I often write and speak about the great (and proven) benefits of noticing and appreciating the good things in our lives, but today I’d like to come at things a little differently. Today let’s pay some attention to what we’re not so happy about.
Think of something you’re dissatisfied with in your life.
Are you too busy to spend enough time with family and friends? Are you unhappy about your weight or your financial situation? Is getting the kids up and off to school on time a big headache every day? Is your job bringing you down? It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, just think of something that stands in between you and greater happiness.
If you’ve just come up with a whole long list of them in no time flat, choose one for now. You can come back to as many as you want to later.
Continue reading “Be Your Own Coach: The 2% Jump-Start” »
“So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Because I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.”
This lovely ode to the benefits of failure was part of the 2008 Harvard University Commencement address delivered by J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series.
Most of us naturally think that it’s only our successes that lead to the good things in our lives, and that we’re best off forgetting our failures, or avoiding them altogether.
But when we try to see failure not as a definition of who we are, but as an inevitable part of engaging with life, we can become more comfortable with it. And getting friendly with failure can open us up to benefits — including self-knowledge, focus, persistence, courage, and resilience – that can directly help us create the lives we want to live.
Continue reading “Getting Friendly with Failure” »
How we interpret events doesn’t only affect how we feel; it affects what we do.
And that can make all the difference in the world.
Do you ever have to remind yourself to take your own advice?
I often lead workshops on topics such as managing anxiety, cultivating optimism, and developing strong relationships. It’s something I really enjoy doing. But until now, I’ve only offered those workshops to adults. Yesterday, I led a workshop for a group of tenth grade students.
While I usually look forward to my workshops, I noticed late in the week that I felt a little anxious about this one. What if the students weren’t interested in the material? What if they didn’t take the exercises to heart or participate in the discussions?
I began to wish I hadn’t agreed to offer it. The day before the workshop, I found myself thinking, “I’m so busy right now, I really don’t need this extra thing to worry about.”
Then it struck me – it’s a workshop about emotional well-being and anxiety management, for heaven’s sake. Time to pay attention to my own material! So that’s exactly what I did.
Continue reading “From Thought to Action: The Power of Interpretation” »
Sometimes stress gets a bad rap. In reasonable doses, stress can enhance our performance, focus our attention on trouble spots, and motivate us to take worthwhile action.
But when we have too much of it without relief, stress can be unhealthy and counterproductive. So we all need to have some go-to techniques that we know we can rely on to relieve stress when it threatens to get the best of us.
Here are some of the techniques that studies have shown to be the most effective. Different things work for different people; what matters is that you find some techniques that are effective for you and remind yourself to use them when you need them.
Why not choose one or two and give them a try right now?
Continue reading “Stressed Out? Five Proven Ways to Get Relief” »
One of the best tools in my coaching tool box can be used effectively — and for free — by anyone with access to paper and a pencil. Here’s how.
I love being a coach. I get to work with clients who want to make positive changes, whether in their work, their relationships, their emotional or physical well-being, or other aspects of their lives.
It really matters to me that my clients get the greatest possible benefit from our work together, so I make sure to use approaches and techniques that are supported by substantial research. But not all of these proven techniques actually require a coach. In fact, one of the very best is accessible to just about anyone at any time.
I’m referring to an exercise about which you can click site and find out developed and tested by Dr. Laura King, who has been doing breakthrough research about well-being for more than a decade.
Participants in Dr. King’s most famous study were given the following very simple instructions.
Think about your life in the future. Imagine that everything has gone as well as it possibly could. You have worked hard and succeeded at accomplishing all of your life goals. Think of this as the realization of all of your life dreams. Now, write about what you imagined.
Continue reading “Be Your Own Coach: The “Best Life” Exercise” »
Have you ever heard the one about the construction worker and the peanut butter sandwich?
Author Dan Millman tells the story of a fellow whose co-workers on the construction site came to expect the same thing every day. When lunch hour rolled around, this one guy would open his lunch bag, look in, sigh, and grumble, “Peanut butter again? Man, I hate peanut butter.”
After weeks of hearing the same complaint every lunchtime, one of the workers finally spoke up and asked the peanut-butter-hater why he doesn’t just ask his wife to pack him something different for lunch.
“Wife?” he responded. “I don’t have a wife. I make my own sandwiches.”
Continue reading “Peanut Butter and Positive Emotions” »