Category Archives: Uncategorized

Relationship Tips

Contributed by Denise Daub

by Ellen G. Goldman

When I was a little girl, summer was a time filled with lazy days, family, friends and neighbors. My siblings and I spent our time at the local swim club surrounded by our friends; swimming, playing tennis, ping pong, and just hanging out. When we were old enough to work, we got jobs at the pool club. Camp counselor, lifeguard, kitchen help; it didn’t matter as long as we could all be at “the club.” We didn’t need to think about making time for our friends and family. We were together all the time.

Now that I’m an adult, with adult responsibilities, summer days often feel like any other day of the year. Working, taking care of the house and family and always rushing to get things done leaves little free time to spend with others. I know I’m not alone. My friends and clients complain that there are just not enough hours in the day, and they are too busy to take the time to enjoy just “hanging out.” What I miss the most from those lazy summer days are the relationships I had with my summer friends.

Read more… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-g-goldman/8-tips-to-improve-important-relationships-in-your-life_b_7841656.html?ncid=newsltushpmg00000003

Living Wisely

Contributed by Dr. Nancy Buck

What does it mean to live a good life? What about a productive life? How about a happy life? How might I think about these ideas if the answers conflict with one another? And how do I use my time here at college to build on the answers to these tough questions?

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/02/education/edlife/how-to-live-wisely.html?WT.mc_id=2015-AUGUST-FB-GY-AUD_DEV-0801-0831&WT.mc_ev=click&ad-keywords=AUDDEVREMARK&_r=0

 

Reading or riding, which is going to get you where you want to go?

by Dr. Ken Larsen

You can’t learn to ride a bike by reading about it.  You have to get on the bike and ride it.  Reading and riding work in different parts of our brain.  Studying the aerodynamics of flight will not enable you to fly.  Knowing about something is far removed from actually doing it.

Self-help books and programs have proliferated over the past few decades.  Seems like you can improve your sex life, get along better with your children and get rich in the market, all by reading a book or listening to someone talk about it.

I would have to murmur, “Au contraire, mon ami!”  Knowing about something is not the same as doing it.

Books can give us information about some things we want to do in our life.  They can give us a theoretical base to guide our efforts, but at some point we need to actually step out and do it.

ridingabikeWe need to get on the bike.  We need to get close to our partner and learn to love and be loved, we need to actually get face to face with our children and use some of the theoretical insights we have gained.  I don’t know what to tell you about the market.  Perhaps just realizing “how much is enough?” and living with that will make you rich in many ways.

Life is about living, about finding our mental health and happiness in the experience of getting out of ourselves and into connected relationships where we can give and receive the real stuff of life.

When we start to ride, there are the skinned knees and elbows.  Just as in life there is trauma when we start to ride.  But we ride on anyway!

 

 

Meaningful Life

Contributed by Denise Daub

Happiness, resilience, connection, and kindness: these aren’t just central qualities of a well-lived life, but “skills that can be taught and developed over time—with practice,” according to UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center (GGSC).

Now GGSC has made learning these skills easier with Greater Good in Action, a guide that catalogues dozens of “research-based methods for a happier, more meaningful life.” Each practice includes detailed instructions, explanations of the science involved, links to relevant research studies, plus quizzes, pointers and more.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/08/science-meaningful-life_n_7723154.html?ncid=newsltushpmg00000003

The Art of Forgiveness

Contributed by Denise Daub

by Silvana Perelli

Somehow it’s easier to recover from a betrayal that comes from your arch nemesis or someone you don’t respect. You almost come to expect it from them and you’re somewhat prepared for an emotional assault.

It’s the people who are closest to us that have the capacity to inflict the most pain. How could someone you love so dearly trespass against you so cruelly? My grandmother used to say “you see people’s faces not their hearts”. Occasionally you realize someone you thought was a dear friend is actually a foe, their true character finally revealed.

But how do you forgive the unforgivable? Here are my 10 steps to handling betrayal with elegance and grace.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/silvana-perelli/the-art-of-forgiveness-10_b_7649384.html?ncid=newsltushpmg00000003

Tomorrow is another day

Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Have you ever had a problem or upsetting issue that seemed to haunt and invade your every thought? Perhaps your thinking is drawn to the recent upsetting conversation you had during an argument with a loved one and no matter how hard you try to stop this train of thought, you play the conversation over and over and over again in your mind. Or maybe the senses of shock and disbelief from having received sudden and unwelcome news has your going over and over and over all options and possibilities in search of a solution and relief.

It’s like when you have a painful cavity or broken tooth. It seems that out of your control or awareness your tongue keeps going to the spot in your mouth to check; Does it still hurt? Sometimes it feels as though our minds return to the same painful thoughts to check; Does it still hurt?

Please check for other blogs that have been written to help you transform these experiences through searching for the GLO Gift, Lesson, Opportunity from these kinds of life events.

Here’s another idea that you can immediately implement to help you deal with these obsessions. Using this management strategy will help improve your Mental Health & Happiness while you are also dealing with the problem or issue.

waitingwomanSet aside thirty minutes during your day when you will indulge and embrace the upset, sadness, depression, anger, frustration or any other upsetting emotion accompanying your present circumstance. Make this a consistent and regular part of your day. Include any props, music, letters, articles, emails that you want and need to fully engage your emotions associated with your present situation.

Now set the timer for thirty minute and begin. During this thirty minute period do what ever you want and need to do: cry, yell, curse, write, rock, punch a pillow, stay motionless and silent or what ever else you feel moved to do. During this time you are not to worry about what others will think or say. You are alone, accepting, acknowledging and allowing full expression of your unhappiness. If you run out of steam before the thirty minutes is complete, simply sit breathing in and out while thinking about what has upset you. Allow your thinking to continually check in with your mind to see; Does it still hurt? Once your time is up, leave this space and know you will return to this practice tomorrow at the same time.

During the rest of you 23 hours and thirty minutes, when your mind drifts back to the upset, outrage or unhappiness, look at your watch. Have your reached the correct time to embrace this thought? If not, remind yourself that now is not the time for this thinking. You will get back to this thought later today at your designated time.

Give this a try the next time you find yourself feeling out of control and driven by your obsessive thoughts. Remind yourself that it’s okay to think those thoughts, feel those feelings and have your own personal temper tantrum. However, you are going to invite and engage your full range of emotions only during the time you manage and designate. Taking this kind of management and control will help support your Mental Health & Happiness during those unpredictable and upsetting moments in our life’s journey.

 

Three Ways to Develop Leadership in Yourself

By Brian Patterson, Med, RTC

In the past few months, I have been solely focused on studying and applying leadership principles for the purpose of advancing a state service agency and it is an incredible task and opportunity- the sky’s the limit! So many people suffer or, at least, are under-productive because of inadequate or inappropriate leadership.

There have been leaders throughout history who sparked incredible movements for their time but seemingly, no one picked up the mantle and continued enough to produce a paradigm shift in leadership thinking. Leadership usually resorts to position power, carrots and sticks thinking and the presumption that the leader must be better than the followers or they would not be in the position. It’s circular reasoning. Few leaders invest in themselves so that they have more to offer those they lead.

Three leadership trends and philosophies that I have been studying have a different bent- a 21st Century approach. They are Transformational Leadership, Servant Leadership and Lead Management by Dr. William Glasser. All three value the followers as more than just a resource or business calculation. Preserving the dignity and raising the vision of those who are led seems to propel each philosophy. I am encouraged when I read about any of the three. John Knox, the 16th Century Scottish reformer wrote, “You cannot antagonize and influence a person at the same time.” Being a boss rather than a leader attempts to do that. In today’s society, I believe that we can accomplish more by treating people kindly and having a powerful shared vision for success.

“Hope begins in the dark: the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” – Anne Lamott

There are three requirements for leadership at any level. No matter where you are positioned in a company, agency or family, you have someone who follows you.

Read more…

Feel what you’re feeling

by Dr. Ken Larsen

There is a phrase that I’ve heard from people who practice mindfulness.  “What we resist, persists.”

insides_kenFears that persist in our lives can have a devastating impact on our mental health and happiness.

While practicing dentistry I would see patients who were nearly paralyzed with fear.  This fear was connected to anticipation of the dreaded Novocain injection.  The images dancing through the minds of these people were associated with all the signs of stress and anxiety.  They were not without courage, however.  To show up for a dental appointment carrying that kind of fear was very courageous.

As I talked with these patients, I would hear them describe their struggle with fear.  “No matter how I try to fight it and overcome it, it is still there.”

If I could gain a bit of trust from the patient, I would get their permission to try something.  Usually there was a wary nod of the head.  I’d smile and say something like, “what I’d like you to do is feel what you are feeling.”  This usually elicited a puzzled look. I would then do something like touch the patient’s cheek with my finger and ask them what they felt. They would reply that they felt my finger touching their cheek.  Then I would ask them to stay focused in that mental state of feeling what was actually happening.  I would tell them that I was going to administer the anesthetic and I wanted them to feel precisely what they were feeling and then report to me after the injection just what they felt.

The results were amazing.  Most people got kind of a goofy look, remarking something like, “I hardly felt a thing.”  Or “I felt a little stick and then some pressure.”  We would then briefly discuss what they had learned about the difference between “feel what you are feeling” compared with reacting to an imagined fear.

I would further encourage them by remarking that it was OK not to like getting a shot.  I would smile and say, “I think I’d worry about you if you enjoyed it, but you have discovered that it is a manageable experience and doesn’t have to paralyze you.”  At that point there was usually one of those moments that we sometimes experience when two people understand one another in a new way and a good way.

I’ve come to see that his principle can apply to other fearful thoughts and memories and expectations that assail our imaginations.  Do you struggle with an unwanted, unwarranted fear that is interfering with your mental health and happiness?  I think if we understand the dynamics of “feel what you are feeling” we can make progress in getting free from those fears.

Try it sometime.  Notice your fear or anxiety, then notice what is going on around you.  Slow down, focus on your breathing and notice what you are feeling and where you feel it in your body.  Just feel it and breathe.  You might ask yourself how long you want to feel it and when you are done feeling it let it go.  This sounds too simple doesn’t it.  I used to think that, too, just as I thought that touching a person’s cheek could free a person from a paralyzing fear.  If you sit with it, breathing comfortably, you will notice the phenomenon of what has been called “urge surfing.”  The urge to fear will fade, just as a wave in the surf comes along, builds up, and then fades away.

Part of this process is to examine the reality that surrounds you.  Usually you will not see an actual threat.  Then you can realize that the fear is coming from your imagination.  That does not mean it is not real simply because it comes from our imagination.  It is very real.  The wonder is that you can develop the skill to make the choice to diminish and perhaps even eliminate the power that the fear has over you.

I am obviously summarizing the practice of mindfulness which is being used all over our country to manage stress and the resulting anxiety and fear.   If you want to go deeper with these principles, there is much material available.  I would recommend Tara Brach to start.  She has a wealth of material freely available on YouTube.

The Glad Game

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

It ain’t a ball or a strike until I call it, says the umpire.

If you’re a baseball fan you are familiar with that expression. There may be plenty of fans and players who might call the pitch a ball or a strike, but the umpire gets the final say.

Did you know that you are the umpire in your own perceptions of your life with these same kinds powers? You’re making your own calls all day long. Your judgment calls declare the world to be a good or bad place, your temporary hotel room ugly or beautiful, or the President’s or Congressional decisions to be moral or immoral, right or wrong.

Just as there are players and fans at a baseball game who disagree with the umpires calls there are others in your life that may disagree with your “call.” But you still have the ability and power to make the call.

In fact, it is very difficult to STOP judging the world. Our brains are hard wired for a negative bias. This biological function enables us to quickly assess a predatory animal, a dangerous path or a poisonous food. Without this function our species would have perished a long time ago. I wouldn’t be here writing and you wouldn’t reading this blog without our valuing filters that lead to our judgements, actions, opinions and corrections.

That also means that we are not hard wired for a positive bias. We must learn and practice over and over again in order to notice and celebrate all that is good, in balance and life sustaining.

PollyAnna, the overly nice, sweet and optimistic heroine in the 1913 Eleanor Porter novel by the same name can be our teacher here. She was taught by her pastor father to always find the silver lining in every cloud. PollyAnna developed this skill so proficiently that she was able to discover what was good about receiving crutches as the charitable Christmas gift instead of the doll she was hoping for from the generous parishioners. What was good? At least she didn’t need them.

This skill is referred to as the Glad Game. And as simperingly simple and sugary sweet as you may imagine it, developing and regularly practicing the Glad Game can actually improve your Mental Health & Happiness.

Remember, what you perceive and judge as unfair, ugly, mean, or too hard can be changed by you. Look for the fair and equitable in what you are calling unfair. See if you can find the handsome or unusual in what you are declaring as ugly. Is there any justifiable or understandable aspect in what you now declare mean? Can you discover the challenge and stretch to pursuing what you called too hard?

Simply by reviewing a circumstance, action or object you can usually find the good as well as the not good. It is our brain’s hard wiring that has us rushing to the negative judgement. But with practice and effort, we can change the automatic negative call into a neutral or even positive assessment.