Monday, December 31, 2018

Practicing Positivity in 2019

Being Happy and Healthy in 2019
Practicing Positivity by Being Optimistic

Winston Churchill was quoted with the following statement: "Pessimists see the difficulty in every opportunity; optimists see the opportunity in every difficulty".  The science surrounding Positive Psychology has provided research based evidence that persons, who tend to be optimistic or focus on thinking in positive ways enjoy both physiological and emotional benefits.  Being happy bodes for a longer and healthier life.

It is important to note that a sense of happiness is not a brief state of elation or a sporadic burst of positive emotions. It is best defined as a sense of satisfaction, fulfillment and social connection.

We can enhance and sustain our happiness by practicing the following:

  • Being grateful and thoughtfully acknowledging those things we appreciate in our lives
  • Being curious and taking reasonable risks to expand ourselves, grow and have new experiences
  • Seeing ourselves as capable of overcoming hardship
  • Engaging in activities that help us feel good, calm, at peace
  • Exercising the ability to celebrate the successes of others close to us
  • Having persons in your life, you can call upon to sympathize and / or celebrate with you
  • Acknowledging troubling emotions, while not getting stuck in them
  •  Instead addressing the issues associated with unpleasant emotions and using them as motivators to positive change
  • Reflecting upon and recognizing our accomplishments and embracing feelings of success
  • Having a sense of meaning and purpose in one's life

Monday, October 29, 2018


Being Patient Is Not Being Passive: The Power in Being Patient

Many times, we struggle with being patient, particularly when we are waiting for something we want or desire to happen.  In that struggle, we often perceive ourselves to be powerless and dependent on the external entity to grant that thing, we are awaiting.  This sometimes generates anxiety and other forms of emotional distress (i.e. frustration, irritation, doubt, insecurity, etc.) that can lead to impatience.  In our impatience, we may act impulsively. Such behaviors typically do not result in our getting what we desire. Acting, primarily from a place of impatience, may result in even more undesired and disastrous effects.

I propose that we find some healthy guidelines for managing our minds and emotions around being patient. Let's consider healthy attitudes around being patient, so that it can work for us and enhance our well-being.
Take the expression, “exercising patience” seriously.  In other words, being patient does not require you to become passive or sit and do nothing. It is a matter of how you view and treat the period of time, during which you are awaiting the desired event or thing.  Remember, when we “exercise”, we are practicing, working out, reinforcing and strengthening some skill or a muscle.  The healthy outcome is that it makes us healthier, stronger and better able to withstand and triumph over challenges.

How to Determine When Being Patient and Waiting Make Sense 

First, it is important to determine the true urgency of the situation and whether being patient is the most appropriate or the healthiest stance to take, given the situation and desired outcome.  If the cost of being patient and waiting is too high and painful (with deleterious results), it makes sense to take reasonable action.

For instance, it is unhealthy to put off getting medical attention if you are experiencing intense or severe emotional or physical distress.  Immediate action is necessary in this case. Instead, once you begin a reasonable medical course of treatment, it makes sense to be patient and give it time to work or give yourself time to heal.

Questions to Ask Oneself / Perspectives to Consider / Attitudes to Adopt  
To Make Exercising Patience Empowering

Have I done everything reasonably possible to put into place what I desire?  

Then recognize and embrace your actions. Trust that you have done what you can.  Exercise faith by being patient for the result.

Is it reasonable to expect that what I want to happen is going to occur right away?

If something takes time to occur, develop or materialize, then be patient and allow time for such things to take place.

How can I view this period of patience in a positive way?

Consider the possibility that being patient can result in the time and space to sit still, get quiet and embrace being calm.  This may also present an opportunity for self-reflection that can promote increased personal empowerment.

How can I best utilize the time and space that being patient and waiting might provide in a productive and empowering way?

This may allow the opportunity to creatively engage in free time; to try something new; to learn a new skill; to reach out, connect and reinforce relationships, etc.

What might be a spiritual message or lesson to learn about this period of waiting?

Spiritually, this may be a time to exercise faith and put it into practice.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

We Are Human Beings, Not Human Doings

Nurturing Our Being Human Enhances Our Wellbeing

Often we treat ourselves as though we are objects or machines. A good example of this is the over emphasis in American society on producing outcomes that are tangible or material in nature. Our tendency to over value what is is we do in this sense, as opposed to focusing on nurturing our well being.

Taking care of our well being is the key to enjoying benefits that promote wellness, happiness and a positive sense of self. When we direct our energy and engage in practices that address our needs from the inside out (as opposed to ), we are more likely to experience the following states that research shows are most likely associated with being successful.

Feeling a sense of value and priority
Feeling energized
Feeling relaxed
Feeling self-confident
Feeling motivated
Feeling empowered
Feeling a sense of clarity
Feeling a sense of purpose
Feeling a sense of passion
Feeling accomplished
Feeling connected to others

This is the wellspring from which we are best able to function and maximize our potential.  This state and way of being or operating is most likely to occur when we practice the following:

Practicing self-compassion and self-acceptance
Engaging in quieting, centering exercises
Being mindful and present
Engaging in self-reflection
Taking time out to relax
Practicing generosity and empathy
Being grateful
Having fun

Saturday, June 30, 2018


Taking good care of ourselves is our responsibility and our right. This includes our emotional well-being and ability to feel good and effectively manage our emotions. We surrender our power by allowing others to control, mistreat, manipulate or take advantage of us.  Therefore, it is important to value our well-being and exercise our ability to treat ourselves well.

When we nurture ourselves, make ourselves a priority and enable ourselves to enjoy life, it energizes us and promotes our happiness.  This process creates a reservoir of abundance, from which we can give to others with a healthy spirit of generosity that does not leave us depleted.  Treating ourselves well also sends a positive message to others and sets a healthy standard and expectation about the treatment we will accept from others.

Here are ways to treat yourself well:
  • Nurture your spirituality and your sense of purpose, mission and calling
  • Celebrate yourself and appreciate being alive
  • Focus on whatever blessings and good things you have
  • Recognize and appreciate your skills, strengths and talents
  • Give yourself permission to feel good about your abilities and accomplishments
  • Connect with others and surround yourself with positive people
  • Nurture the close relationships in your life
  • Develop your potential and openness to learning something new
  • Do those things that bring you comfort, peace and satisfaction in a healthy way
  • Forgive yourself for past mistakes; learn the lessons and strive to do better going forth
  • Adopt an attitude of self-compassion, accepting that you are  not perfect
  • Remind yourself about your past victories and achievements to build self-confidence
  • Have fun, laugh and enjoy life

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Displaying and Demonstrating Our TAGs (Talents, Abilities and Gifts)

What TAG are You Wearing?  What Does Your TAG Reflect About You?

A TAG is typically thought of as a label, which identifies, describes or provides information about the object, to which it is attached.  The term, "TAG", as it applies to a person's career life, specifically refers to one's talents, abilities and gifts.

One’s natural or intrinsic strengths; those things that come easy to a person.  Typically, talents become apparent when persons are encouraged to express them and provided with the opportunity to develop them.
Example: A parent might notice that their young child is especially good at drawing and reinforces the expression of that talent with positive praise and feedback.

What are your talents?  
  • Reflect on your talents by assessing your accomplishments and successes
  • Recognize what it is that you find particularly of interest and easy to do
  • Explore your talents by exposing yourself to different experiences

Our abilities determine what we are capable of learning.  As a result, we acquire various skills, based on our abilities. 

Example: Persons, who have the ability to recognize and sound out letters typically learn to spell well.
Interaction of Talents & Abilities: During the course of developing reading and spelling skills, a person’s special talent for writing and creating poetry may become evident and get further developed.

Develop your abilities:
  • Take on new challenges
  • Learn new skills
  • Practice and strengthen abilities and skills
These are our spiritually based callings for ways to manifest or share our talents and abilities. These are typically those talents and abilities that stand out and inform us of a special purpose or mission for which they serve.  This may be experienced as a calling.

Example: A person may recognize that in addition to one’s talent for singing well and that those related abilities have been well developed, they have a gift of imparting these skills to others and feel called to teach music.  

  • Express your gifts
  • Share your gifts in ways that are fulfilling
  • Utilize your gifts in various ways
 Recognize how our TAGs are significant to our career lives in determining a sense of direction, setting goals and achieving success.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Stop "Shoulding on Yourself"! Start Treating Yourself Well

"Shoulding" on oneself  is a form of thinking about oneself in harsh, unkind, unfair and judgmental ways. Below are three common manifestations of this type of self "shoulding". Also provided are strategies to  transform such thinking into healthy, self-loving, self-compassionate, reasonable and empowering attitudes.

I. Unhealthy, Negative or "Stinking Thinking": "I Should (do something)"
Do you attempt to motivate yourself to accomplish something by telling yourself about what you "should do" (or other obligatory and self-judgmental terms, such as "ought to", "got to", "must" and "need to", etc.)?  This for of thinking is self-critical and unkind toward self. Instead, it sets you up to fight internally because you hear yourself commanding yourself to perform. This places undue pressure on oneself and results in added stress.

I. Healthy, Self-Compassionate and Self-Loving: "I Want"
Instead, embrace and tell yourself what you "want" (or any form of desire). In other words, give yourself permission to aim for those things that will contribute to your satisfaction. Recognize that wanting (or any form of desire) is more likely to propel and mobilize us toward a goal.  It also promotes thinking that opens up the possibilities and inspires positive motivation and optimism. Allow yourself to feel deserving and capable of attaining your goals. Be okay with treating yourself well. It sets the standard for how you will allow others to treat you.

 II. Unhealthy, Negative or "Stinking Thinking": 'I should do (usually some form of work or unpleasant task) something other than enjoying myself in the moment "
Do you find yourself having difficulty relaxing; taking a break or enjoying free time and pleasant activities because you think and tell yourself that there is something else you "should" be doing?
This is a failure to be kind and reasonable toward oneself and one's well being.

II. Healthy, Self-Compassionate and Self-Loving: "I am doing something healthy and good for myself by taking a break or having fun. I am taking good care of myself"  

Recognize that it is your responsibility and right to take good care of yourself.  Research shows that taking breaks, engaging in relaxing and enjoyable activities, having fun and laughing contribute to reducing stress and increasing well-being. This enables us to have healthy balance in our lives and restores and re-energizes us to more effectively handle and cope with life's demands. So, tell yourself that relaxing empowers you to experience better health and feel good.

III. Unhealthy, Negative or "Stinking Thinking": "I Should Be Further Along in Life" or "I Should Be As Successful As My Peers (or any other persons, against whom you are comparing yourself)"
Do you beat yourself up because you have not yet attained the success or progress you wish and instead, focus on feeling that you "should" be much farther ahead; or worse yet, negatively compare yourself to others and think that you "should" be at least where they appear to be.

This is also a form of erroneous expectations and unfair treatment of oneself. In the first instance, the disappointment in oneself overshadows one's self-compassion and therefore interfere's with one's ability to capture progress and move ahead.  Comparing oneself negatively against someone else is a no-win attitude. We cannot live according to another's standard or walk in someone else's path. We can only be our best. So, refrain from using others as your measuring stick.  In both instances, feelings of depression and anxiety are likely that further interfere with one's ability to see and actualize one's best self.

III. Healthy, Self-Compassionate and Self-Loving: "I have made progress and can continue to strive toward the success I want."  

This healthy form of thinking enables one to recognize that they may already be on their path toward who they wish to become. It embraces the person's desires, dreams and the possibilities.  It is also important that one recognizes ways they have achieved progress  and are a lot closer to attaining and fulfilling one's dreams and aspirations than at some previous point in time. A self-compassionate attitude also embraces a healthy sense of our shortcomings (not being perfect) and that where it is appropriate to ask for help or tap into external resources. Validating one's own path and valuing oneself and well being enables one to be their best self.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Living On and With Purpose

How to Live Intentionally

Decide and choose to be:

     (a reasonable and manageable state of contentment)
     (considerate toward and able to relate to the feelings of others)
Truthful and Authentic
     (honest, transparent and open with self and others; behaving 
      with integrity)
      (responsible, reliable, consistent, of  good character)
     (present to the present; valuing and utilizing the moment)
     (appreciative of and able to value good things in life)     
     (able to extend oneself toward and connect with others )
Achievement Oriented 
     (setting and working toward reasonable goals)
Empowered over one's circumstances
     (behaving and viewing self as able to overcome negative
       events and circumstances; problem solving attitudes)
Emotionally in touch, self-aware and in control
     (the ability to introspect, self-reflect, self-manage and act with
     (valuing and nurturing one's well-being)
     (being hopeful and exercising faith in positive possibilities)
Proactive Instead of Reactive
     (being willing to dream, envision, plan, take initiative
       and actively aim toward one's aspirations)

Practicing Positivity in 2019

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