Thursday - March24 , 2011 Filed in: Spirit
Stock Photos from 123RF
There is some sad news for friendships in this era. A 2006 study from Duke University and the University of Arizona showed that Americans have almost one-third fewer confidants than they did in the 1980s, and that ties are more family based. Another disheartening statistic was that there are now twice as many people who report not having any close friends to share their problems with.
Lowering your expectations of your friends seems counterintuitive at first, but the truth is that good friends understand dropped calls. When our tunnel vision causes us to insist on standards of behavior from our friends we often miss the gift that is being offered. True friends rejoice at one another.
Today take the time to rejoice in your friends. Make that connection and tell them exactly what makes them a good friend for you and what you appreciate about them.
Saturday - March19 , 2011 Filed in: Spirit
Sometimes, what we say is less important than how we say it or the other nonverbal signals we send out. In order to hold the attention of others and build connection and trust, we need to be aware of and in control of our nonverbal cues. We also need to be able to accurately read and respond to the nonverbal cues that other people send us.
Our nonverbal messages will produce a sense of interest, trust, excitement, and desire for connection–or they will generate fear, confusion, distrust, and disinterest.
Part of improving nonverbal communication involves paying attention to:
- Eye contact - The way you look at someone can communicate many things, including interest, affection, hostility, or attraction.
- Facial expression - The human face is extremely expressive, able to express countless emotions without saying a word. The facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust are the same across cultures.
- Tone of voice - When we speak, other people “read” our voices in addition to listening to our words. Think about how tone of voice, for example, can indicate sarcasm, anger, affection, or confidence.
- Touch - Think about the messages given by the following: a firm handshake, a timid tap on the shoulder, a warm bear hug, a reassuring pat on the back, a patronizing pat on the head, or a controlling grip on your arm.
- Timing and pace - Your ability to be a good listener and communicate interest
If you are planning what you’re going to say next, daydreaming, or thinking about something else, you are almost certain to miss nonverbal cues and other subtleties in the conversation. You need to stay focused on the moment-to-moment experience in order to fully understand what’s going on.
Thursday - March17 , 2011 Filed in: Spirit
An important skill of emotional intelligence is having a moment-to-moment awareness of your emotions and how they influence your thoughts and actions. Emotional awareness is the key to understanding yourself and others.
Many people are disconnected from their emotions–especially strong core emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, and joy. But although we can distort, deny, or numb our feelings, we can’t eliminate them. They’re still there, whether we’re aware of them or not. Unfortunately, without emotional awareness, we are unable to fully understand our own motivations and needs, or to communicate effectively with others.
- Are your emotions accompanied by physical sensations that you experience in places like your stomach?
- Are your emotions evident in subtle facial expressions?
- Are your feelings strong enough to capture both your attention and that of others?
- Do you pay attention to your emotions?
- Do they factor into your decision making?
If any of these experiences are unfamiliar, your emotions may be turned down or turned off. In order to be emotionally healthy and emotionally intelligent, you must reconnect to your core emotions, accept them, and become comfortable with them.
So, today put a name to each emotion you feel by writing it down. If you do not have anything on your list at the end of the day then tomorrow pay close attention to your facial expressions during the day and note them. Other methods of noticing your emotional state is to note the expression others have when you speak to them. Others will often mimic your facial expressions.
Only when we can identify our emotional state can we communicate appropriately. To effectively communicate make sure that your expressions match your emotional state. Frequently we mis-match our emotional state and our facial expressions. If you find yourself smiling when you are angry you need to adjust your facial expression to match your emotional state.
Tuesday - March15 , 2011 Filed in: Spirit
The best way to reduce stress quickly is through the senses: through sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. But each person responds differently to sensory input, so you need to find things that are soothing to you. Today try one of these soothing techniques when you notice you are using your stress trigger mentioned in the last post.
Taking a Break at Work: While at work, make time for a mini-retreat from the stress.
- Practice muscle relaxation by tightening, then loosening muscles progressively from your feet to your head.
- Play soothing, meditative, music through your headphones.
- Have a soothing scent nearby that you can sniff, like a nice bar of soap or scented sticks.
- Keep a calendar at your desk with serene scene's that you can gaze at and imagine lying in the photo with warm sunshine on your face.
- If you don't have an office space then take your break time to close your eyes and imagine a calming scene.
- Take time to do something creative like draw or doodle.
Other stress releasing ideas:
- Get some exercise. This is one of the best stress busting activities which will help your physical and mental health.
- Set aside a specific time of day for worries and only contemplate your concerns then.
Saturday - March12 , 2011 Filed in: Spirit
When we’re under high levels of stress, rational thinking and decision making go out the window. Runaway stress overwhelms the mind and body, getting in the way of our ability to accurately “read” a situation, hear what someone else is saying, be aware of our own feelings and needs, and communicate clearly.
The first key skill of emotional intelligence is the ability to quickly calm yourself down when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Being able to manage stress in the moment is the key to resilience.
Realize when you’re stressed – The first step to reducing stress is recognizing what stress feels like. Many of us spend so much time in an unbalanced state that we’ve forgotten what it feels like to be calm and relaxed.
Today be consciously aware of when you are stressed and note it by an outward act. For example; If you have a ring on your hand then twirl it on your finger when you feel stress, tap your fingers or choose another active method to signal stress. You may already have a bad habit that identifies a stress trigger like biting your nails. If you have a bad stress indicator try changing it to something non-damaging.
Consciously and purposefully signaling your stress will allow you to better manage it.
Wednesday - March09 , 2011 Filed in: Body
Does it cost more to eat foods that promote good health than to eat those that don't? Many people believe nutritious foods are more expensive than less healthy alternatives. They are partially right. Fats, sets, and refined carbohydrates deliver mire calories per dollar than fish or fresh vegetables. Yet when it comes to an all-around diet, cost need not stand in the way of healthy eating. Check out this healthy meal plan for $2.64 per day:
Oatmeal, 1 1/2 cups cooked (10 cents)
Walnuts, 3 tablespoons (28 cents)
Raisins, 1/4 cup (12 cents)
Tangerine, 1 large (22 cents)
Whole wheat bread, 2 slices (21 cents)
Peanut butter, 2 tablespoons (16 cents)
Banana, 1 large (14 cents)
Chicken and vegetable stir fry
canola oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons (7 cents)
skinless dark and light chicken, 3 ounces (30 cents)
broccoli, 1/2 cup (5 cents)
carrots, 1/2 cup (7 cents)
onions, 1/2 cup (9 cents)
soy sauce, 1 teaspoon (2 cents)
corn starch, 1/2 tablespoon (1 cent)
Brown rice, 1 cup cooked (15 cents)
Baked apple, 1 large (25 cents)
Pear, 1 large (32 cents)
Peanuts, 1/4 cup (8 cents)
Total: 2000 calories (33 percent fat)
Total cost: $2.64