Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Little Civility Goes A Long Way

My town's post office is a tiny building with limited, awkwardly-angled parking. Three steps lead up to a wooden door that opens outward...extremely user-unfriendly, particularly if one is carrying a bulk mail bin, a package, or a young child.

The other day as I was leaving the post office and crossing the parking lot to my car, I noticed a man approaching and carrying two mid-sized boxes. I stopped and said to him, "Let me go and grab that door for you." As I proceeded back towards the steps leading to the front door, he called to me. "Really, Miss, no need to do that. I can manage."

Now, I frequent the post office quite a bit, often carrying packages and boxes of books to be mailed out. I know how cumbersome it is to juggle what I'm holding while pulling open a rather heavy door  -- a door, mind you, that has no window, so you never know if someone is about to exit from inside.

"Really, it's no problem," I said to the gentleman as I continued towards the door.

As I held open the door for him he stopped and smiled widely. "Thank you," he said. "It's refreshing to know there is least a little civility left in this world."

While driving home I pondered his remark. I tend to think of civility as good citizenship or orderly behavior, a definition derived more from its original usage. However, the gentleman was referring more to the word's current usage, that is, courtesy in behavior and speech.

Since the shooting tragedy in Arizona, where nineteen people were shot and six murdered, talk of "civility" has been plentiful. But what about actions? My small action seemed to resonate with this man on a deeper level. I wondered if his non-Caucasian ethnicity meant he elicited less courtesy and respect from others?

We cannot rely solely on the actions of others to make this world a better place. Each of us must commit to taking small "civil" steps each day...through our words and through our actions. Civility is it spread.

"Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us everyday." ~ Sally Koch

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, February 20, 2011

Characteristics Of Resilient People - 7

The seventh characteristic of resiliency: Embrace an optimistic attitude...

Attitude really is everything. Resilient people have a sense of hope and trust in the world. They believe in the basic goodness and decency of people, trusting that things will turn out all right in the end. This positive attitude allows them to weather the bad times and gives them the ability to hope for a better future.

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,

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Study in Gratitude

The University of California at Davis conducted a study on the effects of gratitude. The researchers were able to actually quantify what happens when people are grateful. Shifts in overall attitude included being:
  • more optimistic
  • more apt to help others
  • more joyful
  • genuinely healthier
Related studies found that grateful people are more resilient, less stressed, and are better strategic thinkers.

It is believed, too, that grateful people recovered faster from trauma. The common denominator? All believed in the power of their mind to find relevance in their situation and to make something better come of it.

Adopt an attitude of gratitude.

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,

Monday, February 14, 2011

Express Your Love...Today and Always

For many of us the words "Be My Valentine" were first utter during grade school, when we exchanged Valentines with classmates. Now that we are all grown up, why exactly do we need a holiday to express our heartfelt love and appreciation to one another?

Make expressing your love, make saying the words "I love you" to lovers, spouses, children, parents, and friends an everyday practice.

Here's some messages of love through the ages...

"We say love is blind, and the figure of Cupid is drawn with a bandage around his eyes. Blind — yes, because he does not see what he does not like; but the sharpest-sighted hunter in the universe is Love for finding what he seeks, and only that." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind."  ~ William Shakespeare, from A Midsummer Night's Dream

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.” ~ Charles M. Schulz

“Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.” ~ Albert Einstein

“You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” ~ Theodore Seuss Geisel, "Dr. Seuss"

"Love is the strongest force the world possesses, and yet it is the humblest imaginable.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

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,

Thursday, February 10, 2011

US Education Department Push For Bullying Initiatives

The Obama administration and the Education Department have set their focus on promoting initiatives aimed at combating bullying in schools. The administration’s efforts were ignited by a 10-page “Dear Colleague” letter from the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights advising school officials they are required under federal law to stop discriminatory behavior.

In the letter, Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights, wrote, “Some student misconduct that falls under a school’s anti-bullying policy also may trigger responsibilities under one or more of the federal anti-discrimination laws enforced by the Department’s Office for Civil Rights.

“Student misconduct could trigger action under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which targets discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which bans discrimination based on sex,” Ali said.

The Education Department is collecting “best practices” for anti-bullying efforts and the White House is planning to host a conference this year to raise awareness of the issue.

Written for KidsTerrain, Inc. Reprinted here with permission.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Psychology Today

A few weeks ago I was honored to have my Stress Management course at Bay Path College discussed in a Psychology Today blog. Dr. Ron Breazeale, in his blog "In the Face of Adversity,"  wrote about how potentially adverse events and circumstances "come in all shapes and sizes, and how distressful they are is usually determined by our perception of them." He went on to write that if we believe that "we have the ability to meet the challenge, or if the demand of the situation is not an important one, we aren't stressed. However, if we don't believe we have the skill or knowledge to manage the situation, but believe we must handle it well, we will feel stressed."

Training and education about resilience skills and attitudes is key. Last summer I began offering a stress management course to students in the Bay Path College One-Day-A-Week Saturday Program, an accelerated, full-time degree program for women looking to earn an undergraduate degree. The women who enter the One-Day-A-Week Saturday Program are seeking to transform their professional and personal lives.

The course examines the concepts of stress and its effect on physical and mental performance, how to recognize and tackle stress indicators, examines effective communication and stress reduction, the importance of understanding our past and its affects on stress, breaking through old patterns of thinking, the importance and value of developing a resilience plan, and an in-depth analyses of the factors and characteristics that make up resilience. By the end of the course, the students create for themselves a personal stress management and resilience-building plan.

To read Dr. Breazeale's blog, "In The Face Of Adversity" go to

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, February 4, 2011


Aristotle proclaimed 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 were shaped by our parents and our early teachers who taught us the best they knew how based on what they learned. These early attitude and habit formations were central to our character development; and sometimes those lessons were negative.

For Aristotle, a habit or hexis is a determinate power to act in a specific way. Habits can foster the good life by cultivating virtue and by developing the passions to feel pleasure and pain in right ways. Happiness is the "chief good" of human life and the most basic requirement of such a life is "activity of the soul in accordance with complete excellence." (Book I, Nichomachean Ethics)

To live a flourishing life you begin by uncovering habits that affect how you think and act. Many habits operate without your conscious awareness. Changing habits begins with recognition, followed by mindful awareness and intention to adjust your thoughts and behaviors until they become habits that serve you.

To adapt habits that make you flourish, you must learn how to manage and maintain balance in your life. You need to look at your past experiences and examine how you were able to successfully change some of your patterns of behavior or attitudes.

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.

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,

*Excerpt from Live A Flourishing Life