solutions.

The kind of organization I’m talking about is not decluttering your office or home, or purchasing the latest app to organize to-dos and projects.

I’m talking about the mind’s ability to attain a higher order of order — a calm, wise, positive, strategic perspective — and the skills it takes to get there in small or large domains of life, including health and well-being.

Neuroscientists are opening a window into the disorganized minds of those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD,) providing insights into how to train our brains to become more organized.

We know that disorganization is not just a problem of ADHD sufferers. It’s an epidemic. I don’t know anyone whose mind isn’t frenzied, distracted or divided by multitasking a good deal of the time.

The connection between disorganized minds and unhealthy habits is compelling. The National Institute of Aging concluded from a recent study that symptoms of a disorganized mind, namely impulsivity, chronic negativity, high stress and multitasking, all correlate with higher weight. For example, adults in the top 10% rating for impulsivity (most impulsive) weighed an average of 24 pounds more than those in the bottom 10% rating for impulsivity.

Dr. Paul Hammerness and Margaret Moore co-authored “Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life.”

Whether or not you have an organized mind depends upon your ability to “drive” your attention and keep it focused when you’re under pressure or faced with challenging conditions.

Just like driving a race car, a lot of skills are required. Fortunately, these skills are built into the brain’s normal wiring. So how do you start to tap into your innate ability to be organized?

Rule No. 1: Tame your frenzy

Before you can focus your attention, you need to take charge of your negative emotional frenzy (worry, anger, sadness, irritation). This frenzy impairs and overwhelms your prefrontal cortex, the brain’s CEO or executive function region, so that you can’t “think straight.”

Too much negative stress damages your ability to focus and harms your health. The great news is that the same things that improve your health can improve your mind’s ability to manage negative frenzy. Sleep well, exercise, do a mindfulness practice or choose the slow lane from time to time, even for a few minutes.

Find your unique formula to tame your frenzy so that you drive your attention to its best possible focus.

Rule No. 2: Sustain your focus

Now that your mind is calm, identify one task and one task only. The brain was not designed to focus on more than one thing at a time. Tell your brain what the intention or goal is for your focused session. Turn off your phone and e-mail, shut the door and set the timer for 20 to 30 minutes as a first step.

Rule No. 3: Apply the brakes

Your focused brain also needs to be able to stop, just as surely as a good pair of brakes brings your car to a halt at a red light.

Your brain’s radar regions are always scanning your internal and external environment, even when you are focused. Distractions are inevitable if you are human. Rather than mindlessly succumb to a distraction while in the midst of an important task (including health-giving activities such as exercising, cooking a healthy meal or relaxing), stop, breathe and consider whether the distraction is urgent enough to trump the current priority.

If not, bring your attention back to the important task until it is time to take a brain break to recharge your brain’s batteries, or move to a new task.

Rule No. 4: Access your working memory

Your brain is designed to store a basket of bits of information in short term memory (aka “working memory”). Accessing your short-term memory, turning over various elements in your mind, helps you problem-solve, generate new ideas and insights, and see the new patterns that lead you to a strategic perspective.

More great news: The same strategies that allow you to tame frenzy enable you to better access your working memory — exercise, deep breathing or meditation, and a good night’s sleep.

Rule No. 5: Shift sets

Now it’s time to move your focus to a new task. Move all of your attention fully to the next task and give it your undivided attention. This brain skill, called “set-shifting,” allows you to leave behind one task and leap to a new one with a fresh and productive focus.

Set-shifting is also described as cognitive agility or flexibility. Often our most creative ideas come, seemingly out of the blue, when we’re taking a brain break or focusing completely on something else.

How interesting it is that having a fit and flexible mind is just as valuable to a life you love as a fit and flexible body.

Rule No. 6: Connect the dots

You’ve learned how to tame your frenzy and focus your attention on one thing at a time. You can handle distractions. Your working memory is ready for action when you need it. You are nimble, able to shift deftly from one task to the next. You take breaks, move your body and shift your focus to invite new ideas, insights and connections.

Together, these “rules of order” will help you change not only your habits of attention, but the way you look at your life. Instead of being stressed, you’ll be calmly in control.

You’ll be more productive and therefore have more time to do things that are healthy for your body and mind. You’ll feel good about yourself, and positive emotions are health promoting. And you’ll be able to use your organized mind to set health and fitness goals and focus well on achieving them.

6 Ways to be Positive in Any Situation
by On November 1, 2012

The power of remaining positive, whatever the situation, can never be underestimated. We are all here for a limited period of time, is it worth it to spend any of that time in can be so hard on ourselves though social conditioning. I am guilty of being extra tough on myself, but have learned over time to recognize my gifts rather than finding false and self-imposed inadequacies.

Inventory of Memories – Keep an inventory of memories that can immediately make you smile. Occasions where you felt happy, appreciative and cheerful. When you were at peace with the world. Whenever you are in a negative frame of mind, consciously and deliberately pick up any leaf out of this inventory and dwell on it. Reminiscing those happy moments gives a balanced perspective to your situation. You realize that what appears negative today will change tomorrow. Nothing stays the same.

Criticizing Detox Diet – Change your approach and attitude. See if you can stop criticizing others and situations. Our cultural conditioning teaches us to find flaws and problems at all times. Shift from fault-finding to appreciation-finding.

Whether you are positive or negative, the situation does not change. So, we mind as well be positive.

Article

Happiness Is Within Us
by On October 17, 2012

By Remez Sasson/Website

What is happiness, and why do we constantly run after it? What does it mean to be happy? What is the difference between happiness and pleasure?

It is a hot summer day, and you feel thirsty. A friend offers you a refreshing cold glass of lemonade. How do you feel when you see the glass? How do you feel when to drink it?

Will you describe your feeling as happiness or as pleasure? I believe you will say it is a feeling of pleasure. There is a connection between these two kinds of feelings, and sometime one evokes the other, but they are not the same thing. Pleasure is more dependent on the five senses while happiness is independent of them.

Pleasure is a good feeling that comes from eating good food, watching a good movie, feeling the warm caressing rays of the sun on a winter day, enjoying a party, etc. Pleasure has to do with enjoyment through the five senses and is dependent on circumstances, objects and people.

When you are happy, minor unpleasant events usually do not disturb you. When you are unhappy, you feel as if everything is against you. You might compensate for this, by eating chocolate and sweets, because this gives you pleasure; yet you stay unhappy.

You may smoke a cigarette, because it gives you pleasure, but this does not make you happier, especially, if you acknowledge the fact that smoking is not good for your health.

There are people, who fear that if they experience happiness, it will be soon taken away from them. They regard it as a temporary state, and are afraid to experience it, lest they lose it. In this way, they avoid the pain that might follow when it goes away. They believe that happiness is always followed by unhappiness.

Others might go to the extreme of not seeking it at all, because they feel unworthy of it, and prefer to avoid it. There are also people, who always look behind their back, wondering wherefrom will come the blow.

The physical world is always in a state of flux. At each moment, a new thing is being created, sustained, changed, transformed and then destroyed. This is the normal state of affairs, and no one can change it. If we attach ourselves to a certain situation, we are bound to experience unhappiness sooner or later. No situation remains as it is. These are the laws of nature. When circumstances change, and the changes are not to our liking, we experience unhappiness. On the other hand, if we exercise detachment, nothing can influence our moods. Then, external events have nothing to do with our inner joy and peace of mind.

From the moment of birth, there is yearning for happiness, and endless race towards it. It is considered as one of the greatest positive attributes. If we analyze our actions, we see that all of them are in some way or another, happiness oriented. Everyone wants to feel good and happy. When circumstances and events are to our liking, we are happy, and when they are not, we feel miserable.

When do we experience this coveted state? This feeling emerges when some problem has been solved, a burden has been lifted or a fear has disappeared. We also experience it when or a desire or ambition has been fulfilled. We also experience it at a time we acquire or receive something we wanted very much. It comes when we are assured of the love of someone dear to us, when we win a sum of money in the lottery, or when we get good grades at school.

What happens at these times? The tension that has been accumulating while we were pursuing, waiting, expecting or desiring is released. There is no more any need to run after the coveted object or evade a fear. Some tension, worry or burden has been lifted. At this moment happiness appears. It is a kind of feeling that erupts from the inside.

When something happens that puts to an end or brings to a happy conclusion, a search, a worry, a fear or anything else, our minds become calm. We then have no need to think, worry or desire the object, event or circumstances. There is a kind of a mental relaxation, which makes happiness manifest.

The room of the mind was filled with desire, worry or fear. Now the room has been emptied, and the mind freed of the compulsion of thinking about them. There is freedom, a feeling of ease, inner peace and joy.

Watch your mind next time you experience happiness and see what is happening. You will find out that the mind becomes quiet, and its constant chatter stops for a while. You will see that happiness emerges from the inside.

Happiness Is Inside Us And Is Attainable

On a cloudy day, the clouds hide the sun, but the sun is always there. The clouds of thoughts, worries and desires cover and hide our happiness. We have to disperse them in order to experience it. Then the happiness that is inherent in the soul and is always there shines forth.

Happiness is not something far away and unattainable, and it does not depend on circumstances, objects or events. It is an inseparable part of our consciousness, but hidden and covered from sight, by our thoughts, desires and worries.

The experience of mystics down the ages has been that happiness is inherent in our souls; it is not something to be gained anew. All that is necessary to do is to uncover it.

If we can silence the chatter of the mind, we will experience this inherent happiness. It is dependent only on one thing, the silencing of thoughts. This means that in order to experience happiness intentionally we have to make our mind silent, calm and relaxed.

What have all the mystics, yogis and saints pursued down the ages? They have not been looking for pleasure, but have been searching for inner happiness that no one could take from them no matter where they were. It is independent of outer events.

This happiness I am talking about is constant and eternal. It is our nature; only our thoughts stand in our way of experiencing it. Dispel the thoughts and you are happy.

You cannot see a treasure at the bottom of a stormy and muddy lake though it is there. Make the water still, and let the mud sink, and you see the treasure. The treasure is there whether you see it or not. So is happiness. It is always here, only covered and hidden.

Now you may ask, what one has to do in order to gain happiness? One of the key factors is detachment. Endeavor to be detached, and do not let your feelings be influenced by each little blow of the wind. If you can convince yourself to stay relaxed and calm in every situation, this will be the first step.

Activities such as learning to concentrate and control the mind, developing will power and self-discipline, practicing meditation and reading spiritual literature bring happiness, because they calm the mind.

In the East, they say that if you are in the presence of a realized teacher, your thoughts slow down, and you experience elation and bliss. The mind of such a teacher is completely calm and undisturbed by thoughts. It is also very powerful and causes the minds of people in his vicinity to behave similarly, as if influencing them by telepathy. The mind being calm, it stops being an obstacle to the welling of happiness.

Happiness is here, within you. Just calm your mind and stay relaxed, and you will experience it. You do not need to wait for it to come. You do not need outer circumstances and events to bring it. A calm and detached mind is the gate to true happiness. It is your decision to choose happiness.

Read more articles about happiness at our blog.

 

 

Happy Monday
by On October 15, 2012

Most people can relate to being overwhelmed.  Too much to do.  Not enough time.  When this happens too often or for too long, you eventually overdue it.

Overdoing it isn’t a huge problem.  How you respond to overdoing is where you will turn it around or spin out into a negative cycle.

View Video

And don’t forget – today is your last day to enter your post of the October Failing Forward contest, get your posts up!

be free!

eric

My fall public schedule is set, I’d love to see you!

Vancouver B.C November 3rd

Orlando, FL  November 10th

Bend, OR  November 13th

Los Angeles, November 17th

Sacramento, December 1st

Toronto ON,  December 8th

Wisconsin,  December 15th

Take it Off the Mat: Graceful Transitions
by On September 18, 2012

September 12, 2012

I have been practicing yoga for 14 years now. There are many concepts and experiences of my practice that I take off the yoga mat and into the real world. For those of you familiar with yoga, you might know what I am talking about…..don’t judge, listen to your body, don’t compare yourself with others, keep your eye on one focus….there are so many valuable correlations between the practice of yoga and the practice of life. In order to have a fluid, graceful practice….you must transition from one pose to the next.

Are we not so busy in life that we are constantly looking at the past, or working towards the future, that we don’t focus on the transition? I am sure you might be saying, “here goes the be present talk again.” Not at all.

How do you transition in life Gracefully?

Have you found yourself recently or presently in a state of transition? This could look like many things. For example, you might be in the transition of becoming a parent, moving to a new place, transitioning out of the work force, changing jobs, getting promoted, (insert your own here)…. This transition could be easy or difficult, good or bad, who knows? Typically, change is tough for most people, even if it is leading to a positive end state. So how can you make your transition as graceful as possible? There are many answers to this, (without getting into a book here) I will tell you what makes transitioning every yoga pose easier…strength…sheer Strength. Ahhh…let’s take this off the yoga mat and into real life.

How do you stay strong through your transitions in life?

Keeping yourself mentally strong, physically strong, spiritually strong, and staying strong and true to your personal core values. These will all help you get through any transition. In order for these aspects to be strong, they need to be practiced on a regular basis.

How are you doing in these areas of your life? If you cannot lift a 5 pound weight, I promise that the 50 pound rock that might land on your foot will be difficult to move. Get my point? Keeping yourself strong in all aspects of your life will ebb and flow, we are not perfect and we might get flabby in an area or two sometimes. But we CAN evaluate these areas and make an effort to get stronger, so that when that transition comes, we can handle it gracefully.

So….how are you doing in these areas? Take a moment and evaluate yourself on a scale of 1-10: (1 being you can’t lift a pound/10 being you might be on steroids)

Keeping yourself mentally strong on a regular basis? (Reading, listening to educational/positive material, keeping current on your product or industry)

Keeping yourself physically strong? (Working out, eating healthy, getting outside)

Keeping yourself spiritually strong? (Praying, meditating, service to others, practicing yoga – or whatever this looks like for YOU)

Keeping true to your core values? (Doing the right thing, keeping true to who you are and your beliefs, keeping your priorities straight)

We all must fall sometimes, or lose our balance…we often do this in yoga. The fall will never hurt as bad if….we are strong enough to catch ourselves.

I challenge you…Do one thing every day this week to improve your strength in one area of your life. We would love to hear your thoughts on what you are doing!!!

STRESS MANAGEMENT: TEN SELF-CARE TECHNIQUES
by On September 13, 2012

This brochure was shared at  by Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

TO RELAX. Throughout the day, take “mini-breaks”. Sit down and get comfortable. Slowly take in a deep breath; hold it; and then exhale very slowly. At the same time, let your shoulder muscles droop, smile, and say something positive like, “I am r-e-l-a-x-e-d.” Be sure to get sufficient rest at night.

PRACTICE ACCEPTANCE. Many people get distressed over things they won’t let themselves accept. Often, these are things that can’t be changed, for example someone else’s feelings or beliefs. If something unjust bothers you, that is different. If you act in a responsible way, the chances are you will manage that stress effectively.

TALK RATIONALLY TO YOURSELF. Ask yourself what real impact the stressful situation will have on you in a day or in a week, and see if you can let the negative thoughts go. Think through whether the situation is your problem or the other person’s. If it is yours, approach it calmly and firmly. If it is the other person’s, there is not much you can do about it. Rather than condemning yourself with hindsight thinking like, “I should have…,” think about what you can learn from the error and plan for the future. Watch out for perfectionism — set realistic and attainable goals. Remember: everyone makes errors. Be careful of procrastination — practice breaking tasks into smaller units to make it manageable, and practice prioritizing to get things done.

GET ORGANIZED. Develop a realistic schedule of daily activities that includes time for work, sleep, relationships, and recreation. Use a daily “thing to do ” list. Improve your physical surroundings by cleaning your house and straightening up your office. Use your time and energy efficiently.

EXERCISE. Physical activity has always provided relief from stress. In the past, daily work was largely physical. Now that physical exertion is no longer a requirement for earning a living, we don’t get rid of stress so easily. It accumulates very quickly. We need to develop a regular exercise program to reduce the effects of stress before it becomes distress. Try aerobics, walking, jogging, dancing, or swimming.

REDUCE TIME URGENCY. If you frequently check your watch or worry about what you do with your time, learn to take things a bit slower. Allow plenty of time to get things done. Plan your schedule ahead of time. Recognize that you can only do so much in a given period. Practice the notion of “pace, not race”.

DISARM YOURSELF. Every situation in life does not require you to be competitive. Adjust your approach to an event according to its demands. You don’t have to raise your voice in a simple discussion. Playing tennis with a friend does not have to be an Olympic trial. Leave behind you your “weapons” of shouting, having the last word, putting someone else down, and blaming.

QUIET TIME. Balance your family, social, and work demands with special private times. Hobbies are good antidotes for daily pressures. Unwind by taking a quiet stroll, soaking in a hot bath, watching a sunset, or listening to calming music.

WATCH YOUR HABITS. Eat sensibly — a balanced diet will provide all the necessary energy you will need during the day. Avoid nonprescription drugs and avoid alcohol use — you need to be mentally and physically alert to deal with stress. Be mindful of the effects of excessive caffeine and sugar on nervousness. Put out the cigarettes — they restrict blood circulation and affect the stress response.

TALK TO FRIENDS. Friends can be good medicine. Daily doses of conversation, regular social engagements, and occasional sharing of deep feelings and thoughts can reduce stress quite nicely.

ABOUT STRESS–

Many people don’t realize it, but stress is a very natural and important part of life. Without stress there would be no life at all! We need stress (eustress), but not too much stress for too long (distress). Eustress helps keep us alert, motivates us to face challenges, and drives us to solve problems. These low levels of stress are manageable and can be thought of as necessary and normal stimulation.

Distress, on the other hand , results when our bodies over-react to events. It leads to what has been called a “fight or flight” reaction. Such reactions may have been useful in times long ago when our ancestors were frequently faced with life or death matters. Nowadays, such occurrences are not usual. Yet, we react to many daily situations as if they were life or death matters. Our bodies don’t really know the difference between a saber-tooth tiger attacking and an employer correcting our work. How we perceive and interpret the events of life dictates how our bodies react. If we think something is very scary or worrisome, our bodies react accordingly.

When we view something as manageable, though, our body doesn’t go haywire; it remains alert but not alarmed. The activation of our sympathetic nervous system (a very important part of our general nervous system) mobilizes us for quick action. The more we sense danger (social or physical), the more our body reacts. Have you ever been unexpectedly called upon to give an “off-the-cuff” talk and found that your heart pounded so loudly and your mouth was so dry that you thought you just couldn’t do it? That’s over-reaction.

Problems can occur when the sympathetic nervous system is unnecessarily over activated frequently. If we react too strongly or let the small over-reactions (the daily hassles) pile up, we may run into physical as well as psychological problems. Gastrointestinal problems (examples: diarrhea or nausea), depression, severe headaches, or relapse can come about from acute distress. Insomnia, heart disease, and distress habits (examples: drinking, overeating, smoking, and using drugs) can result from the accumulation of small distresses.

 

What we all need is to learn to approach matters in more realistic and reasonable ways. Strong reactions are better reserved for serious situations. Manageable reactions are better for the everyday issues that we typically have to face.

REACTOR OR OVER-REACTOR?

Below are situations that cause stress in some people and distress in others. Imagine yourself in each one right now. How are you reacting?

Driving your car in rush hour

Getting a last minute work assignment

Misplacing something in the house

Having something break while you’re using it

Dealing with incompetence at work

Planning your budget

Being blamed for something

Waiting in a long line at the grocery store

 

 

gratitude in the everyday
by On September 5, 2012

Posted August 30th, 2012 at 2:44 pm by Karen from Chookooloonks

My friend Jyl Pattee wrote a post today about gratitude being the key to a happy life — and I couldn’t agree more.  I’ve mentioned before that I think that gratitude is imperative to finding joy in your life, and for getting through the hard times.  But to be honest, it can be difficult, even for me, to find something new to be grateful for every day.  Can you imagine? Think of the pressure of having to create something new every single day of your life to be thankful for? I’m tired just thinking about it.

Instead, I admit it: I’m often thankful of the same things over, and over, and over again.  This week, my daughter has returned to school, which means that our lives have returned to the normal routine that flows in our house pretty much every single day for 9 months.  And I have to say, as boring as this sounds, I’m very grateful for routine. I’m grateful for the comfort and sense of stability it provides.  My life might be mundane to most, but it’s my life, and my family, and we’ve worked hard to create the little rituals that bring us peace every day.  For example, I’m grateful for:

  • my morning cup of tea (sweetened over-enthusiastically with honey)
  • turning on my twinkle lights in my office weekday mornings — signifying it’s time to get to work
  • reading the classics to Alex when she gets home from school (this is actually assigned homework from her teacher!)
  • journaling with Alex
  • witnessing Alex’s growing habit of reading in bed to herself before lights-out every night
  • and Friday night movie night

You see, I’m of the opinion that mundane habits like this — this little rituals that we create for ourselves — are what make for a happy life.  And I hope that this helps my daughter have grateful memories of her childhood, despite how un-extraordinary all of these little events are.

How about you — what is it about your everyday that you’re grateful for?

 

 

Saraanne Rothberg – Comedy Cures
by On August 30, 2012

I have never met Saranne Rothberg, Founder of Comedy Cures, but I have been a fan of hers ever since my days living in New York City. Comedy Cures, a non profit foundation whose mission is to bring joy, hope, laughter and therapeutic comedy programs to kids and grown-ups living with illness, trauma, depression and disabilities have impacted thousands and thousands of lives. Continue reading ›

Are You Loving It?
by On August 28, 2012

Are you loving it?

Laughter, Tears, Joy, Anxiety

Are you Loving it?

A Dream captured, a promise broken, hard work and frequent play

Are you Loving it?

This is it people…we have this one life…

And I am LOVING IT! ~ That’s all I have for you today 😉

There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle – Albert Einstein