Tuesday, December 28, 2010

This Week's Stress Reducing Tip - #1

Scenario: The rush to get out of the house...

Do you often run late in the morning? Are you always fighting the clock trying to get out of the house and get to work, to an appointment, or to school on time?

Here are a few time management tips:
  • Get up 15 minutes earlier.
  • Prepare for the morning the night before:
    • decide what you will wear to work or school the next day
    • iron your clothing
    • set up the coffeemaker
    • set the table for breakfast
What other activities can you do beforehand to alleviate the ‘morning rush’? Please share your tips...

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, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's Not About What We Get...

Over the next few days the Number One question most of us will be asked is, "What did you get?"

While the Christmas season is rooted in the Christian faith, a faith that teaches benevolent and charitable giving, the Buddha, too,  offered a succinct lesson in giving and getting.

When we give to others, we give without expectation of reward. We give without attachment to either the gift or the recipient. The practice of giving is thought to be one of the most basic human virtues, a testament to the depth of our humanity, and for Buddhists, one's capacity for self-transcendence.

So as we move gently out of the fray of holiday shopping and into the peace of Christmas, keep in mind that it is not about what you get, it is about what you give.

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

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

Monday, December 20, 2010

Beat The Odds...

Odds are most people will gain weight during the holiday season. In fact, it's been reported that many people will gain 6 - 13 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

Holidays parties, get-togethers with friends and family, often leads to over-indulging, making "Start a diet" the number one entry on most folks New Year's Resolution List.

We don't like to think about limitations and diets during the holidays. It puts us into a deprivation frame of mind. And let's be honest....the holidays are more about indulgence than denial.

Rather than going whole hog or wallowing in restriction (and beating yourself up when you fail to limit your intake), just be mindful. Think about what you are eating and savor the moment, savor each bite. Place rather than pop those goodies into your mouth, let your taste buds take over.

We tend to over eat when we eat mindlessly. So eat whatever you want this holiday season. Do so mindfully....and you'll beat the weight gain odds.

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

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

Friday, December 17, 2010


An empowering, constructive attitude that creates conditions
for success by focusing and acting on possibilities and opportunities.
~ Max More

The number one factor influencing resilience is a positive or optimistic view of yourself and confidence in your strengths and abilities. I want to be clear. When I talk of optimism I do not mean that rose-colored glasses, Pollyannaish way of looking at the world. Optimists see tragedy just fine. Optimists know bad things happen. But what separates optimists from their pessimistic brothers and sisters is how they move forward in their thinking and actions relative to those events.

Much of the way we view the world has been shaped by the messages we received as children. (Habits that serve us; habits that don’t serve us. – Aristotle) So, let me ask: Do you view yourself as an optimist or a pessimist? Your comments are most appreciated!

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, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Multi-tasking Morass

It is not surprising that modern day life is often referred to as the "culture of distraction." We are bombarded with information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And yet, most of us cannot get enough. We channel surf, search the Web, talk and text, drive and text, drive and talk, drive and talk and text. It is no wonder we are driven to distraction!

Not only are we less focused, we are not present-moment oriented. And in our efforts to skim through volumes of information, we truly miss out on quite a bit by paying only partial attention.

*Excerpt from Live A Flourishing Life

Have a joyful day everyone...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Accept What is Not in Your Control

"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.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards - A Resilient Spirit...

Elizabeth Edwards wrote, "I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces: ­ my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined."

Ms. Edwards resilience didn't simply ignite with her cancer diagnosis. She faced numerous  trials and tribulations during her life -- the death of her son Wade, the harsh scrutiny of the political spotlight, a deceptive spouse -- and did so with strength, courage, and admirable grace. Her Facebook postings the past few weeks shed insight into her resilient spirit.

"The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered," she wrote. "We know that. And yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful."

Thank you, Elizabeth... rest, now, in peace.

Live a flourishing life...

Elizabeth Edwards passed away on Tuesday, December 7, 2010. She was 61 years old.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Characteristics Of Resilient People - 3

The ability to hang tough during difficult times

Resilient people are good at managing their emotions. They stay calm under pressure and persevere.*

Many of us grew up being told, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Or perhaps you were read the childhood story, The Little Engine That Could ..."I think I can; I think I can."

These statements represent some of our earliest lessons of an attitude of resilience.

What resilience-based words of wisdom do you recall?

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

*Excerpt from Live A Flourishing Life

Monday, November 29, 2010


Kaizen! Breaking tasks down into small, incremental steps…

Kaizen is a Japanese management concept for incremental (gradual, continuous) change (improvement); breaking tasks into small, manageable steps. Kaizen is also a way of life philosophy based on making little changes on a regular basis. Kaizen is about finding new, creative, and effective ways to improve one’s life…from tackling the mundane to managing our stress, to attaining our life vision.

Learn how to put Kaizen in action in your life... Live A Flourishing Life.

Have a joyful day everyone...

*From Live A Flourishing Life

Words of Wisdom

Human flourishing involves the rational use of one’s individual human potentialities, including talents, abilities, and virtues in the pursuit of his freely and rationally chosen values and goals.
~ Edward W. Younkins

From Live A Flourishing Life

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Practice Gratitude

Psychological research finds that people's happiness levels are remarkably stable over the long-term. A possible explanation comes from studies in the psychology of gratitude. Yes, you read that correctly — being thankful just may be the secret to happiness.

The study* cited that people who were in the gratitude condition felt fully 25% happier — they were more optimistic about the future, they felt better about their lives.

The words "gratitude" and "grace" share a common Latin origin — gratus, meaning "pleasing" or "thankful." When you are in a deep state of gratitude, you may feel the presence of grace. Reflect on this. As we become more mindful of the present moment, we begin to recognize the things around us that we may have taken for granted.

Learning to practice gratitude is one of life's most valuable lessons. As Aristotle taught us, all virtues have value and the virtue of gratitude helps to increase feelings of satisfaction with our lives and keeps us from falling into the excess of a greedy or entitled frame of mind.**

There are many simple, yet powerful ways to practice gratitude on a daily basis.
  • Thank, separately, both the cashier and the bagger at the grocery store.
  • Send a hand-written thank you note when you receive a gift, however small.
  • Make "thank you" a common phrase in your vocabulary.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Each night write 1-3 things for which you were grateful during the day.
Have a joyful Thanksgiving everyone. And remember to live a gracious and flourishing life.

*Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389

**Excerpt from Live A Flourishing Life

Sunday, November 21, 2010

About Conflict

Conflict is a critical event in the course of a relationship. Conflict can cause resentment, hostility, and perhaps the ending of that relationship. However, conflict can be productive and lead to deeper understanding, mutual respect, and closeness.

Do you shy away from conflict? Which of the following statements may reflect your approach to conflict?
  • My underlying anger may get out of control.
  • To me, conflict is an all-or-nothing situation.
  • I find it difficult to face conflict because I feel inadequate.
  • I have difficulty positively asserting my views and feelings.
*Excerpt from Live A Flourishing Life

Have a joyful day everyone...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Characteristics Of Resilient People - 2

Adopt a "Where there's a will, there's a way" attitude

Resilient people have a penchant for learning. They have the ability to reflect upon and recognize objectively their strengths and weaknesses. This self-reflection helps them gain insight into their current circumstances, opening them to new ideas and new tactics for dealing with crises.

Resilient people have the ability to look at critical situations in a new way, finding creative approaches towards solving a problem. They recognize that life is a series of good times and not so good times, and that you need the bad to appreciate the good. Hard times build character, creating positive lessons that better equip us to cope in the future.

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

*Excerpt from Live A Flourishing Life

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

2010 APA Stress in America Findings

Since 2006, the American Psychological Association has commissioned an annual nationwide survey as part of its Mind/Body Health campaign to examine and understand the impact of stress on Americans. The results of the Stress in America survey draws attention to the serious physical and emotional implications of stress.

Yesterday (11/9/10), the APA released its findings, cautioning "stress may become a public health crisis." The survey is an indicator about the long-term impact that chronic stress may have on Americans' physical and emotional health. Psychologist Norman B. Anderson, PhD, the APA’s chief executive officer and executive vice president stated, "America is at a critical crossroads when it comes to stress and our health."

His statement is not a broad stroke. Since 2006, nearly 75% of Americans say they experience stress at levels that "exceed what they define as healthy." Stress is related to numerous chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and depression, and is a contributing factor to many leading causes of death.

"People are also saying they have difficulty implementing the changes they know will decrease their stress and improve their health," Anderson said. "Yet, our health care system is not adequately addressing this issue or providing the behavioral health treatments that can help Americans. All of us, including the medical community, need to take stress seriously since stress could easily become our next public health crisis."

To learn more about how you can decrease stress in your life, please visit my web site, www.liveaflourishinglife.com.

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

Monday, November 8, 2010

Characteristics Of Resilient People - 1

It is the very nature of life to strive to continue in being.
Since this continuance can be secured only by constant renewals,
life is a self-renewing process.
~ John Dewey
The ability to bounce back

How quickly we bounce back from crises and tragedy is dependent on how resilient we are. Sometimes, however, our lack of understanding about our life experiences — or habits that don’t serve us — keeps us from adapting when new stresses affect us. As we reflect upon and come to terms with our personal history, and take steps to adjust the undermining attitudes and habits, the greater will be our ability to bounce back quickly.

*Excerpt from Live A Flourishing Life

Have a joyful day everyone...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What Do We Mean By "To Flourish..."

To live a flourishing life is to live in the mean, to live in balance between the excesses and the deficiencies. We do this by:
  • uncovering and embracing the attitudes and habits that serve us
  • identifying and eliminating those habits that do not
  • recognizing signs our body is under stress
  • discovering our stress triggers
  • acquiring, developing, and honing our resilience skills and attitudes
To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site,

Have a joyful day everyone...

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Process of Change

To successfully develop and implement a stress management and resilience-building plan, one must be committed to the change process. Change is not easy; old habits die hard. Change is especially hard when a behavior or attitude is longstanding, or involves an addictive substance. (Just ask anyone attempting to quit smoking.) And change is stressful.

Change requires:
  • thinking differently
  • acting differently, and
  • commitment.
*Excerpt from Live A Flourishing Life

Have a joyful day everyone...

Live A Flourishing Life Workshops

Do you want to live a better life − a life where stress is reduced and managed; a life replete with loving friendships; a life guided by optimism and courage? In other words, a life that flourishes?

To live a flourishing life™ is to live an examined life. To do so, you begin by exploring, recognizing, and understanding the habits and attitudes that serve you, and those that do not serve you. And then, step-by-step, you make a determined effort to change those attitudes and behaviors by developing a doable action plan.

My workshops and private coaching sessions offer insight and assistance, enabling you to work through the obstacles that stand in your way, and guide you towards actionable, positive changes that will affect all areas of your life.

To learn more about Live A Flourishing Life™ workshops and private coaching, contact me directly via e-mail at rita@ritaschiano.com or visit my web site www.ritaschiano.com.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Key to Stress Management

The key to stress management is being able to recognize your body’s response to emotional conditions and then to take steps to minimize or alleviate the stress triggers.

A good tool is to keep a stress-awareness journal. This will help you recognize where your body stores tension. The more aware you become of your body’s reaction to stress, the better you will be able to take steps to reduce the stress and metabolize the harmful buildup of stress hormones in your body.

Have a joyful day everyone...

*From Live A Flourishing Life

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

About Live A Flourishing Life

Live A Flourishing Life is the result of melding my three professions -- adjunct Philosophy professor, stress management and resilience-building trainer, and writer.

In June, Bay Path College (where I teach Philosophy) tapped me to teach a Stress Management course in their One-Day-A-Week Saturday Program. Since this was the first offering of the course, I was literally writing the workbook as we went along.

However... I did not want the book to be solely a classroom text. And so I created Live A Flourishing Life for anyone to use on one's own, or together with private coaching sessions, or workshop/lecture. The book includes a progressive relaxation and mindful breathing techniques CD Relax and Flourish. (Order your copy here.)

What qualified me to write this book and offer these programs?

Since 2008, I have been working as a stress management trainer for WorkTerrain, presenting programs throughout the Commonwealth to organizations and municipalities via Dept. of Industrial Accidents grants. (To learn more about WorkTerrain's Safety Programs go to

And for the past five years, I have been working with Dr. Ron Breazeale as he developed the "Duct Tape Isn't Enough" resilience "Train-the-Trainer" program, initially developed for First Responders, and now being offered nationwide. (To learn more about Resilience Coaching programs go to http://www.reachinghome.com/course.html.)

Details on the Live A Flourishing Life™ workshop/lecture series and coaching sessions in future blogs postings.

Have a joyful day everyone...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Come Armed With Fire Extinguishers

I believe freedom of speech and freedom of expression are fundamental and sacred rights.

In "On Liberty" John Stuart Mill wrote "...there ought to exist the fullest liberty of professing and discussing, as a matter of ethical conviction, any doctrine, however immoral it may be considered." However, Mill also introduced a concept that became known as the harm principle: "...the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others." In essence, the basis of the harm principle is making good, moral choices.

Perhaps Pastor Terry Jones skipped morality and ethics class that day....

His plan to hold "Burn-A Koran Day on Saturday, September 11 defies clearly moral judgment and the harm principle. Jones and his band of misguided followers actions will be detrimental to the safety of our troops, to our citizens, to people around the globe. Recall the international outrage those Danish comic strips caused a few years back.

Those who wish to protest Pastor Terry Jones' horrific Burn-A-Koran Day should come to the event armed, not with guns or hatred in their hearts, but with fire extinguishers.

Heck, let's go one step further and hold "Put Out The Fire" rallies across the nation.... Organize a rally in your community...organize a march of folks armed only with fire extinguishers and peace in their hearts.

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

Monday, September 6, 2010

Why Is It That...

Why is it that...
  • Superman could stop bullets with his chest, but always ducked when someone threw a gun at him?
  • if man evolved from monkeys, we still have monkeys?
  • buttered bread always lands on the butter-side down, and a cat always lands on its fee?
  • it is necessary to nail down the lid of a coffin?
I'm just wondering, that's all...

What are you wondering about?

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