Saturday, October 29, 2011

Are you Practicing TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes)?

As a society, we greatly underestimate the effects of lifestyle on our psychological and social well-being and optimal cognitive functioning.  So says Roger Walsh who talks about eight of the areas we might all consider if we’re going to make some TLCs.

*Exercise – need I say more?

*Nutrition and diet – this includes what we eat (eat more fruits and vegetables, some fish-- preferably those low in mercury, and reduce calories) and supplements, the latter of which are recently as controversial as ever.

*Nature – as in, spend more time there and less with your iBuddies.

*Relationships – particularly our social capital or connections with others.

*Recreation – have more fun.

*Relaxation and stress management - do more meditation, relaxation and/or yoga.

*Religious/Spiritual Involvement – beneficial are approaches with an emphasis on forgiveness and love (vs punishment and guilt).

*Contribution/Service –best summarized by:  “’give back’—instead of Prozac” (cited in Walsh).

Let’s throw in good sleep hygiene while we’re at it, which Walsh does mention as one of many other TLCs.

My challenge to you:  Do a self-evaluation of each area.  You know how well you’re doing.  Then pick a couple of areas and do something new or different.  Kick it up a notch.

Groovin’, The Young Rascals

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Key to My Heart: Relationship Tips

When things are going reasonably well, we tend to take relationships for granted.  There are a number of things we can all do to improve our relationships, in good times and in bad.  Based on the Gottman’s work on marital satisfaction, here are a few of the keys. 

1.  Ask lots of questions and talk a lot, so you can know one another better.  Isn’t it cool when you learn something new about your partner after 5 years?  10 years?

2.  Be positive!   Notice what your partner is doing right and comment on it.  Show positive affect by keeping your tone positive, smiling, using humor and affection, especially in conflict situations.  Use compassionate communication by being clear about your needs and wants, nonaggressively.

3.  Turn toward your partner literally and figuratively.  Accept requests for more intimacy and contact and ask for more yourself.

4.  Take a time out.  When you are in conflict and you feel yourself getting hotter, agree to take a time out to cool off.  Then get back to the calm discussion.

5.  Share.  Share time, share ideas, share rituals, share hobbies, share vacations, share meals and create positive memories together.

For better and for worse, in sickness and in health, it’s always key to love and to cherish (I’m not so sure about the honoring and obeying part).

Higher & Higher, Jackie Wilson

Friday, October 14, 2011

New Habits Require Patience (and a few other things)

I like the way Michael Arloski talks about developing new habits in his book, Wellness coaching for lasting lifestylechange.  In short:

*Patience helps us stick to new behaviors even when they’re difficult.  It’ll get easier.

*Self-compassion allows us to keep positive instead of letting in self-criticism.

*Celebration encourages us to notice the positive changes and take time to feel really good about them.

*Structures are reminders (like an alarm on your phone or a picture of your desired vacation destination on your desk) of what we want to do.

*Support from others helps us stay on track.

*Coaches help us do all of the above and keep doing it even when the going gets tough.

Whether you’re cutting out coffee or cheesecake, adding walking or swimming, or practicing your loving kindness each day, change is hard.  Cultivating patience helps with all of the above, all of which help with developing new habits.

Breakaway, Kelly Clarkson

Monday, October 3, 2011

Flourishing: How to live the good life

Check out my latest newsletter about flourishing. 

It may be easier than you think to live the good life.

Start today!