Looking ahead . . .

Patrice Koerper Wishful Thinkking Works

 

Start the today by looking ahead – the next hour, day, or week might be the turning point you’ve been hoping for.

Until then, be patient, appreciative, and kind – disappointment or delay are not a pass to treat ourselves or others poorly.

Keep looking forward and predicting and doing better; do not give up on yourself or your dreams.

Reassess and redirect as needed, but stay the course – you are worth every step.

The journey is often part of the prize, pay attention to the rewards hidden along the route, there may be gems along the way.

Then . . . let the rest take care of itself.

The upside of vulnerabilty . . .

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”  (Dr. Brené Brown, TED.com)

This past Saturday I was talking to a group of Wishful Thinking Women about the topic of vulnerability, and today I was planning to post about Dr. Brené Brown’s interesting work on the topic, when I realized she will be talking about her work on Oprah’s Lifeclass this evening.

201206-orig-brene-brown-190x130“Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.  She has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage,  authenticity, and shame. She spent the first five years of her  decade-long study focusing on shame and empathy, and is now using that  work to explore a concept that she calls “wholeheartedness”. She poses the  questions:

How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so  that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and  worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection  that we need to recognize that we are enough – that we are worthy of  love, belonging, and joy?” (TED.com)

Vulnerability is about being open and honest. “When we numb [hard feelings], we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness.” (Dr. Brené Brown, TED.com)  It’s a key factor to living a wholehearted life, which can lead to lifelong happiness. (That’s the upside!)

Problem is, being vulnerable can be scary and may lead us to put on a thick layer of emotional armor and to limit the risks we take in life. Taking risks in the direction of our dreams is a good thing, and putting on our emotional armor might protect us in the short term – but in the long run, it can prevent us from being open to love and life, which can block us from truly connecting to others and opportunities.

So what do we do?

We can begin by hearing what Dr. Brown has to say on Oprah’s Lifeclass tonight, or by checking out some of the great links on the site, or by listening to Brené’s humorous and insightful TED talk, or by living our lives according to the 10 guideposts her research revealed. (Being vulnerable gives us lots of choices!)

10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living, from Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

1. Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think
2. Cultivating Self‐Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism
3. Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
5. Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
6. Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison
7. Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self‐Worth
8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
9. Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self‐Doubt and “Supposed To”
10.Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and “Always in Control”

Let me know which ones work for you!

Next week we will be talking about Brown’ take on authenticity, which is another wonderful way to live!

Until then, remember . . .

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Dialing down your fear meter

Something to think about . . . from Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now . . .

“The psychological condition of fear is divorced from any concrete and true immediate danger.”

Hmm. “The psychological condition of fear is divorced from any concrete and true immediate danger.”

How many times are we in real life or death or scary situations, and how many times do we create them in our minds?

“It [fear] comes in many forms: unease, worry, anxiety, nervousness, tension, dread, phobia, and so on. This kind of psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now.” (The Power of Now)

When you catch yourself raising your fear meter by imagining negative or disastrous outcomes . . .

  1. Take a deep breath.
  2. Note that the situation you are thinking of is scary to you – “Wow, I’m more worried about this than I realized.” (Be honest with yourself; keying in and admitting you are afraid can quickly reduce the stress you are feeling by interrupting your negative thought process.)
  3. Take another deep breath.
  4. Do something physical to switch gears. Move! Get up. Stretch. Rollover. Sit up. Walk away. Turn around or shimmy, shake, hop, skip or jump yourself away from your fear. :-) (Making yourself smile, never hurts.)
  5. Repeat as necessary, and don’t be discouraged if you have to repeat these steps often, because that means you are serious about change!

MH900387812Later when you aren’t worrying about the topic, you can review the situation by brainstorming your options, assessing your strengthsrecalling pass successes dealing with tough situations – and why they worked, predicting a positive outcome (Try it, it can work wonders.), and then you can decide how, or if,  you need to deal with the situation.

But for now, learning to interrupt your thought cycle is all you need to do to dial down your fear meter and gain some peace of mind!

Simply asking yourself “What’s new?” can make a huge difference in your life.

Even though we read more and more often how good meditating is for us, many folks are still reluctant to do it. Others want to try it, but don’t know how to get started.

Meditation is a form of mindfulness, so I was excited to read and am happy to share with you some tips on becoming more mindful from the blog of Ellen J. Langer an award-winning social psychology researcher, professor, and author of 11 books including Mindfulness. (I added the bullets and italics to the excerpt below.)

“We’ve been researching mindfulness without meditation for over thirty five years.

  • Actively drawing novel distinctions is the essence of mindfulness.
  • One can simply ask themselves how the person they live with, the job they are doing, or/and the environment they are in is different is several ways from the day before and make a practice of looking for novelty.
  • When we travel we expect everything to be new and so we notice, become engaged, and enjoy ourselves. The problem is that when we’re not on vacation we suffer from an illusion of stability and think everything we once experienced is the still the same.
  • Everything is always changing and looks different from different perspectives. Bringing that expectation of not knowing to our daily lives will encourage us to actually notice  and be in the present.”

Taking a few moments to really notice your surroundings, your breathing, or how your body feels is a form of mindfulness. It’s being in the moment, which interrupts the often stressful, rapid-fire stream of thoughts constantly racing through our brains.

Mindfulness is a way to give your mind a break and it’s as easy as asking yourself, “What’s new?”

Sounds like the perfect pick-me-up!

 

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Never underestimate the power of happiness . . .

International lecturer, author of the “Happiness Advantage”, and former Harvard instructor Shawn Achor recently shared the following research at the Commonwealth Bank’s two-day “Wired for Wonder” conference in Sydney, Australia. The figures are staggering, the research is interesting, and the impact amazing.

MH900448318Happiness matters.

“Ninety percent of our long-term level of happiness is . . . not based on the external world, but how your brain processes the external world,” Achor said. “If we could change that lens some incredible things could happen.”

“If you take four-year-old children, prime them to become more positive and have them put blocks of shapes together, it turns out the children in the positive category will put blocks together significantly faster than children in a negative/neutral category.”

IQ doesn’t matter as much as we think it does.

“If I know everyone’s IQ here in the room and I’m trying to predict your job successes, cross-industry, over the next five-year period, it turns out that IQ and technical skills are only responsible [for] and only predict 25 % of your job successes,” Achor told the conference.

The pattern has been observed again and again: “Happiness and optimism can be much better predictors of productivity than IQ and technical skills,” Achor said. According to research undertaken in the late 1990s, doctors who had been primed to be more positive were 19% faster and more accurate with coming up with a correct diagnosis and were more “intellectually flexible” when presented with a misdiagnosis.

Success and Happiness

MH900401133“… if you raise your levels of happiness, it turns out every single business and educational outcome improves. Our success rates rise dramatically. Raising success does not raise levels of happiness but raising levels of happiness dramatically increases your success rates.”

Before Happiness

Achor’s second book, “Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success” is due out in September, I’ll be sharing more info from it with you as soon as it’s available.

Have a great weekend, and make it even better by asking yourself each morning, what one thing can I do today to bring more joy into my life. . . and then do it!

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