Bringing Wellness Full Circle

Posts tagged ‘Mental health’

Acknowledge Success

We are still in the beginning of a new year; let’s do it right, shall we? This is tweaked from a newsletter from Jack Canfield, and I believe it is very appropriate for us in the Now.

Sometimes, it simply it time to acknowledge and appreciate yourself for everything you’ve accomplished today, throughout the year, and in life.  How many times did you do well in this new year? Are you able to recall your successes as well as your failures and missteps?

Can you recall in detail all your mistakes but not your accomplishments?  Most of us do. One of the reasons is that the brain remembers events more easily when they are accompanied by strong emotions. You might recall clearly graduation, losing 10 pounds, winning an award, or landing a highly sought after position.

But do you include in your successes how you had a really great talk with your spouse, how you spent quality time with your teen, how you got all your list of things done for the day, how you learned to change your own oil, or got your fussy child to take a nap?  If we don’t acknowledge our successes the same way we acknowledge our mistakes, we are sure to have a memory full of blunders.  If you only remember the mistakes and failures, you won’t be as ready to take risks that will lead to your successes. Build yourself-esteem by recalling ALL the ways you have succeeded and your brain will be filled with images of you making you achievements happen again and again.

Acknowledge your own success!  Toot your own horn and don’t wait for anyone else to praise you!

When you inventory your successes. you look at things in a much more sober way, and you build your confidence in life– by focusing on your strengths, you become able to feed and grow them, leaving weaknesses behind.  I have told my children for years, “What you fix your eyes on grows.” 

So, what will it be?

Here are two simple tricks that are very useful.  You may feel stupid at first, but that is simply because of a life-long habit of being conditioned to inventory our failures only: 

~Take time to write your achievements down. Start when you were very young and think of all your achievements since then. Don’t just pick the big things, write down all the things you take for granted. You can also create a log of success everyday and review it when you are faced with a new challenge. By writing it all down everyday, you’re securing it in your long-term memory and it will become a part of what makes you tick.

~Surround yourself with reminders of your success. Put up pictures, articles, trophies, awards and other pieces that ring your attention to you success. Make your environment speak to you about your achievements. Be proud of them!

People like to be around those who have a healthy confidence and who are achieving their goals. Commit to acknowledging your achievements and you brain will begin to tell you the truth… that you can really do a lot more than you have given yourself credit for!

Taking just 30 minutes to complete this activity will become your positive springboard into this almost-new year for even more successes.

Depression Anyone?

Ever felt depressed? No energy, everything is too much, life sucks.  There are a zillion reasons why we get depressed, but regardless, depression is draining. Exhausting. It makdes everything seem daunting. And as crazy as that sounds, exercise helps with that. Yep!

Exercise generates energy.

Exercise releases endorphins, the “happy hormones.”

happy

Depressed people get into a vicious cycle by feeling stressed and overeating and then not exercising, which makes them feel even more depressed. We do that because we self-medicate with foods–the kinds that release hormones that make you feel good, but they also pack on the pounds. If depressed people being to move and exercise, all kinds of different sysemts of the body start waking up, from metabolism to cardiovascular activation, and all kinds of endocrine changes happen in the brain.  Psychologically, moderate exercise (short, brisk walks five to ten minutes) increases energy and reduces tension. More intense exercise (like an hour of aerobic stuff) will reduce tension but actually energy as well at first; after workout recovery, there is an energy resurgence.

happy smile

The problem is, though, that when we are depressed, we certainly don’t feel like exercising, right? So the best thing might be to start out very minimally–like getting up and just walking up and down the street once. As we begin to move, we start feeling better and are able to do more.

Actually, in my opinion, exercise is a great prescription for depression.

 

Happy Ever After Today

I found out early in life that I am way happier when I practice certain things–like exercise, and letting go of things I can’t change.

Science actually now agrees that greater levels of happiness are attainable through practices that change how your brain functions.  Neuroplasticity is a big word to simply say that the brain is able to change.

Here are some things that are now scientifically proven:

1. Your Set Point 

Each of us is born with a happiness “set point” around which our happiness level tends to settle, regardless of what happens to us. Research suggests that genetics determine about 50 percent of this set point and environment determines the other 50 percent. But you have much more power over your happiness level than you probably realize, because only a small amount of your environment is out of your control (things like the weather and the stock market). This means that you have control over 40% of your happiness level. Own this fully. Intentionally make choices that make you happier.When you make positive changes in your self and your environment, you raise your disposition toward happiness.

2. It’s as Much About What You Don’t Want as What You Do Want

It’s much easier to decide what you don’t want than what your really, really, really want. Once you know what you don’t want, figure out what the opposite looks like. “I don’t want to be out of shape” may become “I want to be toned and workout five times a week so that I can enjoy my life.”  When you learn to avoid the things that lower your happiness set point, it will naturally rise.

breathe2

3. It’s About This Moment

We are not very good at predicting what will make us happy or how long that happiness will last. Studies show that there is a gap between what we believe will make us happy and what actually does – a big one. We tend to overestimate how things will affect us, thinking we’ll be much happy when we get something we want. Major life events (positive or negative) lose their impact on happiness levels, often as quickly as a few months. For example, lottery winners settle back into their pre-winning level of happiness and paraplegics become happier after they process their loss.

Focus on happiness here and now, not some day in the future. You will naturally stabilize toward your set point – and there are many things you can do to get there more quickly.

It is only possible to live happily ever after…on a daily basis.

4. The Bigger Picture

There is a lot to be said about using your strengths in the service of something larger than yourself. Volunteering or helping another is a powerful tool to bring yourself more happiness.

hands

But I bet you instinctively knew all of this. The real issue is the daily practice. Because as with any lasting improvement, the magic is in the everyday discipline …

 

 

Continuous Progress

You won’t be successful overnight–unless it’s 3646 overnights later.

 Even if you want it really really bad and work hard at it.

Because Continuous Progress is what it’s all about.  The concept of continuous progress may not be really cool, but it works. The only thing standing between you and outrageous success is continuous progress.

So here you go! Seven thoughts to help you along the way:

1. Time clarifies perspective:

Most of us are biased, either because of our past or our present experience.  The last 24 hours of your life have a lot to do with how you feel about your goals, your potential, your stamina, the guts you need to summon to get past the pain and press through.  But the last 24 hours change pretty quick, and a day from now, what you know and how you feel will be completely different.  By making progress every day regardless of how you feel, you learn to look past the pain and fear of the moment and just “take another step”.  Over time you get a better perspective.  You realize that your emotions are less important than you doing something.

2. Iteration builds momentum:

Getting things done fuels our sense of purpose.  And that sense of purpose and self worth is what powers our ability to accelerate through the obstacles and toward our goal. Learning through the journey is the real destination.  By conquering small (but continuous) progress, you go through a series of meaningful steps toward what would otherwise be an unattainable goal.

3. Practice compensates for failure:

Success isn’t a day in time and neither is failure.  Failure is just another practice round. I never thought my kids were failuresthey couldn’t shoot a basket at 2 years old. I was okay with that. So why do we get so frustrated when we can’t master our wildest dreams in a single six week spurt? Practice is the secret.

4. Movement trumps lurching:

Stopping and starting is better than nothing, but it’s messy. Steady progress is the key to success.  Any of us can do an “all-nighter” now or then.  Maybe even do 50-60 straight hours on a single project.  But then we are exhausted and we need a break. Continuous progress is a kinder (more impactful) way to move forward and get closer to our goals.

5. Passion builds investment:

When you put enough of yourself, into something, you kind of find of way to make sure you come out on the winning end of things.  When you jump into a quick “emotional fling”, you have so little invested that it’s easy to give up on yourself.  Your commitment to long-term success forces you to build a passionate investment in your success.  That investment is the antidote to the setbacks you can anticipate along the way.

7. Lasting yields differentiation

We all know that showing up is where it’s at. It’s actually 99% of the battle.  If you don’t have the guts (the stamina) to keep fighting for your goal, then you’ll ultimately end up losing.  You can’t help it.

Continuous progress is the ultimate way to stand out from everyone else.  You’re still around when everyone else has given up.  When they are gasping for air, you are pumping your legs and pushing for the finish line.

You don’t have to do it all today.

You have the rest of your life to realize outrageous success.

You just need to get started…

Get Moving.

 

The Alphabet of Health: H is for HAPPY

heatlh and happiness blog

So… what does HAPPY have to do with health? Everything! Let me count the ways:

  • Because health is not just a body that functions well, but health is a person that functions well
  • Because a happier person is a healthier person
  • Because a healthier person is a happier person
  • Because happy people live longer
  • Because unhealthy people are not happy
  • Because happy people have improved biological processes
  • Because optimistic people are 50% less likely to suffer a heart attack or a stroke
  • Because happy people engage in healthier behaviors
  • Because there is a link between depression and diets lacking nutrients essential for brain functioning
  • Because happy people are more protected against psychological and physical diseases.
  • Because “Health and cheerfulness naturally beget each other.” Joseph Addison, 17th century English essayist, poet, playwright and politician
  • Because happiness is a motivator for health and vice-versa

Stress Strategies 101


Holidays are here, and it should be all fun and games and family times and laughter, but some of us experience serious stress right about now.  Stress makes you cranky, makes you fatter, makes you older and not fun to be around, not even yourself. I figured this would be a good time for this post about some basic strategies to help you right now…

1. Give up the Guilt! 

So your life is out of balance right now, but you know what? That’s just the way it is. So much to do, so little time… Here’s a no-brainer for you: not everything needs to be done every single day. So there’s a bit of dust on your table–who cares? It will all even out at the end.

2. Good is Good Enough

Your Christmas cookies don’t have to be perfect, and the gifts don’t have to be exquisitely wrapped.  Be happy with 80 %. People will remember the fun they had with you, not your gitf wrapping abilities… Hours of your life are wasted and nobody notices the difference but you. Get over yourself and take a step closer to acceptance.

3. If You Don’t Snooze, You Lose
Exhaustion is not a badge of honor. Without sleep you are worthless to yourself and those around you. Staying up even one hour later to finish a task costs you more than your health. Try irritability, trouble retaining information, minor illness, poor judgment, increased mistakes and even weight gain. This is your wake up call to get your zzzzz’s.

5. Say No in Order to Say Yes 
Sure you’ve heard this before, but are you turning down those distractions disguised as opportunities? Are you still knocking yourself and saying YES to everyone around you even when you knwo it’s too much for you? It’s not selfish to say no to others when the intent is to clear some space to say Yes to you. Let me say it again: it’s not wrong to say NO sometimes.  Life does go on even if you aren’t involved in every activity, party or event. Look at it this way, being missed makes you more interesting and appreciated when you do show up.

6. Power “Off” to Turn Yourself On

The quickest way to gain downtime is to turn off phone, FB, TV and all that jazz and enjoy the lack of distractions. Rather than screen sucking, grab that unopened book from your shelf, call a good friend or grab a cup of your favorite beverage and reflect on your day–my kind of evening!

Last but not least: it’s not very easy to feel stress and be grateful at the same time. When you’re on overwhelm, simply take a deep breath, and count your blessings – works every time.

The Alphabet of Health–A

A is for Attitude

Because no matter how much knowledge you have, and how intelligent or strong or determined or beautiful or… you fill in the blanks…you might be, if your attitude is not in line with your goals, you are probably not going to be very successful. And no matter how little breaks you get, how little money, or time, or support, or equipment, or friends or … you fill in the blanks… you might have, if your attitude is one of a winner, you are certainly going to make it.

Success doesn’t have much to do with great circumstances or genes; success is really all about how you see yourself, your progress, your goal, your future. It’s really all about how you think about all these.

I wouldn’t say that I am a Ghandi fan, but these words of his pretty much sum up what I think on the matter: “Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”

If you think yourself a loser, that is where you will go, even if all the odds are in your favor. And if you think yourself a winner, well, that is what you are. Your life is truly the sum of your thoughts; you and I are what we think we are.

Let’s be careful out there…

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