Monday, December 2, 2013

Facing Fear

Fear is a distressing negative emotion brought on by a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism that triggers the 'fight or flight' response. Our fears, however, can often take on a life of their own and stop us dead in our tracks.

Rejection is an irrational fear that others will not accept us for who we are. Fear of rejection is one of those insidious, perceived threats that can hold us back, keep us from achieving our goals. Fear of rejection pervades our minds, often rendering us incapable of doing or saying anything for fear of others' rejection, lack of acceptance, or disapproval.

Yet, there will be times in our lives when we will face rejection. How will you handle rejection if it does happen? To start, be prepared. Identify your limiting thoughts, such as...
  • People dislike me
  • I am a failure
  • I am not worthy of their approval
...and then dismiss them one by one. To do so effectively you need to build your self-esteem. And you build self-esteem by understanding your self-worth.

So make this list instead...
  • People like me because...
  • I have been successful in...
  • I am worthy of others' approval because...
Work on your self-worth list everyday by adding just one good trait about you. Remember my equation:

Self-confidence + Self-worth = Self-esteem

Embrace joy. Be mindful. Live a flourishing life.

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

Friday, July 19, 2013

Feeding Negativity

An old man, teaching his grandson about life, shared this story. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego."

He continued, "The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

 The old man simply replied, "The one you feed."

Feeding our negative thoughts can make us more narrow-minded and rigid in our view of ourselves and our place in the world. A lack of understanding of our personal histories keeps us from adapting when new stresses affect us. Falling back - feeding -- old thought patterns, old behaviors keeps us spinning our wheels and stuck in the muck and mire of dysfunction and unhappiness. Take time to be self-reflective and ask yourself which "wolves" are  you feeding?

Make a commitment to yourself to start withholding the "foods" that are poisoning your mind, your soul.

Enjoy your day, everyone. And remember: Embrace Joy. Be mindful. Live a flourishing life.  ~ Rita 

 PS Have you seen our new Inspirational Message Cards? Take a look by clicking here!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Habitual Behavior

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.

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 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

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Boston Marathon Bombings: Helping Our Children Move Forward

The Boston Marathon, which takes place each year on Patriots Day, has long been a day of celebration, joy, and team spirit. We celebrate the elite runners, delight in the joy of thousands of ordinary people testing their mettle to accomplish an extraordinary feat, we support and cheer friends and colleagues who organize teams to raise money for causes near and dear to them. But at this year's Marathon, the incomprehensible and unconscionable acts of terror-minded individuals turned celebration and joy into horror and anguish.

The summer months are a stone's throw away which means family outings to sporting events, Fourth of July celebrations, and the like. So, how do we help our children feel safe in light of the bombings at the Boston marathon? How do we, their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, caretakers feel safe?

Like the instructions we receive when traveling with a child onboard an airplane — put on your oxygen mask first before assisting the child — we have to get our emotions, our state of mind under control first. We cannot tell our children that everything will be okay if in our next breath we are illustrating our fear and anxiety in words and actions to others around us. Remember: kids hear and see much more than we think they do.

How do we move forward and help our children to do so? We teach them that the actions of those two small-minded men represent nothing more than a speck of inhumanity compared to the heroism of the hundreds of first responders, EMTs doctors, nurses, and ordinary folks who ran into the fray to help. We explain to them that the actions of those two cowardly men represent nothing compared to the bravery of the hundreds of wounded who must reach deep inside and find the strength of character to redefine their lives and live courageously, albeit differently. We show them that the actions of those two men represent hatred in the hearts of the few rather than the love and grace in the hearts of the many. In other words, we show them by example.

As President Obama reminded us in his message at the Interfaith Healing Service on Thursday, “Like Bill Ifrig, 78 years old, the runner in the orange tank-top who we all saw get knocked down by the blast, we may be momentarily knocked off our feet. But we'll pick ourselves up. We'll keep going. We will finish the race.”

This is a vital lesson for our children. There will be times and events in life that knock us off our feet, that rattle our emotions. Challenges in life build character. We survive and thrive through the friendships we make, by reaching out and helping others, by maintaining a hopeful outlook, and by understanding and accepting that change is part of life.

Written for KidsTerrain. Reprinted with permission.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Accepting What Is Not In Our 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.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

On Forgiveness

When forgiveness becomes an essential component of our thinking, that's when we begin to heal the wounds of our past.

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

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Humor is Your Best Friend

Several years ago I watched a video about comedian Dave Fitzgerald, a two-time cancer patient. In it, Dave discusses his experience with the disease and how he coped. He talks about his decisions and choices regarding  treatment options, being involved in one’s own recovery,  and keeping a sense of humor. 

We've heard time after time that laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Humor lightens our burdens and opens the channels allowing hope to flow. Laughter is good for your physical and emotional health. 

Studies show that humor and laughter boost the immune system, decrease stress hormones, and increase immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies. Laughter lowers blood pressure, gives our hearts a good workout, relaxes us  immediately, and make us feel good by triggering the release of endorphins that promote an overall sense of well-being. That's why so many motivational speakers -- Loretta Laroche, Darren LaCroix, Rosemary Verri, to name a few -- utilize this powerful tool.

Here are a few tips:
  • Have a stressful commute to and from work? Listen to comedy CDs instead of talk radio.
  • Learn to laugh at yourself, rather than knock yourself down. 
  • Rekindle your childlike wonderment about the world.
  • Limit your exposure to negative media
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,