Communication worth savoring

Me on trainI have been writing about savoring for years and have made it part of my daily life, because it is an amazing feeling and brings such insight and joy. But I never thought about savoring communication until I read this article, and checked out the research of University of Arizona researcher Maggie Pitts.

Pitts analyzed online responses after asking respondents whether or not they savored communication and if so, for a detailed example of an experience they had savored.

“Savoring is the process of (1) identifying a pleasant experience, (2) noticing that you are feeling pleasure about that experience, and then (3) feeling good about feeling pleasure” Maggie Pitts

From their responses Pitts identified seven different types of communication that people tend to savor:

1) Aesthetic communication. Survey respondents savored this type of communication because of some aspect of how it was presented—timing, delivery, choice of words or perhaps a surprise twist. An inspiring speech, good play on words or suspenseful announcement might fall in this category.

2) Communication presence. This category includes conversations in which participants reported being so deeply engaged and completely in the moment with another person that it felt as if no one else mattered. These types of exchanges often were described as “real” or “entirely honest.”

3) Nonverbal communication. From to physical contact to facial expressions, these exchanges emphasize nonverbal cues. A meaningful hug or smile might fall in this category.

4) Recognition and acknowledgement. This category encompasses communication in which participants were publicly acknowledged or offered appreciation, like an awards ceremony or a speech honoring an individual.

5) Relational communication. This category includes communication that establishes, confirms or gives insight into a relationship, such as a couple’s discussion about the future together or an intimate disclosure that brings two people closer.

6) Extraordinary communication. Many participants savored communication around special moments, such as a wedding, illness, birth of a child or other “landmark memories.”

7) Implicitly shared communication. This category includes unspoken communication experiences that may be more difficult to articulate, such as feeling the excitement of a crowd around you, or looking at someone and instinctively knowing that you are sharing the same feeling.

I love that learning something new about savoring has brought even more joy to my life, and I quickly realized that I do savor many of the conversations I have had with people throughout my life and each of those still brings me joy. Here are some of the most memorable as this moment:
  • a conversation we had in my 10th grade social science class about how people approach living and their choices;
  • a talk with a friend who was dying of leukemia;
  • listening to my sons when they were little and discovering the world around them and much later when they were in college and just after, as they explored a much larger world;
  • a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer on the train to Skopje – the capital of Macedonia;
  • talks with friends of shared books and movies;
  • a presentation on music, art and math by Richard G. Brown, the father of Da Vinci Code author, Dan Brown and a much honored math professor
  • the hundreds and hundreds of rich and wonderful conversations with my dearest friends at the happiest, most exciting, or the most trying times of my life,
  • and the deep, touching and heartfelt conversations I have with my husband almost daily.
I am now looking forward to reading the books Pitts edited on positive communication, which hopefully will create more conversations for me to savor. I already like the way she thinks, “Maggie takes a “bright side” approach to the study of human communication — asking questions like, “what is going right” here, and “how can we make good things even better?”
I hope you find lots of wonderful moments and communications to savor, today and all the days ahead for you.
As I was writing this post in the early morning hours, I took a moment to savor the water color view through the screen on my balcony on a softly unfolding morning in tropical Florida.
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Simple ways to make Valentine’s Day special

heart-762564_960_7201Would you like your sweetest Valentine’s Day ever? 

Here are 14 loved-based Wishful Thinking Works tips to make this year’s Valentine’s Day your best yet. 

Mix and match them to your heart’s desire. 

 Using even one tip can up your happiness or that of someone special to you.

  1. Plan ahead – having something to look forward will raise your spirits. If you do not want to be alone, reach out and plan something fun for friends or family. If you are looking forward to a quiet night by yourself, go for it – in style – by treating yourself to foods and activities you love. Add, candles and fancy dishes, and voilà, c’est magnifique!
  2. Broaden your scope – you can celebrate being in love with anyone on Valentine’s Day. Friends, family, your kids, your life, your job – whatever makes you smile is worth celebrating!
  3. Expand your options  – restaurants can be overbooked and way too busy on the 14th, why not go out earlier in the month, and exchange cards or gifts on Valentine’s? (We have already booked dinner at a new beachside restaurant for the 8th. The anticipation is just as fun, the sunset view will be as stunning and the food may even be better since the restaurant will not be overflowing.)
  4. Be creative – good times don’t require big budgets – think indoor picnic or cheese and crackers with wine before dinner at home to make it special.  If you can get outdoors – plan a picnic, a late night walk or a weekend hike.  Anything that moves you out of your comfort zone will be memorable.
  5. Relax – even the most romantic evening can be ruined by letting your expectations outweigh the circumstances. Breathe!
  6. Put the focus on others – this is a great time of year for Gratitude Letters, cards or notes to special aunts and uncles, neighbors, or co-workers – anyone who has done something caring and kind for you – ever! Buy a heart shape cookie and drop it by the neighbors or leave it on the desk of a co-worker.
  7. Memories make great gifts – find ways to bring great moments alive again through Facebook posts, photos, calls or visits. Remind loved ones of memories you share.
  8. Volunteerstudies show this can brighten everyone’s day, and may even lengthen your life. Make plans now to spend time helping others.
  9. Babysit – If you don’t have big plans – help make someone else’s night great!
  10. Pay-it-forward – Buy coffee for the person behind you in line. Let folks go ahead of you at the grocery store. Hold the door, give-up the parking space. (Remember, to keep it pure and simple no fair waiting or expecting a thank you!)
  11. Give an unexpected hug – it is good for everyone’s health! Hold it for 20 seconds to feel all of the warmth and richness.
  12. Ask for a do-over or apologize – now is the perfect time to undo something you said or did that you wish you hadn’t. Here’s how!
  13. Forgiveyourself or someone else! Take time to rethink and reframe a situation and then gently let it go.
  14. Give instead of receiving – donate to your favorite charity. One of the best Valentine’s gifts I ever received was a donation made in my name to fund a young girl’s school for a year – the cost was only $58, the memory and the feeling are priceless!

Making the simple, special this Valentine’s Day will make you and others happier!  

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5-minute mood enhancer

cold-1284028__340I know it is cold. In some places polar cold. But a new study recently published in the Journal of Positive Psychology studies show just 5 minutes in nature will elevate your mood.  Yup, simply being outside, breathing fresh air, looking around and noticing nature will elevate your mood.

5 minutes

You don’t even have to move around, you can simply sit in nature and feel the effect! (Now I know it is probably way too cold to sit outside where many of you are living, but for those who can – go for it, and the rest of you throw on a jacket or two and step outside your front door.) The key is not to think about it – but to DO IT!

5 minutes

And, I have learned from personal experience that when I am feeling down or I am ruminating about real or perceived problems, and I drastically switch gears for 4-5 minutes, I always feel better. It works every time!

4-5 minutes can make all the difference in your day and eventually in your life.

yoga-2683522__340Exercise, dance, hula hoop, stretch, run up and down the stairs, clean a drawer, vacuum, take a shower, or laugh along with comedy on YouTube.

Get up. Move. If you want to check out nature, but it’s too cold, stand inside with the door or window open and feel the rush of the cold air. Even taking the time to look out each window in your home without opening them, will give you a totally new perspective. It’s invigorating.

Getting out of your comfort zone indoors or out can be a wonderfully effective mood enhancer – and it’s free!

Doing something different for 4-5 minutes dramatically increases the likelihood that you will feel energized and ready to take on other changes in your life.

Go for it, I am sure you have 5 minutes to spare.

 

Start now to change your life by Spring!

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Sunday musings

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A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts. . .

As the plant springs from, and could not be without, the seed, so every act of a man springs from the hidden seeds of thought, and could not have appeared without them. This applies equally to those acts called “spontaneous” and “unpremeditated” as to those, which are deliberately executed.

Act is the blossom of thought, and joy and suffering are its fruits; thus does a man garner in the sweet and bitter fruitage of his own husbandry.  As a Man Thinketh, James Allen, Free Library

Give your character and your soul a chance to grow, treat yourself and others kindly in your thoughts.

The key is to become aware of the differences in your body when thinking soul enhancing thoughts vs thoughts that cause you stress or worry.

 

When you can feel the difference in your body, the choice will become easier. The path to character opens up and rewards you with positive responses from the universe.

 When you stray from the path, gently and kindly remind yourself your goal is to build character and to stretch your soul, and ask yourself how your current thoughts are making you feel.  Are your feelings in alignment with your goal?

If your thoughts are causing you strife, breathe deeply and kindly redirect your thoughts, taking a moment to applaud yourself for shifting gears. Peace is character building and joy helps shine a light on the path you want to follow. 

It’s scary, I know. To trust yourselves so deeply that you believe you are the master of your feelings and your path, but the rewards are so great it is a shame to not give it a chance.

 

 

Daydreams & free resources = success in 2019

New Year

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2019! 

Now, let’s fast forward to January 2020!

Picture yourself one year from today, excited and thrilled about what you accomplished in 2019! I realize the year has barely begun, but one of the best ways to move forward is to have a clear picture of yourself feeling satisfied and grateful about what you have accomplished – before it is done!

Picturing the life you want makes it feel real, which releases all sorts of chemicals in your brain that will relax your body and expand your creativity and positivity by creating new neural pathways. It’s science, but feels like magic!

Picture it done!

Create a positive, rewarding outcome for your biggest dreams and then sit back and enjoy a movie-like mental reel highlighting how your personalized success looks and feels. Daydream your way into the vision of yourself you want to see and be.

 

Prime your brain by envisioning yourself celebrating your future success. Perhaps you are telling your friends just how wonderful it feels to be 10 pounds lighter and how you did it; how thrilled you are for sticking to your running schedule and the difference it has made in your life; to be so close to finishing school and planning your graduation; how scared you were to start writing your book, but how good it feels to be in the editing stage; how wonderful it feels to be in your new home for the holidays or how beautiful Paris is in the spring.

Don’t be afraid to visualize your dreams. 

Include as many details as possible to fully experience your personalized magic carpet ride. Daydreams are all about imagination – go for it. (Don’t worry about how your dreams will come true, believing they can is the key.)

Help is just outside your comfort zone, but never outside of your reach.

  1. To reinforce all those rich and wonderful thoughts and feelings, use the Wishful Thinking Works “Ta Da” List 2018 to record all the good things that happened in your life in 2018 – big or small! Writing our successes reminds us good things are possible, reveals patterns about what matters to us, and is another great way to prime your brain for happiness and success in the months ahead. (Did mine and it was great way to relive the highlights of 2018. Made me dig deep and remember worthwhile experiences I might have otherwise passed over. Truly rewarding activity. I plan to keep adding to it over the next few days. Don’t pass up the good feelings in store for you when you fill out your 2018 Wishful Thinking Works “Ta Da” List.) 
  2. Now create your Wishful Thinking Works “Ta Da” List 2019 ! Record all your dreams for the 2019 as if they are already done. (I added prompts for you to get you started!) Add a sentence or two on the back of the sheet or in a journal sharing how good it feels to have brought such happiness into your life. (I just finished mine and it feels fantastic to put my dreams on paper. Freeing and rewarding all at once.)
  3. If you know you want your life to be different in 2019, but don’t have a specific goal or if you don’t know where to start, use Wishful Thinking Works Change Circles to help you define what type of change you want to see this year.
  4. If you are letting your past, worries about the world around you, or the scale of the changes you want, scare you; take a break and use the Wishful Thinking Works Courage Diet to get you back on track.
  5. Then use the Wishful Thinking Works Real Deal Change Wheel to move past and lingering hurdles or stumbling blocks.

There is absolutely no reason to face change alone. I designed all of these free Wishful Thinking Works resources for you. Use them to make your dreams come true in 2019.

Don’t forget to visit and “Follow” Wishful Thinking Works and to “Like ” Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook throughout the amazing year that lies ahead for you.

 

Register for your Free 2019 Wishful Thinking Works Discovery Session!

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Change your life!

 

 

12 Ways to Survive Holiday Happenings

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The Wishful Thinking Works “12 Ways to Survive Holiday Happenings” can help you avoid prickly moments!

If you are heading to a family gathering this weekend but do not see eye-to-eye with all of your loved ones about touchy topics such as politics, religion, child-rearing, sports, lifestyles, or even the weather or who should bring what – this post is for you.

I am sharing my Wishful Thinking Works version of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,”which I wrote in 2010 after being inspired earlier in the year by author and life coach Marianne Ford. Marianne reminded me that being right isn’t a right and sometimes conversations and life go better when, instead of sharing our wisdom, opinions, advice, or rebuttals – we simply listen and respond with a friendly, “I hear you.” or a non-committal but respectful “Ah- huh,” Wow!” “Okay,” or “Really?”

In other words, when respect is present agreement is not a necessity. We can change our experience and the conversation by using Marianne’s tips to transform debates into discussions and boring exchanges into interesting encounters. 

I can use a bit of help around this time of year, so I wove Marianne’s thoughts and some of my musings into . . .

“Wishful Thinking Works’ “12 Ways to Survive Holiday Happenings”

On the 1st day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me patience for the party,

On the 2nd day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 2 sacks of courage.

On the 3rd day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 3 “Ah-huh’s.”

On the 4th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 4 smiling nods.

On the 5th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 5 “Oh, that’s great’s!”

On the 6th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 6 “Tell me more’s.” 

On the 7th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 7 “That sounds interesting’s.” 

On the 8th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 8 “I-can-do-this’s!”

On the 9th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 9 “Okay.” “Wow!” “Really’s?”

On the 10th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 10 “That sounds so frustrating’s.” 

On the 11th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 11 “Oh my gosh’s.”

On the 12th day of Christmas my inner wisdom gave to me 12I got through it! I am so happy!”

Feel free to share my new holiday classic with your friends and family. It may help everyone’s holiday shine a bit brighter and feel a tad merrier.

(In case it comes up at a holiday gathering, the twelve days of Christmas are the evening of December 24/January 6 or December 25/January 7 – depending on the calendar, Julian/Gregorian, you are following.)

And, if you are now trying to remember the original lyrics to “The Twelve Days of Christmas,”  here they are . . . 

Twelve drummers drumming,

Eleven pipers piping,

Ten lords a-leaping,

Nine ladies dancing,

Eight maids a-milking,

Seven swans a-swimming,

Six geese a-laying,

Five golden rings,

Four calling birds,

Three French hens,

Two turtle doves,

And a partridge in a pear tree!

Happy Holidays!

 

Hello, Beautiful!

Monkey mirrorStudies show simply hearing a compliment, such as “You are beautiful,” even from a perfect stranger – can brighten your day.

Why wait for someone to tell you that you are beautiful? Why not start each day by looking into those sweet little eyes of yours in the mirror and sharing a “Hello, Beautiful” with yourself? 

Telling yourself you are beautiful, is an act of self-compassion. Saying it out loud is a act of courage, and can reduce your holiday stress by putting a smile on your face and maybe even a bit of merry in your mood.

Don’t worry if you feel shy, or even embarrassed; keep up the practice and you will feel the joy. The happier you are, the more likely you will be to notice the beauty in the people and the world around you, which is a true expression of the holiday spirit. And, you can share your joy by letting others know how beautiful they are, which is the perfect gift for strangers or your loved ones.

Start today, and by the New Year you will be welcoming 2019 with a brand new perspective to keep the good feelings flowing throughout the year. 

Give it a try, Beautiful, because you are gorgeous, inside and out, and you deserve to hear it much more often.

If you are still hesitant to give it a try, check out this video,  or this one, or this one, or even this one, to see people’s happiness when they are told how beautiful they are. It is heartwarming and my holiday gift you to, and it’s guaranteed to make you smile!

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Register for your Free 2019 Wishful Thinking Works Discovery Session!

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