TEDxBloomington – Shawn Achor – “The Happiness Advantage: Linking Positive Brains to Performance”

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Mar 052013

Shawn Achor is a researcher in the field of positive psychology. Using a humorous, personal example, he explains that how we perceive our lives creates our experience. He goes on to explain how we have the success equals happiness equation is backwards. When we can reverse that equation, we have a statistically higher chance of success, productivity and many more positive outcomes. In this video, he includes several quick tips on how to improve our state of mind.

Attitude Makes All The Difference – By the Amazing Zig Ziglar

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Dec 012012

The amazing motivational speaker and thought leader, Zig Ziglar, passed away this week at 86 years of age. He taught millions about the fundamentals of sales, success and how attitude makes all the difference. He didn’t even begin his career as a motivational speaker until he was in his 40’s.

As a speaker, he encouraged others to believe in themselves. Ziglar emphasized that a positive attitude must be followed up by action before success could be achieved. To listen to his inspiring podcasts, visit http://zigziglar.libsyn.com/

In this video, he tells the story of a woman who complained about her job, changed her attitude about it, and changed her life.

Meditation: How To Get Whatever You Want by Robert Anthony

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Aug 012012

Dr. Robert Anthony is one of my favorite authors. He writes simply and directly about how to use your mind in a constructive way to get what you want. In this simple and fast guided meditation, he leads you to visualize what it is that you want. Pick the goal you wish to accomplish and allow your mind to follow the directions in the meditation. Done every day, this simple 12-minute mind programming technique will attract what you want. The only way this method will not work is if you stop using it. Learn more about Robert Anthony’s The Secret of Deliberate Creation.

Your Personal Efficient Biofeedback Instrument

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May 292012

Are your shoulders ever tense? Do you ever clench your teeth? When you’re entering an uncomfortable situation, do you ever have butterflies in your abdomen? All of these just show that your body is an efficient biofeedback tool. It shows you what you’re thinking and feeling, even if you aren’t aware of it.

Whenever you’re stressed, your back muscles will tighten up in preparation to handle the threat. You may not even know that you’re stressed until you check in with your body.

Mentally or verbally rehearsing an argument after the fact may cause an upset stomach. It may not be happening in real life, but that doesn’t mean that your body doesn’t respond as if it’s happening now.

When you’re worried about something, you may unconsciously frown and furrow your forehead. You may even get a headache from tense neck muscles.

Your body shows you what you’re thinking about. Start listening to what it’s telling you. Check in with your body, and ask yourself, “What am I thinking about?” “What’s going on?” This will give you an indication of where your focus has been driving you.

Next, ask yourself, “What needs to change?” Stress, upset, anxiety, worry just keeps you immobilized. It cuts you off from creativity, inner resources and your problem solving abilities.

As soon as you redirect your attention to what you can do improve things, you instruct your subconscious mind to begin accessing those resources. Your subconscious mind will change its direction and begin seeking a solution. You can help it along by taking time to consciously relax. That will give it more energy to do its work.

The next time you feel out of sorts, reconnect with your body. It’ll give you all the guidance you need.

~ Linda-Ann

“Who Am I?”

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Jan 042012

I am your constant companion,
I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am at your command.

Half of the tasks that you do,
you might just as well turn over to me
and I will do them quickly and correctly.

I am easily managed,
but you must be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done;
after a few lessons I will do it automatically.

I am the servant of all great people
and alas of all failures as well.
Those who are great I have made great,
those who are failures I have made failures.

I am not a machine,
but I work with all the precision of a machine,
plus the intelligence of a person.

Now you may run me for profit or
you may run me for ruin.
It makes no difference to me.

Take me, train me, be firm with me,
and I will lay the world at your feet.
Be easy with me and I will destroy you.

Now, who am I?

(Author Unknown)

Positive Thinking Isn’t Being “Pollyanna-ish”

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Oct 282011

I loved the Disney movie, “Pollyanna,” about a young girl sent to live with her aunt after the death of her parents. Pollyanna had a cheerful outlook and looked on the bright side of life. Unfortunately, her name became mistakenly synonymous with being naïve, wearing “rose-colored glasses,” or ignoring facts. That wasn’t her philosophy at all. Pollyanna simply looked for the best in each situation.

Over the years, positive thinking has also gotten the erroneous reputation of ignoring the negative. The common belief is that if you have a positive attitude, it means you must repress any distressing emotion, disregard negative circumstances, and dismiss reality.

That doesn’t accurately represent what optimism is. Being positive doesn’t mean you won’t grieve, feel sad, angry or get upset at times. It just means you allow yourself to experience the normal flow of those emotions and then begin to bounce back to a more positive frame of mind. Eventually, you’re able to view things in perspective, rather than wallow in the suffering.

When you’re positive, you don’t pretend that unpleasant occurrences don’t exist. You simply don’t focus on them. Recognizing reality is essential to formulate a constructive strategy to overcome obstacles. It’s like driving a car. You notice where the other cars are and what they’re doing, so that you can make informed decisions about how to avoid collisions. But you keep your gaze on the direction you’re going.

When you’re optimistic, you seek positive solutions and are open to possibilities. If someone calls me a “Pollyanna” in an attempt to put me down, I say “Thank you” because I know what its real meaning is. Smiling when pessimists want to spoil your day will make them nuts. It’s a win-win situation. Now that’s positive.

A Story About Setting An Intention

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Sep 202011

Recently, Jeff and I visited Phoenix, 120 miles away. I had a meeting and we planned to do some shopping. The afternoon was forecasted to be stormy, but I hoped the rain would hold off until we were on our way home in the early evening.

We were pretty lucky. The rain held off all afternoon. As Jeff shut the car door after our next-to-last stop, it started to rain. By the time we pulled out of the parking place, it was pouring.

We still had one stop to make, to get gas, which would have been interesting with the continuous lightning. But we drove out of that storm cell, and were able to stay dry while we got gas.

Our route remained dry most of the way home. Lightning lit the clouds all around us on our trip. About 30 minutes from home, we noticed a bunch of brake lights up ahead on the freeway. We slowed down, and as we got closer we noticed lots of cars pulled off to the side of the road.

As we got to the area, we realized that the ground and road were covered with hail. There were a few hailstones still falling, but nothing like what had created this hazard. We must have missed that storm by just a minute or so. A couple of miles further, we drove out of the precipitation.

Just a few miles from home, we drove through some rain and a few hailstones. But it was dry when we got home. We unloaded the car, and not fifteen minutes later, it started to pour. We were very fortunate to have ducked most of the storms that day and evening.

When I heard the weather report for our trip, I’d set my intention to stay dry while in and out of the car in Phoenix. For the most part, it happened. Do I believe I changed the weather? No. Especially since so many thousands of people in our drought ridden state wanted it to rain.

However, I believe my intention affected our timing. If we’d been in that last shop for 10 seconds more, we would have been drenched. We missed the hailstorm by seconds, and got home minutes before the storm hit. We weren’t able to avoid all of the storms, but we dodged most of them and the most damaging ones.

When you set an intention, you bring all the force and direction of your creative mind to bear on a situation. It can make you aware of opportunities, or inspire you to make a contact. Or it can affect your timing so that you return home safely during a day of storms.

The Problem Solving Capacity of Your Subconsious Mind

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Aug 302011

Have you ever walked away from a problem, then had a light bulb go off in your head and had the answer? That’s the way the mind works when it’s looking for solutions. Several recent studies have validated that your subconscious mind is hard at work while your conscious mind is otherwise engaged.

Apparently, your subconscious has been hard-wired to accumulate information to make the best decisions for you. According to research, the conscious mind does a better job at making analytic decisions. But the subconscious mind is more capable of solving greater challenges and making discoveries.

Learning to trust the subconscious is key to allowing it to dealing with complex problems. If your conscious mind keeps turning the issue over and over again and keeps it front and center in your attention, the subconscious never has a chance to work on it.

Just like when you try to remember someone’s name and let it go. Shortly thereafter, while you’re in the middle of doing the dishes, it pops into your mind. You have to be able to let go of the problem.

The subconscious also helps you make better decisions. It uses the same process as with problem solving. Evaluate all the information, and then go on to some other task. This allows the subconscious to process the data. If no insight comes to the surface, reassess or gather more information and let it go again. Eventually, you’ll get a sense of which direction you want to go.

Your subconscious mind is creative, resourceful, and a problem solver. It processes the information that your conscious mind has given it and comes up with a solution. Now, research and studies are validating what many of us have known for decades.

Information in this article based on these studies from Science Daily:
Decision-Making May Be Surprisingly Unconscious Activity
Our Unconscious Brain Makes The Best Decisions Possible
Eureka! How Distractions Facilitate Creative Problem-Solving
Profound Impact Of Our Unconscious On Reaching Goals Revealed

Lesson Learned: Creativity Feeds The Soul

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Aug 232011

I love weaving and embroidery, but have been so focused on work that I haven’t had time for either for a very long time. Also, my loom is in storage because it’s too big for our condo. So I’ve spent my free time hiking and doing other enjoyable things. But it hasn’t been the same or given me the same fulfillment.

Recently, I took a class that included doing a little bit of simple embroidery on some felt. I didn’t finish it in class but worked on it a few days later. Unfortunately, I found out that the embroidery floss supplied by the class was about 6 inches too short to finish the project.

I had to wait for several weeks until we went to a nearby city to get the needed embroidery thread. During that time, the project sat on the table, as a reminder that it needed to be completed. Every time I went by and glanced at it, I got a thrill of joy, excitement and satisfaction. The same feelings I had when I actually worked on it.

I realized that I needed to make the time to do some of the fiber handiwork that feeds my soul. Eventually, I need to find a smaller loom. Until then, I’m designing an embroidery project that will satisfy my need to create.

And I wasn’t the only one in my life to come to this conclusion. A friend of mine loves music and hasn’t been able to play her piano for quite some time. A few days ago, she went to play it, and once again discovered how it makes her heart sing. She’s committed herself to practicing again because it’s so important to her emotional health.

Creativity helps keep a person young and their brains active. It’s when we block our creativity that we begin to shrivel up inside.

What creative pursuit have you abandoned to focus on family, work, or other pastimes? How can you begin to include that activity in your life again? When you do, it will enhance your relationships, reduce stress, and give you more energy because you’re being authentic and attending to your soul’s needs.