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Archive for the ‘Coping’ Category

Choosing to Move Forward (1)


The other day, as I waited to meet a friend at my mostly frequented coffee shop, I had an interesting brief conversation with the waiter on duty. He just opened up to brief me on his latest news. “I applied to this famous hotel chain and am hopefully quitting this place” he said. He then continued to list his frustration with his current job and how there was no room for promotion there. At the age of 38, he found himself needing to advance forward instead of being stuck in the same monotonous job. He presented more reasons that moved him into taking action towards change. He had a vision of a better fit to his aspirations and I thought that “Wow!! This is a really healthy sign of thriving on the profession”.

 

I compared that waiter to a friend of mine who excessively whines of monotony at the work place; yet, does not do anything to change or add flavor to what she does. Despite my constant attempts at directing her towards exploring the options there, she would be very resistant to suggestions of all sorts. She might be too afraid to trying something new, or move out of her comfort zone. There must be something appealing in her current employment, but she surely wouldn’t openly recognize it, or look for it. She was oblivious to her power of making choices to effect some change.

 

Such varied responses between frustrated people on the job prevail to varying extents. Some of us choose to deal with the problem and are proactive to move forward; others choose the easier path of whining that they have a problem. It’s as if things could change to the better by a magical intervention, but would they? Could we hope for remedy if we do not solicit it, or even take action towards it? The choice to progress needs to stem from a burning and motivating desire to grow. No one can instill it for someone else. Surely others can nourish it along the way, but it has to be already there. Do you have a vision of the best self you want to be? If so, my guess is that you’re on the path of moving forward…..

 

I Got Promoted… Oh, Shsh-t!!


              A dear friend of mine recently got promoted to the position of the CEO of this reputable huge firm. I met with her just yesterday to discuss the great news only to find out that she was terrified by the news. Shock waves of worry were still coloring her perception of her pinnacle  professional accomplishment. Instead of being a chest-thumping Tarzan, she was dejected. I found her gritting her teeth mulling about the tantalized situation that firm was in. She thought that the prospects of enacting a directional shift towards growth were poor as demonstrated by the successive CEOs handling that same post. I saw things differently; and started dissecting with her the different aspects of her worries. She was disempowering herself with negative thoughts and bleak attributes of the situation; and that needed to change. She can’t decline such an opportunity and has all the right to worry, but whining about the problems surrounding her added responsibility did not serve her much. We first changed the term “problems” into “concerns”. We then started focusing on how to dissolve or solve those concerns. She had already begun that, and as we sat there more solutions surfaced.

                  Our dialogue led to an attempt at adopting a more empowering stance; thus, allowing more reign for positive thoughts. What she needed more than ever, now, was to muster all her energy and arm her self with few pivotal basics:

a) Faith. Fate/life (not the board members) has chosen her to have this post. There is something precious in there for her (a lesson, a reward, or an experience). She needs to trust what the cosmic energy is giving her! It is meant for a reason. A more “let’s look at it as a challenge” stance is to be adopted. Why not explore the marvels of having achieved and have a taste of being there at the top? She has worked real hard for a post that by now she deserves. She has all the expertise and the right credentials.

b) Positive beliefs about her yourself. Henry ford once said: “Believe you can, and you can; believe you can’t and you’re right”; and this is not just a quote. Accumulated research suggests that those who believe in themselves (and their capabilities) do succeed; those who are hesitant and are doubtful don’t often make it. Even if she had doubts in some areas, she is better off in focusing on what she is good at. Weak areas can often be delegated to subordinates to handle, or rectified with time.

c) Knowledge. She needs to get hold of all sorts of information needed for that new post. A gradual expansion of her knowledge data base was a requirement now more than ever. She needed to allow herself sometime to recap on filling the necessary gaps. She can’t possibly know all the details in the world, but can surely be selective. A supportive team can be the perfect back up providing her with the required essentials.

d) Experts, family, & friends: She, lastly, would need to contact those who were in a similar position and learn from their mistakes. Consultations with field experts were to be prioritized; Furthermore, modeling professionally the success stories of prominent figures would be an asset and a good guideline. At the same time, she needed to stay surrounded by family members and friends. She now needs additional eyes and ears to redirect her once she drifts away with the added responsibility. Family members and friends love her; and she needs to be open to their suggestions on a personal level.

                In addition to equipping herself with the above resources, she needed to utilize additional strategies to succeed on her new endeavor. Our discussion touched on:

1. Having a clear vision of what that new role entails. Moreover, it was important for her to establish the legacy she wanted to leave behind. All outstanding organizations have clearly stated “Vision” and “Mission” statements. They hang these everywhere. Why wouldn’t the same apply on us as people? She needed to write these in her journal. It facilitates goal setting in order to achieve the mission. Research suggests that 97% of those who achieve their goals actually write these down. It keeps one focused and organized. No one has to be overly rigid once the goals are specified (reassessment and revision can be undertaken as the need arises). Clarity is a key to success.

2. Added responsibility might lead to over-working herself. She needed to keep an eye on “her-self” as a person (with all her extended roles as mother, wife, friend, etc…..). No one on his/her death-bed ever wished having worked more. All regret the precious moments not spent with loved ones. Some work-family balance needs to be struck and stays in check.

               We discussed more specifics that worried my dear friend; and addressed each in sundry ways. When one impregnates action steps to any area of concern, the seeds of more solution focused coping emerges. It’s OK to acknowledge worries, but more importantly to process these and de-emphasize their grandiosity. As my friend and I departed, I deeply wished my friend to have become more galvanized to face a “challenge” not a “nightmare” as she perceived it to be. I assured her of lending my full support. I know it is really difficult to coach friends, but I just couldn’t resist the urge to be there with my “coach hat” on. As I mentally reviewed the points we discussed, I considered these applied not only to the case of her promotion per se, but to handling our professional roles any time along the way of progress…..

I Am My OWN Priority



I was wondering about our tendency, sometimes, to lose sight of what we truly want out of living, of the future we want to construct, and of what really matters to us. I am not living in vacuum, I must admit, and therefore, find myself subject to external pressures of all sorts. These could be other people I interact with, situations I am put in, or general life circumstances. I live only once, why not squeeze the juice out of life? I reckon the best way to do that is to set myself as my own priority. This needs to be my hallmark. I was shaped enough in my upbringing and I am an adult now. From now on, it’s my life, so let ME do the “defining”; why should I let someone else do the job for me when I’m wise enough to do it on my own?

These thoughts crossed my mind’s eye when I observed several clients who although dealing with different types of concerns, share almost analogous bases (e.g. dealing with relationship issues). They seem stuck into considering how “others” are relating to them. Almost every question I ask is answered in terms of what “others” have said, or done; or “what if” others will say or do. Where is the “you” in all this, I consistently ask? What do “you” really want? What are “you” going to do about it? Why be reactive? Where is your initiative? Clients like these, and other people I know, seem to subject their desires to the periphery. They assume the stance of a victim, a martyr, or get trapped into complying with the needs of others. They forget the “me” – as responsible and liable – in the whole interaction process.

Such cases make me go back in thought to my repeated attempts in telling my students: “The most important ‘date’ you could ever take is that with your own self. Just take sometime to know more who you are; and what you really want out of life. Get to know both your strengths and limitations; yet, capitalize on your strengths. Get clear on your values. These are guidelines for your behavior; and constitute what’s important for you. They eventually shape your decisions; hence, are bases for a solid vision of your life satisfaction. Get a sense of the direction you’re heading in. Follow your passions, set your priorities, and build your resources.” Whenever you have a clear idea about who you are and what you want to be, or achieve, life would not look like the very difficult puzzle it seems to be (at times). Possible confusion or distress would have little room then in your lives. Set your self as a priority. Everything else would seem to flow more easily afterwards.

I am not suggesting that we are to focus on our needs at the expense of disregarding the whole ecological system we’re engulfed in. It’s just that, at times, considering the “me” in the context may require more focus. Even if the “me” was defined in terms of others, we gain clarity as to where we fit. For instance, one client would finally admit that: “I am a martyr for the sake of my family”. When she clearly defined the framework of her true self, it was a leap forward in de-mystifying her role. I appreciated her sacrifice to keep the family intact. We then worked within the confinements of that role. Imprisoned for the sake of the family; yet, doing the best “She” could to still vivify other aspects of her life. She, then, prioritized herself within that system and she ardently embraced a new attitude of mind. She, then, started to be more giving.

How can you give when you don’t fill up your reservoir? All sorts of machinery need some sort of recharging. Although by far we are more unique, our survival entails more than just physiological nourishment to operate. We need to feed our spirit, our mind, and our passions. The options are varied to summon up our spiritual energy. Seize the opportunity to fill up your psyche and stretch your horizon. Dream on; and make life worth living. Develop a purpose to work on, or mark a blueprint to leave behind. With enough determination and focus, we remain true to ourselves and foster our well-being. Oh yes! Without such a vision, life would seem bleak and not worth the effort. And oh yes! We’d find our selves faltering and vacillating at the mercy of the dictations by others.

Let me be my OWN priority. This will inevitably feed into everything else in my life. It is only then that I can be the giving person I yearn to be….

Keeping An Eye On My “Sociostat”!



Ever heard of the term “Sociostat”? It stands for our social thermostat and was coined by the social psychologists Bibb Latané and Carol Werner. They propose that we all have a need to affiliate with others and maintain certain levels of social contact. This tendency, however, is subject to optimal balance just like our caloric intake. We sometimes crave the company of others; yet at other times, we need to be alone. Engaging in a lot of social activities can disrupt our sociostat. That is why we seek some respite to adjust the imbalance. It reminds me of the extroversion/introversion personally characteristic dimensions proposed by Hans Eysenck. He suggests that extroverts have a chronically under-aroused nervous system; thus, seek social contact and novelty to uplift it to more favorable levels. The inverse is true for those introverts. Maintaining a state of homeostasis relates to many other phenomena and that is crucial for our well-being.

During this time of year (summer season), schools are mostly off. The trend here in Lebanon is that people living abroad return to their home country to spend all or part of their summer vacation. A vacation mode sets in even for most of us who resume their careers gracefully and set their own agendas for vacation time. Many would find themselves in an enforced vacation mode with an overflowing schedule of family and friends to meet and catch up with. Business appointments crossroads with a “lunch it” here and “dine it” there to accommodate for all. “Get togethers” has to be topped by friends you’re trying to maintain (wouldn’t want to dump these for the time). If you are a parent trying to entertain your (sitting at home) kids, you’ll have additional outings to organize. Guess what happens to the sociostat I’ve mentioned earlier? Does it resonate with what goes on around you? Are you freaking out because your threshold has gone awry?

Here is what you need to do: keep an eye on that sociostat. Extroverts and introverts can’t help it for seeking to increase or decrease their exposure to situations to adjust their under or over-aroused nervous system. Both are biologically inclined to “be” the way they are. You can, similarly, be attentive to your sociostat. For some, summertime is a golden opportunity to satisfy the incessant need to be with other people. For others, there life becomes topsy-turvy. They are guilt ridden if they listen to their own need of taking time alone; or are severely overwhelmed if they try to satisfy all ends. Still a third group lies somewhere in the middle; accepting the situation and going with the flow. Where do you locate yourself were we to construct a dimension denoting these three groups?

Obviously, those who do not aspire excessive social contact have a major concern to deal with. What might they do to buufer the incipient threshold burst? Few modus operandis come to mind:
1. Make time for daily “reboot”. You wouldn’t want to be a nervous wreck on the next social function. For every job well-done, there’s a reward. You bent backwards and disrupted your routines; schedule sometime for yourself to spend your day the “preferred way”. Remember, your batteries need constant recharge.
2. Be very selective in your choice of people to meet. If it is another obligation, or those involved are the dreary negative type, let the outing be very brief; else, invite more people to join (those who are more positive, or ones you truly prefer).
3. You strive on self-focus, so be mindful during these outings. Turn your interactions with others as a chance to observe how YOU deal with people. Make the best of it and savor these days to make them work for you (not against you).
4. Reframe those interactions from negative experiences you do not enjoy into more positive terms (e.g. it’s a temporary challenge, I love these guys, I am satisfying their need to be with me, I’ll soon be back to my usual routines, etc…..)
5. Prioritize. Don’t lose yourself in the hassle. Some things cannot be put off; and some people are not staying around for long. Re-shuffle your priorities while keeping focused on what mattes most to you (e.g. your goals, profession, family,…).
6. It’s a chance to learn to say “NO” (when you have to). You really don’t need to stress yourself to comply with the social pressure. If you don’t care of yourself, no one else will.

These are but few techniques for coping before exploding. Even the wisest among us can sometimes focus myopically on having a concern and lose sight of needing to effectively deal with that concern. Our sociostat is woven into our fabric, so in your mind’s eye, just observe: it’s not only the people, it’s not only the outings. It’s YOUR sociostat. Embrace it while keeping an eye on it.

Categories: Coping, Life in general, stress

Actions Breed Results



I usually spend a considerable amount of time over the internet: from checking my email, to Blogging, to visiting multiple social media sites, to browsing the net for information, to joining ICA classes through Skype, or even conducting my coaching sessions. For the past few weeks, I have been receiving mostly forwarded messages on my email. Nothing special, or personal. It then occurred to me that it was only a result of my in-action in networking. I was on a very long vacation with minimal time spent in most of these domains. I did not send so many personal messages and this led to receiving very few in return. It made me ponder about the influence of our efforts and actions on any results we accrue.

I observe the trend in myself, and in those all around me. When I want something, I have to work on getting it. Just thinking about it won’t serve the purpose. I can talk about a dream for ever, but if I don’t do anything about it, it won’t be delivered on a golden plate. I must disagree, here, with Rhonda Byron’s propositions in her wide known book “The Secret”. According to the law of attraction, she suggests, it’s enough to keep focused on a goal or dream. Think hard and the universe will send it to you she claims. I find that really hard to believe. Where is your conscious role in all of this? Where is your action to get it? The law of attraction serves you well only if you take some steps in that direction. Combined with the power of positive expectations and beliefs, our actions are the bases moving us closer to our aspirations.

I call a friend, I don’t find him/her, s/he calls back (most likely). I go out, interact with people, and I have abundant material to write about. I exercise daily, and I feel my energy levels boost up. I post a comment on my favorite author’s Blog (Robin Sharma), and he replies back (Yay)! I procrastinate doing nothing really important during the day, and sure enough I’ll have less and less things going on for me. Sometimes, such a state is much needed. A time to “reboot” serves us well. If prolonged, however, it gets in our way of moving forward. Sometimes we get stuck in initiating actions. We delay, come up with excuses, or become too anxious about failing. But how can we be certain about the results if we don’t give things our best shot?

It has been said that: “It’s better to have tried and failed, than never have tried at all.” Keeping things in motion yield either of 3 results:
1. Successful attempts feeding positively into our emotional states.
2. No tangible results that, lo and behold, will be precipitate to becoming concrete in time. These can succumb in frustration; hence, we need to energize ourselves to persist and keep determined.
3. Negative feedback (as not to say failure) that our actions need some redirection or change. This yields to distressed emotions that again need to be addressed, controlled, and reversed.

In all three instances, the dynamic nature of behaving breeds results that can be used or changed to serve our best interest. There is no point in a “cease fire” if the rules of the game are not altered. I consider each and every one of us a “fighter” under his/her own command. No one else has to lead us into the throes of uncertainty. Within every situation a specific translation is embedded; and it is up to us to make the best of it by keeping things in motion. Let action drive us to results. It is the latter that give our life meaning and purpose. It is those results that feed into the cycle of growth and progress…..

Categories: Coping, Power of Action

Fake it Till You Make it


I feel a connection with the universe when sometimes incidents with analogous content take place in a row. It’s like I’m being sent messages that I cannot ignore. Here is another account of yet another lesson learned. I woke up in a cranky mood this morning (yes….. I am human and do have my ups & down). I felt overwhelmed by having so many endless obligations and responsibilities. I just came back from my yearly vacation with the family and things needing my intervention were piling up like mountains: so many errands, too little time. I started off by writing my usual list of “things to do” and another of things to get from the supermarket. And my day began …..

It was a long wait at the hairdresser and for the first time I forgot to grab along my book to read. I felt strange not being able to use my time wisely by reading while I waited. Turning to the available magazines there did not satisfy my taste. I decided to do something about my mood, so I reciprocated the young employees’ nice attempts in initiating conversations by being more focused and humorous. We ended up with more prolonged chats than my usual practice to kill time. When another lady customer walked into the place, I was surprised to hear one of those young men groan: “Oh no, not her again!” I asked why he said that and his reply was that she never smiles; she’s not like you he added. Indeed for one hour I observed her while I interacted laughingly with those employees. Her face was endlessly grim as if her introspections revealed only contemplations over misery. I wasn’t in my best of mood, but I faked it until it gradually kicked in. Why let those around me sense my concerns when it was me invading their space?

As I continued running my errands, I persisted with enforcing a good mood on myself. It didn’t take me a lot of effort. It just started coming out naturally. At the supermarket, I was conversing with the butcher and requesting my stuff in a respectful and cheerful manner. He would reciprocate by being as kind and merry. Our gentle interactions were interrupted by another lady who barged in and started bossing around that man with a flat look on her face. She wasn’t requesting her needs; she was rather ordering and demanding. The butcher waited until she was distracted and asked: “I wonder what people lose by not smiling at others?” He’s absolutely right to note that. He added that he appreciates my smiling face and noted that it well decorated my beautiful face (blush :)). I compared how he continued interacting with both of us and I surely felt preferred to deal with and support with the service needed.

I know we all carry a heavy burden of responsibilities and worries. People we interact with are not mind-readers. They automatically form judgments and impressions. We can experience all sorts of reservations and no one has to neither know nor deduce. Specifically, I point to those employees we interact with briefly for services. They are humans with mostly monotonous and boring jobs. Our emotions seep into their laps and in turn are reproduced into the services they offer. True, my mood was cranky that morning, but being eager to suppress it and reverse it did yield in positive feedback from those around me. I was lucky to encounter others with similar attitudes. Those young employees at the hairdresser do have their own baggage of concerns, so did that butcher. Faking a good mood became contagious, was positively reinforced, and gradually set in. I returned home really satisfied with having accomplished my “to do lists” for that day. But above all, and despite the fact I had more responsibilities to take care of the next morning, I knew that I can make it a day even better for me & for others….

Celebrate Life: Be Grateful


A couple of days back, I ran across a young boy with no arms. He’s a beggar, I suppose, but one who was busy looking at the sea waves crash on the shore. Shortly after, I noticed a young man sitting on a wheel-chair selling chewing gum boxes. Obviously, it was his way of making a living. Gees!!!…. There must be a message in there for me: Two very unfortunate individuals in a row were enough of a reminder to start reflecting more deeply on how fortunate I am to have my four limbs intact. Not only that, I have much more to be thankful about. Then an overwhelming sense of gratitude struck me! I have a lot to celebrate about every single day!

Why is it that we resort to celebrating only new years eve, birthdays, anniversaries, achievements, graduation, etc….? What does it mean to celebrate? Practically, many would define it a chance to rejoice or acknowledging passage successfully of a mile-stone. The trend is to engage close others with our own feelings of joy. I like it most when the celebration includes a speech by those concerned summarizing their thoughts (past and future that is); however, it is not always the trend. I wonder how many of us actually sit and reflect about what that occasion means, or assess the impact it had and will have on our future. How did we make use of the opportunity to have the experience and what further prospects lie there ahead?

Sometimes, we even let such occasions just pass by without any rejoice at all? Why? When we don’t, it is if we are denying ourselves the right to be happy about yet another landmark. Oh yes! We deserve to celebrate! And yes! Let those we partnered with and love join in the festivity! They deserve our acknowledgement that their support was one of the bases for our thriving. Let all be reminded that we – ourselves – need to commend our efforts. It keeps us going. It is much more potent than doing the positive self-talk in solitude.

I choose to celebrate everyday; not only occasions. I refuse to take the blessings I have for granted. I want to focus on those things I have; not those I still lack. The latter are only incentives requiring actions to fulfill. They are merely prospects for celebration with beloved others. When I go to bed each day, I want to have celebrated yet another day of: having been productive, of having lived with no serious ailment, of being surrounded by loving family and friends, of having a sober mind to do all these reflections, and of having the ability to feel blissful. I can think of many many more to be thankful and celebrate about. Even that young boy was contemplating the beauty of the sea. His eyesight was a blessing. And even the man on the wheel-chair held that chewing gum box with his arms and smiled at passers-by. I don’t want to have to be reminded that I am spared having a handicap. I choose to be grateful to what I have; I choose to celebrate just being….

Categories: Coping, Life in general

Stress-Free Life?



I am well in touch with the notion of stress. I believe roughly everyone is. I read a lot of research examining this construct and its relevance to many others: multiple definitions, coping mechanisms, underlying bases for most physical and psychological disorders, etc…. Fascinating topic; and very broad indeed. I was very aware of the detrimental effects it has on ones’ welfare and never claimed knowing it all. Recently, a colleague – Louisa Chan- offered me a chance to participate in a 4 session program to live a “Stress-Free Life in 30 days”. I felt honored to be selected as a participant. The title of the program appealed to me. I lead a life loaded with stressors of all sorts. I do handle most constructively; and attempt to transcend those that persist, but a “stress-free life” is beyond my comprehension! How can it be? It’s like stripping life of its lure.

Being a passionate learner, I enrolled as a participant. Already born a female, I and my kind, become vulnerable by imposed and ongoing societal role expectations. If I could do anything to buffer myself against the incongruence arising, then let it be undertaken. We all assume multiple roles. The challenge is satisfying all ends; yet, remain in control. What is stress, but a perceived inability to cope in face of excessive demands physically or psychologically? Here I am with a conflicting identity: purely me, a career woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a student, a friend, a manager, etc….. and the list goes on. So many labels and each require specific duties, aspirations, and above all TIME. With so many passions to explore new venues, with choosing so many “roads less traveled”, I was constantly being pulled by different forces and in different directions. How can I possibly accommodate myself to all without any stress experience? By definition, I am a living example of stress. It may not manifest fully, as I make use of various defense strategies. Why not learn more, and bridge whatever gaps still loiter?

Over a period of one month, the sessions of the program slowly unfolded with full flexibility, Q/As options, field work, and numerous down-to-earth analogies. Some readings confirmed my knowledge and practices of few de-stress techniques: Deep breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, de-cluttering, pouring out your heart in writing, etc… At the same time, I was on the track of more discoveries. So many new insights: we are by design programmed to float not sink in face of set backs, we are advised to assure ourselves that hard times will be overcome, we need to consciously change the energy of any distress to a driving more productive and healthier force, we are to act by priorities, and so much more…. Further strategies were suggested that despite their simplicity and power, many would fail to utilize.

I looked at my life and noticed a pattern there: high achiever, too many goals, list of endless things to do, aggressive pattern in working, a sense of urgency, etc…. It seemed to me I liked the trend, but these are some features of a Type A personality. Gosh! It is known that these people are more prone to coronary heart disease with excessive stress being an underlying factor. Why the rush (I told myself)? Are these goals worth dying for? Too many roles, too many things to do, too many ambitions, but too little time to fit all. I am always in a race to get things done. I earlier set lengthy deadlines; why not stretch them out further? A reverse in the trend of “over-delivering” is necessitated now before it is too late. Everything I do is feeding into my life experience as a whole. It looked like I had myopia on being over-productive. A take it “slow and easy” approach is a requirement if I willingly immerse myself in multi-tasking, or else stress would kick-in ending with strain and consequently burn-out. But can I do that? Or is it just an endowment I have to live with? Can I regulate this tendency of incessant role clashes? There is no reason why I shouldn’t.

Another enlightening aspect the program dealt with was emotional stress. The concepts of “seeking closure” in unresolved relationships and “feeling complete” were not utterly new to me. I’ve always read about the debilitating effects of physical and psychological traumas and how to handle these. It is only when the trauma is processed, its pain closely felt and accepted, and the notion of “forgive and forget” is adopted that the victim is able to transcend the trauma. In the process of growing and maturing, I have had my share of disappointments with people I considered so dear. Mini-traumas, as such, most likely surface for all of us. Emotional stress precipitates when, for example, we are let down, get frustrated, turn our anger inward or outward, and then move on. If our setback took place with someone really close, seeking completion entails confrontation and clarification of standards; then finishing up with setting boundaries and turning a new page. It is one wide spread strategy people use in varying intensities and degrees.

Sometimes, however, the hurt would be either too out of proportion for any reconciliation, or it could be that we are in no position to wage a battle for other considerations. It is in these cases that emotional distress lingers on, so what do we do in such cases I asked? Louisa answered by an ingenious technique. Write about it and describe all your feelings. Express your grudge, maltreatment, or injustice. Pour it all out on a piece of paper, think it over, get in touch with how it makes you feel, then decide to let go. Tell yourself: I’m not going to let that bug me no more, it’s gone, finished, then set your letter on fire. Watch that episode rage in flame then dwindle in enormity to become only ashes. Believe firmly that the magnitude of this event will diminish in your psyche; and it will. That is closure of all the negative feelings you carried. Visualizing the process happen and believing it will just be gone have potent effects on making it resolve. The power of visualization and that of belief have been demonstrated over again to be powerful sources for accomplishments. Let’s make use of these then to de-stress.

Stress-free life in just thirty days? Nothing is impossible and everything has an antidote. Louisa’s voice still echoes: by design, we are resilient. Keep an eye open to our attempts to resist too much. Strategies to de-stress on all levels are out there. It is entirely up to us to discover what works for us and what doesn’t. Never mind how many trials it would take to make it happen. To me, first, come awareness, assessment and a conscious decision. Second, follow sincere attempts and commitment. Lastly, results show us if we are on the right track. Any outcome we do not aspire is only feedback that something ought to be revised. This is a process only those determined utilize in all their ventures. It does not only pertain to alleviating the stress experience per se….

Pain is Inevitable; Suffering is Optional




We have a consuming passion to have things our own way since infancy. Real life, however, is full of uncertainties. We are faced with unexpected events that could be either pleasant, or horrid. Nice surprises or lucky encounters make us love life, energize us, and brighten up our frame of mind. At other times, things go astray: Dreams collapse, loved ones die, failure strikes, or we get betrayed. All sorts of negative feelings spiral us downward to the experience of inevitable pain.

As humans, we are honored to have such distinct emotions: honored, as these lift us beyond the physical experience shared by other species. We welcome with grace positive feelings and take these for granted as the proper state of affairs. When pain strikes us, we indulge in self-blame, or blame the whole course of being. We forget that pain is an essential component of our growth journey. It’s a powerful educator of the truth that nothing is absolutely within our control. We can never be totally in charge of our surrounding no matter how hard we try. What we can control, though, is our emotional reactions to what life brings us.

So, instead of despairing in face of setbacks, we have a choice between ruminating over our helplessness or empowering ourselves with added knowledge about reality: We are only masters of ourselves. Our choices pertain to our handling our own responses. We are what we choose to be: happy or hurt; filled with gratitude or denial; passionate learners or mediocre passives. When we sober up and look back at our past sufferings, we often come to realize that we unnecessarily let it dominate us for a lengthier time than needed. Life goes on with all its ebbs and flows. The cycle persists. We cannot totally eliminate the pain experience, but we surely can shorten our suffering. In the end, all it takes is serious attempts at remaining open to considering healthier possibilities……..

From Seriousness & Sadness to Humor & Joy


Don’t you envy those people who always have a cheerful attitude towards life? I, myself, love people with a sense of humor. They attract me like magnet. They make me seek their company more often. Nothing seems to be a big deal even the most serious goals they work on. They derive joy in every little thing they do. They feed humor into all their actions. Life to them just seems as a long funny comedy episode. They are the ‘happy go lucky type’.

I commend their approach to life. I once heard a quote that said: “Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway”. Very true, I believe. No matter how hard we try, in the end, we all share the same destiny. What makes us different is that some of us choose to focus on enjoying the ride while going to any destination. While others, fuss and complain at even the most trivial matters. A flat tire along the way, for instance. Big deal! Just have it fixed and move forward. Ultimately you’ll be there, only having made use of a more durable new tire supporting your journey. Even if matters go out of hand for a while; what would it serve us to get all mad about change of plans? Aren’t we better off with some unpredictability?

It’s all about holding the right attitude towards everything. Go out there and make your day a happy one. It’s all in your hands. A smile is contagious; so is laughter (even if no reasons exist). Derive joy in even the simplest things you do. You can always find some if you just reflect a bit about where it lies. It’s sad that we, as humans, are so special intellectually from other beings, yet, we are stuck with taking cognitive shortcuts; so habituated to not fully appreciating each moment we live.

Let’s shift our serious perspective about things. Notice the difference in your facial expressions when you do that. I am not saying that you are to negate your feelings when things go wrong. We can never be happy in times of loss; be it of people we love, or failures. Nor can we derive joy in such circumstances. It’s just that maybe it is better idea to take only some short time to grief that loss and not let it extend on and on. Process it for a while; and then look for the meaning of that experience and the lesson learned. There are hidden joys everywhere. I’ve seen people’s lives get transformed after loosing someone dear. They become full of gratitude for other things they still have.

So, whenever you feel that you haven’t smiled or felt happy during your day, start doing something about it. Instead of being so serious while going to work, running in errands, or actually doing your work, think happy. Wipe off that serious look and those sad thoughts. It won’t take long before we eternally become expressionless. Even if you’re not happy, just thinking happy thoughts will transform your mood. You are what you think. Does it take a genius then to conclude that we choose to make our lives full of delight or misery?

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