Wishful Thinking Ways #3

Hi, welcome back. This is the third post in the Wishful Thinking Ways for 2012 series. We are meeting on Fridays to make 2012 exciting and rewarding in new and different ways. Each Friday I will share tips and exercises based on positive psychology and Appreciative Inquiry to help you create the life you really want.

Here’s the plan:

January – Setting the stage.
February – Discovering your dreams.
March – Making them happen.

It’s always good to start at the very beginning, so click to read Wishful Thinking Ways week one and week two.  January is our warm-up month for our heads and hearts. When your heart and mind are aligned amazing things can happen. Don’t miss a single step in the process! 

I have written about Barbara Fredrickson’s Broaden and Build theory a couple of times – here’s why: The more relaxed and open our brains are the more responsive and creative we become. There is a direct link between how we feel and how our brain works. Our brains are hard-wired to respond in different ways to pleasure and pain, happiness and stress.

Being stressed and always in “Flight or Fight” mode drains our energy and reduces are ability to creatively address what’s happening around us. There are thousands of articles on the Internet about dealing with stress, but instead of reading them, I would like you to identifying how your body reacts to stress to figure out your physiological Flight or Fight tells.

Discovering your physiological tells

When you are worried or angry does your chest or throat tighten, your stomach churn, your jaw clench? Do you feel the tension in your hands, arms, shoulders, or back? Do you hold your breath? I’m a center of the chest gal, and I hold my breath way more than I never knew. Not the kid-like dramatic, “I’m going to hold my breath”, but what the medical world refers to as “inhibitory breathing.” Millions of people do it and it can lead to high-blood pressure and heart problems!

One of the first steps I take with many of my clients is to help them discover their Flight or Fight tells. Getting in touch with how you are feeling when you are feeling it is as important in life as knowing your tells is in poker. And, as smart as we are, most of us no clue how our bodies react to stress.

Checking your pulse, so to speak

Start by writing and reading aloud this sentence: “I will figure out my Flight or Fight tells this week. I will learn how my body reacts when I’m stressed or angry.”

Then notice how your body reacts when you are tense or angry. When you find yourself rushing to work; heading into the boss’s office; yelling at your spouse or kids; listening to your spouse or children yelling; sitting in traffic; trying to meet a deadline, not saying to someone what you want to say or saying something that you know you will regret late, etc.  – stop for a split second, or immediately after, and ask yourself: “What’s happening to my body right now? “What am I feeling and where?” I guarantee, if you keep at it, by week’s end, if not sooner, you will know your Flight or Fight tells.

Let me know how it goes. Next Friday we will talk about how knowing your physiological tells can help you create the life you really want.   


Being happy and satisfied, doesn’t mean you stop dreaming, and being unhappy doesn’t mean you can’t start dreaming. So, no matter where you are today, it is the perfect starting point for where you want to be next.      

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