Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dr. Joan Borysenko on How to become an Optimistic Realist

3 Tips for Becoming an Optimistic Realist

* Identify a realistic action step to help you through change. When the recession hit, I called the phone company and saved $40 a month by asking them to suggest ways to trim costs. I became more involved in the day-to-day running of my business, and almost instantly new opportunities emerged.

* Stoke the fires of spiritual inspiration. The Sufis say if you take one step toward God, God takes a hundred steps toward you. Meditation, music and time outside keep me spiritually optimistic and present to the beauty of the world and this life.

* Be accountable to a friend. Just as people who have dogs get more exercise because they are accountable to their animal companions, you can exercise your resilience muscles by identifying a step—either practical or spiritual—and telling a friend what your intention is.

New York Times best-selling author Dr. Joan Borysenko is a world-renowned expert in stress management and mind-body medicine. Her gracious presence, sense of humor and ability to combine the latest scientific research with personal stories and riveting anecdotes make her a popular speaker in venues ranging from hospitals and corporations to conferences and retreat centers. Her most recent book, It's Not the End of the World: Developing Resilience in Times of Change (Hay House), is available now.

The Good-Mood Diet, By Lisa Davis

The Good-Mood Diet
By Lisa Davis
O, The Oprah Magazine

Preventing a sugar crash in the first place is clearly a much saner approach. Fortunately, if you take greater care with your carb intake and change a few other habits, it's not hard to even the seesaw.

1. Start with breakfast. If you frequently find yourself in a midmorning slump or agitated state, steer clear of the fast-burning simple-carb breakfast that may cause your blood sugar to surge and then nose-dive an hour or two later, pushing your body's alarm buttons. Instead, begin the day with a meal that includes protein and a little fat, both of which delay the absorption of sugar into the blood and take longer to digest. Try pairing your juice with an egg white omelet or a slower-burning complex carbohydrate (think carb with fiber, like a dense bread with lots of whole grains and nuts) and peanut butter. Take the same mix-and-match approach to lunch, dinner, and snacks. "You want a meal to have a combination of foods so there's a slow, steady release of sugar into the bloodstream," says dietitian Tammy Baker, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "This will signal a slow, steady release of insulin and keep you on an even keel."

2. Don't let yourself get too hungry. Going hours without food sets you up for a sugar-heavy snackfest (anyone have chocolate?). And if you resist, you're more likely to overeat at your next meal because your brain takes about 20 minutes to get the message that you've had enough—and that could be 20 minutes of continuous stuffing. To process all that food, your body shunts blood to the digestive tract, slowing down functions that are unrelated to the business at hand. Blood pressure drops. Your heart rate slows. So does your mental activity. Result: postmeal stupor.

You may feel much better with smaller meals and bigger snacks. Registered dietitian Roxanne Moore suggests that if you're having a sandwich for lunch, eat half of it as a midmorning snack and the rest at 1 P.M. with a small salad or some yogurt. Parcel out your day's food so that you never go longer than three or four hours without a mini meal that includes a mix of nutrients.

3. Fuel your workouts. Exercise is great for both health and mood, but it can drag your blood sugar down if you don't compensate for some of the calories your body is using up. To keep your energy high, you may want to eat something like a banana before you start, take swigs of a sports drink during the workout, or schedule a snack just after the sweat dries.

4. Find out if caffeine is a culprit. There is some evidence that caffeine can increase sensitivity to low blood sugar, at least in diabetics—although other studies suggest that it can raise blood sugar. Either way, caffeine consumption is known to exacerbate jitters, irritability, and anxiety, so you might try cutting back to see if it's making matters worse.

5. Pay attention. As you experiment with changes in diet and exercise, keeping a diary may help make clear what works and what doesn't. In particular, note how long after eating you feel crummy. One or two hours? Look at what you ate. Simple carbs are probably the culprit.

Finally, don't forget your doctor. If you have repeated bouts of what feels like low blood sugar—especially if your symptoms are coming more frequently and getting worse—it's worth investigating. You may be pregnant or suffering from unusual anxiety. Or you may have one of the potentially serious diseases that announce themselves with hypoglycemia: insulin-secreting tumors, for instance, or adrenal cancer.

These diseases, however, are rare. Most likely you're perfectly healthy and the best medicine you can take to relieve your symptoms is a dose of awareness. Once you fine-tune how you're fueling your body, it should run smoother. And then you can pay attention to more important things.

Lisa Davis is a writer in Oakland whose work has appeared in Health and Vogue.

Monday, March 28, 2011

"Optimism 101: How to Improve Your Outlook and Your Health" from

Optimism 101: How to Improve Your Outlook and Your Health
Try this simple technique to change your outlook on life.
By Lauren Dzubow

Martin Seligman, PhD, the father of positive psychology, gave us a quick lesson on a classic optimism-boosting exercise—which he calls the ABCDEs. The goal, Seligman says, is to get you to stop thinking pessimistically, rather than teach you to start thinking optimistically (which rarely works). "This fix isn't instantaneous," he says. "But we've done studies on it involving thousands of subjects, and we know it's effective." So the next time you experience a setback—anything from a leaky faucet to a fight with a friend—walk yourself through these five steps:

A. Name the adversity, or problem.
(For example: "I didn't get a call back after my job interview.")

B. List your beliefs.
These are your initial reactions to the problem. ("The interviewer saw right through me. I don't deserve that position. And he could probably tell I don't believe in myself. I'm sure the other applicants are smarter, younger, and more qualified than I am.")

C. Identify the consequences of your beliefs.
("I'm going to quit my job search so I don't have to suffer through this feeling of failure again.")

D. Formulate a disputation of your beliefs.
Pessimistic reactions are often overreactions, so start by correcting distorted thoughts. ("I probably didn't feel confident because that position wasn't the best fit. It's only a matter of time before I find an opportunity that's right for me. And now that I've had practice, I will be better prepared to present my best self.")

E. Describe how energized and empowered you feel now.
("I'm more motivated to keep looking for a job that makes me happy. I won't let fear stand in my way.")

Practice this exercise as often as possible, and when you can, take time to write out the ABCDEs. Eventually, the sequence will become a habitual thought process. Seligman found that his subjects were still using the technique four years after he taught it to them.

"Move Past a Rotten Childhood" from

Your Happiness Plan

7 Best Pieces of Advice for People Who Want to Move Past a Rotten Childhood
By Tracy McMillan

Author Tracy McMillan knows a thing or two about getting over a bad childhood. Her father was a drug-dealing pimp and convicted felon who spent most of his daughter's life behind bars. Her prostitute mother gave her away. Here's what she wants you to know about getting over your past.

1. Get a New Story
There are two ways for me to look at my childhood story. In one, I'm a person who is so unloved and unwanted, my own mother gave me away. In the other, I was born, took a look around at my prostitute mother and criminal father, and said to myself, "I can totally do better than this. Get your stuff, we're leaving." In one I'm a victim, in the other, I'm in power. Guess which viewpoint got me the career I have today?

2. Realize Blame = Same
Blame is awesome. It feels good, right? It feels righteous. It feels powerful. It feels like someone's going to pay for what they did to you. The only problem is—as long as you're blaming—nothing can ever change. Why? Because in order for your life to change, you have to want things to be different. And if it feels good to blame, you have to admit that you like it. And if you like it, you have to admit that you don't really want it to change. Which is why blame just gets you more of the same.

3. Pretend You Work at Target
Sometimes, I look at my bad childhood like it's an unruly customer and I'm working customer service the day after Christmas. It'll be acting up, moaning and complaining about how hard everything is, and how unfair it all is. I just have to say to it, "Yes, I see you, ma'am. I know you have a problem. But right now I'm busy, so please have a seat. I''ll be with you just as soon as I can." Then I do something productive that will actually change my situation, like go to work.

4. Accept the Fact That Some People Don't Really Want to See You Succeed
This sounds harsh, and it is. But it's true. Some of your family and friends "support" you by cosigning all your b.s. about how hard you have it, because if you succeed, two things will happen: 1) You will leave. And 2) They will be left behind. This doesn't mean you have to get rid of your friends and family, you just have to remember that they love you so much, they're perfectly happy for you to stay exactly where you are right now.

5. Decide to KSA (Kick Some Ass)
When my 13-year-old said he hated science class, I told him that getting a 95 on the test was the equivalent of getting in the face of his least favorite teacher and saying, "Have some!" In other words, kicking ass on the test is just like playing a video game. Needless to say, he's getting As now. Channeling your anger will get you a long, long way in life.

6. Hoard Your Money
The number one way to end your bad childhood is to save money. I have a very simple rule about money: If I never spend everything I make, I will always have money. And money is power. All those commercials you see are a big, rich company's attempt to get you to give them your power. Don't do it! Think of every dollar you save as one step away from the people and places that have kept you down.

7. Get a Paper Route
In fifth grade, I wanted a 10-speed bike like all the other kids had. So I started delivering papers when I was 11. In Minnesota. In the winter. Compared to that, every job I've had since has been easy. While there may not be papers to deliver in the snow, the point is to do the thing you don't want to do. Get a hard/crappy job and do it until the voices in your head stop telling you that you can't take it another minute. Everything after that will be cake, and your bad childhood will be over. I promise.

Tracy McMillan is a film and television writer, most recently on AMC's Emmy Award- and Golden Globe-winning series Mad Men and Showtime's Emmy Award-winning series The United States of Tara. Her memoir, I Love You and I'm Leaving You Anyway (HarperCollins 2011), is a comic, tragic, unflinchingly real, and ultimately victorious true story of how one woman learned to love herself no matter what.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

request a change of behavior

A criticism is just a really bad way of making a request, so why don't you just make the request?"
—Diane Sawyer
Your Private Notebook

Did you ever try to request a change of behavior instead of criticizing someone? If so, how did it work out? What did you learn? If not, what's inhibiting you from making a direct request? Fear of the other person's anger, being disappointed she/he can't meet your request or something else?
Add Your Thoughts

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cherry Blossom Memories: Joyce Carol Oates and the healing memoir

Cherry Blossom Memories: Joyce Carol Oates and the healing memoir: "Joyce Carol Oates was in town last week to talk about her memoir, Widow’s Story. Her hand was probably still tingling from shaking hand..."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Oprah says "Love Yourself!"

How to Love That Woman in the Mirror
By Thea Singer
O, The Oprah Magazine

The amount of misery we suffer just from the heft of our thighs, not to mention the misbehavior of our skin, just might—if you could quantify it—inspire a global initiative. The topic has certainly intrigued Nancy Etcoff, PhD, author of Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty, and a Harvard Medical School psychologist whose research concentrates on appearance and happiness. Three years ago she founded the Program in Aesthetics and Well-Being at Massachusetts General Hospital to explore how concepts of beauty relate to satisfaction. Recently she sat down with O to tell us what she's learned:

O: Hasn't the whole beauty industry gotten out of control? And aren't women the worse for all this hype on looking young?

Etcoff: If we say, "Just get rid of the advertisements and tell the companies to stop making products, and no one will care about beauty—this is all just a creation that we can wipe away," we are denying who we are. People do care about how they look. They have adorned themselves since Paleolithic times. This is not a vanity issue or a women's issue or a United States issue. It is human nature.

O: How much of a woman's happiness is based on her appearance?

Etcoff: That's a hard question to answer, but we know that people who focus a lot on their looks as a major source of their self-esteem tend to be a lot less happy than people who focus on, say, their social life. Why? In general we're social animals, so people without good relationships tend to be less happy; the same is true if you're not doing work or other activities that bring out your strengths. Those are the sources of real happiness, not external things like money or beauty.

O: Can a positive sense of self make you more physically attractive?

Etcoff: Watch a woman enter a room with that sense of confidence, that sense of "I matter, I'm worthwhile." The way she walks, her facial expression, everything about her says, "Look at me." Really, why do we care about being beautiful? We care because we don't want to be excluded. We want attention. Right from the start, babies look straight at your face and into your eyes. When you look away, they get upset. There is that little baby in all of us: "The world is so big—how do I get your attention?"

O: Is there any way—barring cosmetic surgery—to change your attitude about how you look?

Etcoff: Scientists researching body image have done eye-tracking studies, in which people are asked to stare in the mirror. Subjects don't look at anything they think is good; they just stare at their so-called faults. Stop that. Retrain yourself: "Why don't I look at what I like? I like my lips—what lip shade should I wear today?"

O: Any other suggestions?

Etcoff: We tend to think about social support bringing happiness, but it's also very important to give support to other people. There is a lot of evidence that suggests that those who volunteer are happier. Feeling part of something larger than you is very important. When you do something good for someone else, the reward system of your brain lights up. We tend to seek things that actually contribute very minimally to our happiness—like a nicer car and, again, looking perfect. So know where your own joy resides: What are you good at? What do you enjoy? What is meaningful? What is going to keep making you happy for a long time?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Suze Ohrman to Octomom

Suze: Seriously. I wanted to do this show because I wanted us to start changing people's addiction to judging others. Because it’s so easy to judge her—to hate her, to do whatever we've done to this woman. And if we can start to become a society where we stop judging others and just simply look at ourselves and what we’re doing, then, Ms. Winfrey, we have made the world, again, a better place.

Fall to Pieces: A Memoir

Monday, March 7, 2011

Amanda Schupak tells us how to live longer

5 Surprising Ways to Live Longer—and a Whole Lot Better
An extraordinary 80-year study has led to some unexpected discoveries about long life.
By Amanda Schupak

In 1921, a Stanford University psychologist named Lewis Terman recruited 1,500 elementary school students and began an academic inquiry that would last eight decades. Terman followed his subjects into adulthood until he passed away in 1956. Other scientists then picked up where he left off, and in 1990 psychologists Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin began poring over the wealth of data in search of factors that seemed to contribute to lengthy life spans. In The Longevity Project, Friedman and Martin reveal that some age-old wisdom—work less, avoid stress, exercise hard—is plain bad advice. From their findings, we pulled five tips that may surprise you.

1. Give More to Live More
It's no secret that people with a strong social support system tend to live longer. But it turns out that it's not what your friends and family do for you; it's what you do for them that counts. Among Terman's subjects, the men and women who liked to lend a helping hand—the ones who cared for their neighbors, the ones whom others turned to for advice—lived the longest.

2. Run the Rat Race
Everyone fantasizes about a job that isn't stressful, never follows her home, and complements her personality and interests. But the ideal work life won't necessarily extend your life-life. Study participants who persevered toward accomplishment despite high levels of stress and responsibility lived longer than the people who worked at their "dream jobs."

3. Train Without Pain
You don't need to enter marathons to have a good long run at life. Forcing yourself to follow grueling fitness regimens can shed inches, but it may not add years. In the long term, you're more likely to stick with low-impact activities you truly enjoy than rigorous workouts you dread. Moderate swimming, a leisurely bike ride, and hour-long walks with the dog do as much good for your health—and survival—as an eight-minute mile.

4. Fret a Little
Think good things and good things will happen, right? Not necessarily. Friedman and Martin found that too much optimism could be as detrimental to longevity as high cholesterol and hypertension. Always assuming the best, they say, may leave you unequipped to deal with the worst—such as trauma or illness. A little worry keeps you warmed up for the curveballs life throws.

5. Have More Fun in Bed
Almost 60 years before Sex and the City, Terman got women to talk about their sexual satisfaction, the average amount of time they spent being intimate with their husbands, and the frequency of their orgasms. The records show that the women who most often reached climax most often lived longer.

Live Your Best (Long) Life

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Repair Your Self-Esteem

How to Repair Your Self-Esteem in 5 Easy Steps
By Cameron Holmes

There are many ways to attain higher self-esteem and self worth. Here are some effective steps that can repair your self-esteem in 5 easy ways. These steps will rejuvenate your spirit, allowing you to become a happier, more loving person.
Difficulty: Moderate

1.Forgive yourself, and let go of past mistakes with no guilt. Enough said.

2.Develop a no justified resentment life. Just as you forgive yourself, forgive others that have wronged you. Let that past go. The secret to high self esteem is by realizing that you cannot take the things people do and say to you personal. Realize that people are imperfect as well and when they have unnecessary issue with you, it is not about YOU, it is about them. Let of grudges and resenting others - pray for them, and love them regardless, and focus on their best attributes instead of their negative ones.

3.Look good, for you! Do special things, for you. Having high self esteem is all about say no to the needs of others when it is time (and believe me, you will know when the needs of others are overshadowing yours) and saying yes to yourself.

By saying yes, and caring for you - your mind, your body, and developing your soul, you become a great parent, friend, spouse, teacher, mentor, ect because you feel at your best and worthy. Limit keeping negative company, and surround yourself with people who will accept and love you for who you are. That's taking responsibility for your life and the people you choose to have in it.

4.Love everything about you and make room for improvement. No one is perfect, but anyone can attain to be a better self. Accept the things that you cannot change, and that includes your body and your inherit capabilities. However, with God, anything is possible. Because you are most loved by your Creator, treat yourself as such. Meditate and pray on the things that you would like to change, and make active provisions about going about it.

5.Treat others with respect and with love. Positive self esteem comes from being empathetic to the needs of others. By respecting and being kind to everyone, equally, you are loving yourself. God is in everyone, even if they don't show it. When you are loving God, you are loving yourself.

Read more: How to Repair Your Self-Esteem in 5 Easy Steps |

Welcome to Weight Loss Coach Sherrie's Blog!

I am currently trying a new way of eating (forget about that nasty "D" word!). I am following the "Schwarzbein Principle" and learning ways to focus on creativity and taking care of ME. I am currently in Body Blissmas, a program started by Jill Badonsky. As I learn to focus on healthy eating and being happy and creative, I would like to help you do the same.

Are you currently trying to lose weight?