Growing Courageous Kids

(& Parents!)

The Secret Powers of Time (Wednesday Windows)

This 10 minute video talks about some salient points regarding our kids and how their time perspective impacts their learning.

It’s Wednesday, hump day, and I think a window into a bright mind is called for to get us over the mid-week slump. Thus, Wednesday Windows! Mostly this will be a video window, but not always. If you have something you would like to be shown on Wednesday Window, just let me know!

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What to do when your resistance is low to avoid meltdown

It’s one of those days: You’re sleep deprived, recovering from a cold, over-worked, having to deal with the most hated parts of your profession (What is it for you?), and you’re PMS-y (sorry men).

Sounds like melt-down,

shut down material to me.

How can you pull yourself out of the pit before

all out emotional catastrophe hits?

1. BE AWARE – Without this there is no hope. You know you are in trouble when your co-workers ask “Why are you so irritable today?” Or “What’s wrong with you?” and you are SURPRISED by the question! Take a few minutes and let yourself quiet before entering your work environment. Notice any feelings or sensations that are nipping at the edges of your consciousness. Take your noticing a step further and ask yourself questions, “Hmm, I’m feeling cranky, what’s up?” or “I’m not wanting to deal with ______ now. What is that telling me?”Look for information, not judgment. Now’s not the time to whack yourself in the head.

2. Take a time-out — you need to stop what you are doing, get off the merry-go-round, and re-assess your options. What activities can be put-off, rescheduled or deleted all together? Tone down to only the absolutely ESSENTIAL tasks while you are not at your optimal levels. For example, one Monday I had something scheduled every hour for 10 hours straight. Then PMS hit hard. I dropped ¾ of the activities and only kept the most necessary, unavoidable ones. I took time out for a “rest” in the afternoon between appointments so I could focus on the next step.

3. Use your “self-talk” arsenal. I’m an auditory learner so I take this advice very literally – I talk to myself out loud. If you don’t already use anti-catastrophizing tactics start now. These are borrowed from cognitive behavioral therapy and work wonder for changing your perspective and attitude.

a. Say the thought/feeling (i.e. “I can’t handle this! I hate this.”)

b. Question it (“Is this true?”)

c. Come up with proof for the doubt. (Well, I’ve handled this before and I can do it again.)

d. Turn the language around (I can handle this even if I do hate it!)

e. Find support to give yourself – find a lifeboat.. Ask “who or what can help me feel more capable (in control, aware, competent, etc.) in this situation?” ex: oh, so and so is an expert at this, I’ll call her and pick her brain before the meeting so I feel confident.

f. Identify the feeling behind the thought/lie (i.e. I’m scared of looking like a fool and this has me wanting to run and hide…)

g. Congratulate and reward yourself for being PRO-Active and not giving in to the mood gremlins that thrive on your stress.

Some healthy ways to reward yourself:

Cancel a meeting and go for a 20 minute walk on the beach with your shoes off. Feel the sand shifting along with your stress.

Call a friend you miss and have a 15 minute catch-up girl chat. Laugh a lot.

Exchange funny tweets!

Go get a spa treatment

Walk to your favorite “juice” spot and have a yummy smoothie, while standing in the sun for a few minutes.

Run home and play with your cat or your dog on your lunch break.

You’ve got the idea. Recover your smile and realize you successfully avoided over-reaction melt-down mode.

To increase your arsenal of tools to draw upon next time try incorporating some of the following into your life on a regular basis:

• Reflective journaling • Work with a life coach • Exercise regularly • Take up yoga or meditation • Prayer • Surround yourself with funny friends • Start a nurturing hobby like gardening, knitting, marathon racing, or bird-house building! • Express joy and gratitude daily • Join a supportive group situation where you can be vulnerable and safe. This could be an actual support group, an affiliation group, a church small group. Explore your options. Living intentionally in community, although challenging, is well worth the rewards.

What do you choose as your escape pressure valve? How many ideas have you tried? Tell me what has worked for you in the comments.

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Taking Courageous Action: getting unstuck (Part 2)

Part Two

In Part One we looked at whether we were Big Beginners, Magnificent Middlers or Competent Completers. Click here to see which one you are.

As you looked at which type best fits your preferences and experience, you might notice that if you have a strong aversion to a particular stage of the process, a pattern of avoidance was set in place. Once this pattern becomes entrenched it’s very common for fear to kick in, so that next time we encounter the dreaded ending (beginning or middle) anxiety surfaces.

One of my friend’s suggests asking the following questions:

If I’m not beginning, following through, or finishing well…ask

  • What am I doing instead? (notice/observe)
  • What am I afraid of? (looking bad, messing up, not being perfect?)
  • If I were living in faith (or courage), would I choose to do this?

We have a couple of choices in taking courageous action. First, figure out why we have the fear/anxiety so we can be aware of our unconscious motivations. Examine our motivations with complete honesty. Are we actually sabotaging ourselves by settling for “I don’t want to.”? It’s important to explore these areas first before moving on to the next part.

Once you’re sure you’re not sabotaging yourself, holding yourself back in fear, or simply giving up to the deterministic idea of “I’m not good at that part, so why bother?” You’re ready for more courageous action. Be clear about your strengths and preferences and partner with people that complement you. If you’re a great beginner and finisher, have your partners be accountable for a magnificent middler. This is playing to your strengths is a key strategy for all successful and fulfilled people!

Let me know what your pattern is and how it’s working for you!

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Taking Courageous Action: getting unstuck

Part One

So you’ve got your vision, mapped out your plan, took some steps in the right direction, and then…nothing.

What happened?

People get stuck at different parts of their process, either the beginning, middle or end. Simple, right?

Take a few minutes to think of how you go about accomplishing a project, or for your child, how she goes about completing (or not!) school assignments. Once you’ve analyzed your patterns, you’ll see what part needs support for completion to actually happen.

Big (or What?) Beginnings

Do you love to vision, dream big, plan out huge projects? Do you love exploring possibilities? Does the idea of brainstorming for a new project get your energy up and running? Then you are probably blazing through beginnings!

Your child will get excited when you ask her to brainstorm solutions for her school (or personal) problems. She’ll wake up with more energy and start entertaining possibilities. The question for you will be to see if she can translate those ideas to the next stage, or does she become bound by possibilities instead?

Another option is to feel frozen, confused and confounded on how to get started! You may wish that someone would just hand you the plan so you could run with it. The idea of brainstorming make you queasy and you get dizzy when presented with so many choices…ugh. You wonder, What Beginning?

Magnificent (or Muddled) Middle

Some people enjoy implementing a strategy. They may not be into the act of visioning and/or planning, but once the plan is set, they are gifted in making it happen.

You may be a Magnificent Middler if you noticed increased motivation at the thought of diving into ACTION; you can see exactly what is needed to make the plan a reality. You know who to contact and the best people for each part of the plan. You won’t miss an important detail. You’ve got it covered!

Here your child will need you to help him plan out the process and walk him through the initial steps. He’s a slow starter and needs lots of prompting. He may complain that he “doesn’t know how to start!” Once you finally get him going he is able to do the legwork and follow the plan, working with a degree of independence.

On the other hand, you might be a Muddled Middler if your eyes start glazing over “too many details”; you can’t decide who should do what; you lose steam early in the implementation and want to work on a new project instead. 😉

Competent (or Casual) Completer

Others may enjoy the beginning and/or the middle of a project, but really feel their energy rise with the thought of sprinting to the finish. With the end in sight, the creative juices start flowing and the joy of competent completion kicks in. You may not even enjoy the early stages of a project. What you want is to come in at the end and hit a home run. You love the end result out there for all to see.

In the same manner, your child might take forever to get started on a school project, or even homework. She might need you to actually hold her hand and sit her down. You’ll have to hover to get her through the beginning stages, but finally, as the end nears you can tip-toe away and watch her finish with excitement.

Anybody with a modicum of success has at least learned to be a Casual Completer. You had your fun envisioning and/or implementing the project. Your love of the challenge is over now that the end is in sight. If there is a lot of pressure, you’ll respond and the cross the finish line because it is necessary. Or not so successful professionals might be so casual about it that you leave others to finish as you wander over to a new different race.

In the next post, we will look at what is motivating or driving our patterns and explore what we can do to be successful at all the stages!

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4 Steps to Heal Your Broken Brain

1. Eat right for your brain

2. Tune-up your brain chemistry with supplements

3. Live the UltraMind lifestyle: Exercise, relax, sleep, and train your brain

4. Live clean and green

from Dr. Mark Hyman

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Is Your Tank Full?

Did you ever have a teacher in High School make the class do the exercise “if so and so were and animal, flower or car what would they be?” I remember my classmates and I doing this once in 10th grade psychology class. My friend decided that I was a Mercedes convertible (I forgot which one exactly) classy, sporty and fun. It fit me. I loved convertibles especially in sunny southern California.

Of course my convertible was a sporty FIAT spider, which eventually broke down beyond repair. In part because it was a FIAT (fix it again Tony) and in part because I wasn’t the greatest with routine maintenance. Not horrible, mind you, my dad taught me the basics and I cajoled my male friends into changing my oil and other basic tasks. But I definitely pushed the limits, arriving to work on empty and such things.

This is a common phenomenon among high school and college students. They call me to say they are running a “little late” for our appointment, because they “just realized” they need to get gas. I smile every time remembering my own adventures running on fumes, putting the car in neutral down the winding hills, so I would make it to the station! Sometimes I think that angels must have pushed me along because I always “just” made it!


It’s not just teenagers that push the limits and run on fumes. Often we carry these adrenaline driven habits into adulthood just transferring the specific details. We might not ever run out of gas again in the car, but how many times do we run out of patience? Or energy? Kindness? Respect? When our reserves are low – our levels of back up emergency “funds” – it is very easy to lose out in living our ideal self, living out the person God made us to be. Maybe your basic physical needs are met. You have plenty of food, clothing and shelter, but your emotional account is empty from constant giving out and never refilling. I know that when I want to give someone “the bird” for cutting me off in traffic, that my emotional reserves are low! (Someone with “road rage” or anger management issues wouldn’t benefit from the above example.)


How do you keep your tanks full enough so that you can choose to respond to a situation, instead of simply reacting out of habit or desperation? What do we need in our lives so that we are free to choose?


One important element is making sure our needs are met and that our reserve tanks are full. One reason I hardly ever ran out of gas in the car I bought when I was 19 was because I knew I had a 2.2 gallon reserve tank. I drove and drove until the light flashed on. When that light flashed on I knew I had entered the “I better watch it” zone. Many times I used up me reserve tank within that .2 of the gallon, but I was intent on really pushing the limits counting on the accuracy of my readings of the mileage.


Not only do you need that reserve, you need an awareness of it, where you are within it, and the perspective to read it accurately. If you are used to reading the odometer in kilometers but are driving a car with mileage reading only, you will misjudge the distance. How many times have you said “I thought I had more (time, money, patience, whatever). We misjudge the reality of a situation when our perspective is out of whack.


What can throw our perspective out?

  • Fatigue

  • Hunger (low blood sugar)

  • Unrealistic expectations

  • Illness

  • What we are ingesting mentally (movies, TV, books, radio and newspapers)

  • Relationships

  • Stress

The list continues. The important fact is to know what your triggers are, so that you prepare a “perspective intervention” for yourself! This isn’t as radical as it sounds. Actually a shift in perspective can happen in a moment.

Some things to experiment with:

· Call your “pick me up” person. This could be anyone that can talk you out of your craziness; your friend, mentor, coach.

· Ask your friends how they shift their perspective and borrow or brainstorm techniques.

· Go outside and walk around in nature; take time to notice the colors and sounds around you; get out of your head!

· Off to the gym with you. Stop whining and get moving!

· Do some Brain Gym (www.braingym.org)

What works for you? I want to hear about it!

MLH

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Is Your Kid Stressed Out?: Create a Fat Head!

I cannot tell you how many times parents have complained about their kids behavior and ADHD or whatever, yet didn’t make any connection between the kids’ diet of soda, dyes, processed food, sugar…with a lack of nutrition needed for the brain to work well.  We need to continue learning how to help kids’ brains and bodies help themselves.

Dr. Mark Hyman is the author of several books that I have read. I use his principles of  Ultrametabolim and his UltraPrevention books to get and stay healthy (when I don’t follow the basic ideas, I don’t feel so great…). Here is an excerpt from his latest article. You can see all of the blog if you want. I recommend it.

Nutrition Tip #1: Become a Fat Head

One of my patients, a 20-year-old woman who hated seafood and avoided it her whole life, suffered from depression, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder (ADD), obesity, muscle pain, and chronic fatigue. Her blood tests showed a severe deficiency of omega-3 fats and an overload of inflammatory omega-6 fats.

So we gave her an oil change, with high doses of fish oil (EPA and DHA). Soon, she recovered from her depression, brain fog, and ADD, her pain disappeared, and she lost 60 pounds! Read the rest of this entry »

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emotional integration methods

Re-framing your thinking in a positive light is not just for the affirmation spouting “feel good” types. Research is finally catching up with what many have suspected all along: positive emotions can change your life. Specifically, they can “broaden people’s habitual modes of thinking and build their physical, intellectual and social resources” according to BL Fredrickson. When you engage positive thoughts and emotions, not only are you leaving no room for negative emotions, you are also creating new neural pathways in your brain. This means your brain changes, and thus, you change! You can become a healthier person on all levels, especially in relation to your emotional consistency and resilience—something all we all need.

Doc Childre reminds us in his work (heartmath.com) that “attitude directs how you manage your energy.” How we manage our energy really is how we run our lives and businesses, don’t you think?

If your energy is scattered or fragmented, you may feel like you are working an awful lot while not achieving the results you want.

If your energy is being directed by fear or anxiety—emotions often felt when taking huge leaps of faith—your intuition could become stifled along with your creativity resulting in stagnant performance.

Learning how to focus one’s emotions, neutralizing the negative ones, can directly affect productivity, profit and performance. We know from current research on the brain and heart that these changes are not only psychological in nature; your physiology changes along with your emotions. It’s not all in your head! We’ve all experienced clammy hands when we are nervous, for example. Obviously, we can’t control primitive reflex reactions—like when we are startled—but we can learn to minimize the body reactions by neutralizing our negative thoughts and emotions.

In addition to neutralizing in real time the charge of the emotion, we can then release it for greater freedom and peace. The method is as simple as the previous techniques and equally profound in effect. Many people have come up with variations on releasing these emotional “stores” in our bodies. You can use techniques from Brain Gym, The Sedona Method, Heartmath or others. It is helpful to be led through the process with a coach or practitioner the first time, but not necessary. The main component in all these methods is in noticing what is going on in your body, being with it and STAYING with it until it dissipates. Usually, when we get uncomfortable with these negative feelings we want to escape them as soon as possible. But, instead we need to remain in the presence of these emotions. This is counter-intuitive to how we live, but it works.

I’ve used The Sedona Method while on the pre-core machine at the gym with great success. I had a client that was really stressing me out with her habit of negativity and over-reaction. I liked this client but was feeling avoidance at the thought of her name. I had just picked up a book on The Sedona Method and was eager to try this cerebral approach. I visualized this person in my mind, felt the aversion, pedaled harder and began the internal questioning process:

1. Name it. What are you feeling now? (aversion)

2. Could you welcome this feeling? (No!)

3. Could your release this feeling? (Yes!)

4. Will you release it? (Yes, please!)

5. When? (Now?)

I went through the cycle about three or four times, naming each different feeling as it arose. And finally, when I felt complete I could picture this client and I actually smiled.

The Sedona Method doesn’t instruct that you need to be moving physically, but with my training with educational kinesiology I knew it could only be beneficial; and it was. You’ll notice by my answers in the parentheses that it doesn’t matter if you answer “no” to any question. Just keep breathing and going through the questions until you feel the emotion has released. There is much great work that can be done with this simple method. (For more info go to www.sedonapress.com).

These methods can be combined with body centered tools that engage the heart/mind and body simultaneously. This is probably why doing repetitive cardio helped my Sedona process.

All these techniques are useful for use on your own, although some take a bit of instruction or facilitation. Brain Gym is one brain/body integration method that listens to your body to unblock whatever is internally holding you back. Again, this is a simple method involving 26 physical movements to achieve profound change in learning ability and overall emotional health. This system of integrating activities is taught in person either one on one or in a group by a licensed professional.

Many schools are using the techniques with their students to enhance learning ability and readiness. Once you have worked in person with an instructor you can use all you have learned on your own at home. Some changes are instantaneous and others unfold over time. (For more info go to www.braingym.org). A benefit of this program is that it is appropriate for even the smallest child (you don’t need to be able to talk, unlike other methods that are more cerebral), whereas other methods profiled in this article are more fitted to school-aged children that have passed a certain developmental stage.

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Lower Your Stress with a Simple Tool

You can transform your stress into productive energy
Live a more relaxed and happier life by effectively dealing with stress & anxiety
–Heartmath, LLC

Our lives can get really crazy with our jobs, carpooling, money concerns, children with difficulties, and a multitude of other issues. Yet, all this stress is not good for us! Do you ever feel so stressed that you worry about your heart? In a Newsweek article called “The Good Heart” I was reminded not only of the physical components to our health (cortisol = stress hormone = body on alert = PROBLEMS), but also there is finally research on how our thinking, our mentality or perspective, can be more harmful (or helpful) than the physical factors!

I had a chance to experience this first hand recently:

After major surgery, I was recovering in a room with other people around me. I had a curtain encircling my bed, but I could hear anything that happened in the room. When the anesthesia was finally wearing off I noticed behind my head. Looking over my shoulder I saw the heart monitor blipping away. The flashing number gave me an idea and I decided to experiment—it’s not like I could do anything else! First, I noticed that every time another patient starting crying out or moaning my heart rate would spike up. I started focusing on relaxed deep breathing (important after surgery also) and put my mind on positive thoughts. Within seconds, I saw those numbers plummet from 76 to 53! Of course, when a particular lady raised her cries of discomfort up the numbers would fly. Again, I lowered the rising numbers with the same technique. It was an amazing experience to see this in action, lying on a gurney, not so helpless after all*

Would you like to:

* Tap into your creative and intuitive resources for better problem solving?
* Help yourself maintain optimal health and physical resiliency?
* Do you want to lower your stress with a breath and a thought?
* How about training your body to react differently in the first place?

I’ve enjoyed super results in using Heartmath tools with kids in the areas of school stress, performance anxiety and increasing competitive inner resilience.

I’m always doing research and looking for tools that will benefit the clients I work with. It’s exciting to see what people are coming up with these days. I truly want you to experience the joy of less stress in your life.

*The Heartmath® technology is much more sophisticated than my hospital experiment. For more info

ps. since posting this article (orig. 7/06), Heartmath has come out with a new portable version of this technology–cool

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Courage=Living Life Full Out!

I’ve been on the look out for other inspiring courage mavens and found one in Coach Charrise. I love her wide embrace of life by living “full out.” Here is a quote from her latest blog entry:

So many people are living their lives by playing full out.  They do it in their business, taking risks and investing in themselves.  They do it in their personal life, showing vulnerability and working hard to sustain life-long, loving relationships.  They do it by pushing themselves past the fear they feel when they think about doing something audacious.

There’s always a choice to play full out or to take the safe path.  Being intentional about the path you take will expand your thinking about the kind of legacy you want to leave in this world.  You might find courage you didn’t think you had.

Let’s take her advice and make it a point to “play full out.”

Please share how you live full out! I would love to hear your ideas and wins!

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