Monday, 18 December 2017

On Day 5 I’m sitting out on the terrace of my bungalow feeling unbelievably fortunate. Waves crash below, and the sea breeze tickles my face. And then my gorgeous partner looks up at me, the sun setting over the sea behind him, and announces an idea for a new article.

“How about you write one called ‘how to relax?'”


Where on earth could he have gotten this absurd idea?! I’ve taken to this island’s relaxation like an iguana takes to its favorite iguana thing. Could it be when I insisted we wake up at 7:45 a.m. to secure the optimal beach spot? Or later on, when I hoarded any and all available beach chairs surrounding our own so as to maintain shade throughout the day? Surely I exhibited incredible mindfulness when I budgeted to the second for our arrival to last night’s dinner, including taking a test route earlier on in the day.

Or…maybe he has a point. On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the world’s worst relaxer, I’m an 11. But our weeklong window into heaven has given me some much-needed insight. If you, too, are a high-strung bag of crazy with 10,000 ideas and not enough hours in the day to accomplish even five of them, you may relate. From my bungalow in paradise, I present: How to relax if you’re absolutely terrible at relaxing.

1. Don’t assume conventional methods are going to work.

I really, really don’t like baths, despite the world trying to convince me they’re god’s gift to relaxing. Like me, you might need to try options other than those commonly suggested (candles, baths, Enya, etc). Personally, I really like seeing movies by myself to calm down.

2. Learn to listen to your body’s cues.

Everyone has an inner voice. Mine sounds like a husky, angry and disturbingly witty old Jewish lady named Babs. Babs was the first one to say “You don’t even DESERVE a vacation, you worthless sack of herring!” (she’s tough). Despite this handicap, I try very hard to listen to Babs and my body’s overall reaction to her. I’ve learned to figure out my own warning signals before I reach absolute meltdown status. In fact, the mere presence of Babs’ voice is my first indicator.

3. Calm YOUR inner Babs.

While we’re talking about inner voices, try my new trick: “Listen, [insert name of your one or many inner voices here]: I hear and respect you, but lay off my friend.”

4. Have sex.
I know this sounds like the terrible stereotypical aid your partner suggests when you have a headache, but real talk, it works. Whether it’s with someone else or yourself, this is a surefire way to turn your brain’s volume down (as long as you/that someone else is good at the job).

5. Do something that has a clear, tangible outcome.

If you’re feeling like your life is spinning out of control, focus on a small task whose outcome you can control. Do laundry, fold it, put it away. Clean the house. Write a letter and mail it. These sort of rote assignments send the message to your brain that despite your feelings of complete worthlessness, you actually are capable of accomplishing things. Also, your house will be clean!

6. Reward yourself when you deserve it.

Once you’re done with that task, give yourself a present. If you train yourself to receive rewards that make sense (healthy rewards like a walk or a call to a friend are more ideal), you’ll induce a positive feedback loop and will be able to do more efficient work going forward. Personally, when I finish this article I am going to eat. A lot. This is basically just high-fiving my brain, and putting Babs temporarily in the mah jong room.

7. Exercise.

I wish this weren’t true, but it is: Exercise relieves stress. Even if you’re like me and the lady in this Jezebel article and don’t get that storied “runner’s high,” you can still benefit greatly from getting active. Also you’ll sleep and look better.

8. Use the same compassion with yourself as you would with a child.
I learned this from a dear friend who teaches elementary school when he’s stressed, he asks himself if he would ever treat a 5-year-old the way he’s treating himself. Real talk, I would never, ever treat any living thing the way I treat myself when I’m stressed. So ask yourself simple questions: Have I eaten? Have I slept? Am I hydrated? Have I showered? If not, take care of those things. No matter how professional you are, you were once an incontinent screaming baby! Try and remember that. You’re welcome.

9. Turn off the freakin’ Internet.

I could talk to you about the Internet for days, but odds are you already know and have read everything about it and how our brains are turning to mush and how we’ll never be good humans again and how it makes us write extremely long run-on sentences that our copyeditors will flag and then we’ll explain we were trying to be funny but maybe took it too far. Seriously though, this nonsense is an addiction. Curb it.

10. Take a break.

We’re all doing a LOT of things these days. Breaks are important, but they don’t have to be spent in Curaçao to be effective. Do a bit of research and see if there’s anything close to you that might qualify for a glorious and low-budget staycation. If you have a weekend, I recommend spending it hiding from the Internet and work (except for Netflix, which should be loaded up with ’90s classics like She’s All That). If you’ve only got half an hour, start reading that book you’ve had on the shelf for months. The important thing here is to maximize your free time and resist the urge to multitask/control everything. Look in the mirror every so often and pretend you’re a L’Oréal commercial. Tell yourself you’re worth it. You are! Cheers and happy relaxing.

Orginally posted on

Thursday, 14 December 2017

By Jonathan allen

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~Victor Frankl

There’s a big lie we tell ourselves during stressful times.

It keeps us feeling lost, afraid, and unloved, like we’re being picked up and carried away helplessly by a storm.

Our heads can fill with scary images, words, and stories about the cause and who is to blame for our unwanted pain.

Sound familiar? If it does, you’re not alone. You’re normal. This is how humans biologically respond to stress.

So what’s the big lie?

The big lie is that we have no control over our stress response. Actually, we do. A lot of control.

I’ve struggled the hard way through my fair share of troubling times. I’ve experienced money and job issues, battled with health, and been pushed in challenging relationships.

But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is I grew up a highly sensitive person, who would internally react to almost anything that could be interpreted as negative.

Of the feelings above, I hopelessly sat at the “feel all of them” end of the scale.

That was until a particularly trying relationship caused me so much stress and anxiety that I became sick of my unconscious reactions, and vowed to do everything possible to stop it (or make it easier).

Through research and a lot of experimenting I created a practical way to calm myself down instantly anywhere, anytime, when a meditation cushion or reassuring book was out of reach.

The technique was so simple and powerful that it pulled me through a harrowing experience in that relationship, and has held me together in plenty of experiences since.

It’s easy to remember, has an instant effect on your mind body, and most importantly, is simple enough to be remembered and used when you’re going through the eye of your own stress storms.

How to Calm Yourself In Two Minutes

Take a moment right now to make yourself comfortable and try these four steps yourself:

1. Freeze yourself.

Remember the game you played as a child when you suddenly stopped mid-motion, like you were frozen in ice? Do that now. Halt your body parts, emotions, and thought processes. Think of yourself as a cartoon character that’s been hit with a stun gun. You can even make it a little dramatic if it helps.

2. Focus on your index finger.

(Skip to this if you find the first step difficult). For twenty to sixty seconds, concentrate solely on the back of your index finger. Let your mind and body be consumed by it.

Bring it closer to you. Study the rivets, creases, and those tiny little fingerprint lines. If your situation is noisy, let the sounds around you merge into a single background buzz, and let it fade out of your attention.

3. Take a conscious breath.

Let go of your focus and check back in with your body. Take a deep, conscious breath in, then let it go through your mouth, slowly and calmly, creating a wave of relaxation that starts in your chest and floats out through your being to the surface of your skin.

4. Look around consciously.

As you re-integrate with your surroundings, scan the scene in front of you. Remain as indiscriminate as possible with what you focus on the way you would when waking up in the morning.

Take conscious note of the thoughts that are trying to push back into your head and observe them with an attitude of curiosity.

How do you feel?

You might now feel a little more in touch with your senses, distanced from previous thoughts, and connected with the present moment.

Most importantly, you’ll recognize that the root of your discomfort is your thoughts. Everything else, like emotions, and physical discomfort, and pain, start there.

If you’re having difficulty slowing down the mind at the beginning, try this: If you meditate regularly, spend the last minute of your session focused on the same finger, in the same way. Doing this will associate (or anchor) the feelings of clarity, relaxation, and attachment with the action.

And if you don’t meditate, it’s a great time to start! It will help with your ability to cope with stressful situations generally, and dramatically improve the effects of this technique.

Why This Technique Works

Stress is a mental or physical tension, and both manifest from your relationship to the procession of thoughts in your head.

Mindfulness allows you to step out of the procession and watch it go past, without being carried down the fast-flowing river.

When we get pulled down a heavy stream, our emotions and bodies react as if the danger or pain contained in the thought is real, immediate, and must be dealt with now. That’s why we feel discomfort even when someone reminds us of a stressful situation we were trying to forget.

Reconnecting with the present reminds us that here is the only time there really is.

Focusing on your hands is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that helps to ground the soul and provide stability in the physical body.

Try It for Yourself

The most important reason this technique works is it gives you something back—control.

We may not be able to choose what happens to us in our lives, but as Viktor Frankl says, we can always choose our response.

Give it a go next time you feel yourself panicking (and be sure to let us know how you go in the comments below).

Originally posted on

Friday, 1 December 2017

By Dr. Mercola

Emotional pain often exacts a greater toll on your quality of life than physical pain. The stress and negative emotions associated with any trying event can even lead to physical pain and disease.

In fact, emotional stress is linked to health problems including chronic inflammation, lowered immune function, increased blood pressure, altered brain chemistry, increased tumor growth and more.

Of course, emotional pain can be so severe that it interferes with your ability to enjoy life and, in extreme cases, may even make you question whether your life is worth living.

5 Tips for Healing Emotional Pain

As the featured article reported, Guy Winch, author of Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries, recently shared five tips for healing your emotional pain.

1. Let Go of Rejection

Rejection actually activates the same pathways in your brain as physical pain, which is one reason why it hurts so much. The feeling of rejection toys with your innate need to belong, and is so distressing that it interferes with your ability to think, recall memories and make decisions. The sooner you let go of painful rejections, the better off your mental health will be.

2. Avoid Ruminating

When you ruminate, or brood, over a past hurt, the memories you replay in your mind only become increasingly distressing and cause more anger – without providing any new insights. In other words, while reflecting on a painful event can help you to reach an understanding or closure about it, ruminating simply increases your stress levels, and can actually be addictive.

Ruminating on a stressful incident can also increase your levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation in your body linked to cardiovascular disease.1

3. Turn Failure Into Something Positive

If you allow yourself to feel helpless after a failure, or blame it on your lack of ability or bad luck, it’s likely to lower your self-esteem. Blaming a failure on specific factors within your control, such as planning and execution, is likely to be less damaging, but even better is focusing on ways you can improve and be better informed or prepared so you can succeed next time (and try again, so there is a next time).

4. Make Sure Guilt Remains a Useful Emotion

Guilt can be beneficial in that it can stop you from doing something that may harm another person (making it a strong "relationship protector"). But guilt that lingers or is excessive can impair your ability to focus and enjoy life.

If you still feel guilty after apologizing for a wrongdoing, be sure you have expressed empathy toward them and conveyed that you understand how your actions impacted them. This will likely lead to authentic forgiveness and relief of your guilty feelings.

5. Use Self-Affirmations if You Have Low Self-Esteem

While positive affirmations are excellent tools for emotional health, if they fall outside the boundaries of your beliefs, they may be ineffective. This may be the case for people with low self-esteem, for whom self-affirmations may be more useful. Self-affirmations, such as “I have a great work ethic,” can help to reinforce positive qualities you believe you have, as can making a list of your best qualities.

My Most Highly Recommended Tool for Emotional Healing

Many, if not most, people carry emotional scars -- traumas that can adversely affect your health and quality of life. Using techniques like energy psychology, you can correct the emotional short-circuiting that contributes to your chronic emotional pain. My favorite technique for this is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which is the most comprehensive and most popular version of energy psychology. EFT is a form of psychological acupressure based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture to treat physical and emotional ailments for over 5,000 years, but without the invasiveness of needles.

Instead, simple tapping with the fingertips is used to transfer kinetic energy onto specific meridians on your head and chest while you think about your specific problem -- whether it is a traumatic event, an addiction, pain, anxiety, etc. -- and voice positive affirmations.

This combination of tapping the energy meridians and voicing positive affirmation works to clear the "short-circuit"—the emotional block—from your body's bioenergy system, thus restoring your mind and body's balance, which is essential for optimal health and the healing of physical disease. The beauty about EFT is that it can reprogram your body’s reactions to the unavoidable stressors of everyday life, thereby providing a more lasting effect.

More than any traditional or alternative method I have used or researched, EFT has the most potential to literally work magic. Clinical trials have shown that EFT is able to rapidly reduce the emotional impact of memories and incidents that trigger emotional distress. Once the distress is reduced or removed, your body can often rebalance itself, and accelerate healing.

For a demonstration of how to perform EFT, please see the video below featuring EFT practitioner Julie Schiffman. The first video is a general demonstration, which can be tailored to just about any problem, and the second demonstrates how to tap for depression. While this technique is particularly effective for relieving emotional or mental stress and anxiety, it can be used for all manner of physical pain relief as well.

Originally posted on

Monday, 27 November 2017

Nancy Sherman Ph.D.Stoic Warrior

The Moral Logic of Survivor Guilt

If there is one thing we have learned from returning war veterans

Posted Jul 20, 2011


If there is one thing we have learned from returning war veterans - especially those of the last decade - it's that the emotional reality of the soldier at home is often at odds with that of the civilian public they left behind. And while friends and families of returning service members may be experiencing gratefulness or relief this summer, many of those they've welcomed home are likely struggling with other emotions.

High on that list of emotions is guilt. Soldiers often carry this burden home-- survivor guiltbeing perhaps the kind most familiar to us. In war, standing here rather than there can save your life but cost a buddy his. It's flukish luck, but you feel responsible. The guilt begins an endless loop of counterfactuals-thoughts that you could have or should have done otherwise, though in fact you did nothing wrong. The feelings are, of course, not restricted to the battlefield. But given the magnitude of loss in war, they hang heavy there and are pervasive. And they raise the question of just how irrational those feelings are, and if they aren't, of what is the basis of their reasonableness.

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Capt. Adrian Bonenberger, head of a unit in Afghanistan that James Dao and other journalists of The New York Times reported on in their series "A Year at War," pondered those questions recently(link is external) as he thought about Specialist Jeremiah Pulaski, who was killed by police in the wake of a deadly bar fight shortly after he returned home. Back in Afghanistan, Pulaski saved Bonenberger's life twice on one day, but when Pulaski needed help, Bonenberger couldn't be there for him: "When he was in trouble, he was alone," Captain Bonenberger said. "When we were in trouble, he was there for us. I know it's not rational or reasonable. There's nothing logical about it. But I feel responsible."

But how unreasonable is that feeling? Subjective guilt, associated with this sense of responsibility, is thought to be irrational because one feels guilty despite the fact that one knows one has done nothing wrong. Objective or rational guilt, by contrast-- guilt that is "fitting" to one's actions--accurately tracks real wrongdoing or culpability: guilt is appropriate because one acted to deliberately harm someone, or could have prevented harm and did not. Blameworthiness, here, depends on the idea that a person could have done something other than he did. And so he is held responsible, by himself or others.

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But as Bonenberger's remarks make clear, we often take responsibility in a way that goes beyond what we can be held responsible for. And we feel the guilt that comes with that sense of responsibility. Nietzsche is the modern philosopher who well understood this phenomenon: "Das schlechte Gewisse" (literally, "bad conscience")-his term for the consciousness of guilt where one has done no wrong, doesn't grow in the soil where we would most expect it, he argued, such as in prisons where there are actually "guilty" parties who should feel remorse for wrongdoing. In the Genealogy of Morals, he appeals to an earlier philosopher, Spinoza, for support: "The bite of conscience," writes Spinoza in the "Ethics," has to do with an "offense" where "something has gone unexpectedly wrong." As Nietzsche adds, it is not really a case of "I ought not to have done that."

But what then is it a case of? Part of the reasonableness of survivor guilt (and in a sense, its "fittingness") is that it tracks moral significance that is broader than moral action. Who I am, in terms of my character and relationships, and not just, what I do, morally matters. Of course, character is expressed in action, and when we don't "walk the walk," we are lacking; but it is also expressed in emotions and attitudes. Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics, insists on the point: "virtue is concerned with emotions and actions;" to have good character is to "hit the mean" with respect to both. Moreover, many of the feelings that express character are not about what one has done or should have done, but rather about what one cares deeply about. Though Aristotle doesn't himself talk about guilt, it is the emotion that best expresses the conflict-the desire or obligation to help frustrated by the inability, through no fault of one's own, to do so. To not feel the guilt is to be numb to those pulls. It is that vulnerability, those pulls that Boneneberger feels when he says he wasn't there for Pulaski when he needed him.

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Source: ob1left

In many of my interviews with soldiers over the years, feelings of guilt and responsibility tangle with feelings of having betrayed fellow soldiers. At stake is the duty to those soldiers, the imperative to hold intact the bond that enables them to fight for and with each other in the kind of "sacred band" that the ancients memorialized and that the Marine motto Semper Fidelis captures so well. But it is not just duty at work. It is love.

Service members, especially those higher in rank, routinely talk about unit members as "my soldiers," "my Marines," "my sailors." They are family members, their own children, of sorts, who have been entrusted to them. To fall short of unconditional care is experienced as a kind of perfidy, a failure to be faithful. Survivor guilt piles on the unconscious thought that luck is part of a zero-sum game. To have good luck is to deprive another of it. The anguish of guilt, its sheer pain, is a way of sharing some of the ill fate. It is a form of empathic distress.

Many philosophers have looked to other terms to define the feeling. What they have come up with is "agent-regret" (a term coined by the British philosopher Bernard Williams, but used by many others). The classic scenario is not so much of good luck (as in survivor guilt), but of bad luck, typically having to do with accidents where again, there is little or no culpability for the harms caused. In these cases, people may be causally responsible for harm-they bring about the harm through their agency-- but they are not morally responsible for what happened.

But to my ear, agent-regret is simply tone-deaf to how subjective guilt feels. Despite the insertion of "agent," it sounds as passive and flat as "regretting that the weather is bad." Or more tellingly, as removed from empathic distress as the message sent to the next of kin, after an official knock on the door: "The Secretary of Defense regrets to inform you that...."

Indeed, the soldiers I've talked to involved in friendly fire accidents that took their comrades' lives, didn't feel regret for what happened, but raw, deep, unabashed guilt. And the guilt persisted long after they were formally investigated and ultimately exonerated. In one wrenching case, in April 2003 in Iraq, the gun on a Bradley fighting vehicle misfired, blowing off most of the face of Private Joseph Mayek who was standing guard near the vehicle. The accident was ultimately traced to a faulty replacement battery that the commander in charge had authorized. When the Bradley's ignition was turned on, the replacement battery in the turret (a Marine battery rather than an Army one) failed to shut off current to the gun. Mayek, who was 20, died.

The Army officer in charge, then Capt. John Prior, reconstructed the ghastly scene for me, and the failed attempts in the medic tent to save Mayek's life. He then turned to his feelings of responsibility: "I'm the one who placed the vehicles; I'm the one who set the security. Like most accidents, I'm not in jail right now. Clearly I wasn't egregiously responsible. But it is a comedy of errors. Any one of a dozen decisions made over the course of a two-month period and none of them really occurs to you at the time. Any one of those made differently may have saved his life. So I dealt with and still deal with the guilt of having cost him his life essentially.... There's probably not a day that doesn't go by that I don't think about it, at least fleetingly."

What Prior feels are feelings of guilt, and not simply regret that things didn't work out differently. He feels the awful weight of self-indictment, the empathy with the victim and survivors, and the need to make moral repair. If he didn't feel that, we would probably think less of him as a commander.
In his case, moral repair came through an empathic, painful connection with Mayek's mom. After the fratricide, Prior and his first sergeant wrote a letter to Mayek's mother. And for some time after, she replied with care packages to the company and with letters. "Oh it was terrible," said Prior. "The letters weren't just very matter of fact-here's what we did today; it was more like a mother writing to her son." Prior had become the son who was no longer. "It was her way of dealing with the grief," said Prior. "And so I had a responsibility to try to give back."
In all this we might say guilt, subjective guilt, has a redemptive side. It is a way soldiers impose moral order on the chaos and awful randomness of war's violence. It is a way they humanize war for themselves, for their buddies, and for civilians, too.

But if that's all that is involved, it sounds too moralistic. It makes guilt appropriate or fitting because it's good for society. It is the way we all can deal with war. Maybe, instead, we want to say it is fitting because it is evolutionarily adaptive in the way that fear is. But again, this doesn't do justice to the phenomenon. The guilt that soldiers feel isn't just morally expedient or species-adaptive. It is fitting because it gets right certain moral (or evaluative) features of a soldier's world-- that good soldiers depend on each other, come to love each other, and have duties to care and bring each other safely home. Philosophers, at least since the time of Kant, have called these "imperfect duties": even in the best circumstances, we can't perfectly fulfill them. And so, what duties to others need to make room for, even in a soldier's life of service and sacrifice, are duties to self, of self-forgivenessand self-empathy. These are a part of full moral repair.

This article originally appeared in The Stone, the New York Times, philosophy series:

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

You have seen the advertising headlines. They prey upon the nagging fear that maybe you and your family will be violently attacked by a stranger “on the street.” They promise you life-saving “secrets” that will give any middle-aged business traveler the defensive acumen of an elite military operator. All contained in a set of DVDs. This has become the marketing platform for many of the so-called “Reality-Based” martial arts programs. Can the promises live up to the hype? Here are a couple of ideas to consider:
Learning to defend yourself requires training for self-defense: This may seem like the ultimate obvious point, but it carries two important implications. First, effective self-defense preparation requires actual physical practice – quite often, a lot of practice – to assure proper execution of even a couple of basic maneuvers. Based on what is known about human performance and motor skill learning, it would be nearly impossible for someone simply to read about a technique in a book or even watch it several times on a video, and then be able to perform the skill correctly. When you factor in the stress of being in a life-threatening situation, the chances of doing it right dwindle even further. Repeated and ongoing physical practice is a necessary condition for self-defense training. The DVDs may contain some great moves, but without a lot of physical practice, they probably won’t work for you when you need them.
The second implication is that training to defend your life can be quite different from training to master a particular martial art or fighting system. There is a mythical motto often heard in law enforcement and military combatives training that “under stress you will revert to your training.” This is only partially true. Under stressful or threatening conditions, your dominant response emerges. Getting the trained response to be the dominant response takes practice.
Just knowing a technique will not make it an automatic response. It is quite possible even to train a skill, but not be able to perform it if attacked. When I was a police officer (before I was a psychologist), I knew of multiple situations where a professional who had demonstrated classroom proficiency in defensive tactics and qualified as “expert” on the range could not apply either skill under high-risk conditions. Law enforcement has since moved to using more active, dynamic, scenario-based training. This is essential for transferring defensive skills to unpredictable, life-threatening encounters.
Self-Defense requires learning how to respond to an attack: We have established the point that getting your body to respond properly to defend you will require that you engage in physical practice and train under dynamic, unscripted conditions. Your brain has to work too, though. An advantage of training in reality-based systems is that you can gain experience getting hit and attacked. Believe it or not, this is an incredibly valuable experience – at least from the perspective of self-defense training. In a violent encounter, fear is not necessarily your enemy. Panic or “freezing” might be. You definitely need to keep your head in the game.
For most Americans, the statistical likelihood of being violently attacked by a stranger is is pretty remote. And most of the good people who read Black Belt Magazine certainly aren’t going to go looking for a fight. But some coward, drunk or bad guy hunting for trouble may cross your path, and chances are they will not be looking to fight fair. For many normal, law-abiding people, the experience of being hit in the face the first time is shocking and disorienting. Those moments of dismay when you are reflecting on the pain in your cheek or asking “What the hell????” are the moments your attacker is delivering the second or third blows. You may have lost before you even have a chance to think of that super-cool move you just learned on your new DVD set. If you are attacked, keeping your mental composure is every bit as important as knowing self-defense techniques. You must prepare to act under attack.
Find out what works for you. Some reality-based programs tell you that they are based on “natural” or “instinctive” human reactions. Others claim to have universal principles that are guaranteed to work in any situation. The reality (pun intended) is that situations vary and people who want to defend themselves are different from one another. When it comes to learning self-defense, one size does not fit all. Human beings are pretty complicated. Not everyone has an inner, violent barbarian just waiting to be unleashed. History is full of examples where armed people were killed by their attackers, even when they had opportunity to use their weapons.
If you are shopping for a self-defense system, you need to set realistic expectations about what you hope to accomplish based on the time you are willing to invest in training and on what feels right for you. Remember the power of the dominant response? Psychological theory and research show that people decide whether or not to act depending on whether they think can execute a skill effectively and whether doing so will cause them to be successful in accomplishing a goal. You need to develop confidence that you can respond in a particular way to an attack and a belief that it will work. This is part of what you hope to accomplish through repetition and practice in dynamic scenario-based training. Does it feel “natural” or do-able for you? Can you see yourself responding in this way under an actual attack? If not, perhaps that particular system is not a good fit for you.
There is no quick fix, or one-size-fits-all system for effective self-defense. Even carrying a weapon does not assure your survival. If your goal is self-defense, you should train specifically for that skill – not just for practicing an art. Regardless of the method or system you choose, it will be important to consider the critical role of maintaining mental composure and preparing to survive and respond to an attack. Finally, you should make sure that you have confidence in your approach to self-defense and in your ability to use it under the most stressful conditions. That is when you will need it most – really.
(Article first published in Black Belt Magazine, October, 2008)

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The 4 best tricks I learned while studying psychology in college and being around personal development in my free time are:
1. If you want others to open up to you or like you, make them the most important thing in the world. In psychology this is referred to as “Active Listening.” All you need to do is give your entire attention to them when they talk. There are various ways you can implement this:
Think that you have to give an hour-long presentation on what they talked about the next day.Act like they have something to share that will give you a million dollars.Listen like you would if you were talking to your hero or god.
Doing so will make sure you pay full attention to what they say. The difference is minute in your eyes, but the subconscious effect it has is massive! People will feel it and will love to talk to you, because you make them feel like they matter. Which is one of the most sought after feelings in the world.
Try going an entire day paying full attention to everyone and get their responses the next day. You will be surprised by the difference it made for them.
2. You see what you think about. Let’s use an example for this. A driver who believes the stereotype that women are bad drivers will see both bad drivers that are men and women, and good drivers that are men and women. But, even though he sees about an equal amount of each, he will consciously be aware of only the bad women drivers and the good men drivers.
This is a security mechanism in our brain to confirm that we are right and to boost our ego. The interesting part comes when you realize that this works for everything!
When we think about positive things, how great the world is and how amazing our life is, we see more proof of it in the real world. What might be considered normal will be considered great in this point of view. The same way when we think about how bad everything is and how life is going against us, we see normal events as being negative and small problems as being gigantic.
The best way to use this to our advantage is to think about how we want the world to look like. Because we find proof for everything we look for, it is up to us to decide how we want to see the world. If we do not do this, someone else will decide for us.
Using this effectively can lead to a happier life, filled with gratitude and amazement. But it does take practice and effort.
3. Motion creates emotion. It is a common research subject in psychology and has been studied in many different aspects. The most popular one is “How to feel more confident.” Studies in this area have shown that the more space you take up, the more confident you feel. When you sit, sit with your legs open and arms outstretched, when standing, stand up tall and wide.
What’s even more amazing than these findings is the fact that this works with every emotion. Whenever you want to be happy, excited, confident, sexy, loving, or whatever else, just think about what a person with those qualities would do. Imagine that person in the same situation: How would they act? What would they say? What would they think?
Ask yourself these questions and then simply copy that person in your head. Depending on how you move and behave, your brain will activate the areas in your brain corresponding to the emotion you portray and release the corresponding hormones to make you feel that way!
4. Reality Testing. A lot of our daily problems arise from us overthinking. We make the problems bigger or smaller than they actually are and need the help of these strategies to actually see the reality. Without this, we cannot solve the problem because we either get too scared to try, or think the problem isn’t that big and do not think it is worth solving.
In Reality Testing, psychotherapists encourage clients to look at their problems objectively and to back-track to the negative thoughts and analyze them. Some common ways we tend to do this are:
Over-generalizationThinking that one negative event will lead to more and more negative events is something we cannot know. We generalize the meaning of what happens even though we have no idea. Instead think that this is one event, period. It is just one event and the next event is completely separate from it. Even though in your experience that may not have been the case, if you think this way you will go into more situations feeling empowered and will believe in your ability to still change the events.Comparing to others. This is an extremely common occurrence. To be honest, we have no idea what the other person has gone through to get there. They may have worked 18 hours every day for the last year, crying and sweating, to get to where they are today. Do not assume that they got to where they are with the same effort you did. There is no point in comparing to others because, unless we actually lived through their life, we have no idea what it took for them to get there. Even if they tell us they will have a skewed perception and we will receive it through our point of view, which also skews the reality of it. Instead of comparing yourself to others around you, compare yourself to how you were a month or year ago. The only real reference point you have is a past self.Blaming others. We wish to make life easy on ourselves. And what is easier than saying that we are not at fault for anything that happens? It is so easy to push the fault onto others, or onto life itself, because they cannot defend themselves. When we blame others for our misfortune, Therapists will intervene and start a paradigm-shift with the clients. They encourage clients to take responsibility 
for everything for a while. Obviously this can lead to the other extreme, but the point is to first get out of the habit of blaming others. When we take responsibility ourselves it is more likely that we will act to correct it.Thinking in “All” or Nothing.” To overcome this you should be very precise in what you say. This is also how a lot of fights start with couples. Phrases like “You always do this” or “You never do that” lead to a skewed perception of reality. Instead think about how often something occurred in the last week or month and count the exact number. This will remove the extremist thinking, getting you closer to the solution of the problem

Originally posted on
Educators often say that practice makes perfect. But what should that practice look like? Psychological research reveals that not all practice is equally useful. Mindless repetition is an inefficient way to improve any skill, and short sessions of high-quality, deliberate practice matter much more than a larger quantity of such repetition. In his recent book Peak, Anders Ericsson describes the principles of deliberate practice that research has found to be effective in improving people’s skill in fields ranging from surgery to playing the violin.
How can teachers use deliberate practice to improve what they do every day in the classroom? Drawing on Ericsson’s principles and research applying practice-based approaches to teacher education, Deans for Impact, an organization composed of leaders of programs that prepare new teachers, recently produced Practice with Purpose, a report exploring the application of deliberate practice to teaching. We identify five essential principles of improving teaching through practice:
Push beyond one’s comfort zoneWork toward well-defined, specific goalsFocus intently on practice activitiesReceive and respond to high-quality feedbackDevelop a mental model of expertise
Many teachers are already using a version of these principles for student learning—by including a homework question that students are likely to struggle with to push them beyond their comfort zone, for instance. As a high school math teacher, here’s how I try to use deliberate practice to improve my craft in the classroom.
What Should I Practice?
The first principle is to push beyond one’s comfort zone. One area of my teaching I’ve been working on is facilitating discussions—I’m much more comfortable with other aspects of my teaching routine, like managing group work, giving explicit instruction, and summarizing key ideas from a group task. Facilitating a purposeful, meaningful discussion is much harder for me, which makes it a good candidate for deliberate practice.
The second principle is to work toward well-defined, specific goals. Facilitating discussions is one possible goal, but I can find even more concrete parts of facilitating discussion to work on. Mary Kay Stein and Margaret Schwan Smith have identified selecting and sequencing student strategies as an essential aspect of a successful discussion. I can focus specifically on this one element of discussions to practice purposefully and make the most of my effort. As I improve at selecting and sequencing, I can move on to other goals—perhaps teaching students to build off of each other’s ideas. Practice continues, focused on the principles of pushing my comfort zone and focusing on specific goals.
What Does Deliberate Practice Look Like?
The third principle of deliberate practice is to focus intently on practice activities. Focus should be on quality over quantity; a short session of high-quality practice will help me improve more than intermittent efforts directed toward vague improvement. Instead of trying to improve the quality of every discussion I engage in, I can zoom in on one example each week. One tool I’ve used is the voice recorder feature on my phone. I can turn the voice recorder on for a few minutes of discussion and listen to it after class to learn how I could improve my facilitation in that moment. Every time I do this, I am surprised at how many phrases I want to take back—I’m not nearly as eloquent as I would like to think. Focused practice doesn’t necessarily mean focusing more in the moment. Instead, it means finding more ways to examine, unpack, and learn from practice.
The fourth principle is to receive and respond to high-quality feedback. This one is tough. Many teachers don’t have access to feedback on a regular basis. One advantage of the voice recorder strategy is that, if I can’t find another teacher to give me feedback, hearing myself teach allows me to give myself more useful, objective feedback. If another teacher is able to observe me, I can focus their feedback by asking them specific questions about my current goals or by asking them to observe a particular moment in class.
What Knowledge Do Teachers Need?
The final principle of deliberate practice is to develop a mental model of expertise. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel in my classroom. I’m not the only teacher trying to improve at facilitating discussions. And luckily, many of those teachers have shared their wisdom. I want to work to improve discussions in my class with a clear vision of what a great discussion looks like, the components of those great discussions, and how a discussion fits into a larger trajectory of student learning. I can do this by observing other teachers, looking to outside resources to identify new goals, and finding new perspectives on what excellent teaching looks like. Comparing my teaching with my mental model helps me to self-monitor and becomes its own source of feedback, further improving my teaching.
When I share the principles of deliberate practice with other teachers, they often tell me that these ideas are common sense. In many ways they are—the claim isn’t that they’re innovations. But it is challenging to realize the full potential of deliberate practice on a daily basis, and I have spent too much time in my career trying to improve without focusing on these principles. Coming back to them helps me improve the quality of my practice, and, in turn, the quality of my teaching.
Dylan Kane High school math teacher in Leadville, Colorado.
Originally posted on

Monday, 23 October 2017

One of the things that held me back from pursuing my dreams for many years was fear of failure … and the lack of self-confidence that I needed to overcome that fear.
It’s something we all face, to some degree, I think. The key question: how do you overcome that fear?
By working on your self-confidence and self-esteem. Without really thinking of it in those terms, that’s what I’ve been doing over the years, and that’s what helped me finally overcome my fears, and finally pursue my dreams.
I still have those fears, undoubtedly. But now I know that I can beat them, that I can break through that wall of fear and come out on the other side. I’ve done it many times now, and that success will fuel further success.
This post was inspired by reader Nick from Finland, who asked for an article about self-worth and self-confidence:
Many of the things you propose make people feel better about themselves and actually help building self-confidence. However, I would be interested on reading your input in general on this topic. Taking time out for your own plans and dreams, doing things another way than most other people and generally not necessarily “fitting in” can be quite hard with a low self-confidence.
Truer words have never been spoken. It’s near impossible to make time for your dreams, to break free from the traditional mold, and to truly be yourself, if you have low self-esteem and self-confidence.
As an aside, I know that some people make a strong distinction between self-esteem and self-confidence. In this article, I use them interchangeably, even if there is a subtle but perhaps important difference … the difference being whether you believe you’re worthy of respect from others (self-esteem) and whether you believe in yourself (self-confidence). In the end, both amount to the same thing, and in the end, the actions I mention below give a boost to both self-esteem and self-confidence.
Taking control of your self-confidence
If you are low in self-confidence, is it possible to do things that will change that? Is your self-confidence in your control?
While it may not seem so, if you are low in self-confidence, I strongly believe that you can do things to increase your self-confidence. It is not genetic, and you do not have to be reliant on others to increase your self-confidence. And if you believe that you are not very competent, not very smart, not very attractive, etc. … that can be changed.
You can become someone worthy of respect, and someone who can pursue what he wants despite the naysaying of others.
You can do this by taking control of your life, and taking control of your self-confidence. By taking concrete actions that improve your competence, your self-image, you can increase that self-confidence, without the help of anyone else.
Below, I outline 25 things that will help you do that. None of them is revolutionary, none of them will do it all by themselves. The list certainly isn’t comprehensive. These are just some of my favorite things, stuff that’s worked for me.
And you don’t need to do all of them, as if this were a recipe … pick and choose those that appeal to you, maybe just a couple at first, and give them a try. If they work, try others. If they don’t, try others.
Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Groom yourself. This seems like such an obvious one, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and a shave can make in your feelings of self-confidence and for your self-image. There have been days when I turned my mood around completely with this one little thing.
2. Dress nicely. A corollary of the first item above … if you dress nicely, you’ll feel good about yourself. You’ll feel successful and presentable and ready to tackle the world. Now, dressing nicely means something different for everyone … it doesn’t necessarily mean wearing a $500 outfit, but could mean casual clothes that are nice looking and presentable.
3. Photoshop your self-image. Our self-image means so much to us, more than we often realize. We have a mental picture of ourselves, and it determines how confident we are in ourselves. But this picture isn’t fixed and immutable. You can change it. Use your mental Photoshopping skills, and work on your self-image. If it’s not a very good one, change it. Figure out why you see yourself that way, and find a way to fix it.
4. Think positive. One of the things I learned when I started running, about two years ago, what how to replace negative thoughts (see next item) with positive ones. How I can actually change my thoughts, and by doing so make great things happened. With this tiny little skill, I was able to train for and run a marathon within a year. It sounds so trite, so Norman Vincent Peale, but my goodness this works. Seriously. Try it if you haven’t.
5. Kill negative thoughts. Goes hand-in-hand with the above item, but it’s so important that I made it a separate item. You have to learn to be aware of your self-talk, the thoughts you have about yourself and what you’re doing. When I was running, sometimes my mind would start to say, “This is too hard. I want to stop and go watch TV.” Well, I soon learned to recognize this negative self-talk, and soon I learned a trick that changed everything in my life: I would imagine that a negative thought was a bug, and I would vigilantly be on the lookout for these bugs. When I caught one, I would stomp on it (mentally of course) and squash it. Kill it dead. Then replace it with a positive one. (“C’mon, I can do this! Only one mile left!”)
Know yourself and you will win all battles. – Sun Tzu
6. Get to know yourself. When going into battle, the wisest general learns to know his enemy very, very well. You can’t defeat the enemy without knowing him. And when you’re trying to overcome a negative self-image and replace it with self-confidence, your enemy is yourself. Get to know yourself well. Start listening to your thoughts. Start writing a journal about yourself, and about the thoughts you have about yourself, and analyzing why you have such negative thoughts. And then think about the good things about yourself, the things you can do well, the things you like. Start thinking about your limitations, and whether they’re real limitations or just ones you’ve allowed to be placed there, artificially. Dig deep within yourself, and you’ll come out (eventually) with even greater self-confidence.
7. Act positive. More than just thinking positive, you have to put it into action. Action, actually, is the key to developing self-confidence. It’s one thing to learn to think positive, but when you start acting on it, you change yourself, one action at a time. You are what you do, and so if you change what you do, you change what you are. Act in a positive way, take action instead of telling yourself you can’t, be positive. Talk to people in a positive way, put energy into your actions. You’ll soon start to notice a difference.
8. Be kind and generous. Oh, so corny. If this is too corny for you, move on. But for the rest of you, know that being kind to others, and generous with yourself and your time and what you have, is a tremendous way to improve your self-image. You act in accordance with the Golden Rule, and you start to feel good about yourself, and to think that you are a good person. It does wonders for your self-confidence, believe me.
One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation. – Arthur Ashe
9. Get prepared. It’s hard to be confident in yourself if you don’t think you’ll do well at something. Beat that feeling by preparing yourself as much as possible. Think about taking an exam: if you haven’t studied, you won’t have much confidence in your abilities to do well on the exam. But if you studied your butt off, you’re prepared, and you’ll be much more confident. Now think of life as your exam, and prepare yourself.
10. Know your principles and live them. What are the principles upon which your life is built? If you don’t know, you will have trouble, because your life will feel directionless. For myself, I try to live the Golden Rule (and fail often). This is my key principle, and I try to live my life in accordance with it. I have others, but they are mostly in some way related to this rule (the major exception being to “Live my Passion”). Think about your principles … you might have them but perhaps you haven’t given them much thought. Now think about whether you actually live these principles, or if you just believe in them but don’t act on them.
11. Speak slowly. Such a simple thing, but it can have a big difference in how others perceive you. A person in authority, with authority, speaks slowly. It shows confidence. A person who feels that he isn’t worth listening to will speak quickly, because he doesn’t want to keep others waiting on something not worthy of listening to. Even if you don’t feel the confidence of someone who speaks slowly, try doing it a few times. It will make you feel more confident. Of course, don’t take it to an extreme, but just don’t sound rushed either.
12. Stand tall. I have horrible posture, so it will sound hypocritical for me to give this advice, but I know it works because I try it often. When I remind myself to stand tall and straight, I feel better about myself. I imagine that a rope is pulling the top of my head toward the sky, and the rest of my body straightens accordingly. As an aside, people who stand tall and confident are more attractive. That’s a good thing any day, in my book.
13. Increase competence. How do you feel more competent? By becoming more competent. And how do you do that? By studying and practicing. Just do small bits at a time. If you want to be a more competent writer, for example, don’t try to tackle the entire profession of writing all at once. Just begin to write more. Journal, blog, write short stories, do some freelance writing. The more you write, the better you’ll be. Set aside 30 minutes a day to write (for example), and the practice will increase your competence.
14. Set a small goal and achieve it. People often make the mistake of shooting for the moon, and then when they fail, they get discouraged. Instead, shoot for something much more achievable. Set a goal you know you can achieve, and then achieve it. You’ll feel good about that. Now set another small goal and achieve that. The more you achieve small goals, the better you’ll be at it, and the better you’ll feel. Soon you’ll be setting bigger (but still achievable) goals and achieving those too.
15. Change a small habit. Not a big one, like quitting smoking. Just a small one, like writing things down. Or waking up 10 minutes earlier. Or drinking a glass of water when you wake up. Something small that you know you can do. Do it for a month. When you’ve accomplished it, you’ll feel like a million bucks.
16. Focus on solutions. If you are a complainer, or focus on problems, change your focus now. Focusing on solutions instead of problems is one of the best things you can do for your confidence and your career. “I’m fat and lazy!” So how can you solve that? “But I can’t motivate myself!” So how can you solve that? “But I have no energy!” So what’s the solution?
17. Smile. Another trite one. But it works. I feel instantly better when I smile, and it helps me to be kinder to others as well. A little tiny thing that can have a chain reaction. Not a bad investment of your time and energy.
18. Volunteer. Related to the “be kind and generous” item above, but more specific. It’s the holiday season right now … can you find the time to volunteer for a good cause, to spread some holiday cheer, to make the lives of others better? It’ll be some of the best time you’ve ever spent, and an amazing side benefit is that you’ll feel better about yourself, instantly.
19. Be grateful. I’m a firm believer in gratitude, as anyone who’s been reading this blog for very long knows well. But I put it here because while being grateful for what you have in life, for what others have given you, is a very humbling activity … it can also be a very positive and rewarding activity that will improve your self-image. Read more.
20. Exercise. Gosh, I seem to put this one on almost every list. But if I left it off this list I would be doing you a disservice. Exercise has been one of my most empowering activities in the last couple years, and it has made me feel so much better about myself.
All you have to do is take a walk a few times a week, and you’ll see benefits. Start the habit.
21. Empower yourself with knowledge. Empowering yourself, in general, is one of the best strategies for building self-confidence. You can do that in many ways, but one of the surest ways to empower yourself is through knowledge. This is along the same vein as building competence and getting prepared … by becoming more knowledgeable, you’ll be more confident … and you become more knowledgeable by doing research and studying. The Internet is a great tool, of course, but so are the people around you, people who have done what you want, books, magazines, and educational institutions.
22. Do something you’ve been procrastinating on. What’s on your to-do list that’s been sitting there? Do it first thing in the morning, and get it out of the way. You’ll feel great about yourself.
23. Get active. Doing something is almost always better than not doing anything. Of course, doing something could lead to mistakes … but mistakes are a part of life. It’s how we learn. Without mistakes, we’d never get better. So don’t worry about those. Just do something. Get off your butt and get active — physically, or active by taking steps to accomplish something.
24. Work on small things. Trying to take on a huge project or task can be overwhelming and daunting and intimidating for anyone, even the best of us. Instead, learn to break off small chunks and work in bursts. Small little achievements make you feel good, and they add up to big achievements. Learn to work like this all the time, and soon you’ll be a self-confident maniac.
25. Clear your desk. This might seem like a small, simple thing (then again, for some of you it might not be so small). But it has always worked wonders for me. If my desk starts to get messy, and the world around me is in chaos, clearing off my desk is my way of getting a little piece of my life under control. It is the calm in the center of the storm around me. Here’s how.
Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence. When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable. – Walt Disney
Originally posted on
Nina Zipkin Staff Writer. Covers media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.
Shy, retiring, socially inept -- these are some of the stereotypes that plague introverts.
If you are looking to promote someone in your office, don't let a reserved demeanor take someone out of the running. And if you are a card-carrying introvert who has a time limit for big parties or is drained by all-day conferences, you are still entirely capable of being a charismatic leader.
"Introverts need to do two things to become charismatic: make people feel liked and show them your power," says Carrie Keating, a professor of psychology at Colgate University. "Charisma is just that balance between inviting us in close and letting us feel your power by standing apart. Many introverts are halfway there."
Keating notes that a great way for introverts to get out of their own heads and work on being more expressive or comfortable in crowds is to look into acting classes or improv groups.
"You may be surprised by what you can do," she says. "Remember: the stereotype of the introvert is stuck in your mind, too. It's fun to wreck it!"
But she says not to discount the effectiveness of quiet confidence and the qualities that introverts bring to the table, such as empathy and independent thinking.
"Be straightforward about your introversion, you are an introvert for a reason," Keating says. "Diversity is good. Remember that. Many minds and diversity among them make for creativity."
Read on for lessons on how to hone the charisma you already possess and translate it into super-manager status.
1. Double down on your strengths as a listener and strategic thinker.
When introverted people are in the running for a promotion to management, how can they stand out from the crowd and show that they are the right person?
For one, introverts aren’t generally hampered by a need for self-promotion, so they can focus on helping their teams and reaching the goals of the company. Plus, that reserved demeanor can help you be cool in a crisis, which can help put the employees you are supervising at ease.
Lou Solomon, a leadership coach, and the CEO and founder of Interact, a firm dedicated to helping people communicate better, says that it isn't in an introvert's best interest to simply check off boxes of what they think a manager should be or what they think their boss wants. Instead, think about your personal leadership narrative.
"It’s so rare for someone to say, 'Here’s the ‘why’ behind what I do.' As reflective people, introverts are inclined to understand what they are bringing to the position," Solomon says.
Beth Buelow, author of The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms and professional coach known as the “Introvert Entrepreneur,” says that when aiming for promotions, it's important to clearly articulate and connect your skills to how they help you meet the demands of the job. Don’t shy away from doing this for fear that you will appear arrogant.
"Saying 'I’m a good listener' doesn’t really have much power." she explains. Instead say something like this: "'Since I tend to listen more than I talk, I’ve found that my colleagues have more space to express themselves and their ideas, as well as their concerns. As a result, our team has been able to finish projects ahead of schedule.'"
Introverts can also highlight how being inherently meditative can lead to thinking more deeply about a problem and offer solutions, says Lisa Petrilli, author of The Introvert’s Guide to Success in Business and Leadership and chief marketing officer for TheThread.Life, a spirituality-driven online business hub.
"[Introverts] thrive in the world of complex ideas," she says. "We are exceptional strategic thinkers and listeners and bring great insight to our work. All of these characteristics make us inspirational leaders -- and inspiration is at the core of charisma."
2. Plan your meetings around your ability to thrive in small groups.
A great way for an introverted manager to stay true to their nature and while building a rapport with their team is to embrace their tendency to socially thrive in lower-key group situations.
"Schedule regular meetings with employees one on one to get their input and discuss ideas and direction," Petrilli says. "As a manager, you’ll be put into networking positions more often: go with a mindset to help others, which will make you more successful and will decrease the stress of being outside your comfort zone."
Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, broke down the reasons for why introverts perform better in smaller groups in her 2012 TEDTalk:
"Extroverts really crave large amounts of stimulation, whereas introverts feel at their most alive and their most switched-on and their most capable when they're in quieter, more low-key environments … a lot of the time. So the key to maximizing our talents is for us all to put ourselves in the zone of stimulation that is right for us."
During her address, Cain also cited research by Adam Grant, a professor of management and psychology at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, who found that when comparing introverted and extroverted leaders, the introverts were more likely to encourage their employees to "run with their ideas, whereas an extrovert can, quite unwittingly, get so excited about things that they're putting their own stamp on things, and other people's ideas might not as easily then bubble up to the surface."
3. Take the time to recharge.
Introverts often have to recharge by spending time alone. So what strategies can introverted managers employ if they are overseeing a high-stress situation?
Solomon says that it is important to figure out what time of day is the most restorative for you. Whether it early morning, late in the day, or at 2:15 in the afternoon, make that time for yourself a part of your regular routine and incorporate it into your work schedule. And who knows? It could also help develop a culture where your fellow introverts and even the office extroverts feel comfortable to follow suit. You may want to think about setting up a quiet room in the office.
"Don’t respond to emails or voice messages during non-business hours. Take your vacation days, and put your phone on 'do not disturb' for an hour or two each day," Buelow says. "This might have a side effect of creating a culture that gives your colleagues permission to do the same. The goal is to create a more respectful, efficient and effective work environment, where everyone feels like their individual strengths and needs are considered."
If you're particularly slammed one week and your schedule gets a bit upended, don't panic. Petrilli recommends taking mini-breaks, such as a 10-minute walk around the block or simply shutting the door for a few minutes and listening to some music.
"You will be a better representative of your company, and yourself, if you do this," she says.
4. Drill down on your unique brand of charisma.
It's important to understand that introverts don't have to pretend to be or learn how to be extroverts in order to have charisma. Introverts have a talent to genuinely connect.
"People assign a certain amount of charisma to individuals who hold a space in which they can fully express [themselves]," Solomon says. "Introverts can grow that strength by developing the ability to draw people out and make genuine connections through the art of the open-ended question."
Petrilli noted that one of the biggest misconceptions about introverts is that they aren't as socially attuned as their more extroverted peers, but that isn't the case -- extroverts can be just as socially awkward as the introvert.
“The reality is that most introverts are actually quite charming, inspirational and charismatic and are perceived this way, because they have a foundation of authenticity that comes from being very thoughtful and purposeful in their leadership style,” she says.
Confidence in who you are is key, Buelow says. While introverts can tend to be guarded and form connections with others at a slower pace, that's OK. You don't need to wear your heart on your sleeve to be effective.
By simply being generous with your time and expertise while you get to know employees will help build more personal rapport down the line.
Ultimately, the best advice is to simply own your introversion.
"Don’t apologize for it or defend it,” Buelow says. "Name it and claim it! This gives others permission to do the same. People who are unapologetic about who they are are more interesting to be around."
Originally posted on

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Pregnancy is filled with many emotions and sensations.  Not only are our bodies changing, there are wishes, hopes, plans and expectations that bombard us both from the inside and outside.
Typically during pregnancy, appetite increases, there’s an eager anticipation of the new life to come, and sleep is good(except for the usual physical adjustments).  Normal doubts and worries can be sprinkled throughout the pregnancy experience, but they shouldn’t dominate our days or nights.
When you ask yourself, “Do I emotionally feel like ‘me’ most of the day?,” “Am I able to sleep at night?,” “Am I generally looking forward to the baby coming?,” and “Am I feeling hungry?,” the answer should be “Yes.”
If not, seek out a specialized health care practitioner who can help determine what’s happening.  Depression and anxiety affect just as many pregnant women as new mothers, and can happen to the strongest, most intelligent and loving moms.
Every trimester you should either be given a formal screening or simply asked a few key questions to determine how you’re doing emotionally.  Receiving the right help during pregnancy will not only be best for you and your entire family, it will help you minimize the risk of postpartum depression.
Another resource is the free app PPD Gone!  Download it for reading and listening material about prevention and treatment of depression during pregnancy and new motherhood.
Most new moms experience the normal “Baby Blues” – a few days to two weeks of mild ups and downs, weepiness, and stress.  But, what if the normal blues don’t disappear after two weeks following delivery, or what if the feelings become more intense? Learn more about how to prevent the baby blues here.
Postpartum depression (PPD) is the most common of the six perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) and affects about 1 in 7 new mothers.  The primary cause of PPD is the enormous shifting of reproductive hormones following the delivery.  In addition, sleep deprivation, inadequate nutrition, isolation, poor partner support, health issues of mom or baby, a high needs infant, or other major stressors can cause or make PPD worse.
Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression
The good news is, PPD is nothing to be afraid of – it’s 100% treatable! It doesn’t necessarily go away by itself, so the faster you get help, generally the faster it disappears.
Some common symptoms of PPD are:
Low self-esteem
Difficulty sleeping at night (even when the baby is sleeping)
Big appetite changes (usually a decrease)
Frequent crying
Lack of emotion
Hopelessness (feeling of nothing to look forward to)
If you feel you might be suffering from PPD or postpartum anxiety, find a psychotherapist who specializes in treating PPD.  Don’t settle for a therapist just because she’s covered by your insurance.  You deserve the best help and your family needs you to be well as soon as possible.
Here are a few questions to ask when interviewing the potential therapist:
 How may days/weeks have you received specific training in the perinatal mood and anxiety disorders? (The therapist might mention the Postpartum Support International training or the Postpartum Action Institute training, for example).
What are some books or other resources you recommend for women suffering?
What are the names of the organizations you belong to that are specifically focused on maternal mental health (such as Marce Society, Postpartum Support International, NASPOG)?
What type(s) of therapy do you use to treat mothers with PPD? (Short-term therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), Interpersonal therapy (IPT), or dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) are appropriate, rather than long-term therapy like psychoanalysis).
Dads and adoptive parents can also experience depression after the baby joins the family.  Research tells us that fathers become depressed at the rate at least 10 percent and they often appear withdrawn, angry, or sullen.  When the mom has PPD, his risk for developing depression jumps up between 24 and 50 percent.  As Chapter 16 of Postpartum Depression for Dummies discusses, fathers can easily become depressed if they aren’t receiving good support when their wives start recovering from PPD.
The Dr. Shosh Wellness Plan
Every new mom and mom-to-be should have a strategy in place in order to stay healthy and help prevent postpartum problems.  The Dr. Shosh Wellness Plan contains seven essential pieces.
The last two steps are specifically for women who are suffering from PPD:
Throw out the myths and fantasies of motherhood.  (My needs shouldn’t matter anymore, taking care of a baby is easy for good moms, I should be able to do this all myself, etc.)If you have a partner, discuss your wishes and expectations together.  Never assume, for instance, how the other one feels (about what the baby should eat, where it will sleep, who is on duty at nighttime, and so on.)Protect your brain chemistry (including excellent proteins, complex carbs, Nordic Naturals Prenatal DHA or Postnatal Omega-e fish oil supplements, vitamin D3, and folate in your daily diet.)Get a few hours of uninterrupted nighttime sleep.  (Even a breastfeeding mother can do this with the right plan.)Exercise a few minutes per day for endorphins and oxygenating the brain.  Don’t attempt anything strenuous until you’re sleeping well, or it can backfire.Line up emotional support with friends, family members, and support groups.Schedule physical support on a regular basis – someone to clean your home, watch your child(ren) so you can nurture yourself.Arrange professional support by finding a counselor who specializes in PPD.If you are suffering from PPD, or believe you are at risk, consult with a health care practitioner (specialist) about treatment options.
The smartest and strongest step a suffering mommy can take for her family is to find help as soon as possible, just as she would for any other potentially serious condition.  With proper help, you should expect a complete recovery and be able to enjoy your happy life!
Nordic Naturals is a corporate sponsor and the “Official Prenatal DHA” of the American Pregnancy Association.
*The article was written by Dr. Shoshana Bennett, Founder of Postpartum Assistance for Mothers and former president of Postpartum Support International.
Originally posted on

Saturday, 14 October 2017

While it is generally accepted that work must occur in order for an individual to receive the income necessary to support himself in life, few people would argue the point that work is not always easy or enjoyable.  In fact, many individuals would readily admit that their jobs are difficult, challenging and demanding on a regular basis.  However, if you ask these same individuals whether they are happy with their jobs, many will state that they are–largely because the challenges they have to work through are actually fun to overcome.
As a general rule, people are usually happier when they have something to do.  One can make an experiment of this and simply sit staring at the clock for five minutes, or spend five minutes cleaning.  The five minutes spent in action will often pass more quickly and produce a sense of satisfaction.  An individual who is not industrious is often bored and unhappy in general, and may even complain that their life is pointless and empty.  The industrious man may be tired or even exhausted each day after work, but he is usually quite happy.
Developing Industrious Traits
Even when one has experienced the boost in morale that occurs when they are industrious, it can sometimes be difficult to get oneself motivated along this direction.  After all, it can seem quite pleasant just to sit around and “relax” sometimes.  However, one will usually find that getting up and getting to work is always better–and may even help one to feel more energized and more relaxed than simply lying around.  Another point is that as soon as one has developed some basic industrious traits, they may find it easier to maintain them.
In order to develop industrious traits, one should begin by surrounding himself with industrious people.  Idle individuals are not only depressing to hang around, they can actually be dangerous.  People tend to enjoy those activities that feel like group activities, and it is for this reason that surrounding oneself with industrious individuals can help one develop their own industriousness.
An individual can further develop industrious traits by looking around them to see what work needs to be done.  When one takes a moment to really look around them and see what is there, they can find an unlimited number of things that can and should be done for self and for others.  Participating in resolving these things can help one to feel useful and helpful.
Another way to develop industrious traits is for the individual to find activities they enjoy, and participate in them.  Many people enjoy the fruits of their labor even more when the activity itself is also enjoyable.
Hard work can be quite rewarding in and of itself, but it is also important for the individual to reward himself.  This may mean that after a long week of work they enjoy dinner or a movie with friends, or perhaps a friendly game of basketball.  Receiving rewards for one’s industriousness can help one to better develop these traits.
Finally, an individual can develop industrious traits simply by getting busy.  Many individuals spend a considerable amount of time sitting around, thinking, wondering and worrying.  However, if one simply gets busy, they will find that there aren’t quite as many or as complex problems as they may have previously imagined there were.  Furthermore, they can experience great satisfaction and relief when they tackle and resolve the problems they do have.

Friday, 13 October 2017

If you can't seem to find yourself motivated because of several reasons, take a deep breath and try to motivate yourself with these simple yet effective tips:

1.Close your eyes, and visualize yourself reaching your goals.

2.Try something new today.

3.Take a walk in a park, and let nature reset your mind.

4.Make a to-do list. You'll feel encouraged as you cross off items.

5.Get more sleep. Sleep deprivation could be making you less motivated.

6.Drink coffee for a quick jolt.

7.Start exercising, and you'll feel like yourself

8.Take a small step. You don't have to immediately immerse yourself in the project and see it until completion right away. Just make baby steps, and take it one day at a time.

9.Wake yourself up from your slump with a cold shower.

10.Have a reward system, so you'll have something to look forward to.

11.When doing a task you don't want to do, play energizing music to help you get through it.

12.Get the hard stuff done first thing in the morning. Once you're done with the most challenging projects, you'll be able to tackle the others with ease.

13.Prepare early so you're not in a rush. When you're late all the time or feel rushed, this may stress you out and kill your motivation.

14.Push yourself. Realize that getting things done means giving yourself a little push sometimes.

15.Grow your willpower. Read The Willpower Instinct for how to do this.

16.Make motivating yourself into a habit. Read The Power of Habit to help you learn how to form habits.

17.Set a deadline for a task to spur you to get it done before the time is up.

18.Focus. Doing too many things at once can overwhelm you, so drop the multitasking and focus on one thing at a time.

19.Get a friend to join you to make whatever you're doing more enjoyable.

20.Clean up your home or your workspace, and you'll feel like you can get more done in a decluttered environment.

21. Let go of your fears, and you may feel brave enough to take on challenging tasks.

22.Eat right. Treating your body well will put you in a better place mentally.

23.Take a break to get some rest and recharge your mind.

24.Do something you enjoy when you first get up. Whether it be drinking hot chocolate while reading a chapter of a book you're currently glued to or taking a hot shower, start your day off on a positive note.

25. Share your goals with others. Being public about your goals will give you a sense of accountability, which may make you more inclined to get going.

26. Fake it till you make it. Act like you're motivated, and it'll become a reality in time.

27. Focus on the positive instead of the negative, and you'll feel more inclined to start new projects and take risks.

28. Bring light into your room. Open up your curtains. Let fresh air into your room by opening up windows if it's not too cold and if it's not polluted outside.

29. Find out what it'll take to get there. When you set a goal for yourself, begin by doing some research, and you'll be done with the first step.

30. Encourage others, and you'll automatically start seeing encouragement from them in return. It's a cycle of positivity!

31. Don't compare yourself with others or you'll get discouraged. Compete against yourself.

32.Have realistic expectations. Know yourself and how far you can go.

33.Stay excited. Experiment and keep coming up with new tweaks so you won't get board.

34. If you fail, pick yourself up and keep going. Don't let it derail you or cause you to lose confidence, which ends up affecting your motivation.

35. Keep track with a journal. If you track your progress, you'll be able to see it, which will help motivate you to continue or try even harder.

36. Read biographies of the people you look up to for inspiration.

37. Listen to motivation stories from audiobooks, Ted Talks, documentaries, and more.

38. Place motivational quotes around your home and workspace. They can come in such forms as a sticky note on your memo board, a note taped to your mirror, or an inspiring quote on a coffee mug.

39. Volunteer. It'll help ground you and make you realize that you're fortunate, so you should take the opportunity to make the most out of your life.

40. Read The Last Lecture. It's a book written by a professor who managed to squeeze the most out of his final days after a terminal cancer diagnosis.

41. Dress to impress yourself. You'll feel like you can get more things done when you're putting your best foot forward.

42. Write down a few things you're grateful for. If you have a more positive mind-set, you'll find yourself more motivated and looking forward to what's in store for you.

43. Reflect on the times when you worked hard and succeeded at your task.

44. Remind yourself that it's better to try and fail or succeed than living with regrets.

45. Give yourself a pep talk, and tell yourself that you are awesome.

46. Drop the projects that you might not be totally committed to and focus on the ones you're really passionate about.

47. Tell yourself that nothing worthwhile is ever easy.

48. Know that only you have the power to create your dreams and generate motivation.

49. Write down where you see yourself in five years, and stick that note in a visible place.

50. Turn it into a challenge with a time limit. You can create your own or join an existing one. There are plenty of challenges that already exist out there, such as the NaNoWriMo, which challenges participants to complete a novel in a month.

51. Set your alarm clock to remind you when it's time to start on your task.

52. Find something you truly enjoy, and do it. Pick up a hobby or start a collection, and it'll make you excited about life.

By Emily co
Originally posted on

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