Building a Great Support System

Girls with Heads Together HuggingBuild a Great Support System

Begin by looking back!

  1. List at least 3 folks, who have mentored you or made you feel good about yourself in the past. Go back to your childhood, if you need to.
  2. Write down what made them special to you or how they made you feel.
  3. Relive and savor those memories and feelings for 30 to 60 seconds each.

Reliving and savoring the moments makes them easier for you to access by moving them closer to the front burners of your brain – so to speak. They can be a great tool for helping you build your new support system by reminding you how you want to feel again.

Be brave! 

Next, write the names of at least 9 people who have been or are currently in your life.

  1. Circle one or two of those who already do or you think could create the same type of feelings you just savored.
  2. Send them a Facebook message, email, card, or brief hand-written note or call them and to tell them you are happy they are in your life. It doesn’t matter if you spoke to them yesterday or two years ago; they’ll enjoy hearing from you.
  3. Don’t worry if they sound surprised, a bit embarrassed, or if they don’t respond immediately or exactly the way you thought they would. Reaching out is all that matters.

Review your list again, and decide if and how you could reach out to the other folks on your list.

Be positive!

If you prefer, start a new list with people you want to bring into your life, and decide how you can reach out and make that happen.

It may feel awkward or strange at first, please don’t let that stop you. Everyone feels odd when they are trying something new. Learn to make the first move – say “Hello”; talk to someone new; introduce yourself. Be friendly and kind. Show interest in what others are talking about and doing.

Join a book club or church. Sign-up for a Wishful Thinking Works Meetup, or any of the hundreds of other Meetups in your area. Take a cooking, exercise, or technology class. Give a presentation. Volunteer. Offer to be part of a team project at work. Invite a prospective friend to coffee or lunch or a play date if she has kids of similar ages to yours.

If at first you don’t succeed, try again! Continue to reach out, and don’t give up. It may take a few tries to connect. Learn to laugh at your mistakes and yourself along the way, and, remember to thank everyone, who helps you along the way.

Visit Wishful Thinking Works and Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook for posts and updates.

Thank you!

Patrice Koerper

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Building a Solid Support System

Girls with Heads Together Hugging

 Building a Solid Support System

Begin by looking back!

  1. List at least 3 folks, who have mentored you or made you feel good about yourself in the past. Go back to your childhood, if you need to.
  2. Write down what made them special to you or how they made you feel.
  3. Relive and savor those memories and feelings for 30 to 60 seconds each.

Reliving and savoring the moments makes them easier for you to access by moving them closer to the front burners of your brain – so to speak. They can be a great tool for helping you build your new support system by reminding you how you want to feel again.

Be brave! 

Next, write the names of at least 9 people who have been or are currently in your life.

  1. Circle one or two of those who already do or you think could create the same type of feelings you just savored.
  2. Send them a Facebook message, email, card, or brief hand-written note or call them and to tell them you are happy they are in your life. It doesn’t matter if you spoke to them yesterday or two years ago; they’ll enjoy hearing from you.
  3. Don’t worry if they sound surprised, a bit embarrassed, or if they don’t respond immediately or exactly the way you thought they would. Reaching out is all that matters.

Review your list again, and decide if and how you could reach out to the other folks on your list.

Be positive!

If you prefer, start a new list with people you want to bring into your life, and decide how you can reach out and make that happen.

It may feel awkward or strange at first, please don’t let that stop you. Everyone feels odd when they are trying something new. Learn to make the first move – say “Hello”; talk to someone new; introduce yourself. Be friendly and kind. Show interest in what others are talking about and doing.

Join a book club or church. Sign-up for a Wishful Thinking Works Meetup, or any of the hundreds of other Meetups in your area. Take a cooking, exercise, or technology class. Give a presentation. Volunteer. Offer to be part of a team project at work. Invite a prospective friend to coffee or lunch or a play date if she has kids of similar ages to yours.

If at first you don’t succeed, try again! Continue to reach out, and don’t give up. It may take a few tries to connect. Learn to laugh at your mistakes and yourself along the way, and, remember to thank everyone, who helps you along the way.

Visit Wishful Thinking Works and Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook for posts and updates.

Thank you!

Patrice Koerper

Posted in . 1 Comment »

Your positivity ratio and how to raise it!

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson is a leader in the positive psychology field; her work has been on my mind a lot lately. Her research on positive emotions is groundbreaking, and is really good stuff that can change your life – if you let it! I’ve been sharing her work at my Wishful Thinking Women Meetups and workshops and with clients. One year ago I shared it with you, here’s what we talked about . . .

I’ve mentioned Dr. Barbara Fredrickson a couple of times in previous posts. She’s the researcher, who developed the “Broaden and Build Theory” of positive psychology, which states that positive emotions broaden our awareness and perception thereby increasing our curiosity, creativity and choices.

The “Broaden and Build Theory” is the other side of the coin, so to speak, of the “Fight or Flight Theory”, which notes that we are designed to focus and narrow our vision and responses in short-term, quick-decision, dangerous situations. Both emotional responses have value – there are times when we need to react quickly, with precision and almost instinctual intent and when we need to allow ourselves the freedom to fully enjoy and explore life and its options.

The good news is, our brains are hard-wired for both. The bad news is, many of us have allowed the occasional need for fight and flight responses to spill over into many or all of life’s everyday activities. We are constantly on the lookout for emotional and physical threats, or have come to believe that bad news (i.e., psychological danger) is lurking around every corner. Our preoccupation with all things negative, stresses our bodies and may be leaving us feeling frustrated, angry or depressed.

Not to worry, after identifying and qualifying the value of positive emotions, Fredrickson took her research one step further and in her 2009 book Positivity, she quantified their value. Fredrickson and her team of researchers formulated the 3:1 positivity ratio of positive to negative emotions. The ratio is a simple but valid mathematical equation for revealing happiness levels. I like to think of it as the psychological tipping point between getting by and soaring high. 

“80% of Americans fall short of the ideal 3-to-1 positivity ratio.”

Yikes! According to Fredrickson, 80% of us are not at our best. That’s not to say we are miserable, we’re not, but we are also not as happy or fulfilled as we could be.

Fredrickson’s research shows that we need to have 3 positive emotions for every 1 negative emotion to flourish. Her work indicates that our world’s do not need to be perfect for us to flourish – negativity can still be present (as represented by the “1” in the 3:1 ratio), but as long as the ratio is 3 to 1 we are good to go.

Fredrickson notes that a 2:1 ratio means we are getting by. We might be happy, but not at our best and when faced with negativity or hard times, we can easily slide to a 1:1 ratio. Is the difference between 3:1 and 2:1 important? Here’s what Fredrickson has to say on the subject:

” . . . experiencing positive emotions in a 3-to-1 ratio to negative emotions leads people to achieve what they once could only imagine. Far from frivolous, tapping into one’s own unique sources of positivity is a wise and healthy investment in the future.”     

And, here is the truly important aspect of Fredrickson’s research, with simple changes and targeted tweaking we can move ourselves from a 2:1 to a 3:1 ratio, or higher, which improves the likelihood that we will create the lives we really want! You can improve your internal environment and enhance your external landscape by:

  • becoming more aware and savoring what is good in your life;
  • focusing on your strengths and what you and others do well;
  • predicting better for you and your loved ones;
  • adding a bit of mediation to your daily mix;
  • doing more of what you love – even the simplest little things,
  • and maintaining and enriching your relationships.

If you are interested in assessing your positivity ratio, Fredrickson has created a free online survey to help take our emotional “temperature”. (My word not her’s). To get a true “temperature” reading, Fredrickson suggests taking the survey once a day for two weeks. The survey only take three minutes to complete. If you would like to give it a try, click away. (Taking the survey even once, provides valuable insight because it shares specific examples of positive and emotional states; I highly recommend it.)

If you would like to learn more about the “Broaden and Build Theory” or the positivity ratio, click here to listen to an online interview with Barbara Fredrickson discussing her theories and research.

PS A super special shout-out to all the new Wishful Thinking Women in Tampa. Really enjoyed meeting and talking with you on Saturday – hope you are still feeling the glow – I am!

If you are ready to improve your or your organization’s positivity ratio, you do not have to do it alone. Contact Patrice Koerper; Wishful Thinking Works life coaching, workshops and seminars for help!

A small group of thoughtful people . . .

A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.             Margaret Mead

Have you heard of Meetup? I believe they are doing just that – changing the world, I mean. 

Their mission statement is:

to revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference.

Their stats are huge:

  • 6 million monthly visitors
  • 7.2 million members
  • 2.2 million monthly RSVPs
  • 46,000 meetup topics
  • 45,000 cities

A friend of a friend told me about Meetup, when I mentioned that I wanted to meet some new folks having recently moved back to a city I hadn’t lived in for 15 years. 

I decided to checked out the Meetup web page even though I am not much of a joiner, and found myself signing up and joining a Meetup group. Then, I ignored Meetup for a few months, until I could no longer justify not creating the life I wanted!  

I finally RSVP’d to an event and now, three months later, I am enjoying a book club brimming with interesting women, sipping coffee in multiple cafés, dancing the night away and meeting and making new friends, a few of whom now gather for coffee once a week on our own.

I think the best part of  Meetup is everyone starts from the same point – we are all looking for folks to meet and interesting things to do.

For those of you thinking, I could or would never do that, I completely understand. My guess is many people, who join feel exactly the same way – until they join, which is what makes the concept and process so cool. Meetup is changing the way people think and meet, which means the are changing the world.

Meetup offers something for everyone. Topics range from coffee lovers (33 in Glasgow, UK) to Cool Nerds, (835 in LA); Philosophers (400 in Austin, TX) to farmers  (1269 in Redlands, CA) and everything in between. 

On Meetup you can find someone, who likes to dance, cook, read, fly, hop, or climb. And, if you do not find the Meetup of your dream, you can start your own group!

And, if Meetup really is not for you, no problem, but you may enjoy reading the media coverage of interesting Meetup groups or about the Meetup staff.    

Meetup is a community of individuals, brave enough to take the risk that someone would want to connect with them around a common or creative idea or activity. Their actions then give millions of other folks a chance to reach out and meet someone. Meetup creates circles and cycles of courage, creativity and connection, I like that.

And, most Meetup groups are free or practically free to join. I like that, too.

I hope this weekend you get to meetup with folks you find interesting and fun whether you find them online, next door or in the next room.

Enjoy.

 

P.S.  Next Friday is a special day for me. To celebrate, the first reader, who comments or emails me @ wishfulthinkingworks@gmail.com with the correct answer to why it is special will receive a copy of one of my favorite books “The Joy of Appreciative Living: Your 28-Day Plan to Greater Happiness in 3 Incredibly Easy Steps” by Jacqueline Kelm.

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