Browse Category: Healthy mind

The Unexpected Irony of the Positive Thinking Movement

GUEST POST BY JANET RICHMOND

Janet RichmondThe very thing you think would not happen with the Positive Thinking Movement is the very thing that has begun to crop up. Thinking positively has unwittingly created a backlash of sorts in that it sometimes has become a reason to judge others. Many of us have heard someone say “I can’t do it” (whatever the “it” is for that person) and then don’t we often jump in and say, “Don’t be negative. Don’t program your failure before you start” (or something along those lines). Often this comes from real caring as we don’t want that person to give up on themselves or to be discouraged. However, let’s think about those words.

First, “don’t be negative” immediately finds fault, implying that the person is doing something wrong. Secondly, the statement dismisses how the person really feels. The assumption is made that a negative feeling needs to be ignored/bypassed/instantly dismissed and instead, a solution to the problem is often suggested. And third, the advice offered is not something that could actually resolve the problem because often it is not a viable solution. If consciously deciding to do or not do something always worked, then we would never need to neutralize anything. Therefore, this kind of statement feels as unhelpful and hurtful as the statement (that we have all heard from time to time and most of us don’t like) of “just get over it.”

More extreme examples would be when we say things like, “She’s just so toxic I can’t be around her.” Or often there is a decision made along the lines of, “I just can’t deal with any more negative people in my life and from now on I’m just going to surround myself with positive people.”

The goal generally is then to get away from a person/s because they are “bad” for you in some way. Yet what I hear is a judgment that someone’s negative behavior, attitudes or words means that they are a bad person. This reminds me of something I learned when my first-born arrived. I was a single parent and as such read everything I could get my hands on as to how to parent. There was much to learn but one thing even now sticks out in my mind. It was the idea that when a child is misbehaving – whether having a temper tantrum, hitting the child next door or purposely wrecking havoc in some way – that we need to be clear with the child that it is the behavior that we don’t like and disapprove of and not the child. It is important for the child to know that we love him or her no matter what. Of course, all children will misbehave in some way. However, the problematic behavior does not define the child as a bad person. It only defines the action.

This is in essence what I’m trying to explain with the derogatory term “negative people”. As adults, the ‘misbehavior’ can become more extreme and more potentially hurtful including emotional, physical and psychological abuse. So it is easy to lose sight of the fact that it is their behavior we do not like. However, like with the child, the behavior does not define the totality of this person, though it sometimes is the knee-jerk reaction we have. When we call people “negative” please understand that this label dismisses the whole person in one blow.

I’m not saying that anyone should stay around people who hurt or abuse. But even though it’s important to take yourself out of the line of fire from behavior that is painful, it doesn’t mean that we need turn around and be hurtful and judgmental back. In fact, there is nothing positive about doing that because what we are doing here is finding fault and thus, we are being negative ourselves.

Also, we don’t like being judged by others either. It hurts and the judgments lack understanding, empathy, and respect. The underlying foundation as to why someone behaves the way they do is so complex that we have no way of knowing (because we can’t look into another person’s soul and mind) what that person is actually going through nor could they know the same about us. And in time, if we thought about it, wouldn’t we most likely not feel good ourselves for having placed those toxic and negative labels on someone else? In reality, these people are as wounded as we are, though they find their own way to cope with the pain, hurt, confusion or self-loathing. Thus, they lash out for their own reasons, like we all have lashed out many times in our own lives or have handled our pain in some other potentially though not intentionally hurtful ways.

My point is that it would be a shame to abuse the highly important concept that ‘thought is powerful energy’ by using thoughts/words as a weapon. In a very real way, judging others as negative also becomes a justification to cast ourselves in the role of the good person and the negative one in the role of a bad person. It’s divisive in nature. In a very real twist of irony, the whole trend to think positively ends up justifying our negative judgments of others!

Lastly, the pervasive attitude that negative thoughts/actions/behaviors are proof of a negative person even have us judging ourselves: “If I were just more positive maybe some good would come into my life.” And with this thought, we pour on more self-criticism and self-attack. The effect of finding fault and blame is the same except that we are now using it against ourselves.

Bottom line: let’s become more conscious and aware. Let’s use some understanding in the same way we have become understanding of the behavior of alcoholics, people with OCD or people who are depressed. Becoming conscious and aware is not the same as excusing the behavior and making it right. But it brings the whole person (including ourselves) into the Light of acceptance and understanding.

– By Janet Richmond, janetrichmond.com
Contact information: janet@janetrichmond.com or 818-516-0248

10 Tips to Staying Youthful

Recently I was at the annual Hay House I Can Do It conference in Pasadena, California. I got to see a number of amazing speakers who addressed the mind, body, spirit collective.

One of the speakers who stood out for me is someone I’ve seen a handful of times before, Dr. Christiane Northrup. A physician, author, mother, inspirational speaker, and pioneer in women’s health, she addressed aging in her keynote on Saturday evening. A couple of the things that she said really stuck with me and they were:

  • Stop telling people your age – I love sharing my age, got to work on this one.
  • Stop acting your age – I’m notorious for not acting like an adult, nailed this one.

Her reasons were pretty clear: we have preconceived ideas about what certain ages should bring. And not only do we have those preconceived ideas, so do other people. It leads to ageism!

YouthfulOver the course of the past week I spent time with a number of my girlfriends and gathered a handful of additional tips for remaining youthful.

  • Laugh – Laugh at yourself, laugh at life, just find something to laugh about daily.
  • Forgive – Holding onto grudges, anger, resentment and all that other negative nonsense puts stress on your body, and stress leads to wrinkles as well is bad health.
  • Move – Get up and dance, run, walk or play if you can. If you can’t, then wiggle your arms and legs or flap them like a bird. Just find a way to move your body joyfully for 20 to 30 minutes a day.
  • Look to the future – Quit focusing on the past. It’s nice to reminisce but having something to look forward to – events, goals, treats, etc. those give you motivation to keep moving forward.
  • Hold on to memories, let go of stuff – Do you really need the stuffed animal your first boyfriend gave you back in high school or the silk flower you got for Mother’s Day 12 years ago? Things require energy and attention and so do people. Where do you think your energy is best spent?
  • Keep learning – Even if it’s learning to brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand, if you continue to learn and expand your knowledge base you have greater likelihood of staving off cognitive impairment associated with aging and you’ll have cool things to talk about with your friends and family – instead of repeating the same old stories.
  • Make new friends – Create new relationships in your life, and not just with people who are exactly like you. By creating and nurturing new relationships you’ll be exposed to new things and you’ll tick off a few of the other items on this list.
  • Find a purpose – Whether you take a job, start a business, do volunteer work or whatever it is, having a purpose that is greater than you, a connection to something that needs you more will continue to motivate you to keep actively participating in this wonderful thing called life.

Read more: My Lesson in Aging Gracefully

copyright Kimberly Rinaldi 2015

10 Tips to Break Bad Habits

ice cream isolated on white backgroundOld bad habits: I chewed my fingernails until they bled. I sucked my thumb until I was 11. I chewed my hair. I smoked two packs a day.

New bad habits: I need adult supervision at the pet store because I want to bring every fur baby home. I leave my shoes where I take them off. I am consistently 15 minutes late for personal appointments.

Chances are you have some bad habits of your own that you’d like to get rid of as well. While working on changing habits, you have to realize there is a hierarchy to making change. At one level it’s conscious and external and it takes a lot of work; at another level it’s unconscious and internal and it happens pretty effortlessly.

Levels of Change

  • Identity – I AM
  • Values – I Feel, It’s Important
  • Belief – I Think, I Know
  • Potential – I Can, You Can
  • Behavior – I Do, I Don’t
  • Environment – It Is, There Is

When you’re working at higher levels of Value and Identity, change takes place on an internal level and it is unconscious – and relatively effortless. That’s how I quit smoking in 1989. Where most people attempt to make change is at the level of Behavior and Environment, which requires consciousness and effort. Unfortunately, most people give up pretty quickly because of this.

If you’re ready to try working on some of your bad habits here are some tips for you.

  1. Identify and eliminate whatever reward or pay off the habit is giving you. You have a habit of eating ice cream every night before bed? Stop buying it! If it’s not the house you can’t eat it.
  2. Trade bad behavior for positive behavior. Nature abhors a vacuum. Take that time you might’ve been eating ice cream and do something productive. Read, meditate, take a long bath.
  3. Avoid temptation. If ice cream has been your problem, it makes no sense to wander into Baskin-Robbins. Habits are unconscious strategies that are run by triggers. Avoid the trigger, and you’ll avoid the strategy.
  4. Practice, practice, practice. Practice saying no to things. It’s the unconscious yes that drives that ice cream strategy. So if somebody offers you something sweet, say no. You can change your mind later. But this will get you in the habit of saying no when someone offers ice cream.
  5. Anchor your new reward. Create something as a reward for making better choices and eliminating this habit. So let’s say eliminating ice cream will allow you to drop 10 pounds, which will put you in the perfect size for that fabulous little black dress. Take a picture of that LBD and place it somewhere you’re going to see it every day – maybe even on the door of the freezer.
  6. Have a backup plan. Using an “if – then” situation, create a backup plan. Example: if I think about having ice cream before bed then I will sip 16 ounces of water while I focus on all the progress I’ve made so far.
  7. Exercise your willpower. We live in such an instant gratification society that we feel any deprivation is uncomfortable. Just keep saying to yourself “I can put this off for two more minutes.” In two more minutes, say the same thing. You need to be conscious about it and you will feel uncomfortable in the beginning. Eventually your willpower will be one of your strongest muscles.
  8. Give yourself a break. It can take anywhere from three weeks to three months to break a habit. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Don’t believe the statistics you read. Just keep applying these tools.
  9. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Having a bite, or a cup, or a pint of ice cream once out of 22 days is a 22 day win, not an all-out failure. If you fall off the wagon, get back on. Chances are the next run will be longer than the last one.
  10. Celebrate you. Be conscious of every day you succeed, and share those successes with others. Let them celebrate you, let you celebrate you. Revel in the awesomeness that is you without your old bad habit.

You can do it! You got this!

If you’re interested in getting help with breaking those bad habits give us a call at 888-916-4569 or 562-618-0175 – we’d love to help.

Copyright Kimberly Rinaldi 2014

The Language of Love

LoveOccasionally I do couples counseling, with an actual couple, as opposed to working with one half of the partnership and trying to communicate perceived values.

One of the biggest challenges we have as human beings – whether coupled or single – is communication. With so many opportunities to misspeak, misunderstand, project, and take personally the words that we use, it amazes me that are able to get along as much as we do.

One of my recommendations for couples is to understand each other’s values. You don’t have to agree with them. You should never try to change them. But knowing them and understanding them can help you in all aspects of your relationship.

There’s a book I’ve been recommending for a while, “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. It can help you understand why you don’t understand each other.

Based on our values we have a primary love language with which we want people to communicate with us. We show them this language in how we attempt to communicate with them.  Here’s a better way: how about you each discover your primary languages and then sit down and have a conversation?

But before you do, which do you think is your primary language?

  • Words of Affirmation – You need to hear that you’re loved
  • Acts of Service – You need to be treated as though you’re loved.
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Quality Time
  • Physical Touch

CLICK HERE to find out your language profile, and don’t forget to share with your partner. We’d love to know too!

What makes men and women “tick”? McCall Jones shares his expertise.

Listen in: http://bit.ly/LIJL041714mp3

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3 Tips for Keeping Your Life Balanced

mind, body, spirit, soul and youBalance is not something that’s been a destination for me; it’s more of a journey. But there are some things that I do consistently and they really help me find that place that I call balance in my life.

In reading the following tips, you may think – gasp – I couldn’t possibly do those things. I’d be selfish to even think I could.

Truthfully, I’ve never felt selfish for taking these steps. And in that rear-view mirror vision we call hindsight, I know in my heart of hearts that doing these things allows me to step out for others in ways I couldn’t possibly have if I hadn’t done them. It’s in doing these things that I have the energy, drive, and desire to be there for other people.

1. Remember how important you are. You are the most important person in your life. It’s important to understand this. You don’t need to sacrifice your comfort, safety, values, or any other damn thing to “make someone else happy.” They’re responsible for their own outcomes.

2. Learn to say no. No is a whole and complete sentence. You do not need to justify, explain, validate, or negotiate this position. Look at it this way: you’re not saying no to other people, you’re learning to say yes to yourself.

3. Communicate your needs appropriately. Do not expect others to guess what you want. They can’t read your mind. Do not beat around the bush; in fact, assuming or just hoping they will come to understand what it is you need, will only leave you and them frustrated and unsatisfied. Ask for what you need. Just remember they should be the most important person in their life and no is a whole and complete sentence for them too.

What tips do you have for keeping life balanced?

Share your best ideas with us in the comments.