Monday, July 26, 2010

Overwhelmed anyone?

I love to exercise – Yoga, Pilates, walking, dancing, whatever, and could easily do it every day ….. once I get started! It’s the ‘getting started’ that can be a problem –and what prevents me from getting started is usually overwhelm – with all the other stuff that (I imagine) needs doing. So I prioritize something else that an idea in my mind is telling me is more important. For instance, checking my emails, writing an article, returning a phone call, responding to emails, researching an article, Tweeting, checking messages wherever, cleaning, laundry, running an errand, making another phone call, making tea(!), – all of which may need doing and may be important – however not as priorities before my own health! This is what I need to remember! If I am not healthy and feeling good, then I’m not going to be as effective in my other tasks (including creative ones) as I otherwise would be and I'll likely be even more overwhelmed.  So how do I remind myself of that? Looking at this picture will remove any doubt that I need to ‘get started’ – the cuteness factor alone is a feel-good trigger to do more of what makes me feel good, and it’s an obvious reminder to not let overwhelm prevent me from prioritizing what my body needs!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Type-Testing for Better Relationships?

From Myers-Briggs to Enneagrams, whether it’s a ‘typology indicator’, a personality profile, or an assessment of temperament, we love to use methodologies to categorize people! Used by many career counselors, psychologists, teachers, and employers, they seem to be increasingly popular on the Web, providing entertainment and amusement and at times even helpful information both for understanding oneself and others.
All too often, however – at least in my experience – they end up doing more harm than good. I am aware that this statement may push some buttons, but what the heck, my experience is my experience, and I feel compelled to share it only because I continue to witness the misuse of these ‘assessments’. Because such tests imply quick-and-easy insights into colleagues, peers, partners, and even children, they lead us to believe they will magically make our relationships/ management abilities/collaboration or even parenting much easier and so are too tempting to resist! Unfortunately they are too frequently used to judge or label, forming images of limits to what people must be capable of, restrictions in our ideas about their potential, and often an increase in rigidity around our expectations. The truth of the matter is that we are all much more complicated than such assessments allow, as are our relationships. Aside from the fact that these tests have no convincing validating data to support them, I have never witnessed a relationship that has been improved by them in any significant way.

In fact, you are much more likely to succeed in building a better relationship or helping someone to grow by the simple act of noticing and appreciating the positive qualities you observe in the other person. Rather than reading up on types, taking or giving personality tests, take a moment, on your own, to observe each person, each employee, each colleague, each peer, each child, and ‘play’ a lone game called “Spot The Good Stuff”. Once you have identified good attributes, actions and potential in each person, find a way to share and celebrate all the goodies you identify, celebrate the successes, celebrate the contributions, celebrate all you appreciate. In my humble opinion, “Spot The Good Stuff” is one of the best-kept secrets to successful leadership, parenting and indeed any relationship!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Where's The Stress?!

A study I once read showed that men feel stress and tension more in the thighs and buttocks, whereas women feel their stress more in the upper bodies! (Maybe this accounts for why men’s butts tend to stay slim as they grow older? All that tension must keep the gluteal muscles nice and taut!)
Seriously, stress- producing emotions, like all emotions, live in our bodies – in every cell! I don’t need research - recent or otherwise - to tell me this; I feel it in my own body. I feel love in my chest, anger in my jaw, worry in my neck, caring in my cheeks, loneliness in my shoulders, and humor in my stomach & collar-bone(!).
Do you know where in your body you feel your various emotions? I am sure you have a rough idea of where you take your stress. In my experience, most people are usually aware of 2 or 3 places. After increasing our self-awareness, we can often quickly notice 30, 40 or more and a whole new dialogue develops, a dialogue that can inform us often long before we otherwise would be conscious of an emotion ‘brewing’ like for example irritation, offering us the opportunity to intervene, take a break and change it. OR if we catch ourselves feeling say appreciation, which could be fleeting, our awareness can allow us to relish it, and extend it to last and benefit us for sometimes hours! The body is an amazing source of information and paying attention to what it is telling us can actually improve our stress- management, our communication skills and even our intelligence – give it a try!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Self-inflicted Lobotomy

Whenever I share information about how our feelings affect the way our brain works, someone always has a story to illustrate it, even if they’ve never actually considered it before! One eight-year old, in trouble for throwing a brick at someone, told me that when he got mad his brain “got foggy. But when I bweaved,” he said, referring to an exercise we had just done to help him calm and shift his emotional state, “my brain, like cleared up like, and now I can fink straight!”
Someone once likened what happens to the brain during anger to a ‘self-inflicted lobotomy’ :-))))