Word-Of-the-Week #850: Venturesome

November 19, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Venturesomehaving a disposition to undertake ventures; adventurous. 

How often do you get out of your comfort zone? When was the last time you felt adventurous? Are you able to recognize opportunities and take them?

I found this post “Invoking the spirit of adventure” by Psychologies and am including excerpts.

Do you find yourself hesitating to take chances? Does fear prevent you from achieving your dreams? Writer Juliet Davey discovered how travelling has deepened her self-knowledge and awareness and here, she shares tips for living an adventurous life – and you don’t even have to leave the country. It’s all about pushing those boundaries…

What lies at the heart of the spirit of adventure? Is it curiosity, risk-taking, courage? Psychology has made the association between adventure-seeking behaviors and the release of dopamine providing us with feelings of enjoyment and positivity. Risk-taking leads us to new experiences, which help renew our vitality.

“Adventure is not outside man; it is within” ― George Eliot

The responsibilities of modern living do not always permit us to travel, but we can still cultivate our adventurous spirit. The opportunity for adventure is available to us daily. Here are four handy tips to access the essence of this spirit: 

Middle Fork of the Salmon River

  • Do not let your fears rule you – the adventurous spirit is never certain of the outcome but is open to new experiences regardless. We all feel fear but the adventure-seeker takes action despite that fear. 
  • Embrace the unfamiliar – travel takes you to unknown places and requires you to live in the present. But you can expand your horizons every day no matter where you are. By embracing places and people that are different from our norm, we can heighten our awareness and learn something new. Doing something out of the ordinary can also increase confidence.
  • Follow your heart – adventure comes to those who seek it. I love the Anais Nin quote: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” So if you have always wanted to take a cooking class, skydive or learn a new language, now is the time. Stand inside your truth. Follow your heart. 
  • Seize opportunities – recognize opportunities and take them. This is your chance. 

Even during a pandemic, we can still be venturesome. Are you letting your fears rule you? How open are you to new experiences? When was the last time you did something out of the ordinary?

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Word-Of-the-Week #849: Hope

November 12, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Hopethe feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out well.

Have you been able to feel some hope this year? Do you believe that even in this terrible pandemic good things have come out of it?

This week I am sharing excerpts from “Emotional Well-Being and Coping During COVID-19

“These are unprecedented times. We need to work extra hard to manage our emotions well. Expect to have a lot of mixed feelings. Naturally we feel anxiety, and maybe waves of panic, particularly when seeing new headlines. An article by stress scientist and Vice Chair of Adult Psychology Elissa Epel, PhD, outlines the psychology behind the COVID-19 panic response and how we can try to make the best of this situation. Her tips can be found below. 

Our anxiety is helping us cope, bond together from a physical distance, and slow the spread of the virus. So our anxiety – while uncomfortable – is a good thing right now, especially if we manage it well. At the same time, we must effortfully prevent panic contagion and create periods when we can be screen-free and calm, engaging our attention in normal daily activities. Seize opportunities to share lightness and humor. Laughter right now is a relief for all of us!

 It may be helpful for you to make a list of what you can and cannot control right now. In this guide, we suggest radical acceptance of the situations we cannot control and focus on what we can do. 

  • Stay physically safe from the virus 

In this case, the biggest safety behaviors (physical distancing and hand washing) which decrease transmission of the COVID-19 virus, are also an integral part of anxiety management. Stay home when you can. When outside the home, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. 

  • Limit media to reduce anxiety

By now you have heard this recommendation many times and there is research behind it: Watching or scrolling through the media makes us even more anxious. An excess of news and visual images about a traumatic event can create symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and poor health years later, according to research by UC Irvine’s Roxy Silver, PhD, and others. 

Try to limit COVID-19 media exposure to no more than twice a day (e.g., checking for updates in the morning and before dinner) and try to avoid reading about COVID-19 before bedtime. Take a vow to not forward (and thus propagate) alarming headlines to friends and family. 

The media often creates an exaggerated impression of global panic. The reality emerging from research data in Seattle, an epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., is that most people are dealing with this very well and rising up to help others. 

  • Get and provide warm, comforting, social support by video, phone, or text 

This is critical! Taking time to share your feelings and to listen and support others will go a long way. Talking with others who have our best interests at heart makes us feel safe. Use phone, video, text, or email. Fortunately, these new highways of social contact are unlimited resources. More than just providing social support about the current crisis, it is a good idea to use these connections to talk about the things you normally would – host your book club online, for example – which can create feelings of connectedness. Loving and caring for our pets can be phenomenal stress reduction for us too! 

  • Find ways of expressing kindness, patience, and compassion 

Be extra kind to yourself. This is a hard time for everyone. Humans across the world are sharing this experience with you. We are all in this together and we may all emerge with a renewed appreciation for our interconnectedness. Helping others in need is both critical to get through this well, and also creates more purpose to our days and well-being. 

  • Create new routines and keep practicing health behaviors 

Routine and ritual are restorative to us. Our brain wants predictable activity so we can relax our vigilant nervous system. Go to bed early and go outside each day to be active. (More information about sleep and activity is available below.) Remember that our activities, thoughts, and mood are closely linked. If you want to change your mood, change your activities and/or your thoughts. 

  • Eat well 

Good nutrition helps our mood. Stress makes us seek comfort foods, and in turn high carbs and sugars impact our mood. Many population-based studies show that a Mediterranean diet has been linked to better mental health and stress resilience, whereas a junk food western diet is linked to depression and anxiety. Try to fill your home with fresh produce, frozen vegetables, and whole foods when possible.”

This week’s focus is on feeling hope. Are you giving and receiving warm, comforting social support? Are you being extra kind to yourself and practicing healthy habits? Anyone find it interesting that I picked this word this week? I don’t know about you but I’m already feeling so much more hope!

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Word-Of-the-Week #848: Rules

November 5, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Rules prescribed guides for conduct or action. 

How good are you at following the rules? Are there any you wish you could break?

Once again, Steve Strauss, author of STEVE’S 3-MINUTE COACHING, sent a very thought provoking piece.

Great Question: Rules? 

(Great questions lead to great answers; weak questions, weak ones.) 

“What rules am I following that I wish I could break?

Coaching Point: The answers to this Great Question are evoked through three inquiries.

To begin, what are the rules you’re following and who established them? Did you learn them yourself or merely inherit them? If they’ve been in place for a while some are still valid and useful, some may no longer be. For you. For others, fine, but not for you. So the first step is to become aware of and clear about the rules which run you.

To begin, what are the rules you’re following and who established them? Did you learn them yourself or merely inherit them? If they’ve been in place for a while some are still valid and useful, some may no longer be. For you. For others, fine, but not for you. So the first step is to become aware of and clear about the rules which run you.

The second inquiry is to get clarity about why you wish you could break the rules. Outdated? Never yours to begin with? Good and useful at one point in your life, but now barriers to something better? If there is a part of you which wants to break out, trust the tug.

Finally, why have you not already broken free? Do you need permission? Does the change seem scary? Will there be consequences (real or imagined)?

Rules are great. Knowing and following rules can simplify life and make your journey easier by not having to stop and contemplate the consequences of each little action. The rules are the rails your engine is chugging along.

It’s the unexamined rules which may be holding you back.

What rules are you following that you wish you could break?

See all past issues and subscribe here Steve’s 3-Minute Coaching

Copyright © 2020 Steve Straus, All rights reserved.

This week’s focus is on rules. Are you following rules that you established or merely inherited? Do you have any outdated rules you would like to break? Do you need permission?

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Word-Of-the-Week #847: Laughter

October 29, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Laughter – the sound of happiness and amusement.

When was the last time you had a good belly laugh?  Did you know that having a good sense of humor is a contributing factor to longevity?

This week more exerpts from the 2nd half of the Beth Ward article on The Power of the Punchline. Health benefits of a good laugh are no joke. Physical reaction to comedy can help ease stress, aid focus, even boost long-term well-being.

  • Laughter is contagious

“Comedy is available to us on the Internet, through streaming services and on television. But many prefer their laughs live. The market size of the comedy-club industry had increased almost 2 percent every year from 2015. Then came the pandemic, and subsequent restrictions — and this steady growth came to an abrupt halt.

In San Diego, some comics were experiencing withdrawal from making people laugh — or hearing people laugh, in the case of virtual performances.

Three local stand-up comics — Alexander James, Jim Pine and Chris Espinoza — created Drive-Up Comedy, where the audience stays in their cars.

“Our Drive-Up Comedy performers are ecstatic,” Espinoza said. “As much as we need it, the audience needs it. If you’re in a good mood, you’ll live longer.”

Many medical professionals back that up, saying that a sense of humor is a contributing factor to longevity. Just look at comedians Betty White, 98, and Mel Brooks, 94.

  • Sharing commonality

Another big plus of humor is that it encourages human interaction. Sharing a chuckle — even virtually — can create a feeling of connection.

“When you have a similar response with someone to a stressful or absurd event, it’s a sharing of a commonality,” Crumpler said.

Sharp’s Crumpler noted that when people are going through the same experiences, such as financial problems and even the tragedy of death, laughter may feel awkward, but it is crucial.

“We need to not forget those things but not let them overwhelm us,” he said. “Humor’s a unifying factor that can points out differences of opinion in a constructive way. We need to cooperate and become communal.”

“It is fun to have fun, but you have to know how.”    – DR. SEUSS, 1957

  • Laugh for real

Are you afraid you’re losing your sense of humor? In 2020, it’s understandable. If your usual laugh-inducing outlets aren’t helping, try learning to laugh.

“The physiology behind fake laughter is to stimulate the motion and mechanism of laughter. It’s like push-starting a car,” said Dr. Hans Crumpler of Sharp HealthCare. “Fake-laughter methods are meant to kickstart pleasure chemicals within the brain.”

This week’s focus is on is on the sound of happiness and amusement coming from you. How easy is it for you to find humor in everyday life these days? Did you know that laughter kickstarts pleasure chemicals in the brain? Do you know how to have FUN?

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Word-Of-the-Week #846: Humor

October 22, 2020 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #846: Humor 

Humor – that which is intended to induce laughter or amusement. 

How would you rate your sense of humor? Did you know that laughter can improve pain tolerance and ease anxiety and depression?

This week and next features excerpts from the San Diego UT article by Beth Ward on The Power of the Punchline. Health benefits of a good laugh are no joke. Physical reaction to comedy can help ease stress, aid focus, even boost long-term well-being.

                    “With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh, I should die                                            and you need this medicine as much as I do.”

                – ABRAHAM LINCOLN, SPEAKING TO HIS CABINET MEMBERS, 1862

Forests burning, hurricanes multiplying, America’s racial history haunting us, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, election worries and economic woes — people today are facing our own fearful strains.

Yet, while some of us might be hesitant to crack a joke or share a funny animal video, we need humor now more than ever.

Among its many health benefits, laughter can increase how much oxygen you breathe in, which stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and relieves stress.

“We’re able to take in more air when we laugh,” said family medicine physician Hans Crumpler of SharpCare Medical Group, Chula Vista. “While someone’s telling a joke, think of the tension that builds up before the punchline — the ‘ha-ha’ moment is the release of that tension.”

Handling stress with a chuckle can also help your memory and focus.

“How many times do you get to the grocery store and someone takes your parking spot, or someone cuts you off in traffic? The stress response to those kinds of aggravators can distract from why you were there,” Crumpler explained.

“The brain focuses on the aggravation. You arrive home to realize you’ve forgotten the bread or the eggs. Adding humor to the situation can distract you from that and allow you to retain your memory and primary purpose.”

Laugher can also have long-term effects, releasing stress-fighting neuropeptides that help stave off potentially more serious illnesses, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Other advantages of laughter include improving pain tolerance and easing anxiety and depression.

 This week’s focus is on humor. Feeling stressed out lately? When was the last time you laughed out loud? How did that make you feel? Research tells us that a good chuckle releases stress and adds to a healthier life so make that a daily goal!

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