Friday, December 30, 2011

Time to Take Stock and Be Honest with Yourself

In USA Today, Paul Wilkes has a column about how to be honest with yourself in the New Year. Here are some of his ideas.

Most of us are creatures of habit. One objective is to find and reinforce those habits that enrich our well-being and find and eventually put aside those that are not in alignment with who we really are. Examine your intentions and take responsibility for your own happiness. If you find yourself blaming others for your problems or unhappiness, it may be time to look in the mirror. Take control and responsibility for your happiness. Remember, happiness isn't the goal, it is the result of a life with meaning, engagement, and pleasure. Joy is just around the corner. 

Some possible questions to ask yourself:
  • What did I do that made me happiest?
  • Who makes me feel good about myself when I am with them?
  • Where did I feel ashamed of myself?
  • What action would I do over again and how?
  • What do I look forward to?
  • What are my personal and/or professional goals for 2012?
  • What moves me to action?
  • What habits or tendencies worked for or against me?
  • When did I feel most in alignment with what is best in me?
  • Do I need to make amends with anyone?
  • What am I doing that creates meaning in my life?
 Try this simple form of self-reflection tonight. See where this reflection leads you. Share your thoughts with a best friend or partner to make it real. It just may be time to take action on being and trusting yourself.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

You Have a Green Light

2012 Has Promise, but Only If You Take Action!

One of my favorite sayings is, "Love is action, love is a verb, not a noun." This means loving others, loving yourself, loving your work, family and interests. If you view love as a passive or a noun, not much will happen or change in your life.

With the passing of Steve Jobs, much has been written about his positive and negative traits, but there is no controversy about his brilliance and pursuit of perfection.

Steve Jobs learned early that when you don't like how things are in your life or world, change them, either through action or sheer force of will. Some basic beliefs recently printed published in his new book about his philosophy includes the tenants listed below. As you review them, imagine your own life and current circumstances and see how you measure up. It may be time to adopt some of these principles to have a better life in 2012. Look for new ways to create a more fulfilling life. So, Steve Jobs believed in the following:

  • Make your own reality
  • Control everything you can
  • Own your mistakes
  • Don't wait
  • Know yourself
  • Don't hold back
  • Surround yourself with brilliance
  • Build a support team
  • Be yourself
  • Be persuasive
  • Show others the way
  • Trust your instincts
  • Take risks
  • Follow great with great
  • Make tough decisions
  • Find balance
  • Live for today
  • Share your wisdom
Many things are possible, if you can let go of fear.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Creating Positive Memories During the Holidays

It is that time again for wrapping up work and presents. Taking stock of your life goals, achievements, accomplishment and feelings of gratitude or happiness usually happen around the holidays and new year. Be sure to make time for important friends or family by engaging in rituals that provide a sense of meaning to you. Holidays can go from shear panic or feeling overwhelmed to deep comforting memories from your childhood. If you had an intact family with great holiday experiences, this time of year can be grand. If you did not, the holiday time can be dread.

It may be time to reevaluate your perspective about Christmas, New Years and make a shift to create positive memories with new rituals that either enhance your life or create new rituals that help you take charge rewiring your brain and experiences around the holidays. It can be as simple as inviting friends over, to volunteering at a church or shelter or calling family members to wish them a great holiday. This past weekend, we attended the "Lights in the Heights" annual event. Houses are elaborately decorated, bands play, choirs gathered, and thousands of people come out to view the beautifully decorated holiday homes. Private parties were held and people gathered to share food and great conversation. Our friends, Beth and Walter have an annual party at their home with great food and guests. We feel blessed and gratitude to be able to have these times, connections and participate in the festivities. Look around or create some wonderful new memories for yourself.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Love is a Verb!!!

What is the difference between love as a noun or verb? Essentially, the words "I love you" without support, action and visible or tangible evidence is empty love. Understanding the love language of your partner helps make sure you are on the right frequency or channel to ensure your partner feels loved. Think of a discuss about love as preventive maintenance for the relationship.

Dr. Gary Chapman, has published a book, "The 5 Love Languages". Take a moment to review the 5 Love Languages listed below for yourself. Then, plan to have a discussion with your partner to explore their feelings and ideas about the following quite universal and comprehensive concepts about love. First of all, decide which love language is the one you seek or need the most. Ask yourself, how you show love from this list below. Then, as a quality check, get with your partner to share your thoughts, ideas and feelings about the "right" love language for you. The 5 are:
  1. Words of affirmation
  2. Quality time
  3. Receiving gifts
  4. Acts of service
  5. Physical touch
Reading the book will help you understand and define how to enhance love in your life, romance and intimacy. Communicating about what works for you can lead to greater fulfillment and loving action. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

We are truly international!!!

I was very excited to see the reach of our blog posts throughout the world. Because of the wonderful features of Google Analytics, we are able to track the number of visits to the blog and the country or origin of the views. The graphic to the right, is shows the variety of country visits. What a delight to see how far we are reaching. 9 different countries plus the US. Take a look for yourself.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

CDC: Antidepressant use skyrockets 400% in the past 20 years

Janice Lloyd posted an article in USA Today that the "use of antidepressant drugs has soared nearly 400% since 1988, making the medication the most frequently used by people ages 18-44. This report comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The spike in use of anitdepressant medication has mental health professionals speculating about the reasons and possible explanations. Some cited include: 
  • the economy
  • layoffs
  • home foreclosures
  • ad campaigns by pharmaceutical companies
Treatment for clinical depression requires a thorough evaluation by a qualified mental health professional. Some common symptoms include physical, behavioral and emotional components. 

Physical Symptoms:
  • sleep disturbance, 
  • changes in appetite, 
  • decreased energy and fatigue, 
  • headaches, 
  • digestive problems, 
Behavioral Symptoms:
  • loss of pleasure and interest in activities, 
  • difficulty remembering, concentrating
  • problems making decisions, 
  • persistent empty mood, crying "for no reason", 
Emotional Symptoms:
  • feeling hopeless, 
  • guilty, 
  • worthless, 
  • irritable, anxious or agitated and 
Lastly, if you are having thoughts of death or suicide, call for an appointment to see a therapist or psychiatrist immediately. 

We can help get you to the right treatment, so call if these symptoms and  feelings are present in your life. Antidepressants and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are very effective in treating depression.

Are you listening to your internal GPS?

It may be time for you to consider if you are paying attention to your internal guidance system, meaning your feelings, to determine if you are on the right track with your life goals, relationships and purpose. It is too easy to "think" about what is right rather than "feel" what is right. If you are on the right path, doors open, good things happen, and the fun or pleasure of the journey is positive and self-reinforcing. If you are on the wrong path, the experience is quite different. You may feel stunted, blocked, unhappy, anxious or even depressed. So, what do you do?

What you do is pay attention to your inner compass and GPS. Through experience and engagement, you will know what is right for you and is working. The GPS will readily remind you that something isn't right when you get the message, "recalculating." 

Take time to examine your definitions of fun, success, personal or professional strengths and proceed accordingly. Consider if your work truly fulfills you. Are you having enough fun in your life? How are your primary relationships going? With loss of intimacy, ongoing conflict or problems, you may be ignoring your inner GPS telling you to change direction. Remember that you can't changes someone else or make them responsible for your happiness. However, if you change and take responsibility for a new direction, then you are in control and can take charge of your destiny. Your feelings are your navigational compass. Are you listening? Do you need to change direction? Self-exploration is a great way to find out. Join a group, take a class, stretch yourself, learn something new, get more social and above all, "change before you have to."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Optimistic Women Live Longer

To quote from a spokesperson from the British Hearth Foundation on BBC News: "Women who are optimistic have a lower risk of heart disease and death, an American study shows."
The research on nearly 100,000 women, published in the journal Circulation, found pessimists had higher blood pressure and cholesterol.The latest study by US investigators mirrors the findings of earlier work by a Dutch team showing optimism reduces heart risk in men. Even taking these risk factors into account, attitude alone altered risks.
Optimistic women had a 9% lower risk of developing heart disease and a 14% lower risk of dying from any cause after more than eight years of follow-up.
In the study, the optimistic women exercised more and were leaner than pessimistic peers. In comparison, cynical women who harboured hostile thoughts about others or were generally mistrusting of others were 16% more likely to die over the same time-scale.One possibility is that optimists are better at coping with adversity, and might, for example take better care of themselves when they do fall ill.
The bottom line: "Making healthy choices such as not smoking and eating well, will have much more of an impact on your heart health than your outlook." 
How optimistic are you? Unsure? Want to learn about optimism?  Take a look at Martin Seligman's Books, "Learned Optimism" or "Flourish" for some tips. Optimism, good choices and exercise can make a difference. Why take a chance?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Podcast

This podcast is designed to help you relax. Just sit back in a chair or lie down, close your eyes and follow along. This exercise is called, Progressive Muscle Relaxation. The concept is to relax all of your muscles from the top of your head to your toes in a progressive manner. Tensing your muscle groups for ten seconds, then relaxing them, finally a cleansing breath. The exercise can be completed in 5-10 minutes.

You can listen to the Podcast and follow along.

Time to relax.......

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Brain, Obesity, Blood Sugar and Thinking

In USA Today, an article by Randy Dotinga, Healthday reported on a new study that links low blood sugar in obese people to a great desire within the brain for high-calorie foods, a finding that offers insight into why people whom become overweight tend to stay that way.

The researchers found that the obese people had less brain activity in the area known as the prefrontal cortex, where powers of inhibition (choosing not to do things) are based, even when their blood sugar levels were normal. "That implies that obese people may have a harder time fighting off the urge to eat, especially when their sugar levels are below normal," Page said. The pre frontal cortex (PRC) is the thinking part of our brain that makes up our cognition. So, what you think, you become. This is why Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the most popular and effective form of treatment for many disorders. If you can change your thinking about something, you change your feeling and subsequently your actions. In practical terms, if you decide that eating a second helping, cleaning your plate, having that desert, then your will do so. However, it you "think" the aforementioned items are unnecessary or hurtful to you, then you will make another choice. Of course, keep an eye on your blood sugar levels!
Shakespeare really captured CBT quite accurately when he said. "nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." At Klaybor and Klaybor, we specialize in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Life is too short....

I received this coffee mug recently. The message is worth considering for you own life. Are you spending your time trying to fit in? Do you spend too much time seeking approval. It may be time to step out, have an adventure, take some risks, have more fun and just live free.

On a trip to a conference a few years back, I found a T-Shirt that I bought that said, "Women who behave rarely make history." Why not make some of your own history to create memories by trying some new things.

Take up a new sport, enroll in a class, get a personal trainer or coach, take a trip volunteer in a cause meaningful to you. 
The APA formula for happiness is as follows: 
Meaning + Engagement + Pleasure = Happiness.
Go for it!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

On the Precipice of Being Laid Off?

With these very uncertain times with the financial markets, job loss and economy, rumors of layoffs, downsizing, and corporate belt tightening, stress, emotional confusion and anxiety are common. If you are feeling these fears and having these worries, it is normal and expected.  (Photo by Bill Varie/Corbis)

In a recent article in Time Magazine, there was a report by researchers at a recent conference at the University of Cambridge heard data suggesting the following: compared with people who are straight-up laid off, those who keep their job but are under a constant threat of losing it suffer a greater decline in mental well-being.

Brendan Burchell, a Cambridge sociologist, presented his analysis based on various surveys conducted across Europe. The data suggest that employed people who feel insecure in their job display similar levels of anxiety and depression as those who are unemployed. But whereas a newly jobless person's mental health may "bottom out" after about six months, and then even begin to improve, the mental state of people who are perpetually worried about losing their job "just continues to deteriorate, getting worse and worse," Burchell says. 

"Presently we are going through a 'shock' period." But in a year, Burchell says, the people who have had to endure the ongoing threat of being fired — and deal with the frustration of not being able to plan for their future or feel in control of their life — may begin to suffer severe symptoms of anxiety and depression, such as insomnia, substance abuse and lethargy.

But in the words of Vince Lombardi, one of the most successful coaches in history, "It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up." You can do this. Just hang in there and keep your head in the game, and when you do get back up, you're going to be better than ever.  

If you are having feelings of depression, anxiety, it may be time to seek help. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Parking at Sage Plaza

Happy Days!!!! Parking is now easier at the Klaybors!!!
!Just in news flash. Parking when you come to our office should be easier. After you go through the security checkpoint, immediately to the left is a bank of parking spaces for a 2 hour limit. Use these spaces anytime you come for an appointment.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Directions Can Be Difficult Sometimes

Do you have a good sense of direction? Do you know when you are in the right lane.........for you? Perhaps, you can use this photo to help you think whether you need to step on it to put yourself in a faster lane, change lanes  to stabilize yourself or exit to take a timeout and regroup. Metaphorically speaking, consider your current job, career, friends, support systems, family and self-image. Are you getting passed by at work? Is your love behind you? Do you need to exit and find a new route?

How to Enhance Your Relationship with Fondness and Admiration

There are some really solid ideas and strategies in the research that help create and/or maintain a good relationship. John Gottman, Ph.D. is one of the premier researchers that brings practical solutions to help couples understand the "how" of creating a relationship that works. One of his ideas is to "create a culture of praise." This positive and loving culture happens when you work to increase positive sentiment, make contributions or deposits to your emotional bank account. These contributions reduce stress, increase intimacy and gives a buffer when times are difficult. Dr. Gottman postulates that a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative comments and interaction is a standard for building this culture of praise.  What is your "Positivity Ratio?" It may be time to tune up your appreciation by expressing gratitude, fondness and admiration to your partner, child, parent or friend.

So what about Fondness and Admiration?

  1. “Fondness and Admiration” is about honoring and respecting your Spouse’s contributions to the relationship. It's about remembering what he/she contributes to the Family relationship, careers, success, and happiness.
  2. Fondness and Admiration help us to recall the things that attracted us to our partner – to remember the things that we admired about him/her that lead to committing your life to him/her.
  3. Fondness and Admiration need to be updated and refreshed by new experiences. Adding the new experiences to your old Fondness and Admiration memories serves to enrich the marital relationship.
Today, begin giving praise or validation to a spouse, child or co-worker to begin to build positive sentiment. It is also imperative that you acknowledge compliments when they come your way. If you do so, research shows you will be happier. Why not give it a try?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cultivating Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the simple practice of bringing awareness and acceptance to our moment to moment experience. Acceptance implies openness and receptivity to ourselves and the moment as it unfolds. By cultivating awareness and acceptance we strengthen our ability to be present and responsive to both the pleasant and challenging circumstances of our life.

To cultivate mindfulness is by bringing attention to breath. The breath is the literal mind/body connection. Breath is an anchor, helping us to return to the moment whenever we realize we are drifting. As your thoughts begin drifting to fear, anxiety, and pain, you are catapulted into another time and place. Breath can bring you back. Practices of meditation, yoga, tai chi, gi gong help you stay present and connected.

Jon Kabat-Zinn has published a great deal about mindfulness. His books, "Full Catastrophe Living", and "Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life", can help you find your way to mindfulness. In fact, he has created a system called MBSR or Mindful Based Stress Reduction to help you find peace in even the most difficult life experiences.

So, I you need scientific proof. Well, this brain scan shows changes in the brain that occur with meditation. Meditation improved immune responsiveness, increases blood flow to the frontal lobes which increases antibody titer to external challenges. Mindfulness helps clear the mind of clutter, allows you to relax and recharge.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Stay Interview Questions--How to Keep Employees by Understanding Them

Do you wonder why an employee "stays" with your organization. How about asking yourself, "why do I stay"? It seems that there is a gap in communication or understanding with what is going on with an employee until he/she announces their resignation or intent to leave their job. Typically an exit interview is given by the Human Resources Department to gain some insight. Why not be proactive and ask yourself or employees the following questions to help gain insight into their current state of motivation, and morale? This could make a big difference in turnover, job dissatisfaction, absenteeism, presenteeism and attitude on the job.

If you reach that fork in the road, or if you suspect an employee is unhappy, these questions might help you discover what would help with keeping an employee or keeping yourself happy, productive and a great team member.

1.    Why do you stay with us?
2.    What is it that keeps you here?
3.    What might entice you away?
4.    What are the things you like about your work?
5.    What do you like best/least?
6.    Are we fully utilizing your talents?
7.    What makes for a great day at work?
8.    What is it that keeps you motivated?
9.    What is something new you would like to learn this year?
10. What can we do differently to best assist you?
11. Is there anything you’d like to change about your job?
12. Are there things you would like to change about your team or department?
13. Has something caused you to consider leaving? Has it been resolved?
14. What’s your dream job, and what can we do to support your progress toward it?
15. What is one thing that would make your job more satisfying and rewarding?
16. Do you feel supported in your career goals?
17. Do you feel we recognize you?
18. What kind of recognition would be meaningful for you?

Feel free to add you own questions. It might be useful to actually let your manager or supervisor know you better by letting them in on the answer to these questions.

Why Worry? Recently, a reprint of the book  Why Worry  by friend and prolific author, Eric A. Kimmel was recently released. Gayle and ...