Thursday, January 15, 2015

Managing Caregiver Stress Through Resilience

On Tuesday, January 13, I had the honor and pleasure to present, in conjunction with Janet Edmundson of JME Insights, a Free Webinar on Managing Caregiver Stress Through Resilience. Many caregivers are considered to be "hidden patients," for they fail to notice the signs of stress in their own lives. With their attention so focused on the care and needs of their loved one, their own potentially harmful symptoms go unnoticed. The warning signs of stress can attack so subtly and lead to an increase in physical and mental health deterioration.

The opportunity to hear a recording of this free webinar is now available. Simply click here and you'll be able to access the program via Go To Meeting.  Of course, if you have any questions, please do contact me.

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.


To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site,

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Managing Strong Feelings

"Never cease trying to be the best that you can be. That's under your control. If you get too engrossed and involved and concerned in regard to the things in which you have no control, it will adversely affect the things over which you have control." - From John Wooden on True Success (View video)

The frustration or anger that can well inside us from situations that are not only out of our control, but have nothing to do with us, chips away at our peace of mind and releases stress hormones which, left unattended, can lead to health-related problems.

The capacity to manage strong feeling, emotions, and impulses involves being able to:
  • take action without being impulsive and responding out of emotion
  • put emotions to the side when clear thinking and action are required
  • use thinking as a way of managing one’s emotions
When we allow ourselves to get worked up, particularly over the small stuff, we are needlessly causing our bodies to go into fight-or-flight mode.

To learn more how to management circumstances that are out of your control, visit Live A Flourishing Life.

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Calming the Mind

"Calmness of mind," James Allen wrote, "is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self-control." So how can we do this in the midst of a hectic workday? Often we stress about things we cannot change: the economy, the weather, our commute to work. Recognizing the difference between what we can and cannot change can help us live more peaceful and productive lives.

Managing stress is a pathway to healthy living, and mindful breathing is the conveyance that helps the mind and the body to relax and focus.

Mindful breathing is a simple practice and one with multiple benefits: increase focus, lower heart rates, and the metabolizing of stress hormones, especially cortisol, which is harmful to our health. It takes as little as ten conscious breaths, less than sixty seconds, to ease oneself out of a stressful state. And mindful breathing can be done anywhere — in the office, the car, the elevator, the privacy of a bathroom stall.

When you feel anxious, overwhelmed, or stressed, try this simple mindful breathing exercise:
  • Breathe in, filling your diaphragm with your breath. Focus solely on your breath as it fills inside you, shutting out all other thoughts. 
  • Then breathe out. 
  • Next, begin to silently count your breaths as they arrive. Notice the brief periods of quiet as one breath ends and before the next one begins.
  • Repeat this process until you’ve counted 10 breaths — not allowing any other thoughts to distract you. 

 In just sixty second, the approximate time is takes to do this simple exercise, you will feel greater peace accompanied by increased steadiness and balance of mind.

By choosing mindful breathing instead of coursing through a self-perpetuating cycle of stress, you begin to create and reinforce the habit of managing your stress rather than your stress controlling you.

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site,

Friday, May 30, 2014

Changing Habitual Behavior

The greatest weapon in our arsenal is our ability to choose one thought over another. But our choices must be wise. So how can you tell if you are making bad choices?

If  you find yourself in the  "different set of circumstance, different situation, same old crappy outcome" trap, then you are ensnared by habits that do not serve you.

To begin to make better choices it is necessary to go back and examine and reflect on past events in order to find the strengths you have within. Many psychologists today preach that it's not really until adulthood that people begin to surmount the difficulties of childhood and to rebuild their lives. But let’s set the record straight. That concept goes back more than 2300 years . . . back to Aristotle.

Aristotle wrote that there are two times in our lives when our character is shaped. The first is when we are children. At this time our habits and attitudes are shaped by our parents and our early teachers who taught us the best they knew how based on what they learned. These early attitudes and habit formations were central to our character development. However, sometimes those lessons were negative.

To adapt habits that make you flourish, you must learn how to manage and maintain balance in your life. To begin this process, you need to look at your past experiences and be willing to take small steps to change the patterns of behavior or attitudes that keep you in the cycle of dysfunction.

Changing habitual behavior is a process. Be patient and be compassionate with yourself. Each of us creates our own journey of releasing bad habits and adopting good habits through conscious choice. Embrace those choices; embrace the changes. They are the catalysts that will improve your life.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

More on Resilience . . .

Resilience is that quality, that ability that enables some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than before. Rather than allowing crises or failure to drain their resolve, they tapped a reservoir of determination that allows them to rise up strong and resolute.

There are several factors that make someone resilient: an attitude of optimism and hope, the ability to manage strong emotions, and the ability to see failure as valuable negative information.

Let’s talk about that F word for a moment. Failure stirs up potent social emotions: humiliation, guilt, shame. Yet, Failure is, at worst, a mixed blessing: It hurts, yet, failure can pay off in the form of learning, growth, and wisdom.

Learning is error-driven. Nothing ever invented was created right the first time. I recall hearing the story of Robert Goddard, a physics instructor at Clark University constructed and tested the first liquid fuel rocket in Auburn, Massachusetts, in March of 1926. The rocket flew to an altitude of 41 ft and landed 184 ft away, crashing into the snow. The flight lasted 2.5 seconds. Although the experiment was primitive, the flight was epochal, setting the stage for era of space exploration that’s part and parcel of our history. The local paper picked up the story and dismissed its importance with a headline that said "Moon Rocket Misses Target by 238,799 1/2 Miles!" The lesson here is that for Goddard, experimental failures were ‘valuable negative information’.

Some psychologists argue that adversity, setbacks, and even trauma may actually be necessary for people to be happy, successful, and fulfilled. There’s even a term for it: "Post-traumatic growth." To support this they point to successful people such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Oprah Winfrey – folks who credit their accomplishments to earlier failures and childhood traumas that pushed them to the edge of the abyss. Nietzsche: “When you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you.”

Setbacks actually force us to take risks, to learn, and to grow. Failure is an opportunity to change course. We must learn to seize it, rather than be seized by it.

Each of us has a considerable capacity for strength. And while sometimes it is easier to embrace being a victim of circumstances, that role removes the obligation to change. Resilient people do not let adversity define them. Instead, they rise above adversity—poverty, abuse, neglect violence, molestation or war—and forge a stronger, more durable character.

Resilience is the means by which we are not immobilized by hardship, but rather bounce back from it stronger, determined, empowered, and able to lead gratifying, flourishing lives.