Smile Your Way to Success
As we reel from Christmas buyers remorse, slog through our annual SAD sluggishness, and waddle through our 5- pound Holiday weight gain, we could all use a dose of smile therapy. But in the rush to get back “in the swing of things” we may forget that this powerful tool is available to us 24-7. Scientists have proven that flexing the 26 muscles that it takes to smile, generates positive chemicals in our bodies. The resulting positive feelings may help you create greater success in 2010. Happy moods lead people to be more venturesome and more open to others. Happy people are also more highly motivated and more willing to tackle tough projects. If you’re trying to get yourself to tackle the task that you keep putting at the bottom of your list, smiling may give you the push you need. Also, in this time of tightened belts, smiles are a free social currency. As Author Les Giblin has said, “If you’re not using your smile, you’re like a man with a million dollars in the bank and no chequebook.” Smiling shows people that we are friendly and approachable – thus making us more desirable to do business with or work with. Smiling people are judged to be more sincere, sociable, competent, and attractive and a genuine smile shows self confidence. Smiles also motivate others. Louise Armstrong knew that smiles are contagious: “When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.” If you’re a manager trying to jumpstart productivity, a salesperson working to close a sale, a teacher trying to engage your students, or a parent coaxing your kid to finish their homework, a smile can inspire the behavior you are looking for. To others your smile is a gift of encouragement, inspiration, acknowledgement, and… Read More
Deeply Ingraining Positive Affirmations
In these challenging times, those of us who remain positive will be more successful, resilient, happier, and healthier. No matter how much negative energy or information we receive, we can take charge of our thought patterns to maintain a positive outlook. We’ve all heard about repeating Positive Affirmations to help us think more positively, attain our goals, and lose weight. What you might not know is that there are techniques you can use to more deeply ingrain your Positive Affirmations so that they have an even greater impact on how you think, feel, and act. You can think of your subconscious as a small, easily influenced animal. If it is fed positive energy it will be positive; if it is fed negative thoughts and energy, it will be negative. Affirmations help us be more positive because they feed our subconscious positive thoughts. If you don’t already have Positive Affirmations that you work with, I’ve got a list of Affirmations, by category (Self Esteem, Success, Health, Relationships, Wealth) on my website. One affirmation that I recommend to my clients is: Success: “I see opportunities all around me and take advantage of them.” This affirmation helps you keep your eyes open, when scarcity thinking tries to keep them closed. You can choose Affirmations from my Affirmations List, from the webpages I have shared in my Affirmations List article, or you can create your own. So how can you deeply embed your affirmations? Tailor your Affirmation Learning Strategies to your Learning Style. There are three common Learning Styles: Visual, Auditory (hearing, verbal), Kinesthetic (touch, feel). If you don’t know your Learning Style, I have a Learning Style Inventory on my website. Whatever Learning Style, you can benefit from using multiple learning strategies to master information; so don’t be afraid to experiment with all the strategies… Read More
Live Like a Buddhist Monk
Americans tend to live the opposite of a Zen lifestyle. We rush, multi-task, complicate, continuously move, crowd, and accumulate. We’re driven by calendars and to do lists. But even if we cannot fully embrace a Zen lifestyle, we can benefit from devoting regular time to live more like a monk. It could be a day, a week, an hour a day, a week a year, but any time you devote to the following these Zen Principles will bring you more peace and less stress. Devote time to sitting. In the life of a Zen monk, sitting meditation (zazen) is one of the most important parts of his day. Meditation is practice for learning to be present. Sit silently for at least 10 minutes a day. Live simply and have only what is necessary. There is little in a Zen monk’s life that isn’t necessary. He doesn’t have a closet full of shoes or the latest in trendy clothes. He doesn’t have the latest gadgets, cars, televisions, or iPhone. O.K., well actually he does have an iPhone, as we discovered on our trip to Buhtan. But that’s all he has, I swear! He’s wearing worn leather sandals and a piece of red cloth for goodness sakes!!!! Maybe he’s raking the sand in his iZen Garden!!!Let’s get back to the point: less is more. Give away the extra kitchen gadgets and sports equipment. They are cluttering your house and your mind. Do one thing at a time. When you’re eating, just eat. When you’re gardening, just garden Do it slowly, deliberately, and completely. Rushing takes the Zen out of the moment. Take your time. Move slowly and deliberately. Focus your mind. First cut the peppers, then cut the onions. Don’t move on to the next task until you are finished with… Read More
We’ve all tightened our belts recently, but belt tightening doesn’t have to lead to the “same place, same thing” syndrome. There are lots of fun things you can do for free: Visit a museum on Free Friday Take a cup of tea to your favorite park bench Go on a photo safari with your digital camera, try to see your neighborhood from a new perspective Download some podcasts from iTunes Watch the waves crash on your local beach Visit a park and listen to the birds sing Make cookies (sugar free of course) Meet your neighbors Look at old pictures Play cards Rearrange your furniture Do a puzzle Sit by a fountain Start a journal Hold a baby Start a book club Almost Free Find the pennies in your couch and to go a movie Play an old videogame – I loved Galaga and Pacman myself Use a coupon to get a free yogurt Host a potluck Use your Starbucks gift card Get a coffee and read in Barnes & Noble Find a two for one meal at a low cost restaurant Buy a beach ball at Riteaid (I recently did this!!! It was fun!!!) Here are some websites to help you find free places to go: Free Attractions : http://www.travelandleisure.com/slideshows/americas-top-free-attractions Free Places to Go in Southern California: Daytrippen Remember, if you get creative, there’s plenty of free fun!
“All of us are born with a set of instinctive fears — of falling, of the dark, of lobsters, of falling on lobsters in the dark . . . ” Dave Barry O.k., I’m not proud of it! Those of you who’ve been following my journey to overcome my fears, will note from this picture that I took a step backwards recently. At our dinner at The Palm in Caesar’s Palace, the waiter brought our lobster for a visit before the cook dispatched him. In my defense, I was brave enough to touch the lobster, but every time I did, the waiter made it jump at me. Yes, I squealed like a little girl, but the thing was a bit slimy and it’s tail was fluttering. Afterwards, I was a bit disappointed in myself, having the week before petted a Great Dane. But then I heard my coaching voice echo in my ears: the path to being the person you want to be isn’t always a straight one. We have missteps and back steps, but in the end we move forward if we are focused and truly desire to be the best we can be. Part of the journey is self forgiveness. And part of the journey is learning to love yourself – your foibles and all. By the way, for those of you with Lobsterphobia. You may think you’re safe with frozen lobsters, but Trufresh is planning to sell lobsters frozen in a -40 degree chemical brine that allows lobster revival. The company recently showed a video at the Boston Seafood Show with two undead lobsters squirming around after being frozen stiff!!!! Woody Allen and I will not be buying these lobsters any time soon!
What Can I Do To Make Your Day A Little Easier?
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but those who focus on others, instead of themselves, tend to be happier and more positive. Recently, neuroscientists discovered that when you are compassionate, your nervous system and the emotion control center of your brain, are positively affected, resulting in happiness. In addition, compassion releases oxytocin in your body, which calms stress and boosts immunity. So helping others and showing empathy will make you happier and healthier. And helping others doesn’t have to be an overwhelming proposition. Recently I was having a bad day. It isn’t surprising that I would have a bad day considering I am recovering from extensive surgery on my foot, ankle, and calf. Feeling frustrated and helpless, I was stunned at the impact of one simple question my husband asked: “What can I do to make your day tomorrow a little easier?” Just the utterance of the words touched my soul. And the little things I asked him to do made the next day so much better: “Can you put a trashcan next to my Coaching chair and can you move my lunch to the second shelf in the Fridge so I can reach it better?” It took him just a few minutes to respond to my requests. A little compassion. A little effort. And not only did I feel better, but my husband’s frontal lobe lit up, while calming chemicals bathed his body and reduced his stress. Imagine how much happier you could be and what a better place the world would be if we all asked that simple question more often: What can I do to make your day a little easier?
Hug It Out!
A recent University study found that students who were given the assignment to give or get five hugs a day were much happier than those who did not receive the assignment. We all know that hugging makes us happier, but sometimes we get so focused on surviving our daily schedules that we forget to do simple things that make us happier. Touch has been shown to be the greatest language of compassion. You do need to be careful in the work place, but when possible, giving just a pat on the back can greatly increase both your and the receiver’s happiness. As a coach, I am constantly looking for small actions my clients can take to increase their happiness. I find that when my clients focus on one or two happiness actions, they become much happier. So when the situation is right: Hug it Out!
Feel Good in Tough Times
New studies on Happiness have yielded these strategies to improve your mood and build happiness, no matter how tough the times: Buy experiences not things. Purchasing objects is not show to appreciably increase happiness. Buying experiences will invigorate you, mentally stimulate you, and bring joy into your life. Try indulging in concerts, plays, sporting events, museums, and dinners with friends instead of a new pair of jeans. Spend time with cheerful people. We all know that negativity is contagious, but studies show that happiness is also contagious. Life is too short, stop spending time with turkeys! Keep a Dream Journal. Just 10 minutes a week spent writing about your dreams and the steps you will take to achieve them will: Improve your outlook Help you be more resilient in the face of adversity Train your brain to think positively. Sweat. Burning just 350 calories a week through exercise is show to be about as effective as antidepressants in reducing depression. Help others. People who help others are more calm and less likely to be depressed. And helping others doesn’t have to be a big burder. The next time you see someone struggling with packages or with opening a door, help them! It’s that simple to feel good in tough times!
Most of us spend a lot of time and energy avoiding things we fear, but fear actually makes life fun and interesting. And if you only do what’s easy or familiar, you’ll miss out on a lot. This last year I’ve been on a quest to understand, overcome, and embrace my fear. I believe that if I find greater command over my own fear I will be a better coach and better at running my business and life. On our trip to Thailand, at Tiger Kingdom, I got the chance to face some real fear: getting into a cage with five baby tigers. Petting tigers is definitely out of my comfort zone! My close friends know that up until 3 years ago, I would run screaming from a barking Chihuahua. It was a challenge to live by my rule: “Don’t just do what’s easy, do what’s interesting in life,” but I was determined. I gulped when they warned, “don’t turn your back on the tigers,” “don’t forget they have sharp teeth and claws” and “don’t pet their head.” I didn’t need to be reminded about the teeth and claws and I kept wondering how I was going to avoid turning my back on five tigers at once. In the cage, I was keenly aware of the tigers’ power and speed. Their deep throated growling made my hair stand on end. I could tell they weren’t looking at me as prey, but as I edged forward my anxiety intensified. “Face your fear, reach for what life has to offer, embrace the experience,” I chanted to myself. I forced my hand out to pet the tiger’s belly. It’s black and auburn fur was silky soft. It’s breathing fast, as it cooled itself in the… Read More
When I was young, my father led us in a family activity that helped me create a healthier relationship with money. It was called: Austerity Month. Austerity is an act of self denial as an economic measure. For Austerity Month we spent as little money as possible. We bought inexpensive groceries, we didn’t go out to eat, we used the spare change in the couch to go to the movies, and we didn’t purchase anything except the bare necessities. My husband and I have continued this family tradition. In January we pick two months during the year to be Austerity Months. In our young lean years we ate home-made refried beans, tuna casserole, and macaroni and cheese. I have to admit that over the years we’ve been a little easier on ourselves. During our Austerity Months now, we still go out to eat once a week, but we go to an inexpensive restaurant. We get creative about doing things that are free or inexpensive. We go on picnics, walk on the beach, go to the museum on the free days, have friends over for simple food, watch the sunset, or go to the Arboretum. We enjoy what we already have: a nice yard, a comfy sofa, an eclectic collection of CDs, and good company in each other. Through the Austerity Month process, we’ve learned that when you wait a month for a purchase, you often don’t want it the next month. Austerity Month helps us spend less money overall for the year. But the most important thing is does is re-calibrate our relationship with money. We get in the habit of spending less all year. We become more aware of the extravagances that creep into daily life: the lattes, the pre-cut… Read More