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Frazzled to Free Blog

Insights to help busy women stop sacrificing their health and happiness to hectic schedules, and rediscover bigger, more fulfilling lives.

Three Ways to Grow Gratitude

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Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.  – Oprah Winfrey

Thanksgiving is almost here! While it is not a holiday in England, my childhood home, I appreciate this national celebration and the importance of giving thanks and being grateful.

Here are three ways to grow gratitude:

Focus on kindness

The local supermarket already feels the pressure of holiday shoppers. Long lines, full parking lots and exhausted shoppers can be wearing. Despite handling umpteen food items and impatient shoppers, a checkout clerk is still able to sincerely wish me a happy Thanksgiving. Where will I put my focus?

Be grateful for what you have

Waking up with a plateful of worries? One way to deflate them is to go through a mental checklist of what you can be grateful for right now, and keep adding to it until you feel some release from the overwhelm. If this is particularly challenging, you may begin by being grateful for your eyes that can see the light of a new day, and your hands that can reach out lovingly.

Reach out to friends and family

We will spend this holiday with some of our family of three grandchildren living 190 miles away. Ours is an age when family members often live far from home. Ditto for life-long friends. Yet long distances shrink with the blessing of technical connectivity. How special it is to see and speak with each other - in real time - by touching a couple of buttons!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to appreciate every blessing. As Oprah suggests, gratitude can help nurture us throughout the rest of the year!

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How to Discover the Best Exercise Solution

The speaker at the podium eyed the audience, took a deep breath and then somberly addressed us with these words: “Ladies, if you do only one thing… Keep your commitments to yourself. Do what you say you are going to do. Always!”

All well and good! However, this admonition may not always apply to exercise advice. Here is an example:

A wellness coach related that a client had agreed to increase her exercise level by going to the gym directly after work. The client found this difficult to do. The moment when she needed to turn into the gym parking lot, she drove on home instead.

The coach’s remedy? “Don’t go to the restroom before leaving work. Instead, stop off at the gym to use the facilities. Once there, you might as well exercise, right?”  Even so, the client continued to resist stopping at the gym. The coach concluded that non-compliance showed a lack of willpower. Now guilt was added to a complex emotional mix.

Certainly, expert advice and mentoring can be useful in developing an exercise regimen. Yet reliance on shortcuts and tricks to overcome apparent resistance indicates a yellow flashing light. If you’ve been working with me as your coach, you probably can pick out trouble spots in this "hard love" approach to lifestyle change:

When the only way you can get to the gym is by forcing yourself to visit its restroom, what kind of message are you giving your Self? If you are having difficulty following up with an agreed upon plan, perhaps it's not the “right” option for you because it did not come from your heart. Rather than accepting the criticism of being “weak-willed,” can there be a more helpful and loving resolution to your challenge?

 
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 Like many women, I’ve listened to those who believed they knew the "best" way to get more exercise. I sometimes ended up agreeing to their advice instead of listening to that inner voice saying, "this doesn't feel right!" When I couldn't keep my commitment, I considered myself a failure, even though the advice failed to honor all of me – body, mind, spirit and emotions.

INSIGHT BUILDER

Attempting to reboot an exercise program can be challenging. Rather than seeing resistance to exercise as a failure, or feeling guilty about it, this can be a wonderful opportunity to make new, more loving choices.

QUESTIONS

Here are questions to help develop a realistic exercise regimen:

  • Are you a full partner in developing a plan to improve your health along with your chosen expert?
  • Does the resulting plan honor your values, preferences, and needs?
  • Does it make you feel happier? Does it build your self-confidence? Does it refresh your spirit?

I would love to hear how you have discovered your best exercise solution!

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How to say "No" and Actually Mean It!

“A ‘No’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘Yes” merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.” … Mahatma Gandhi

 

I just finished reading “The Power of a Positive No” by William Ury. The author addresses a problem that blocks clear and open communication in all relationships: how to use the tiny two letter word [no] effectively.

According to Ury, the great gift of “no” allows us to create what we want, protect what we value and change what no longer works.

Ury believes that at the heart of the difficulty in saying No is the tension that exists between exercising your power and tending to your relationship. Exercising your power may strain a relationship, whereas tending to your relationship may weaken your power.

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To help readers evaluate their response patterns to requests, demands, confrontations and expectations, Ury offers a simplified three step check list which he calls the “Three-A Trap”:

•    Accommodate mode: We say yes when we want to say “no”.
•    Attack mode: We say “no” poorly
•    Avoid mode: We say nothing at all

Personally, while I now rarely get caught in the “Three-A Trap” – I can say no - sometimes I may fret about whether a response might hurt someone’s feelings. This book reminds me to switch focus to what I’m saying “yes” to:

•    Yes! to who I want to be
•    Yes! to speaking what is deeply true for me
•    Yes! to honoring my Self.

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What’s interesting is that once you find the burning “yes,” it is also easier to deliver the positive “no”.

The Power of a Positive No takes you through the stages of preparing for a positive no, delivering a positive no and how to follow through.

I highly recommend it!

Are there books that you would recommend on this or a related topic? I’d love to hear from you.

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Health Books - Too Many or Just Right?

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A client recently sent me this photo which started me thinking …

I have a love affair with books.

Three bookcases line the walls of my office, our family room has been turned into a library and even the spare room has a floor to ceiling bookcase.  I regard books as companions and profoundly respect authors who have devoted their time and energy to expressing their vision.

Can you see the array of health books – dieting, de-stressing, de-cluttering and more? Interesting and useful, they represent just a tiny fraction of what’s available.
Google lists 312 million entries for dieting, 6.6 million for clutter control and 245 million entries for stress.

Yet there is a disconnect …

With easy access to this mind-boggling array of facts, figures, advice, tips and programs:
•    No one should have a weight problem
•    No one should have a messy home or workspace
•    No one should be stressed

Information, whether retreads or ground breaking, is not enough to guarantee that we will eat better, have a tidy home or live with less stress.

So information alone is not the answer.

All too often books claim to have THE ANSWER to weight, clutter and stress and provide simplistic solutions that:

•    Disregard your whole person – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual
•    Ignore your goals, desires and life story
•    Only work in the short-term
•    Discourage your own creative problem-solving

Perhaps the pivotal question is this: How many books on your bookshelf are prescriptive, telling you what to do, compared to the number that inspire you to trust yourself, access your inner creative genius and make connections that lead to the outcomes you seek.

In any case, whether they are prescriptive or inspiring, the books on your shelf demonstrate your willingness to ask for help, to seek more information and to acknowledge that changing old habits can be a challenge. Congratulations!

Like you, I can learn from the books I’ve acquired, use what seems appropriate and finally, evaluate the results without feeling guilty!

My bookshelf, lead the way!

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How to get clear about your boundaries for self-care and peace of mind

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“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” … Eleanor Roosevelt

 

Do you have a moat around your castle?

Typically these castles with their high walls and turrets were built with a huge moat around them as a protection from intruders. It was very effective. Friends were allowed to gain entry over the drawbridge, while foes were barred by the moat.

Now imagine that you are the castle and your boundaries are the moat. How do you regulate access to your personal space, and how do you determine what people may or may not do or say to you?

If you are experiencing numerous situations in which people are finding a way across the moat to the heart of your castle without your invitation, it may be time to strengthen your perimeter. When we strengthen our boundaries we experience less stress, less fear and gain the respect of others. When we allow our boundaries to become weak, we may attract needy or disrespectful people into our lives.

So how do we establish clear boundaries, and what do we do when someone violates that boundary?

Setting boundaries is a process of deciding what people may or may not say or do to you.

As an example, let’s look at boundaries around other people’s anger. Most of us have a boundary that says, “When you are angry, you may not hit me”. But what about “You may not yell or scream at me”?

Then there is anger expressed in the form of a joke; these are the subtle digs, put-downs, wisecracks and more indirect forms of abusive behavior. Where do you draw the line regarding what people may not do or say to you?

If this process is new for you, I encourage you to set bigger boundaries than you might actually need. Once you have set your boundary, it’s important to let others know.

Here are some examples:
•    You may not use abusive language in my presence;
•    You may not put me down, chastise me or make me wrong;
•    You may not make jokes at my expense.

If you have typically allowed someone in your life to make subtle digs in your presence, let that person know that such behavior will not be tolerated. The next time it occurs, you will remind them that they have stepped over your boundary.

If someone repeatedly violates your boundary, what can you do?

Here is a formula that might be helpful:

Inform: “Do you realize you are yelling at me?”
Request: “I request that you stop yelling at me right now.”
Demand: “Stop! I demand that you stop right now.”
Leave: “This is unacceptable behavior. I will not continue this conversation while you are yelling at me. I am leaving to protect myself.”

When you are clear about your boundaries, and are willing to take immediate action to stop someone from violating your personhood, then you will give off an aura that says, “No one messes with me!”

What strategies have you found useful to protect your personal space from intruders?

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Making Self-Care a Priority - a lesson from gardening

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Our winter vegetable garden is growing lush and bountiful. We have been harvesting swiss chard, kale, asian greens, lettuce and an abundance of herbs. I check the vegetable garden regularly: How is it doing today? Does it need water? Are bugs eating the leaves? Are any of the plants sick? Do they need more compost or mulch?

It occurs to me that to be happy, healthy and whole, I need to do the same for personal wellbeing. I need to check in regularly and ask similar questions. Am I being mindful as I go through the day? How am I feeling? What am I thinking? Do I need more sleep? Have I taken enough time to meditate and to exercise? Am I eating well?

 If I don’t check on the vegetable garden for even a few days, the soil dries out, plants begin to wither and insects start taking over. If I don’t check in with myself and take remedial action, I can begin to slip toward unhappiness. Disconnection in body, mind, spirit and emotions does not bring peace and weeds of stress begin to grow.

Have you experienced the bounty of a vegetable garden? I would love to hear your insights on how you tend your personal garden so it grows lush and bountiful year round.

 

 

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Reframing: how to shift from annoyance to gratitude

When Bob returned from an organic grocery store he shared this incident.

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He found long lines at checkout. Eventually he was next in line. Just as the cashier rang up the sale of the preceding customer, a man holding an unappetizing root in his hand dashed up. He seemed very distraught, so Bob let him go ahead. After handing the root to the cashier, there was an issue with identifying the product and time dragged on.

The customer and the cashier bantered back and forth, while another staff member returned to the bin for a price check, further upsetting those in the queue. Eventually the transaction was completed. When Bob reached the checkout counter, the cashier apologized for the delay, explaining that doctors had given the man only 6 months to live. The special root he purchased was from Asia, and he hoped it might help him live longer.

Bob’s story shifted me into remembering very real blessings. My problems seemed very small in comparison. Can seeing your own situation a little differently today soften your heart toward someone who upset you?

Such is the power of gratitude.


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Exercise R.I.P.?

Can you relate to a client’s journey “home”?

Jill [not her real name] had just returned from a week-long cross country visit with her parents. It had triggered conflicting emotions. While she dearly loved her mother, returning to an old environment of being controlled turned her tummy into knots as IBS flared up.

“Now Jill, you ought to ….” “Taste just one bite of this delicious cookie …” “Don’t you remember how much that used to upset your father?”

A typical casualty of these trips was her fitness program – stretching, meditation before breakfast and a walk/jog in the late afternoon. All of this seemed to go up in smoke during her visit home.

Yet the most recent visit had been different. No, she had not been able to meditate or exercise during that week, yet Jill had found the resolve to confront her mother – gently but firmly.

“No Mum, that doesn’t work for me.” “I’m sure they are delicious but I’m not eating cookies at the moment.” “I need some time alone right now.”

During our session together Jill criticized herself for not continuing her exercise program [Healthy Body Petal] and only briefly acknowledged the power of standing up to her mother by listening to her own, inner parent [personal boundaries/Peaceful Mind Petal ].

Here’s the thing: Being happy and living a healthy lifestyle are not limited to eating right and exercising. From a holistic perspective, wellness incorporates body, mind, spirit and emotions, and any time you grow in one area, you are surely growing and moving toward your goals in other areas.

Can that be enough?

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A couple of questions that may be helpful:
•    Have you recently gone back “home” to visit a parent? How would you rate your experience within the Petals of the Stress Free Blossom? Were you able to maintain a Healthy Body, Peaceful Mind, Vibrant Spirit and Balanced Emotions?
•    Were you able to let go of an apparent “failure” within one Petal while acknowledging real progress within other Petals of the Stress Free Blossom?

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Have You Fallen Into a Social Media "Time Sink"?

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Many of my clients want to make positive and healthy changes in their lives. Yet they say that the single most important barrier they face is “not enough time”.

While that sense of “no time” is a perception, it can seem very real indeed. In reality, any given moment can expand to provide the time you need.

Have you noticed that time really isn’t static at all? It’s more like play dough. You can squeeze it down tight into a little ball or you can stretch it out and expand it – bigger than before.

One problem is that the perception of “no time” comes from not being present to what’s going on inside ourselves.

We know the positives and negatives of too much T.V. watching. While it can be relaxing and de-stressing, it also eats into available time for real self-care.

But isn’t there an even more insidious time waster that can eat away your precious minutes and hours? A monster that encourages you to sit more, eat more and stress more and leave self-care by the wayside.

Yep! It’s the world of Social Media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Apps, Email – all keeping our focus “out there”, “busy”, and “distracted”.

Have you fallen into a social media time sink hole? How can you tell?

•    Do you find yourself surfing the internet and suddenly realize that an hour has gone by?
•    Are you frequently checking for social media posts?
•    Are you constantly looking for the next email to drop into your box?
•    Do you answer your mobile device even when you’re in the midst of a conversation with someone live?

How can you reap the benefits of technology but leave its negative consequences behind? It really depends on whether you allow technology to dominate your life or whether you choose to take charge. 

Here are three questions to help you decide:

•    When are you willing to be interrupted by technology? Anytime? Any place? No matter what you are doing?
•    How exactly are you being affected by texting, posting, searching, linking, scanning?
•    Does social media take time away from your self-care?

Is technology using you and trapping you in a time sink? Or are you using technology? How would you like it to be?

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One Log - Three different life perspectives

Riding on the hike and bike path I came across a fallen tree blocking my path. It had been weakened by numerous storms and finally given way.

I picked up my bike and carried it over the trunk. Returning, I repeated the process, stepping over the huge obstacle and found myself thinking, "I'm glad this big old tree didn't fall on someone!"

Others made comments as they neared the fallen tree: A walker said, "Now here is something to make my walk more interesting!" Another said, "Those lazy maintenance people - don't they do their jobs anymore?"

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One fallen tree, a neutral event, and three different interpretations.

Isn't that just the way life is too? How often do we project onto situations and circumstances previous experiences and beliefs? Rain is just rain. To a business woman and her family on the beach for one week of the year, rain can be an unwelcome visitor. To a farmer with a field full of parched crops, rain can be a Godsend.

There is a Zen saying, "The obstacle is the path." What obstacle is in your path and how are your interpreting it?

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Do you see a time when you'll stop exercising?

Millie asked me this question when we left the gym. As I thought over possible limitations of getting older, I had a flashback of a woman on a mountain and whose answer would be a definite, “No way!”

We had moved to Houston in the spring, and after a hot, muggy Texas summer we were anxious to return of the mountains and de-stress. The closest mountain wilderness is Big Bend National Park -- our destination.

Excited to see to its acclaimed vistas, we got up before sunrise to begin the South Rim Trial, leading high up into the Chisos Mountains. Eager to reach the highest point, we selected the shortest route from the Basin, though it was steep and rocky. Undaunted by the trail and lifted by an adrenal high, we seemed to fly up the trail.

As we rounded a bend, we encountered an elderly woman steadily climbing up each stone step with the help of hiking poles. Her colorful scarf, white blouse, pants and hat were stunning. Her silver hair looked as though she had stepped out of a beauty salon.  We were panting, out of breath, but she was breathing normally.

Our elderly companion shared that she was 80, and that she had been climbing this particular trail for years. Usually a son from Alpine accompanied “Grandma.”

But today she had decided on the solitude of hiking alone. Among the crags, with views across the Chihuahuan  Desert, she said that she felt at home. Her appearance certainly reflected that inner calm and determination.

At some stage we inevitably peer into the future and acknowledge that the body will slow down as we age. But that doesn’t have to mean stopping.  Hulda Crooks began mountaineering at the age of seventy, and in her nineties, she became the oldest woman to ascend Mount Fuji. 

Isn’t this about beliefs and desire?

Please share how you might answer Millie’s question.

Do you think your answer would change 10 years from now?

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Negatives to Positives. A View from Outer Space

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Memo

To: Director, Division for Research on Intelligent Life, Galactic Central

From: Earth Saucer #1 Observer

Re: Request permission for Mind Meld

Chief:

You requested a preliminary report regarding my investigation of the planet Earth, pursuant directive to catalog intelligent life. I report unexpected behavior of a dominant life form, known locally as Humans.

Assessment: Human Adherance

1) Tendency to adhere to perception of "failure"

2) This occurs even though input data indicates success. Illogical!

Example:

At a "workshop" I am secretly observing, the speaker delivers an important presentation on the power of "positive thinking" (Ha!) At the conclusion, the speaker receives 153 positive evaluations from the audience rating her performance as "good" to "excellent". A single evaluation rates her as "poor" - boring and off-target.

Chief, look at the numbers... 153 "wins" as opposed to a single negative evaluation. Logic predicts that this human will use the 153 positive outcomes as irrefutable proof of success, right?

Wrong! Her brain locked into a single criticism. I find it utterly amazing that bipeds with such highly developed problem-solving skills obsess about perceived failure.

Recommendation:

It is time to defeat mind chatter that perpetuates damaging self-talk.

Chief, drastic action is needed. Yes, I propose a Mind Meld with this individual so she can help women defeat stress-inducing rumination.

Proposed Class 2 Mind Meld to contain coaching steps:

1. Acknowledge clients' disappointments. Not everything works.

2. Help celebrate clients' successes, no matter how "small" they seem. Critical to nurture self-confidence and self-esteem.

3. Encourage clients to identify long-range outcomes. Maintain this focus.

Recommendation Approved

Follow Up: Coaching Mind Meld... a success!


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How to Improve Self-Confidence. Gwendolyn Can Help!

Who can you talk to about self-confidence? Maybe, it’s somebody like “Gwendolyn.”
Let me share a little about her…

I arrive at the hotel in Corpus Christi early, to check out the room and technical arrangements for my breakout session. The coordinator had emailed me to expect 25 attendees, tops. So imagine the shock of discovering a cavernous meeting room seating several hundred people. Stage, full screen video, the works. 

It’s unexpected. That’s when I hear from Gwendolyn.
Yes, Gwendolyn, my twin who lives in my head. At times I hate her. This is one of those times.

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 “Patricia, you’ve messed up. Again! All set for two dozen people? Hah! Now you have to deliver in a lecture hall! Dummy, why didn’t you read the page about schedule changes?” 
Things like that.

Gwendolyn …Ever so ready to pounce, triggering guilt and self-doubt. She holds onto a glitch and converts it into a cliff-hanger. Oh, there’s so much more to Gwendolyn. She tells me what to eat. She wants me to hold a grudge and blame…

If Gwendolyn is such a pain, why keep her around?
Believe me I’ve tried to forget her, to drown her out with gingersnaps. I’ve yelled at her. But Gwendolyn won’t go away.

Two things counter the self-doubting Gwendolyn.
First, she is part of me. (To get rid of her, I’d need a frontal lobotomy.)
Second, she lives in a very tight place – fear and loss of love.

Gwenny, let me hold you in Gram’s squeaky chair.
Rocking, rocking, back and forth.

I look over the lecture hall. Plenty of time to run off extra handouts. That’s why I got here early.
I can distribute them before things get started.
I’ll get off the stage and mingle with attendees.
I know how to read the audience.
Flash drive works fine. Darn good stuff.

Yes, Gwendolyn and me…Like it or not, we are together in this.

Do you have a Gwendolyn who drains your self-confidence?
When does she check in? I would love to hear how you acknowledge your “Gwendolyn”.


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Four Ways To Be More Assertive: Apples and Aunts

Aunt Nan is on the other line. She says, “Talk a little louder, honey”. (She doesn't like to wear her hearing aid).
So I repeat a question that’s bugging me.

Aunt Nan, did you ever have trouble being assertive?
"Land sakes, whatever do you mean?"

It’s not about being in somebody’s face, or about having it all one way.
Nan, it’s like this. I went to check on a massage studio that opened last week. The masseuse  began with soft music in the background. A warm towel on my back. Effleurage. Every muscle so relaxed.

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I sank into that yummy place.  Only to be jolted awake by a monologue about a new boyfriend. He’s always late..He didn’t used to…blah, blah.

Nan, I wanted to say Stop talking! I felt so frustrated, because I just wanted the good part to keep on!

"Honey, it’s like deciding whether or not to bring home wormy apples"
Oh, Auntie!
 
Aunt Nan described what she meant:

"I got a new pie recipe from Mildred and wanted to try it out. I drove over to the supermarket for organic apples. Wouldn’t you know it. The only ones I found were banged up and plain wormy. I could take them home and cut out the bad spots…. Or, I could try to get good apples.

I showed one of those ugly apples to the produce manager. Sir, I said, these apples are not acceptable. Poor thing, he looked like he was 20. Anyhow, he started telling me it’s the wrong season for apples.

I decided to stick to my guns. I told him, I know for a fact that decent apples are being shipped out of New Zealand, and those are what I need for my new pie recipe.

Goodness Gracious, do you know what he did? That nice young man went to the storeroom himself, and came back with some of the prettiest Fuji apples I ever did see."

4 keys to assertiveness… according to Aunt Nan
1.    Nan isolated the problem.
2.    She was clear about what she wanted.
3.    Nan understood that she had a choice. She decided to state her needs, clearly without anger or recrimination, to the individual responsible for the situation.
4.    And she persisted with her message until she got results.

By the way, the pie was delicious.Fotolia_30838264_XS


Assertiveness is such a powerful concept.  Would you agree that it should be encouraged in girls and young women? Does being assertive help you stress less? Who is your assertiveness role model?


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How to stay present: Lessons from a mouse

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If you are like me, it's sometimes hard to appreciate special times, especially when worries intrude.

Surprisingly, help came from a children’s book.

There I was, cycling along the greenbelt. I couldn’t have wished for a more beautiful day. The sky a robin’s egg blue and a soft breeze caressing my face – and what occupied my mind? Problems. Thinking about a budget due that week, ruminating on less than happy conversation with a relative, and worrying about a rattling noise from the front end of my car.

The following evening while looking for another book, I happened to glance at our collection of children’s stories tucked away in one of the bookcases. There I found “Whitefoot the Wood Mouse” written by Thornton W. Burgess in 1976.

On the first page he wrote:

“Whitefoot believes in getting the most from the present. The things which are past are past, and that is all there is to it.

As for the things of the future, it will be time enough to think about them when they happen. If you and I had as many things to worry about as does Whitefoot the Wood Mouse, we probably never would be happy at all. But Whitefoot is happy whenever he has a chance to be…”

Yes, little mouse, you’re onto it!

On the next bike ride, I resolved to look and listen. How many different trees line the path? Tiny flowers sprinkled across a field.  Ripples in the pond from the plop of a fish. A caterpillar winding its way across the path. Be careful, little caterpillar!
 
Staying in the present may not be easy sometimes. Nature to the rescue!

What do you think of Whitefoot’s lesson? Is there a children’s story that still rings true for you?

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Does Asking "Why" Help Overeating?

Fotolia_24465261_XSHave you encountered coaches who respond to your sharing by asking a series of “Why” questions? This technique is often used to help a client delve into an immediate problem.

I avoid using “Why” questions in coaching. They can take the form of manipulation or judgment. Why equals....Explain yourself!

Alternative to asking "Why?"

A different sort of question can be supportive and constructive. “Are you willing to explore ...”

This approach both honors the client and offers a choice: If she wants to explore options, even a little bit, this type of question can open the door.

Here’s how a conversation might go for overeating:

Client: “I know I’m not hungry, but I just want to eat”
Coach: Are you willing to explore how eating is helping you?
Client:  “I don’t want to deal with xyz, I just want to eat”
Coach: Are you willing to explore what you’re feeling about xyz when you eat?

The client can test the water. Empowered and feeling safe, she may decide to explore feelings about eating. Or she may not want to.

Either decision offers an opportunity to understand the basis of her choices.

When I share something personal and my listener responds with "Why", I feel challenged rather than supported, or validated. I draw back, Oh!, Oh! - I'm not going to share anymore with her/him!

Have you had a listener ask you "why" after you shared something personal like overeating. Have you found different shades of meaning in "Why?"

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"Plan B" to Keep Exercising

On most days, I love to bike along trails near my home, to help stay fit, to process events, and to relax by being in touch with nature.

What to do when something interrupts a routine that satisfies so many needs?

After a particularly exhausting day, I put on my helmet, jumped on my bike and started off. Click, clank from the front wheel. Maybe a bearing needs to be lubed, so I headed back to the house. Rather than giving up on cycling, I grabbed Bob’s bike, adjusted the seat height, and took off for a spin (with his prior okay.)

Do you rely on a specific routine to maintain fitness and/or to manage stress? What happens when that activity is unavailable when you need it? A zumba class is cancelled, the weather turns too nasty for walking, or pool swim lanes are closed?

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Here are examples of my back-up plans:

  • Too hot (or rainy) for biking: Use aerobic workout DVD or home treadmill.
  • Too tired for a full workout: Ease up by taking a walk through the neighborhood.
  • Yoga class is cancelled: Watch a Yoga DVD.

Do you have an exercise or stress relief backup plan to handle unexpected changes? Will your "Plan B" be as effective and enjoyable as the activity it replaces? 

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