Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Work Hard at Having Fun

In a recent Blog I ready by Richard Branson, CEO or Virgin Atlantic, I found some simple and profound advice about work, fun and enjoying your life. 

Have fun, success will follow.
According to Branson, "If you aren't having fun, you are doing it wrong. If you feel like getting up in the morning to work on your business as a chore, then it's time to do something else. If you are having a good time, there is a far greater chance a positive, innovative atmosphere will flourish. A smile and a joke can go a long way, so be quick to see the lighter side of life."
I believe this philosophy works with marriage, parenting, sports, and your career. In 2013, why not look at finding ways to have more fun at work. Are there positive approaches to colleagues? 

Do you affirm the efforts of others? Are you staying curious and current with the best practices to challenge yourself? Is your self-talk positive? To have fun and be your best, you have to focus on fun, growth and change. The result......happiness!!!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Signs of Wellness

  • Being "Well" may not mean being free from fear, stress, anxiety, pain or disease symptoms. Being well means living fully and in balance within yourself and harmony with your physical environment, even if you have chronic illness, stress, depression or pain. The most important wellness activity is to practice loving yourself. This is not a recommendation to be selfish or egotistical. Rather is suggesting you take full responsibility for your self-care, enjoying being in the body you have and the replacement of negative judgements about yourself with positive ones. Check out the following symptoms of wellness:

  1. A chronic state of inner peace.
  2. Freedom from fear, pain and anger.
  3. An increase in energy.
  4. A loss of interest in self-criticism, being right or judging yourself or others.
  5. An outbreak of spontaneity. 
  6. Feeling of gratitude and appreciation.
  7. Increasing susceptibility to compassion, caring and love followed by an urge to splash it all over others.
  8. A growing sense of belonging and connectedness to people and nature.
  9. An uncontrollable joy about being alive.

In 2013, it may will be worthwhile to work on making the 9 "symptoms" a reality in your life. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Holiday Happiness

This blog will focus on how to make this holiday a good one for happy, loving and fun memories for this entire season. To begin with, my wife Gayle gave some quite sage advice on this topic. "The preparation for the holiday is the holiday." The rituals, food dishes, games, presents and other traditions really make up the real purpose and meaning of this time or any other celebration. If you have wonderful memories from your childhood and family of origin, then you may want to continue some of those traditions. If you have horrible memories of holidays being depressing, then it may be time for you to create you memories about holidays and celebration. How about dressing up your dog and sending out photos of her/him just for fun.
You may need a destination holiday, whatever it might be, take charge of making this a good one. There are wonderful volunteer opportunities to contribute to the season, religious ceremonies, and much more. Give something a try. Why not make some new traditions, memories or fun? In any case, reach out, connect, share, communicate with people or experiences that help you make this a great holiday.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Social Media & Mental Health Trends Presentation by Dr. Mike To Fielding Institute Students

Today, Fielding Graduate students in psychology took a ride on the Social Media & Mental Health Trends train, presented by Dr. Mike Klaybor. Tis was not a steam engine, it was a bullet train into the future.
After introductions, it was time to take the fast track to understanding the evolution of social media in transforming the delivery of mental health and coaching services. "Fasten your seat belts, this is going to be quite a ride."  We proceeded with a whirlwind tour of many of the most prominent facets of social media, what they are, how to apply them to a private practice, treatment center or program. There are currently over 7,000 medical and mental health apps available to the public growing every day. Ethics, confidentiality, security, blogging, twitter, YouTube and live streaming of video-casts were just some of the topics covered. I was honored and delighted to bring this presentation to this skilled and motivated group of psychologists.
A Canadian Insurance Company is a leader in use of Social Media in providing Mental Health Services. Take a moment to review this slide to see how many different platforms are available for help with stress, wellness, legal problems, mental health issues with real time or immediate help with crisis.
Thank you Dr. Hawkins and students for your time and attention. I am very happy with my new mug!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pain Management is Possible to Alleviate Suffering

Chronic Pain can be unrelenting, however, there are methods that can free you from the cycle of pain. Since pain is influenced by many factors, you may need to take an inventory to determine how the following life issues may be affecting your recovery or adjustment to a medical disability or chronic pain condition. The impact on quality of life according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine shows a dramatic decrease on the overall enjoyment of life (59%), 77% of patients reported feeling depressed, 70% have trouble concentrating, 74% said their energy level is impacted by their pain and 86% reported an inability to sleep well. The statistics are alarming when you consider that 50 million people suffer from chronic pain. Pain costs for lost productivity is a concern to corporations and the healthcare system to the tune of about $100 Billion each year. What you need to know is that, there is help. There are treatment centers, pain techniques and programs that address the following issues:
  • How lifestyle affects your pain
  • Pain medication tolerance
  • Physical inactivity
  • Lack of family support
  • Misunderstanding about chronic pain
  • Stress & pain cycle
  • Financial problems
  • Work issues or limitations
It may be time for a consult or treatment to help alleviate your suffering and get back to a happier and productive life. You don't have to suffer alone. 

The World Health Organization recently held a conference of 17 countries in Geneva. This is a quote from Professor Harald Breivik, President of EFIC. (European Federation Chapter of the International Association on the Study of Pain)

"Chronic pain is one of the most underestimated health care problems of the world today, causing major consequences for the quality of life of the sufferer and a major burden on the health care system in the Western world."

Monday, November 26, 2012

President's Award

A wonderful honor was presented to me recently in Baltimore at the International Conference by the Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) for my work with several roles in developing programs in employee assistance, serving as Commissioner, working on various task forces in strategic planning and marketing of the CEAP credential.

In the photo, Jeff Christie, the President of EAPA is presenting me with the award. I want to thank Jeff and the association for this award and recognition.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Workshop on Treatment of Chronic Pain

On November 30th from 8:30 am to 11:45 am, a team of experts will be co-presenting a workshop on the elements of treating pain. Pain is a complex system that can be treated with cognitive, behavioral and physical medicine strategies. If you are interested or know someone suffering from chronic pain, plan to attend.
The program is being held at The Council on Alcohol Drugs Houston at 303 Jackson Hill. Click on this link to register.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Employee Assistance Professionals Conference in Baltimore

Our keynote speaker today for the International Conference was Hershel Walker, the Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Georgia and NFL running back for 12 years. Not only was his presentation funny, interesting, it was provocative regarding his battle with a serious mental disorder and recovery process.

As a Commissioner for the Employee Assistance Professionals Association, I get to see the new and exciting plans for the future of the association. I was privileged to be a co-presenter with Marina London, Web Editor for EAPA conducting a boot camp on the use of Blogs, Twitter and social media in mental health and employee assistance.
Lastly, a photo of Camden Baseball field, home of the Baltimore Orioles. As you can see, the weather is beautiful. 72 degrees and sunny. See you next week.

Link to EAPA Conference.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pre-Conference Training Workshop in Baltimore

Today, Marina London and I conducted an all day workshop on Social Media, Blogging, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube and discussions on Facebook to enhance your brand, market, setup accounts and much more. The group was vibrant and the energy was flowing on how to make social media really work for you.
This is a group photo of smiling faces with heads chock full of new ideas, information, strategies and readiness to take steps to incorporate these tools in their employee assistance company, private practice, hospital, treatment center or agency. What a great day. Thanks to all for their participation and contributions. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Bullies in the Workplace

In a recent article in CareerBuilder, Debra Auerback reported about a new survey of how: "Bullies Are Overtaking the Workplace." As astounding as it may seem, the study found that 35% of workers said that they have felt bullied at work, up from 27% last year. 17% said that they quit their jobs to escape the situation. 16% suffered health-related problems as a result. THis was a nationwide study of 3,800 workers at all levels within the company. What is to be done?
It takes courage to confront a bully or report the aggressor to human resources, but speaking up is often the only way to stop it. The impact on performance of both the individual and company are at risk if bullying is not addressed and stopped.
Three tips:
  1. Keep a record. Write down all bullying incidents.
  2. Try talking it out. Try talking to the bully and let them know how you felt to raise awareness.
  3. Focus on resolution. Center discussions around how t make the working situation better.
Without intervention or speaking up, you can expect the behavior to continue. Talk to HR, a colleague or supervisor to get guidance and support.

Monday, September 24, 2012

So, What is Emotional Intelligence?

According to Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., there are three basic concepts to stress, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and optimal performance. By the way, Emotional Intelligence and Intelligence (IQ) are not connected.
  1. Becoming aware of your emotions.
  2. Self-regulating your emotions.
  3. Recognize and empathize with the emotions of others.
Emotional Intelligence is learning how to "read" and understand emotions that are being communicated or passed along. The ability to read body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, but especially the underlying emotions of any communication stand as the most prominent components. Most people are able to tell you what they think of something readily, but not paying attention to the emotion behind the content. Teaching yourself to recognize emotions, then reflect them empathetically is a great place to start with your spouse, partner, children or colleagues.
Moving smoothly through social situations, managing your behavior to increase personal and social competence contains these qualities.
  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Management
  • Social Awareness,
  • Relationship Management. 
In a new book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 Bradberry and Greaves give you a model for enhancing your EQ. The tree graphic illustrated many of the unique aspects or components of EQ. With practice you can develop the fundamentals of EQ, increase interpersonal flexibility and connection. Coaching can help you tune in, control and empathize with others. This will build relationships and your career.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

How do you balance work and home?

Is it time to reclaim control of your life? Stress will soar when you get out of balance. Take a few moment to examine the costs and benefits of examining your relationship to work, home and personal relationships. I read a quote recently by Lori Deschene stating that, "the vast majority of people I know have two different types of work: the kind that pays the bills and the kind they wrap their heart around. " Take a moment to reflect on the harmony, intensity and balance of your life. If you feel burnt out, stressed, missing friends, unable to relax, having problems with sleep, experiencing anxiety, depression or problems with pain, then there is a good chance your life is out of balance. Here are some tips to consider to get back into balance.

  1. Build downtime into your life and schedule. 
  2. Drop activities, friends and habits that sap your time and energy.
  3. Rethink your priorities.
  4. Do nothing all day and then relax.
  5. Get support, coaching or counseling to resolve conflicts.
  6. Plan fun.
  7. Make a Bucket list and start working on making it a reality.
  8. Reconnect socially.
  9. Go offline with phone, computer, email with any and all work projects.
  10. Get creative with new or challenging activities.
So, seek out harmony to warm your heart and soul. The work will always be there tomorrow, marriages, health or friends may move on if you do not attend to keeping your heart happy.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Olympics & Mental Strength

Watching athletes (professionals or elite) compete on the biggest stage in the world, the Olympics, is chock-full of great examples of mental strength and mental weakness. The power or use of positive psychology became evident in the athletes who had the had the most fun and were the most relaxed, did the best!!!! When an athlete has neglected to be mentally prepared enough, it becomes obvious in tension, poor performance or worse. It turns out, that positive self-talk, planned optimism, and visualization or mental rehearsal all help create a positive attitude that enhance mental toughness and resilience in athletes. In many events at the Olympics, we saw multiple examples of athletes at the London 2012 experience a major mistake and then come back with an excellent performance or recovery. Some did not. What makes the difference? The ability of an elite athlete to focus on strengths, let go of the past or compartmentalize their disappointment, mentally rehearse being successful are keys to overcoming doubt, fear and loss of confidence. We saw one woman gymnast, top in the world make several mistakes and fell into despair after having a terrible floor routine. When asked later how she came back to win in the team competition, she said that she had to go into a "bubble" to refocus completely. This is a great example of how athletes teach themselves to get into a flow state.
The biggest source of stress to an athlete is their personal expectations or the expectations of others. The objective in these situations is to control emotions and find the focus needed to let their physical skills come into the fore despite olympic sized distractions and pressure.
When you are facing your own personal disappointments, expectations, perfection or out of control emotions, it may be time to find or create your own bubble to contain those fears. Generate positive imagery, rehearse positive and affirming self-talk to encourage you to focus on strengths, abilities and a strategy that helps you achieve your goals. 
When fear arises, athletes create "mantras" or positive self-talk statements to combat stress, performance anxiety or fear. Mantra examples:

  • I can do it
  • Relax
  • Trust yourself
  • Take a breath
  • I have what it takes
  • Think positively
  • I can meet this challenge
Remember, champions are made in practice!!! Take time to practice positive self-talk and use a mantra that increases your confidence and inner calm.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

How to Coach Using Skype—A Live Demonstration

Coaching via Skype* is increasing in popularity. Many coaches who have shunned coaching by telephone because of its psychological distance are using Skype as a means of having a more personal relationship while still coaching virtually.
Dr.  Michael Klaybor, an executive coach and professional counselor, will provide an actual demonstration of an online Skype coaching session via the internet. This presentation will demonstrate how to:
  •       Set up a Skype account for yourself and your client
  •       Get your client comfortable with the technology and the coaching process
  •       Adjust basic face-to-face coaching techniques for a Skype session
  •       Apply practical hints for a successful session
You will find this to be a very practical session with ample opportunity for asking questions about any aspect of using this technology in your coaching practice.
* Skype is a very popular webconferencing and audioconferencing product, available in free of charge (less features) and fee–paid (more features) versions for both Windows and Mac.

On August 6th, I will be presenting to the International Coach Federation (ICF) . This presentation demonstrates on the use of social media is the future now. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Codependency—What is it? Am I Codependent?

If you feel unfulfilled in relationships, tend to be indirect, don't assert yourself, feel responsible of rather people's feelings, feel compelled to take care of other's feelings, solve their problems, feel insecure and most comfortable giving to others, then you are probably codependent.  Codependence is about growing up depending on someone who’s depending on something that’s not dependable. This could include anything from abusing alcohol and drugs to compulsive overworking, overeating, and overdoing almost anything. When your identity is totally tied to someone for approval, direction to validate you, this is codependence. 
Take the quiz:
  1. Do you depend on sources outside yourself for meaning, identity and value?
  2. Do you take care of other people’s pain and problems while ignoring your own?
  3. Do you help others at your own expense or the expense of your family?
  4. Do you say yes when you mean no?
  5. Are you easily absorbed by the pain and problems of others?
  6. Do you submerge yourself in fixing or rescuing needy people?
The remedy....
  1. Value yourself
  2. Take responsibility for your own destiny.
  3. Stop doing what doesn't work.
  4. Develop your self-esteem.
  5. Accept others and don't try to change them.
  6. Detach from the problems of others to focus on taking care of yourself.
____ Yes   ___No   

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