inspiration

Take 30…mind and body!

Being active is the BEST way to stay in shape, mentally and physically, through all seasons of life!! And, this is that time of year when gyms offer holiday membership specials. Statistics show (Attendance, Adherence, Drop out and Retention), however, that within 6 months of membership 71% fall into the category of low usage or dropouts while only 29% retain regular attendance 8 or more times per month. If you are looking to add fitness goals in 2019 or perhaps give the gift of fitness to someone you care about, review all options that might encourage greater follow through for workout consistency. “Buy-in” is critical to understanding the benefits of working out; short and long-term advantages for the mind and body to thrive. If not 100% convinced of workout ROI (time and money) whether it’s gym, at-home, or attending fitness boutique classes, you/family/friends will eventually join the masses of low usage/dropouts. The following shares the “BUY IN” to working out, possible options, and when it’s wise to skip a workout.

The BUY IN! Benefits to daily exercise!

Most of the research on exercise and immunity has been done with colds and there’s a considerable amount of research showing that regular, moderate exercise enhances the immune system. Several studies reported that recreational exercisers and athletes had a lower incidence of colds when they were engaged in a running program. How Exercise Effects Immunity, by Jim Brown, EXOS Knowledge, March 2013

Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. But does it help to boost your immune system naturally and keep it healthy? Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently. How To Boost Your Immune System, Updated July 2018, Harvard Health Publishing

  • Improves memory and clarity in thinking!

In a study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. Regular Exercise Changes the Brain To Improve Memory and Thinking Skills, Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter, Updated April 2018,

  • It is good for bone health, especially as we get older. Stronger bones mean less risk of fractures!

It also keeps your bones healthy and strong. Exercise and Immunity, US National Library of Medicine, Medicine Plus, Jan 2016

  • Improves posture by strengthening your core to decrease the effects of slouching when working over computers and smart phones along with gravity that affects us as we age!

If you’re controlling your body and activating your core and all those small stabilizer muscles, that’s going to help with posture, he says. Easy Ways To Improve Your Posture, By MARKHAM HEID April 4, 2018

  • It is a great means of stress release that builds up daily. If you don’t have a channel to release this stress imagine the negative impact to your body and mind over time?? Less stress also can mean deeper sleep, and regular sound sleep reduces dementia risk!

Indirectly, exercise improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety. Problems in these areas frequently cause or contribute to cognitive impairment. Regular Exercise Changes the Brain To Improve Memory and Thinking Skills, Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter, Updated April 2018

  • Increases energy and therefore, productivity!

Exercise can also give you more energy. Having more energy means you will feel more awake at work. Being on top of your game will assure that you perform your work correctly and to the best of your ability. How does exercise improve work productivity? Livestrong.com, BY JULIE BOEHLKE 11, 2017

  • Extends life expectancy by reducing risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer.

Physical activity reduces many major mortality risk factors including arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus type 2, dyslipidemia, coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer. All-cause mortality is decreased by about 30% to 35% in physically active as compared to inactive subjects. The purpose of this paper was to synthesize the literature on life expectancy in relation to physical activity. Does physical activity increase life expectancy?, J Aging Res. 2012; 2012: 243958.Published online 2012 Jul 1. doi:  [1155/2012/243958]

  • Increases endorphins, which aid in mental health…you are happier and more confident!!

It is now clear that exercise reduces the likelihood of depression and also maintains mental health as we age. On the treatment side, exercise appears to be as good as existing pharmacological interventions across a range of conditions, such as mild to moderate depression, dementia, and anxiety, and even reduces cognitive issues in schizophrenia. Why Exercise Is So Essential for Mental Health, Marcy 2018

  • Protects the immune system.

Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. Exercise causes changes in antibodies and white blood cells (WBC). WBCs are the body’s immune system cells that fight diseaseExercise and Immunity, by MedlinePlus

Workout Options – Duration, Time of Day, & Location

Enjoying the benefits of a good workout doesn’t necessarily mean you must exercise at a fancy or large gym, especially if you are watching your budget and have a schedule that doesn’t ideally offer the time to do so. At-home workouts, residential HOA gyms (if you are fortunate to have one), as well as enjoying the outdoors works just as well to keep you in shape! Whatever option you pursue, it’s important to understand that short and long term benefits only come with commitment and consistency. Identifying a reasonable workout duration, time of day, and location that of which you can realistically commit, is an important first step towards success. MODIFY, FOCUS With A VIEW published this past September shares an acronym, which definitely applies to fitness…Follow through, Objectives, Confidence, Undaunted, Success will help you stay consistent in your goals towards good health!

Duration– For years my belief of an effective workout was 1 to 1 ½ hours. I would cram time into my tight schedule, 4 days per week. Physically, I was in great shape but mentally…not so much. OPTION 1 – consider a reasonable duration for your workout. Through the years I have found my happy place exercising 30 minutes per day/6 days per week. Cardio is 3 days a week and the other 3 days cover weight resistance. I truly give my ALL within this 30-minute block of time, FOCUSED with best effort, and I have been consistent – reaping the benefits both physically and mentally!

The key to consistency is finding a range of time that works. Break-up your workout time to meet personal schedule needs. This could be 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night. As I have found, it’s better to do 30 minutes per day rather than scheduling 1 hour+ full body workout a few times per week with the risk of not following through because of fatigue, work demands, and/or family obligations. For a workout to have benefits, at least 20 minute duration is recommended for both cardio and weight resistance.

Time of Day– Choose a time that offers the least chance of distractions/interruptions. I have tried different workout times all over the clock!! The greatest risk of skipping a workout, for me, is afternoon/early evening; too tired, too many distractions, too easy to procrastinate until it is simply too late! A calendar review can reveal which part of the day has the most “quiet” time to schedule your workout. I have found the early AM between 7:30 & 8 AM works best. This time slot rarely gets interrupted by phone calls or urgent needs. Once my workout is done, I have one less action item to think about on the TO DO list. And, I feel energized – physically and mentally to start my day!! OPTION 2– find a time of day that will help you be consistent!

Location– If you have to drive far to get to the gym, or traffic to contend with, imagine how easy it might be to blow off your workout. If you prefer workout classes or are inspired by the ambiance of a gym, find a location very close to you. It is better to payfVk3xRzmQPuHhHDndpnVMg more $$$ per month to ensure consistent attendance than to sign off on an amazing deal where you might easily fall into the low attendance/dropout group. Consider other options such as at-home workouts, HOA gyms, or local community center pools. This year I quit my gym membership for an at-home experience, making AM workouts far more likely to happen. The investment for home equipment is minimal. All I use is a treadmill for cardio high intensity interval training (HIIT)stretch bands, set of 5 lb and 10 lb weights, and a bench. Ideally I would love to add a spin bike. Just these few items provide an intense workout when combined with FOCUS and effort. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) offers a big bang for the least amount of time! The results are amazing! And, when I want to change-up my exercise routine, the residential HOA has a well-equipped gym one mile up the road. OPTION 3 – consider an at-home gym or find a location most convenient to you and join the active 29% group!

Important Note: Guidance & Resources

If you are new to fitness and are working out independently (HOA gym, at-home, local community center, or gym facility), make an appointment with your physician for a consultation. Discuss precautions, if any, based on your physical wellbeing and medical history. Ask for a referral to a physical therapist if you have any issues with knees, back, nerves, joints, etc. Research a qualified and certified fitness trainer that can guide you on a workout that meets your fitness and scheduling needs for the results you want. It’s best not to be influenced by a routine that is working well for someone else, which could be totally wrong for you. Today many resources are available such as phone apps with daily workout videos, fitness magazines, internet workout videos, and TV shows that inspire. The wrong workout, however, can put you in the dropout group as you heal or simply out of frustration when you are not getting the results you want.

When to avoid working out?

If you are sick, especially with a fever, REST. This means, you should avoid working out to allow your body the time it needs to heal. Chronic aches, sudden pain or swelling could be sign(s) to stop exercising and to see your doctor. Take extreme caution isolating and working muscles to the point of discomfort, past tolerable. Persistent focus on small muscles groups, especially if you are new to a fitness class, could lead to Compartment Syndrome. I speak from experience. Thankfully, I was already scheduled to see my physical therapist (PT) immediately following class. My right leg went numb, knee to ankle. The PT session turned into an hour of intense massage to bring circulation back to my leg. It took three weeks to return to 100% feeling again. Grateful I did not require surgery! Know your limit and don’t let anyone convince you to work past it.

Chronic exertional compartment syndrome is an exercise-induced muscle and nerve condition that causes pain, swelling and sometimes disability in the affected muscles of your legs or arms. Anyone can develop the condition, but it’s more common in athletes who participate in activities that involve repetitive impact, such as running. Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome, MayoClinic  

Conclusion

If you are thinking about a gym membership for yourself or as a fitness gift for those you care about this holiday season, know/share all the health advantages to commit, persist and persevere! Consider options that best fit time and fitness goals. This will guide you to select the best option to ensure commitment and consistency, such as choosing an at-home gym over a local gym. Target and WalMart carry bands, weights, benches, and mats to get started. Invest in a good quality treadmill and/or spin bike. Refurbished equipment at bargain prices are often sold by gyms updating their inventory. Consider other options such as using an HOA gym or your local community center gym and indoor pool for a full body workout. If drawn to a specific type of exercise look into boutique gyms that focus on Pilates, yoga, spin or cross-fit. Whichever you decide for yourself or as a gift to others, seek/encourage physician and expert advice to avoid injury and burn-out. Another awesome holiday gift for you or family and friends is The Fascia Self-Myofascial Roller, rolling and stretching for whole body care, especially important when working out regularly!!  Click here to read Fascianation Discovery! Redirecting the trajectory of your health & well being!, MODIFY, published August 2018. Everyone deserves to TAKE 30 to kick-off the New Year fitness focused! Let 2019 be the year for realistic exercise goals to get your mind and body in shape!!

Resources

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Music, Melodies, and You!

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Free download Image from pixabay.com.

The healing power of music has resonated through the human soul and body from the time of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle to the present day era of cognitive science. Use the beauty of truly great music to unlock a world of emotional experience. The Healing Power of Beethoven’s Music

In 1988 I attended a conference about the healing impact of classical music on mind, body, and soul, specifically largo tempo. Of all the sales and self-improvement seminars attended throughout the years, what was learned at this conference stuck with me. I do not come from a musically inclined family. Nor do I possess any sort of musical talent, what so ever. This conference, though, inspired me to find a centering place of calm experiencing slow instrumental tempos, specifically from Beethoven’s compositions. A few weeks ago, feeling stressed and emotionally depleted, I took a day to enjoy my favorite classics, which filled my home and heart with peace. By the end of the day I felt refreshed. Is there any scientific data that proves the benefits of listening to classical music? Does such impact for well-being extend to other genres as well? This post explores the healing properties of music to reduce stress, refresh the mind, and renew energy to those who are mentally and physically fatigued, whether overworked, emotionally spent, or struggling through illness.

What is unique about the healing effect of classical music?

Classical music has been found to reduce blood pressure and stress, increase joy and productivity, and stimulate the brain! The pulse of classical music influences that of the listener’s heart beat, which inspires a place of centering and relaxation where other genres might fall short. I have found anywhere from 12 to 21 identified tempos through online searching. Largo, my favorite, is a slow tempo ranging from 45-50 beats per minute. The standing of largo on the tempo chart can change based on the noted tempos and how comprehensive this list could be. Other tempos resembling being “at ease” are Adagio 55-65, Adagietto 65-69, and Andante 73-77. Tempos are named in Italian because in the 1700’s most of the composers were from Italy. How Do Musicians Know How Fast To Play A Piece And Why Are The Terms In Italian?

Works which are refreshing and sufficiently stimulating to keep the mind alert but which do not demand too much concentration are the first and second movements of Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony [1st movement CLICK HERE & 2nd move CLICK HEREand the slow movement of his Eighth Symphony [CLICK HERE]. These pieces have the ability to bring positive qualities of caring, mental clarity, relaxation and vigor. Music exerts either a stimulating or calming effect on the nervous system. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata [CLICK HERE] soothes the most commonplace distress. And you will also find the more gentle and lyrical Beethoven in the slow movements of his Pathétique Sonata [CLICK HERE]. The Healing Power Of Beethoven’s Music

According to Clynes, leader of the research center at New South Wales Conservatorium of Music, several of the great classical composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms produced a characteristic pulse that became a hallmark of their work. And it is the pulse which does much to determine the subtle characteristics of music, and which creates a heartbeat effect (80 beats per minute) that synchronizes the listener’s rhythm to the pulse of relaxation. What is…Largo? Stephen Johnson gets to grips with classical music’s technical terms 

What do scientific studies conclude about the positive impact of music? Do other musical genres have the same “well-being” effect as classical music?

Studies have concluded health benefits, including on the heart, when listening to classical music (Music Can Facilitate Blood Pressure Recovery From Stress). Listening to, for instance, Mozart Sonata K448, impacts brain activity for adults and the elderly. Some, but not all, favorite music genres that are not “classical” may also be effective. Music has been found to positively affect patients who experience general neurophysiology, disorders of consciousness, psychiatry (including anxiety), chronic conditions including pain, and rehabilitation. The exception has been among patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) although it is also noted that failure to notice such changes with MCI subjects could be explained. Below are a few quotes from the study…The Impact Of Music On The Bioelectrical Oscillations Of The Brain

Music therapy also causes anxiety levels to drop. Authors give two explanations for these changes: pleasant music either helps patients enter a state of tranquility or distracts them from unpleasant feelings by stimulating the auditory receptors. This may be done by mitigating the sympathetic nervous system and reducing its activity.

Scientific studies investigating the effect of music on the brains of healthy people often use Sonata in D Major for Two Pianos K448 [CLICK HERE] by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In fact, this piece has inspired Campbell’s The Mozart Effect. According to current literature, this sonata causes a significant increase in relative alpha band power, as well as in a median frequency of background alpha rhythm in young adults and healthy elderly people. Interestingly, during this study no significant changes were observed while listening to Beethoven’s “Für Elise” [CLICK HERE].

The effect of music, however, might not be dependent on a specific piece. According to scientists, music that is personally liked by the subjects turns out to enhance EEG power spectra globally and also across bandwidths. The effect is best seen in beta and alpha frequencies in the right frontal and temporal regions. Disliked music, musical improvisations, or white noise (a random signal having equal intensity at different frequencies) do not seem to have the same impact, although white noise also produces similar responses on the left hemisphere.

4 Scientific Studies That Show Music Decreasing Stress And Promoting Healing by Mike Bundrant is an excellent resource sharing studies about the effects of music on healing. “Study after study has shown that music not only helps to reduce psychological stress, it can improve physiological symptoms, aid in healing, and improve immune function as well.” This article shares specifically how music can improve immune system function, reduce anxiety levels with patients receiving ventilation and agitation in dementia patients along with positive results in the NICU.

Benefits of music and the elderly?

Modify article published October 16, 2018, Delirium…it can happen to you!, explains this temporary affliction that can have lasting cognitive memory implications. While researching this topic about music, I came across a pilot study, Creative Music Therapy in an Acute Care Setting for Older Patients with Delirium and Dementia and the results are good!

This pilot study evaluates the impact of a creative music therapy (CMT) programme on mood and engagement in older patients with delirium and/or dementia (PtDD) in an acute care setting. We hypothesize that CMT improves engagement and pleasure in these patients.

These results suggest that CMT holds much promise to improve mood and engagement of PtDD in an acute hospital setting. CMT can also be scheduled into the patients’ daily routines or incorporated into other areas of care to increase patient compliance and cooperation.

Conclusion

We are about to enter a wonderful and yet crazy busy holiday season. This means squeezing-in to those already full calendars… gift buying, card sending, party hosting, event attending, meal planning, shopping, and preparing!! Schedule downtime to protect your sanity with favorite tunes to treat to your mind, body and soul. If you are looking for more energy, choose quick-paced tempos. If you need healing or are seeking peace and serenity, select slower tempos. Be entertained by holiday music that can quickly get you into the spirit of the season! Depending on which research studies are being read, even within the same genre, conclusions differ from Mozart offering the greatest brain stimulation and inspiration and Beethoven compositions having proven results for physical and emotional healing. SO…choose music that inspires or relaxes you the most to find YOUR happy, peaceful, and perfect healing place. Music and melodies may just be what you need for a good transition through this holiday season. And, carry over scheduled music time through the New Year, maximizing impact for your overall health and well-being!!

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FOCUS With A View…what is important to you?

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We all have idiosyncrasies, which make us unique. My husband is all too familiar with mine! When I have a goal in mind or a project/task to complete, I have unwavering laser sharp focus and after 28 years of marriage he knows…do not disturb!! Researching the subject about FOCUS has taught me a thing or two. I discovered this admirable, yet, sometimes annoying attribute has its pros and cons. The following will discuss how to be in the FOCUS ZONE consistently and the importance of scheduling UNFOCUS time to maintain a clear mind and protect healthy relationships!

Preparing to write this article I Internet searched FOCUS acronyms and found a few: Finding Original Creative Unique Solutions, Follow One Course Until Successful, and Frame, Organize, Collect, Understand, Synthesize. Each of these acronyms is true. Looking for one that explains the process of aim and achievement, here is an acronym created specifically for this blog post. I believe these words describe FOCUS ownership!

Follow-through, Objectives, Confidence, Undaunted, Success

Let’s look at how each can shape your success!! All definitions are from Cambridge Dictionary. 

Follow-through – to continue something until it is completed

Shoot for greatness. But greatness doesn’t always come from dramatic leaps. Sometimes it comes from small, persistent steps. The Stretch Goal Paradox, HBR

The most common success block is lack of follow-through. Although I have especially seen this in sales, it holds true in other professions as well as managing routine tasks, protecting healthy boundaries, and building relationships. Our instant gratification culture has room for improvement specifically in patience and perseverance, which support effective follow-through. People generally quit too quickly when anything becomes uncomfortable. Recently a sales person at a car dealership promised a friend of mine a return call that day. The call didn’t happen by that night or the following day. The sales person lost the opportunity when my friend sought business elsewhere. Lack of follow-through says… you don’t believe in yourself and reveals a lack of priority and importance to a potential client (or friend, family, colleague), project, or goal/task you wish to achieve. Over-talking can also get in the way of follow-through by deflating passion and energy to make goals happen. When talking replaces “walking” you don’t get very far. Less talking and more doing will provide needed traction for follow-through, placing value on commitments made to yourself and others.

Objectives – something that you aim to do or achieve

Brand-new paths and approaches must be found to bring a stretch goal within reach. In other words, working differently, not simply working harder, is required.                    The Stretch Goal Paradox, HBR

Key question. What do you want to achieve? Be precise. Be realistic. Be wise. Often times FOCUS is lost when goals are simply not attainable, especially within a target timeframe. Next key question…what needs to happen to effectively support this achievement? Imagine a high-rise building without a steel structure and support beams. The building wouldn’t get very high before failing and falling. The greater your goals and higher aimed your achievements, the greater attention to strategy and detail needed for a solid plan that supports success. The Stretch Goal Paradox, HBR, Feb 2017 issue, is an excellent article sharing the success and failures of corporations that can be used as a guide to identify and plan wise “stretch goals”. “You have to know when stretch goals do and do not make sense, and when to employ them rather than set more achievable objectives.”

Confidence – a feeling of having little doubt about yourself and your abilities, or a feeling of trust in someone or something

You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes.                                                  You can steer yourself any direction you choose. Dr. Seuss                                                                                      Quoted from How To Train Your Brain To Focus, SUCCESS.com

Confidence drives follow-through and feeds grit required to reach objectives. Without confidence, passion begins to dissipate, taking with it the energy to work through challenges and distractions. If you are not confident in your objectives, plans, and abilities with unwavering faith, others will follow your lead. So… make your lead count! 8 Things Successful People Never Waste Time Doing, February 4, 2016/Cynthia Bazin is a great article offering confidence building suggestions: have a plan, resist temptations (such as social media) and emotionally draining activities, stop worrying about what you can’t control, surround yourself with positive people, dwell on achievements rather than past mistakes, and maintain FOCUS on what you need to accomplish instead of what other people are doing. And, equally important…prioritize YOU!!

Undaunted – not frightened or discouraged, despite lack of success

According to some estimates, it can easily take up to 40 percent longer to complete projects when you’re interrupted than it does when you can maintain specific focusHow to Train Your Brains to Focus, Allen P. Haines

Being “undaunted” is critical for maintaining FOCUS, yet, it is a tough one for me and probably for most people. Living at a time of “instant gratification”, daily accolades and positive reinforcements become critical benchmarks affirming our path. This belief can easily mislead and discourage when problems pop up and challenges ensue chipping away at confidence. Also, consider modern cutting edge technology that encourages quick responses to every interruption and request, which affect Straight line and Crooked Line - Road-to-Successconfidence when overwhelmed by distractions that interfere with progress. The image to your right, which I found on social media, is a good example. “What success really looks like
can represent discouraging distractions that redirect paths, lengthening the journey to your destination. OR, this image can reflect perseverance, overcoming expected challenges on the path to success. Be in control and let it be the latter!! Here are a few wise practices to be “undaunted” and in control.

  1. Take care of yourself first thing in the morning to function at your best. This could be prayer, meditation, exercise, healthy breakfast, call to your mentor, getting to the office early to prepare and organize, tackling the toughest project at the start of the day, all of the above and/or other ideas not listed. Find what it is you need and protect it. No need to justify.
  2. Block Time. Find your working zone especially when focus and concentration to detail is needed most. Just as a pharmacist would be “time respected” to carefully select the right medication, dose and pill count to safely fill a prescription, the same focused time should be considered and respected of your “zone” and respect the same of others. “When you set and agree to flexible limits for your zones, you not only commit to them yourself, but also encourage others to respect and support your parameters.” (How To Train Your Brain To Focus, SUCCESS.com) Communicate your zone to those who need to know so delivering timely upon the requests of others can be understood and anticipated. Rhythm is disturbed with every bend to a distraction and getting back on track is time consuming. Aren’t distractions exactly the strategy when time-outs are called on sport fields? Time-outs break the rhythm of the opposing team for the sole purpose of affecting performance! Guard your zone!! Silence your phone and text messages, schedule periodic times throughout the day for checking email and voice mail, close your office door if you have one, and when needed, go to a quiet removed location.
  3. Be Consistent. Consistency affirms to yourself and others your scheduling needs in order to be purposeful and effective in your work. Lack of consistency shouts that what you are trying to accomplish isn’t that important to you and therefore shouldn’t be important to anyone else, either. Consistency is like that steel structure to a high rise building. It is the support needed to aim high and succeed. It modifies lofty goals into doable steps, consistently. When I first began Modify…make life simple, I had to identify a consistent process for topic ideas to become published articles. Consistency makes each day productive: Wednesdays…research and discovery, Thursdays…write, Fridays…first draft edit, Mondays…final edit. Tuesdays…publish. Weekends…OFF! Everyday I workout/exercise in the AM before research and writing begins at 9 am and concludes at 3:30 PM. All else after 3:30 PM. This works!! How are you practicing consistency?

Success – the achieving of desired results, or someone or something that achieves positive results

Commitment to the steps above delivers success. There is, however, one more key element for success… UNFOCUS. FOCUS can be overwhelmingly daunting! The brain needs a break to refresh for a clear perspective. UNFOCUS, intentional disengaging, is my big take-away researching for this post. UNFOCUS is not intended time to respond to email, voicemail and the needs of others. UNFOCUS is quiet refreshing time to reset your brain. Taking an UNFOCUS break is meant to shape sharper focus more effectively.  Your Brain Can Only Take So Much Focus, HBR Srini Pillay shares three ways to UNFOCUS; positive constructive day dreaming, nap, pretending to be someone else. These past few weeks I have found high interval training on the treadmill refreshes my mind (physical endurance focus) as well as picking up a fictional novel and traveling through someone else’s story for 30 minutes! Although very different UNFOCUS approaches, I come away with fresh perspectives and new ideas. At the start of my husband’s career he wrote computer software code. UNFOCUS time for him was critical in order to have a fresh outlook. He shares, “Brief disengagement gives the brain a chance to ‘figure it out’ subconsciously.” Today there are corporations offering nap rooms and desk pods to encourage UNFOCUS!! Find what works best for YOU!

ADD/ADHD??

A number of years ago I had a consulting business, Organize & Optimize…creating a path for peak performance. Sometimes a client would share struggles with ADD/ADHD. A “soft distraction” often was a good solution; white noise, chewing gum, using artwork with movement (color and artistic motion) within view. FOCUS improvements were possible simply by implementing “soft distractions” and incorporating 5-10 minute breaks every hour. Taking frequent breaks rewards accomplishing tasks in smaller chunks of time, inspiring productivity. Seek professional counseling if FOCUS has not been attainable. A few tips and wise advice might provide great solutions!! A good resource article is…15 ADHD-Friendly Tips to Fire Up Your Focus By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

Commitment to dreams, goals, projects and promises IS to believe they are worthy of your time and effort with confidence needed to stay on track!! Take ownership to protect the necessary schedule for this journey. This means to continue until successfully completed, precisely identify what you want to achieve with a realistic plan to get there, have FAITH in the project/goal and trust in your abilities, expect challenges to persevere through and distractions to manage, and incorporate UNFOCUS time to ensure success. Keep the mind healthy and refreshed! Communicating your ZONE to others will buffer distractions at a time when concentration is paramount. Have CONVICTION in what is important to you! FOCUS – Follow-through, Objectives, Confidence, Undaunted, Success. This is FOCUS with a VIEW…of your destination!

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What’s In Your Pocket? Apps that track with you.

What is in your pocket?

At the veterinary office the other day, the physician introduced me to a healthcare mobile app, Pet Desk, to keep track of Marlee’s monthly meds, vaccinations, medical appointments including grooming and kennel services. Being addicted to great apps that make life simple, I immediately downloaded Pet Desk. It was easy to locate Marlee’s physician, medical records, and groomer. Love all the features including the loyalty program offering discount coupons for pet care! But wait…what about healthcare apps for my family and me? This started a search of the best healthcare apps for mobile devices. It’s amazing to learn there are over 40,000 health and wellness apps on the market with revenues in the billions!! WOW! Below are some of my findings as well as good options to consider first. You, too, can have easy access to medical information right in your pocket!

Why would I want healthcare information on my mobile device?

Mobile medical apps have the potential to transform health care by allowing physicians to diagnose patients with potentially life-threatening conditions outside of traditional health care settings and by helping patients manage their own health and wellness. Are medical mobile apps safe for patients? 

Life saving information could be right at your fingertips during a medical emergency, at a time when recollection is difficult. Access to a listing could include…allergies (especially to certain medications), being on blood thinners, blood type, existing heath conditions, pharmaceutic listing, diabetic needs, etc. Your medical information travels with you, whether in the States or out of the country, for you and family members. Some apps are used by physicians to communicate, patient to doctor, critical treatment needs and the ability to monitor vitals.

Does your online healthcare portal offer a mobile device app?

Before you begin searching for a healthcare app, find out what is already available through the online healthcare portal you are using.

There are a number of healthcare centers that offer online portals with mobile device apps. Kaiser Permanente is a great example, offering internet access to the Kaiser patient portal website as well as a Kaiser mobile app for email messages to physicians, scheduling appointments, pharmacy/prescription ordering and medical records, which includes an allergy listing, immunizations, ongoing health conditions, questionnaires and lab test results. I have used Kaiser’s mobile app for years to manage my mom’s healthcare and its functionality has proven to be both effective and efficient, whether I’m home or traveling. University of Colorado Medical Center offers the same – UC HEALTH – My Health Connection. Once the patient is logged into the app account, (occasionally a patient medical ID number is also required), all medical information on record is automatically uploaded. Patients do not need to retrieve or type in medical history and details.  This makes installing the app easy and seamless.

Call your healthcare provider and ask about phone apps they recommend.

Your physician office may be able to suggest phone apps they support/connect to automatically retrieve and upload medical information on file. Sometimes the website healthcare portal is not available as a mobile device app. In most cases the websites are configured for mobile viewing and you can access/log-in from the internet.  In this case, email the portal link to yourself and file in an email folder labeled MEDICAL. If an emergency situation comes up, easily access the portal link (saved in your email folder) from a tablet or mobile phone and sign-in to access all your medical information. Based on healthcare needs, your physician may also suggest mobile device apps to help monitor diabetes, heart rhythm, medication management and/or other conditions.

Options if above suggestions are not viable?

As I mentioned earlier, there are over 40,000 health and wellness apps available. Depending on your health status and medical needs, you can search the top rated apps to meet your specific needs from cardiology, cancer and treatments, to managing insulin for diabetic care. Below are a few current reviews that share some of the best healthcare apps for mobile devices…

4 Top Medical Records Apps to Manage Your Healthcare (Apple and Android) Posted Jun 28, 2018 by Sarah Sullivan,

What are the Best Medical Records Apps?

  • Apple’s Health app (Apple iPhone + iPad only)
  • GenieMD (Apple, Android, Web)
  • CapzulePHP (Apple iPhone + iPad only)

Best Health and Fitness Apps 2017, Forbes, Dec 2017

The Top 50 Smartphone Health Apps, June 2018,   Fitness, Nutrition, Medical, Mental Health

Are healthcare apps safe?

Privacy –  The mobile device app WILL NOT stay logged-in, to meet healthcare privacy and HIPPA regulations. Each time you need to access medical information, logging-in is required. Ditto for patient portals accessed from your desktop computer. You are automatically logged-off when you are no longer portal or app active. If you lose your mobile device, you want your healthcare information protected.

Safety – Through the years we have found that just about anything can get hacked. So…safety is your responsibility to ensure you’re doing everything you can to protect your data. Is Your Health Data About to Get Hacked? provides wise information for your protection. In addition to the suggestions below, don’t use the same passwords as your social media accounts and be diligent about who you “friend” on social media.

  • Check mobile device settings/privacy controls regularly to ensure you didn’t inadvertently get hacked without your knowledge.
  • Use unique passwords across sites.
  • Don’t log-in to healthcare apps over public WiFi.
  • Read app privacy polices instead of quickly auto click “agree”.

Other devices for healthcare management?

The Apple iWatch can be a sophisticated tool to provide real time medical information shared with your physician, especially when an alert is identified. A friend of mine uses an iWatch successfully for cardiology monitoring, easily tracking daily data so the cardiologist can best evaluate patient status and plan future care. The Apple iWatch – Freed From the iPhone, the Apple Watch Finds a Medical Purpose

Last month [Nov 2017], AliveCor introduced a band for the Apple Watch with a built-in electrocardiogram, or EKG, to detect irregular heart activity such as atrial fibrillation, a form of arrhythmia and a potential cause of a stroke. AliveCor uses the watch’s heart rate monitor to alert patients to take an EKG when their pulse quickens or slows unexpectedly.

The band, known as the KardiaBand, was the first Apple Watch accessory approved by the Food and Drug Administration. When a thumb is placed on the band’s sensor, EKG readings are taken in 30 seconds and sent wirelessly to the patient’s cardiologist. That helps resolve one of the biggest headaches in detecting atrial fibrillation — catching it during an episode so a cardiologist can properly assess it.

Healthcare information is now be available at your fingertips and in your pocket! Keeping track of health records, current prescriptions, medical appointments, allergy listings, and immunizations as well as communicating with your medical team has never been easier, at home or traveling abroad. Advanced technology is making data easily accessible, real-time accurate, and quickly shared with those who need to know. Alerts enable prompt action that could save lives. Technology is a target for global criminal activity, breaking through encryptions and safeguard barriers to grab your data, used for illegal monetary gain. Regardless of how safe a mobile app/device is touted, take responsibility and regularly check your privacy settings. Be mindful of what you “agree” to and those you social media “friend” of whom you do not know. Resist the temptation to accept “friends” just because you see a familiar connection. Your connection may not know that person either. Healthcare apps can be an amazing and life saving tool providing information quickly, when needed most. SO, what is in your pocket? It can be… healthcare information for your family, pets, and you!

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Summer Refresh!

On Vacation for Blog

Summer is here and it’s time to rest and refresh, which I’ll be doing as well!! Modify posts will return on Tuesday, July 10th.

Summer offers a great opportunity to soak-in information for healthier living. During this time I encourage you to watch Wellness Changer summer videos by Jeanne Wisniewski, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. These brief yet impactful summer videos are packed with information sharing simple modifications you can make to your daily living, food and exercise, for a healthier YOU! Some of the videos already published include the truth behind probiotics, gut health and vision through nutrition.

Be intentional and schedule time to plan and accomplish the changes you want to achieve this summer…rest, have fun, read, plan, eat well and exercise!

Let’s reconnect July 10th!!

Best wishes,

Debra

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Be Inspired…Read To Good Health!

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I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten, even so, they have made me.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

When was the last time you enjoyed a great read? It had been a while since I was absorbed in a fictional novel and not for a lack of incredible books. Last week a friend of mine finished The Immigrants By Howard Fast. She LOVED the book and lent it to me. WOW! Following each time set aside for reading, I felt different, as in that “great” way of getting lost in someone else’s story!! It’s refreshing to step out of one’s own life and to be “imagination” present in another world of characters, drama, history, victory/defeat…fully immersed and desperately wanting the story to continue as the last few pages signify the end. At some point during this past year my daily reading habit (novels) slipped out of my life and so did the relaxing benefits that can be refreshing to the mind, body and soul. After conducting a quick Internet search I came across some interesting and thoughtful Sweeny Reading Quotescomments describing the soothing lingering benefits of a good read… “serenely reposed in mellowing afterthoughts, a deep emotional state of nostalgic, the sensation of having a friend whose memory will remain, awe and inspiration, rewarding to be part of someone’s journey, a literary afterglowhope, assurance, promise, warm pleasure, compassion and empathy. Quora And, it some cases there is a feeling of grief that the story is over; profound melancholicand the feeling of profound loss that deep down in your heart you know you couldn’t have related better with anyone!” Quora

When I finished reading The Immigrants, I felt an overwhelming sense of achievement as if I time-traveled through the years 1888 -1933! Reading can add layers of life experiences, all through an adventure in literature.

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man [person] who never reads lives only one. George R. R. Martin

The following shares health benefits of reading books, affecting adults and children physically, mentally, and emotionally. After reading this post you will want to start searching for your next novel!

General Health Benefits of Reading

What you choose to read is important. Focus on “feel good” inspirational stories, even though the novel may include hardships and tragedies. A good novel releases our attachment to daily stressful triggers. After a time of reading, there is a feeling of being refreshed “resting” in someone else’s story.

“Reading can be a wonderful (and healthy) escape from the stress of everyday life. Simply by opening a book, you allow yourself to be invited into a literary world that distracts you from your daily stressors. Reading can even relax your body by lowering your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles. A 2009 study at the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%. It works better and faster than other relaxation methods, such as listening to music or drinking a hot cup of tea. This is because your mind is invited into a literary world that is free from the stressors that plague your daily lifeTaking Charge of Your Health and Well Being, University of Minnesota  – Reading for Stress Relief

According to a new study, reading books could extend lifespan by up to 2 years, and the more often you read, the better. Reading Books Can Increase Your Lifespan, Huffington Post, August 2017

Rowling dfa878cd9f3bc3220f4956ad8fa4fcf8Reading that inspires imagination is good food for the brain. As we age, mental agility and the ability to recall short-term and long-term memories can be more challenging, the result of our brains getting older. Novels require a deeper concentration, which activates brain cells protecting mental agility as opposed to skimming magazines and newspapers. Reading also works on emotional health, working and stimulating cognitive processes which impacts empathy, emotional intelligence, and social perceptions.

Unlike, say, skimming a page of headlines, reading a book (of any genre) forces your brain to think critically and make connections from one chapter to another, and to the outside world. When you make connections, so does your brain, literally forging new pathways between regions in all four lobes and both hemispheres. Over time, these neural networks can promote quicker thinking and may provide a greater defense against the worst effects of cognitive decay. Reader’s Digest Here’s Why Your Brain Needs You to Read Every Single Day, by Brandon Spector

First, it [reading novels] promotes “deep reading,” which is a slow, immersive process; this cognitive engagement occurs as the reader draws connections to other parts of the material, finds applications to the outside world, and asks questions about the content presented. Cognitive engagement may explain why vocabulary, reasoning, concentration, and critical thinking skills are improved by exposure to books. Second, books can promote empathy, social perception, and emotional intelligence, which are cognitive processes that can lead to greater survival. Better health behaviors and reduced stress may explain this process NCBI Study – Soc Sci Med. – A Chapter a Day: Association of Book Reading with Longevity. 2016 Sep;164:44-48. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.07.014. Epub 2016 Jul 18.

Audio Books vs Traditional Books?

Whether reading or listening to novels, both require focus and imagination. Audio books are just as effective on our physical, mental and emotional well being as reading traditional books, for adults. Multitasking when the hands are free is the only audio book caveat, making it easier to become distracted when listening rather than reading a book. Listening to poetry through audio books, however, has been found to be more profound for comprehension and understanding…”because an audio book pre-determines an aspect of language called prosody, or the musicality of words. “Someone who knows the meaning can convey a lot through prosody,” Willingham said. “If you’re listening to a poem, the prosody might help you.” Is Listening To Audio Books Really The Same As Reading, Forbes, Olga Khazan

As science writer Olga Khazan noted in 2011, a “1985 study found listening comprehension correlated strongly with reading comprehension — suggesting that those who read books well would listen to them well. In a 1977 study, college students who listened to a short story were able to summarize it with equal accuracy as those who read it.” Listeners and readers retain about equal understanding of the passages they’ve consumed, in other words. Is Listening to Audio Books Really the Same as Reading? Forbes Olga Khazan

Is it best for children to read books instead of audio books? Until children reach middle school, the brain’s decoding process through reading requires development that comes through visual practice. There are exceptions for those students whose learning abilities thrive only through auditory means. Decoding, by contrast, is specific to reading, Willingham said; this is indeed one more step your mind has to take when reading a print book as compared to listening to the audiobook version. But by about late elementary school, decoding becomes so second-nature that it isn’t any additional “work” for your brain. It happens automatically.” To Your Brain Listening to a Books is Pretty Much Like Reading It. The Cut, By Melissa Dahl

Impact Reading has on Children

I began reading aloud to my son while he was in the womb and continued until he was independently reading books on his own. Stimulating the brain through story telling encourages the development of brain cells in infants and toddlers. As children progress through school, daily and consistent reading for pleasure has multiple long lasting benefits in these 5 areas as noted in Benefits of Early Reading by Teach Reading Early“Neurological, Educational, Psychological, Social, Linguistic.”

And, if novels can de-stress adults, they can de-stress children as well. This is especially true in a world where kids have become overcommitted and expectations to achieve perfection have become more prevalent than ever before, affecting students in younger age groups with each passing year.

Born with about 100 billion neurons (the cells that receive, process and transmit information in our brains), babies are actively working to make sense of the world around them. These neurons have the ability to connect with each other and form neural pathways – the foundation for learning. Reading aloud to babies, and using language promotes the development of these pathways, and the more pathways a child develops, the more they will be able to learn as time passes by. Three Ways Early Reading Benefits Infants Development by FirstBook.org, Gavin McGuire January 2018

Five Physical Benefits of Reading covers the following benefits of reading: They Help Kids See, Books Sharpen The Senses, They Get Kids Moving, Books Grow Brain Cells, and They Make The Heart Bigger. 

Books grow brain cells Struggling readers have fewer cells in some regions. But a study found that after six months of daily reading, the weak spots beefed up so much that the kids’ brains looked the same as those of kids with stronger reading skills. Five Physical Benefits of Reading, Parent & Child Magazine by By Jennifer Abasi

Discover Your Genre and Select Your Next Read 

The New York Times best-seller list is a great place for book recommendations, however, many fantastic reads never make this list. I’ve read incredible stories through KINDLE FREE books as well as recommendations from Goodreads.com, book clubs, and through friends. Most all online resources filter by genre for selections and updates on books that interest you, making the journey of finding your next novel far easier to navigate! Below are resources to finding your next novel. In addition, get acquainted with your local library and open an online account to access e-books and audiobooks for the whole family.

Busy living, social media, and technological advances compete for our attention today. These modern day temptations can become a wedge to settling-in to an adventurous novel…book or an audio book. You can change this! Make time! There are health advantages that come from reading novels (inspirational biographies, too) when we are able to escape the routine of our own lives and enter into someone else’s story! Romain Rokand, eloquently describes this get-a-way… “No one ever reads a book. He reads himself through books.” You, too, can experience afterglows, awe, adventure, and inspiration when immersed in a good story. If it’s been a while since you read a book, consider finding or reconnecting to a favorite genre. Highlight time in your calendar to de-stress!! Studies support that reading triggers brain cell development in infants, aids in the learning abilities of children and adults, and increases longevity among the elderly protecting against cognitive decay. Who would have known reading books could rank as one of the best “supplements” for good and healthy living, whatever your age! Be inspired! Read to good health!

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Keep Walking… positive choices in challenging times

 

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A year ago, an unexpected job loss led to a stressful time. It’s that season in life when you sit back and wonder, “what just happened??” And, proclaim, “Oh my gosh! We simply can’t make this stuff up!” There is a saying…”we can’t control the actions of others but we can control how we respond.” It takes quite a while for this statement to make sense when a sudden string of storms blow through and all you want to do is hide for cover. It was at this time my husband said, “Deb, go write. You have been talking about starting a blog. This is the time. You need a positive distraction and a channel to share experiences.” At that very moment I went to my computer, researched best blogs, signed up with WordPress and began designing Modify…make life simple. I wrote from my heart and included categories representing different experiences, which brought inspiration and balance to my own life and hopefully…to others as well.  It has been one year since I began blogging. I’m grateful to WordPress and to all who have been and continue to be readers of Modify! You helped me heal. Thank you!!

To celebrate Modify’s first anniversary, feel it timely to write about positive choices in difficult times. Life is not meant to be problem free. My Christian faith is based on the belief that we live in a fallen world, which does not exempt some people from life challenges while others suffer inflictions. Everyone, at different seasons of life, will struggle. Trials might look different, but they are still trials; unexpected unemployment, serious health issues, martial uncertainty, relationship(s) strife, financial hardships, and loss of loved ones. This post shares what I found to be most helpful identifying positive choices in difficult times through spiritual faith, acceptance and truth, forgiveness and hope.

Spiritual FAITH

When life suddenly shifts as a result of unforeseen negative events…do not sit idle in stagnant waters. No one will join you there and eventually, feeling isolated in toxic waters will sicken you. When feeling overwhelmed, for me personally, praying and having others pray encouraged a desire to cling to my Christian faith and to move on.

“God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength but with your testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

  • Divine intervention empowers future hope and letting go of the past. God only gives us what He knows we can handle is a common response to the above noted scripture verse. Most twists in life, however, cannot be handled alone. My experience, therefore, reflects a different interpretation. The Lord only takes us where He knows He can meet us. It’s at this “meeting” (God dependence) where peace is found, feeling worthy is renewed, and confidence claimed…trusting His Will, care and direction.
  • Spiritual faith inspires moving forward, even when the weight of anxiety makes it difficult to do so. The Land Between…finding God in difficult transitions by Jeff Manion, notes…“We learn that the Land Between is about a journey of trust and that something flourishes there that could not be produced in any other soil.”

One of the messages from the book is about sharing experiences, which led to many of the blog articles written this past year, especially the series on Cultural Fit, referenced under Additional Resources at the conclusion of this article.

  • Embrace your spiritual faith. If you don’t practice a spiritual discipline, consider it. Divine inspiration from the inside out is steadfast and surefooted, a blessed gift and lift to rise above circumstances that might otherwise be impossible to achieve. Christian faith encourages forgiving the past and moving forward in hope of new life.

Acceptance and Truth

Serenity Prayer – Reinhold Niebuhr, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Being able to move forward leads to the healing steps of acceptance and truth and the courage required to progress here. Accept the truth of what happened and what you cannot change. Then deal with your feelings about it.

  • Articulate your interpretation of what happened. Before you can accurately express your narrative, peel away any emotional layers concealing truth. Work through and let go of self-blame when the situation is beyond your influence. Release the compelling temptation to grip on to guilt. Process those feelings of inadequacy or self-condemnation that can take root in your heart.

“Brown tells Oprah during an interview for “SuperSoul Sunday.” Things that are beyond your control are just that: beyond your control. Don’t let yourself make up a story that suggests otherwise. Pay very close attention to your internal narrative, Brené Brown says.” Huffington Post – The Best Way To Deal With Things That Are Beyond Your Control and Rising Strong by Brené Brown

“Grief, fear, and our deepest feelings of failure can make us blame ourselves for causing what happened or, at least, failing to cope with it.” There Is No Good Card For This: What To Say and Do When Life is Scary, Awful, and Unfair To People You Love.

  • Accept the reality of what happened. Confront your feelings about it. Stuffing eventually bursts under built-up emotional pressure, emotionally and physically harmful. Guard against the interpretation and insights of others that could define your narrative, including comparisons that rob you of properly processing because… your circumstances by far don’t compare to their own. Choose carefully with whom you share your struggles and if needed, seek professional counseling to help process in a healthy manner. The input of others should help refine your narrative and feelings, not replace it.

“All our difficult ties involve some degree of shame, fear and loneliness. At times like that, we don’t need anyone to impress us or skillfully talk us out of our pain. We mostly just need the kindness that compels anyone to try.” There Is No Good Card For This: What To Say and Do When Life is Scary, Awful, and Unfair To People You Love

“It can feel quite isolating or even invalidating when someone is trying that ‘Cheer up’ approach, or comparisons like, ‘It’s not so bad, look at the people who have it so much worse’,” explains Tal Schlosser, Clinical Psychologist at My Life Psychologists. 7 Ways to Support a Friend Through Sad Times Without Trying to Cheer Them  

  • Face truth and let go by writing out your narrative. This is a productive exercise to summarize what happened, releasing the overwhelming stress that accompanies unexpected trials.

“Writing things down on paper can be an amazing way to gain clarity and keep the facts straight. It’s as if the process of moving thought to hand makes it harder for us to lie to ourselves.” How to Cope When Life Does Things You Can’t Control 

Forgiveness and Hope

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19

  • Forgiveness releases accumulating anger towards people and circumstances involved in that “twist of fate”.  In some cases legal action may be necessary. Even through this avenue of seeking justice, forgiveness is needed to rise above deeply rooted negative feelings that impact emotional and physical well-being. Forgiveness is a gift for you and not for others and it does not imply denying what has happened. Forgiveness is a powerful means for moving on.

“Although you can’t change what has happened, none of us are powerless. We all have the power to choose our next step in life even if we can’t change the one that came before.” How to Cope When Life Does Things You Can’t Control

“Forgiveness comes when we’re able to recognize that the other person’s actions were more about them-their own motivations and context-than about us.”  There Is No Good Card For This: What To Say and Do When Life is Scary, Awful, and Unfair To People You Love

  • Forgiveness is freedom to hope again. It brings relief from those we mistakenly granted permission to shape our suffering. I find it difficult for bitterness and hope to share the same space. Process-out toxic feelings with forgiveness as your goal and HOPE as your destination.

“During tough times, our emotions run the gamut: denial, anger, fury, despair, numbness, isolation, desperation,” according to Laura Fenamore’s Tiny Buddha post. “In order to heal, we must feel. But we have a say in what we do with our feelings.” When Circumstances Are Beyond Your Control

  • Choose HOPE. When we “keep walking”, the heaviness of despair is lifted. Small steps are perfect steps. We heal and HOPE is realized. Know the power we all have to choose hope and embrace our convictions. This past year I came to understand…

# Rejection/failure tests our convictions.

# Dwelling on rejection and/or negative judgments from others only releases the trajectory of our future in the hands of the wrong people. Resist this temptation!

  • Be in control. Practice attention management. The quote below says it all!

“Attention management is the practice of controlling distractions, being present in the moment, finding flow, and maximizing focus, so that you can unleash your genius. It’s about being intentional instead of reactive. It is the ability to recognize when your attention is being stolen (or has the potential to be stolen) and to instead keep it focused on the activities you choose. Rather than allowing distractions to derail you, you choose where you direct your attention at any given moment, based on an understanding of your priorities and goals.” To Control Your Life Control What You Pay Attention to...HBR Maura Thomas, March 18, 2018

Reclaim your life by recognizing positive choices in difficult times, which begins by processing feelings of denial, anger, bitterness, and despair. Release the unrealistic expectation that life is flawless and free of problems because this is a myth. Unexpected trials are a part of life for everyone…you are not alone. Grip firmly to spiritual faith as the cornerstone to overcoming hopelessness. Accept what you cannot change. Seek truth in those circumstances beyond your influence. Find freedom through forgiveness and relish in newfound hope. Celebrate small steps moving forward. Life has four seasons. Be inspired to keep walking and you will find that spring does come, again. Modify…keep life simple began a year ago, last spring!

Resources

Additional Resources

Cultural Fit Series