15 minutes of quiet can give you peace

University of Rochester researcher Thuy-vy T. Nguyen, M.A. recently completed 4 studies related to solitude.  Here’s one of the major findings her work revealed summed-up nicely by Bella DePaulo Ph.D. in a recent Psychology Today article:

 

“In short, the people who sat alone by themselves for 15 minutes with no electronic devices, and who got to choose what to think about, or who thought about positive things (by choice or by assignment) had very positive experiences of solitude. They felt calmer and less angry or anxious, without also feeling any sadder or lonelier, and without losing any of their feelings of excitement or enthusiasm.”

15 minutes of quiet – no phones, laptops, Echo or Alexa – can increase positive feelings and reduce stress. How wonderful is that?

Here’s how to unwrap this personalized, peaceful present that will keep on giving to you throughout the year!

  • Sit quietly for 15 minutes.
  • Think about any positive thoughts you like.
    • Relive your happiest or simply fond memories or anything else that brings you pleasure.
  • And, then enjoy the benefits of feeling more peaceful!

Give yourself this free and easy, sure-fire gift to make your life feel more relaxing and fulfilled this holiday season.

You deserve it! Unwrap your 15-minutes-a-day for the next 21 days, and see how your happiness grows.

“Tis the Season to be . . .

Enjoy!

heart-1077724__180

Receive your Free Wishful Thinking Works Discovery Session!

Visit Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook for posts and updates.

 “Like” Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook.

Change your life!

 

 

Capturing the holiday moments that matter

The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming!

heart-picture-1075034__340No surprise there, but they do seem to appear earlier and earlier each year. A couple of years ago I was faced with new challenges centered on blending our ever-growing and combined family’s holiday expectations and traditions. My husband and I were excited to be spending our first holiday together as a newly married couple when we quickly realized that having five sons and their wonderful families in two far-flung states, could make the holidays more complicated than ever.

My first thought was panic, my second and more sensible thought, was rather than worrying about how we were going to share the holidays with our respective kids and grand kids – we have 12, going on 14 – I would first figure out what truly mattered to me during the holidays, and then trust the rest would fall into place.

I had recently read a positive psychology article on the correlation between what folks value individually and what nations value and how we track both, when a thought resurfaced for me – what we measure grows.

You see, that which we deem important enough to measure, i.e. pay attention to, tends to grow. Ta da!

If I fill my holiday with strife and worry and thoughts of who gathers when and where, I was doomed before I began. BUT if I focused on what really mattered to me, perhaps I could increase the likelihood that those things would increase, or at least that I might be more likely to notice and enjoy those moments when they did appear. 

It worked!  Knowing what mattered and focusing on that made our first and subsequent holiday seasons richer, more memorable and way more fun!

Measure what matters

Christmas Holiday (2)

What do you want to celebrate throughout the holiday season? What are your personal beliefs and values related to the season? In simplest terms, what is most important to you? Family? Love? Togetherness? New Experiences? Tradition? Food? Fun? Religion?

I decided I want to pay more attention to love. I focused on and savored all the acts of love I saw – moments of tenderness and caring, gestures of kindness and sacrifices of any size made in honor and support of the holiday. I was so busy looking for love – that I ignored, or at least didn’t stew as long or as deeply about the less than stellar moments that occurred along the way.

 

How to make your season brighter

  1. Ask yourself what really matters to you. What do you want to hold in your heart this holiday season?
  2. Then capture every moment that matches what matters to you. Note and savor the moments as they occur.
  3. To reinforce your resolve and truly impact your holiday spirit, give yourself a helping hand by using at least one of the suggestions listed below:
    • Jot down your memorable moments in a journal. (You can start a special holiday journal, pack it way with the holiday decorations and have the fun of re-reading and adding to it each year.)
    • Write your moments on bits of paper and store them in a jar to read during or after the holiday. (The jar can be saved from year to year and enjoyed year- long or before next year’s holiday season.)
    • Write your moments on holiday-colored paper and create a paper chain throughout the holiday with all the moments you have enjoyed and want to remember.
    • Encourage your kids, spouses and even your guests to add their special holiday moments to your jar or chain and watch them grow along with everyone’s holiday spirit.
    • Take a few minutes each night before you go to bed or when you wake-up to review these special moments.
    • Or, simply put a penny in a jar or bowl to capture each moment and watch your “riches” grow.

Truth is, we are in control of the holidays ahead. I know it seems like things move way too fast, and that the gift lists, demands and commitments grow longer and greater each year, but in my case so has the love. And, the more I remind myself of that, the brighter my season shines.

Here’s to enjoying the holidays ahead!

Please note: This post has been updated from the original Wishful Thinking Works published in 2015.

 

heart-1077724__180

Register for your Free Wishful Thinking Works Discovery Session!

Visit Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook for posts and updates.

 “Like” Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook.

Change your life!

 

Neurons that fire together, wire together!

glasses-983947_960_720I am spending the next 6 days learning more about Positive Neuroplasticity at the Positive Brain Change: Tools for Lasting Happiness, Love, and Peace workshop by Rick Hanson, Ph.D., which makes me positively happy!

Never stop learning about things you love.

I have been experiencing, teaching and sharing the benefits of savoring the good moments of our life for years, but I enjoy the topic so much and I talk with so many folks about it that I am always seeking new ways to learn more about our wonderful brains!

Did you know that you can change your brain? It’s true – neurons that fire together, wire together. The more time you spend reinforcing the positive moments in your life and savoring them, the more likely you will be to focus on, enjoy and benefit from them, because your brain is geared to do just that! New neural pathways form, making it easier for the good times to flow, in and out of you. And, over time, these new pathways can help you deal with negative moments and events more quickly and with less harmful effects on you and your sweet soul. Life will be happier, gentler and more fulfilling.

You see, if you take care of the minutes, the years will take care of themselves. (Tibetan saying.)

I hope the next 6 days are wonderful for you. And, that you treat the positive moments that arise with the tender loving care they deserve, because if you do, they will repay you tenfold, by helping you create the happiness and the life you deserve.

 

 

Positive thinking, a day to remember

positive-thinking-photoToday is Positive Thinking Day, which makes me very happy, because I’m a big believer in visualizing positive outcomes. Visualizing positive outcomes sounds fancy and maybe even a bit sciency, but all it means is that I try to spend more time predicting fabulous endings for activities and events in my life than I do worrying about them turning into major disasters. That’s my way of practicing positive thinking.

Each time I do a presentation or work with a client, I spend a few minutes before getting started, picturing how good I will feel after the session or looking back on my presentation. Sometimes I even picture folks coming up to say thanks and that they enjoyed it – and someone always does!

I developed this habit years before I read the positive psychology research that shows, there is a definite benefit to this happy habit. Studies show predicting positive outcomes produces a more positive short term outlook, which may lead to more positive outcomes. Short term – means the effect doesn’t last forever, but if used daily, positive thinking can definitely enhance your life.  I think the best part of the process is that since I spend much less time worrying about what could go wrong, my life (not just my outlook), has improved dramatically. I have learned to flick the switch to positive, which truly has lit up my life!

cake-1588967_960_720Since today is Positive Thinking Day, why not spend a moment or two predicting a wonderful outcome on some task or responsibility coming your way. You can start with something super simple, such as predicting a new recipe you are trying will come out well. Picture the finished product looking, tasting and smelling delicious. (Like this rich and powder-sugary, crispy-top, plum cake I plan to bake.) The more detailed your day dream, the better. Or, if you have a new project ahead at work, picture it in its final form, looking good and finished on-time. Envision yourself handing it in and how great it will feel having it completed.

These small steps flood your brain with a totally different set of hormones and chemicals than stress and worry do and they open new pathways and possibilities for you. Thinking positive isn’t just a pleasant pastime or or scientific mumbo-jumbo, it truly makes a difference in your brain.

Wishful thinking works, give it a try today, Positive Thinking Day. You have nothing but worry to lose!

Are you ready? Life could be better  . . . Wishful Thinking Works Life Coaching

Visit Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook for posts and updates.

 “Like” Wishful Thinking Works on Facebook.

Give it a try on Positive Thinking Day!

Discover and raise your positivity score. A 3-to-1 ratio is the way to go.

“World renowned researcher Dr. Barbara Fredrickson gives you the lab-tested tools necessary to create a healthier, more vibrant, and flourishing life. She discovered that experiencing positive emotions in a 3-to-1 ratio with negative ones leads people to a tipping point beyond which they naturally become more resilient to adversity and effortlessly achieve what they once could only imagine. With Positivity, you’ll learn to see new possibilities, bounce back from setbacks, connect with others, and become the best version of yourself.”              (http://www.positivityratio.com/)

In the weeks ahead I will be posting more about University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill professor and researcher Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D.’s wonderful work. We’ve talked about her “Broaden and Build” theory before. Her ground-breaking research in positive psychology tips the scales in your favor. Her tests and tips can set you on a clear path to positivity and help set you apart from the “80% of Americans” who are resting at a 2-to-1 or less positivity ratio.

Step out from the crowd and celebrate “Positive Thinking Day” by spending 3 minutes taking Fredrickson’s free online “Positivity Self Test” to find out a snapshot of your positivity ratio with the goal of paying attention to the questions, not the outcome! You see, the questions hold the clues to positivity – they capture the positive and negative thoughts and emotions we produce and respond to; the ratio reflects the impact they have on your life. Thoughts + ratio = your life.

Be honest as you answer the questions. If your ratio is not what you want it to be – not to worry. Simply use it as a baseline, and think positively! The key to the many, many benefits of positivity is a long-term 3-to-1 ratio, which is oh, so possible. Barbara’s research and your brain are designed to help you – knowledge and practice are the way to go. Barbara’s done the investigating and the gathering; I’ll help by sharing her info, and you can pitch in with the practice. Sounds like a winning combination to me, and it’s all free for the taking!

Get started today, and then come back in the weeks ahead for more of Barbara’s info, tips and techniques.

Until then, think positive!

PS Yup, I have posted about Fredrickson’s 3-to-1 ratio recently and in the past, because positivity matters! So much so, that tomorrow I’m celebrating my “Positive Thinking Day” by giving a transatlantic talk about it at the American Corner in Bitola, Macedonia via Skype. (That’s their program poster above.)

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!

Find out what makes you uniquely you!


gymnast-patrice-koerper-life-coach-wishful-thinking-works

Did you know that you are a very cool and unique combination of virtues and character strengths?

Yes, you! You are uniquely designed to be good at certain stuff. How cool is that? Positive psychology studies show that one of the best ways to feel happy and fulfilled in your life is to identify and use your personal strengths to accomplish the “stuff” that best suits you.

Having and exercising your Character Strengths is nothing new, yet sometimes we have to be in just the right mood to move forward on something, so I am mentioning it today incase the spirit of the Olympics inspired you this weekend, and you are wondering what you can do to pursue your personal best.

Why not get started by taking the VIA Charcter Strength Survey to find out more about yourself and what makes you uniquely you. It only takes 15 -20 minutes, and it’s free. Not a bad investment for such a positive return; it could be the beginning of a whole new you or maybe just a more “fit” you, because once you discover your strengths and begin exercising them, you can increase your happiness and your sense of fulfillment. 

Don’t miss out on exercising your strengths, it’s a workout that can keep you fit for the rest of your life! Think of it as the Olympics for your mind! It only take a few clicks and less than 30 minutes to discover and begin exercising what makes you, uniquely you!

After you have completed the survey, click here to receive your free Wishful Thinking Works Circle of Strengths, which can help you exercise your strengths and work your way up to your personal gold medal of happiness! 

Patrice Koerper  Life Coach Wishful Thinking gold medal June 2013

 

If you are ready to go for the gold in your personal life, having a coach can help you focus and move forward faster.

Contact Patrice Koerper for Wishful Thinking Works coaching, today.

%d bloggers like this: