Word-Of-the-Week #846: Humor

October 22, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

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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Word-Of-the-Week #845: Purpose

October 15, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Purpose – the object toward which one strives; aim or goal. 

Is there something you have always wanted to accomplish? Are you making the most of each day? Do you wake up with a feeling of meaning and momentum?

This week features great ideas on creating your purpose from Sam Horn of the Intrigue Agency.

“Can you believe we’re 3/4 of the way through this year? How did that happen?! 

When you look back at this year, does it feel like it’s been hijacked by events? 

The good news is, it’s not too late to create, contribute, achieve or accomplish something that makes 2020 a good year…despite COVID and everything else that’s happened. 

What does that look like for you? 

What is an IKIGAI (a Japanese word that means “purpose, a reason to wake up in the morning”) goal that could give your days meaning and momentum? 

These steps can help you figure that out so you make the most of the rest of this year. 

  1. Identify a MEANINGFUL PROJECT that lights you up just thinking about it. 

Writing a book? Heading up a new project at work? Updating your website? What is something new that would energize you, stretch you and give you something to look forward to? 

  1. What is ONE STEP you can take TODAY to turn this wish into a reality? 

Martin Luther King said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.” How will you take action on your idea right now? This first step may only take 5 minutes, however it is the key to turning procrastination into action.

     3. Keep your IKIGAI goal in-sight, in-mind. 

Have you ever got all fired up about a goal, and then life intervened, you got distracted and your good intentions drifted away? Don’t let that happen this time. Post a picture of what you want to accomplish on your refrigerator to keep it front-and-center, top-of-mind. 

  1. Pick an accountability buddy to share your progress and celebrate your success. 

Questlove says, “Community makes the world run.” You’re more likely to succeed when your goal is fun and done with someone. Our POP! community can help hold you accountable and cheer you on. As my Mom said, “Encouragement is oxygen to the soul.” 

  1. Mentally fast-forward to and focus on a happy ending. 

Mary Morrissey says, “Hold the vision, not the circumstances.” You will run into challenges along the way. That’s why marathoners picture themselves triumphantly crossing the finish line so they don’t quit when they hit the wall. You do the same. If you’re tempted to give up, imagine how good it will feel to accomplish your Ikigai goal. Then resume. Always resume. 

Les Brown says, “Some of us are not living our dreams because we’re living our fears.” 

Which are you living?”

This week’s focus is on knowing your purpose. Do you have any meaningful projects that cause you to light up when you think about them? Have you ever had an accountability buddy to share your progress and celebrate success? How would it feel to live your dreams and not your fears?

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Word-Of-the-Week #844: Nature

October 8, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Nature – the natural world as it exists without human beings or civilization. 

When was the last time you spent time outside with nature? How long did it last? How did it make you feel?

I am spending this week in nature, so I felt it was only fitting to re-run this past WOW. Are you suffering from nature deficit disorder? I have seen several articles in the past month and am including excerpts from them this week.

Our increasingly urban lifestyles are denying us the benefits of the great outdoors, says bestselling author Richard Louv. His new book Vitamin N: The Essential Guide To A Nature-Rich Life” is all about tempting us back outside. He focuses on 500 ways people can boost their engagement with nature. 

Oh yes, we love watching wildlife, but the problem seems to be leaving the sofa and immersing ourselves in the real thing. 

It’s been more than a decade since author Richard Louv wrote his best-selling book, Last Child in the Woods, and introduced the world to the concept of ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’. His phrase referred to the growing trend of human alienation from nature resulting in “diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illness.”

Put simply, he stated that humans aren’t meant to be surrounded by concrete and metal all day. Moving from home to car to office or school and back again isn’t healthy – we need time in the wild. 

As far as he’s concerned, we shouldn’t be glossing over the crucial link between time outdoors and well-being, particularly when it comes to children. New evidence strongly suggests that interaction with the natural world increases our ability to think clearly, heighten the senses when it comes to perception and increase creativity.

“And this from Are You Nature Deprived? A girl under 5-years-old was throwing regular weekend temper tantrums, and her parents complained to Dr. Robert Zarr, a pediatrician at Unity Health Care in the District of Columbia. When he probed about the family’s routine, he learned they were spending the majority of their weekends inside. The fits didn’t happen at school, where the girl had recess.

So instead of labeling the child with a behavioral problem or shrugging and saying, “She’ll grow out of it,” he wrote a prescription advising the family to spend a couple hours each weekend day at a nearby park.

“It sounded like she was starved for some nature,” says Zarr, who in 2013 helped launch DC Park Rx, an initiative encouraging physicians to prescribe time outside to patients and families. He may have been right: When the family returned for a follow-up appointment, the tantrums had stopped.

So far, his team has written 829 park prescriptions for a range of issues, including to prevent and treat chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma. “I don’t get a lot of rolling of the eyes,” he adds. “Most people understand that there’s something lacking in their daily schedule.”

That something is nature. A lack of outdoor time for kids contributes to conditions such as childhood obesity, attention disorders and depression. In 2012, he wrote another book, “The Nature Principle,” showing that adults aren’t immune from the ill-effects of too much time indoors either. “The more high-tech our lives become, the more nature we need,” he tells U.S. News​. “It’s an equation. It’s true of families, it’s true for children, it’s true for adults.”

Well, all I can say is that when I took my first real trip where I was “totally immersed in nature” back in 2009 it forever changed my life and the way we travel. Spending time in nature is incredible and I literally crave it if I don’t get enough!

This week’s focus is on being in nature. Is there something missing from your life? Are you and/or your children starved for some nature? When was the last time you experienced and outdoor adventure? Interestingly I have had more friends taking RV trips, camping and communing in nature during the last six months!

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Word-Of-the-Week #843: Embrace

October 1, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Embrace to accept willingly.

Have you been able to willingly accept the way things are now in this “new normal?” Have you felt any resentment?

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass … it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

                                                                                       — Vivian Greene 

This week longtime friend Bill Marvin, The Restaurant Doctor, had some insight to share and is a great follow up to last week’s WOW.

“Vivian Greene’s quote is perfect for the times we’re living in … and of course it has a deeper message. 

In a way her metaphor is another variation on themes you’ve been hearing for years — “It is what it is.”, “Play the hand you’re dealt.”, “Keep calm and carry on.”, and so forth. And yet I love that there’s a certain playfulness to it. 

Dancing in the rain goes beyond simply coping with your challenges. It’s about learning to love your situation, whatever it may be at the moment. The ability to joyously embrace whatever life brings your way is a powerful — and contagious — skill to develop. 

Resistance kills. Unconditional non-judgmental acceptance frees up your thinking so you can recognize what you need to do to make the most of things. When you see the world this way, you are always “on your game.” Eventually you can become so immersed in the adventure of living you don’t even notice the storms. How cool would that be? 

Spending time being upset at the hand you’ve been dealt makes you feel like you’re doing something about it … when you’re not. Don’t waste your time feeling resentful. The storm will pass … or it may not. Why should you let that destroy your peace of mind?

 In the end, the quality of your life is less about what life throws at you and more about the way you think about it. Let’s dance!” 

This week’s focus is to embrace your current situation. Can you be at peace not knowing how long the pandemic will last? Do you recognize what you need to do to make the most of your situation? How would it feel to joyously dance in the rain?

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Word-Of-the-Week #842: Paradox

September 24, 2020 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #842: Paradox 

Paradox a statement that seems to contradict itself but may nonetheless be true.

Have you ever been faced with a disaster? Would you be able to forge ahead and prevail?

This week San Diego UT columnist Neil Senturia Stockdale Paradox: Having faith with strong grip on reality” has some very good advice. 

“August — what a month. DNC, RNC, BLM, COVID along with the constant of job and family. No shortage of challenges. 

For guidance on how to cope, I turned to the work of Harvard Business School Professor Boris Groysberg and researcher Robin Abrahams on the famous Stockdale Paradox. 

Adm. James Stockdale was a prisoner of war in Vietnam for 7 ½ years. The central question they asked him was, “How did you survive without knowing the end of the story?” It is human nature to want to know how the movie ends, because if we know “when it will be over,” then we can prepare ourselves to manage for the duration. 

What is amazing about Stockdale is this quote, “I never lost faith and I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life.” Consider people with cancer or spinal injuries or what we call “disabilities,” or hurricane and fire victims. We are astounded at their resilience and ability to forge ahead and survive. 

Now here is the golden nugget. Stockdale was asked, what was the characteristic of the ones who did not make it out of the prison camp? “The optimists, the ones who said we’ll be out by Christmas, and then said we’ll be out by Easter – those are the ones who died of a broken heart.” Stockdale goes on to say, “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality.” 

Let’s read that last sentence one more time together. 

That is the paradox — living with a brutal reality on a day-to-day basis balanced against never losing hope. People want to believe the optimist (the virus will magically disappear), but “they come unglued when those predictions don’t work out.” But remember, different than blind optimism is the belief that something good could happen. Could, not will. For the entrepreneur in the trenches, he must calculate the odds of success and play for the possibility of a good turn of cards, of a customer showing up, of the investor saying yes — and at the same time, lose some sleep every night worrying about a Plan B and concocting a Plan C. 

The Stockdale Paradox can be summed up as “have faith but confront reality.” A corollary here is to embrace some form of stoicism. Groysberg talks about Marsha Linehan, the founder of “radical acceptance.” She says, “You can’t change anything if you don’t accept it.” Otherwise, you will be working on something that isn’t real. Entrepreneurs need to truly embrace this kind of clear thinking. Linehan goes on to say, “that even when the darkness falls, there is always a glimmer of light”. 

Psychologist John Leach says, “Once it becomes clear that rescue will not happen soon, those who survive disasters move into phases of adaptation and consolidation.” Adaptation is unlearning what we knew and what worked before and consolidation is when the “new circumstances are accepted as real.” 

This requires developing extrinsic survival behaviors — how to act in a kidnapping or a shipwreck is completely antithetical to the previously routine simple tasks of how to enter a building or shake hands with a friend. You have to start over from square one with new mental energy. 

Stockdale talks about the physical intimidation and says it was not won in one grand showdown, but rather “it was the plucky guy who made them start over every day.” I confess that one of my favorite movies is Cool Hand Luke. I have always been inclined toward the renegade and the rebel. 

In the end Stockdale talks about faith and patriotism, but deepest of all is “a value system, a sense of identity.” Stockdale supports “acknowledging your errors” (we all make them), but he emphasizes the need for personal integrity, how to keep your self-respect.

At this time in our history, revisiting Stockdale seems critical and urgent. He talks about communication by leaders that bespeaks a “commonality of ritual, of laws, of traditions and of shared dreams.” Look up from your computer screen and find a purpose – it will increase your odds of survival and resiliency. 

  • Rule No. 675: Man does not live by bread alone — Matthew 4:4

This week’s focus is paradox. If you were Stockdale would you be able to have faith and confront your reality? Are you able to accept your current reality with a glimmer of light?

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