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“Bullshit!”- How To Adjust That Built In Meter You’ve Been Bragging About

“When the sky’s falling, I take shelter under bullshit.”- Scott Lynch

Bullshit, is a commonly used expletive in the English language, a euphemism often said in response to something that is perceived as deceiving, misleading, disingenuous, or falseBS. Generally, anything we perceive as nonsense can fall into the category. It’s one of those expressions that has become completely devoid of its original meaning, and on the cusp of being socially acceptable. Depending on who you are talking to, where you are, and a lot of other contextual things, a person may say the full word, or soften the blow by deferring to its initials, B.S., or by simply saying the word “Bull!” No matter how it’s used, we recognize it for what it is, a no-nonsense way of expressing our disbelief, unwillingness to be fooled, swindled, deceived, or cheated. Some of us are so proud of our lack of gullibility that we even claim to have a built in “bullshit meter,” that we refer to from time to time to protect us from others and outside factors that would otherwise take advantage of us.

Despite our sense of pride at being able to identify outside sources of B.S., most of us overlook the greatest threat to our B.S. meter: ourselves. All of us have preconceived notions about the world, others, ourselves, our abilities, government, politics, God, religion, medicine, and the meaning of life. These beliefs are shaped by actual and vicarious exposure to real and imagined events that have occurred, or may occur, over the course of our lifetime. Things that we are exposed to form the basis of our real B.S. meter: our Belief Systems.

We all have preconceived belief systems and we often think that we are not influenced by others. Most of us think this is how we have developed the healthy B.S. Meters that we believe we possess and because we believe this meter to be infallible, we dogmatically follow it, allowing it to shape our self image, establish our potential, create our view of the world, and direct all aspects of our lives. While in many respects, a healthy B. S. Meter can be a good thing, never questioning its results can lead to a life of disappointment and problems.

As humans, we have built in biases that we need to be aware of before we blindly accept the findings of our B. S. Meter. Some of these are uniquely our own, others are biases that all humans are susceptible to. Here are some examples:
Confirmation Bias-this is the tendency to search for, recall, or interpret information in a politicway that confirms a belief that you already have. Information is subconsciously gathered, arranged, processed, and interpreted with the goal of building evidence to support an existing position. This comes from overconfidence in personal beliefs already held, as a person desperately looks for evidence to support their viewpoint. It also serves a protective factor, as to give up a long-held existing belief can be very damaging to a person’s worldview and sense of themselves. Confirmation bias is often compared to and internal “yes man,” echoing back a person’s beliefs, reassuring them that they have been right all along. It’s likely to be strongest when dealing with fundamental issues of existence such as morals, politics, and religion.

Expectation Bias-this is the tendency in people to subconsciously create the reality that they expect. They act tentatively because they have a preconceived concept of what the outcome is going to be, setting themselves up to fail which, of course, they just “knew” they would. With the expectation bias, a person’s beliefs about their ability are so ingrained that they subconsciously create their own outcomes, receiving the very results they expect. They usually follow up with lines of thought such as:
⦁ “I knew that would happen.”
⦁ “This kind of stuff always happens to me.”
⦁ “See, I told you I couldn’t do it.”

Ingroup Bias-this is similar to confirmation bias, occurring within a group of like-minded individuals. In the 1970s it was commonly referred to as “Groupthink.” A group of individuals processes a belief or event collectively, feeding off each other and developing a common viewpoint. This viewpoint is perceived as being correct because others believe the same thing, and “That many people couldn’t be wrong.” Ingroup bias appeals to our logic, sense of community, and basic tribal instincts. It also tends to make us fearful, suspicious, and disdainful of other groups who do not share our beliefs, race, or nationality.

Negativity Bias-this is a human’s innate tendency to pay more attention to bad news than good. It’s hardwired in humans because it allo thewed the more cautious of our ancestors to survive, passing of on their genes on to their offspring. Those who were too optimistic had a greater tendency to be killed by animals, the elements, and natural disasters that they were not prepared for. Contemporary media caters to this tendency, creating more negativity, fear, and dread than at any time in history. The irony is that we are living in the safest time in the history of mankind, despite what most of us think.

Current Moment Bias-this occurs when a person assumes that they will act in the future with the logic of the present. For example, a person on a diet is going out to a restaurant with friends. They tell themselves that they’re “just going to have a small salad.” Of course, the meal starts with drinks, their resistance drops a little, and the result is a 2500 calorie meal. A person assumes that their courage of motivation and willpower will be there when they are in the heat of the moment, facing that very attractive menu. Current Moment Bias is a lot like junior high dance. You swear up and down you’re “just going to go, I’m not going to dance,” but before you know it you’re out there on that floor.

Questioning the findings of our built-in B.S. Meter from time to time is the only way of making any true change in any area of our lives. The first step in recalibrating this meter is to take a look at what you believe to be true about yourself, the world, and others. You may want to generate a list of some of these beliefs and then question them by offering alternatives. Ask yourself questions like:
How do I know this to be true?
⦁ Who says so?
⦁ Where is the evidence?
⦁ Could there be another explanation?
⦁ Where does my belief come from?

A well-adjusted and frequently re-calibrated B.S. Meter is one of the most important tools bullthat anyone can have. Periodically checking its accuracy and keeping it in good operating condition can alleviate a lot of pain and suffering. Use it wisely.

“To recognize bullshit, nose is better than ear.”- Toba Beta

 

John

P. S. If you found this article helpful, you may benefit from some personalized mindbody coaching. Contact me at http://mindbodycoach.org/contact-us/ if interested in online mindbody coaching. Please check out my Products page through the link at the top of this post.. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and social media. Email me with questions at john@mindbodycoach.org

Get Out Of Your Own Way: Why Behavior Speaks Louder Than Words

“What is it that you want, I mean really want, from your life?”

For the past 18 years I have spoken to thousands of people and have either directly askedThinking smiling woman with questions mark above head looking up this question or some variation of it. It’s a common question that therapists, counselors, and coaches ask in numerous forms to every client that they encounter. It’s a simple question, yet most people struggle initially to come up with an answer. After a period of time, most clients come up with what they believe to be the goals for their sessions. They leave the counseling room with the best of intentions-they’re going to make that phone call, apply for that job, begin that work out, do their daily meditation, make that list, and follow through. While some actually do follow through, an astonishingly large percentage will not. In follow-up sessions, we explore what their resistance is. Eventually, we get to the bottom of things. In counseling and coaching there are a number of expressions used to describe this client dynamic. Therapists talk about “resistance, self sabotage, and being inauthentic.” I often think that clients need to learn to get out of their own way.

Most times, when someone has a problem getting out of their own way, it’s not that they don’t want this new goal, they don’t know how to attain it. In sessions with the counselor or coach, a fair amount of time is spent examining, planning, and envisioning how someone wants their life to be. In the safe confines of the counseling room, it’s pretty easy to do that. When people get outside, in the real world, things change. Without a lot of insight most will tend to do what they’ve always done when confronted with familiar situations, people, and places. The human brain is wired for consistency and repetition, creating a predictability and safety that is a basic human need. A problem arises when this consistency results in a series of ingrained and destructive behavior patterns. People literally lose sight of what they truly want for themselves and do what they always have done. Quite often people don’t even know or recognize this pattern where there is a disconnect between what they say they want and what they do.

Here’s a few examples that you may be able to relate to:
⦁ An overweight guy decides that he’s going to cut back on his drinking before the summer, but make sure he has a 30 pack of beer in the basement fridge “just in case someone drops by.”
⦁ A woman decides that she is going to “find somebody that I can trust” to have a meaningful relationship with. She frequents bars in order to meet someone, finds few prospects and laments that, “All men care about is a brief fling, drinking, and watching sports on TV.”
1414099142202⦁ A husband and wife decide that they’re both going to lose weight in order to improve their health. They decide that they will go out to eat at least once a week in expensive and high end restaurants because “That’s what we do for fun.”
⦁ A 50-year-old male decides that he’s going to “get back into shape.” He impulsively buys some overpriced exercise equipment and videos that he sees on an infomercial. He gets badly injured overdoing it in the first week.
⦁ A husband and wife set up a college savings fund for their five-year-old daughter. Within four years they are withdrawing money from it because she simply has to go to gymnastics camp, because that’s the surest way to a college scholarship.

If you look a little closer at your own behavior and that of people around you, you’ll often notice that there is a disconnect between what we say we want and what we do. Goals are not well thought out nor are they analyzed objectively. In each of the above examples you’ll notice that there is a flawed logic, a justification that superficially makes sense in the heat of the moment. People who don’t attain long-term goals tend to make these kinds of impulsive and poorly thought out decisions more often than those who are successful. Getting some coaching or counseling from an objective outsider is by far the best way to overcome this tendency. We tend to get defensive when people that we have an emotional investment with point out the obvious flaws in our logic.It often makes us even more stubborn with our negative behavior because, “Who are they to tell me what to do?”

“Change will lead to insight far more often and insight will lead to change.”-Milton Erickson

There are many reasons why people keep doing the same negative behaviors over and over and have problems getting out of their way. Rather than complicate this, I like to explain it to clients as a metaphor. Doing the same behavior repeatedly creates neuropathways in the brain, hardwiring connections and making it easier for us to perform the same behaviors over and over, even if our conscious minds don’t want us to. These pathways become our go to reactions, we become creatures of habit, and tend to perform the same behaviors consistently. On one level, we want to stop and we want change, but the behavior becomes ingrained, making it hard for us to get out of our own way. I compare it to a path that the kids in the neighborhood wear across your lawn as they cut through your yard day after day. You never see the little buggers because you’re not home, but you know they’re doing it because each day the path gets deeper and deeper and more obvious.

The first step in changing any behavior is to recognize it and accept that you are doing it. Push the denial aside, look at your behavior rather than your logic. I often tell my clients:
“Behavior speaks louder than words.”

A close examination of your own behavior is very hard to do alone. Denial is a go to denialdefense mechanism that most of us throw up a little too quickly. Working with a coach or counselor is the best way to examine the inconsistencies between what we say we want and what we do, but a lot of insight can be developed with a pen, notebook, and some quiet introspective moments. Try to find the gap between what you say you want and what you do. You simply cannot get out of your own way without this insight.

“The first step to success is getting out of your own way.”-Robert Kiyosaki

John

P. S. If you found this article helpful, you may benefit from some personalized mindbody coaching. Contact me at http://mindbodycoach.org/contact-us/ if interested in online mindbody coaching. Please check out my Products page through the link at the top of this post.. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and social media. Email me with questions at john@mindbodycoach.org

“Wicked Busy,” A Boston Tale

“I wanted to figure out why I was so busy, but I couldn’t find the time to do it.”- Todd Stocker

Spring is here, and summer is sure to follow. It’s that time of year when humans, like everyovsched animal that hibernates, comes out of the cave, shakes off that long nap, and looks around to see what everyone else is doing. You’re bound to run into a lot of people who you haven’t spent much time with in a while. They’re going to ask you “How are you doing,?” and no matter what’s going on in your life you’ll respond with, “Good!” Then they’re going to ask you what you’ve been up to, to which you’ll respond with your second lie of the season, “Been busy, real busy.”

Modern life has forced humans to prioritize in ways that mankind has never had to before. It gets more complicated each year to prioritize our activities, and despite all the conveniences, creature comforts, and luxuries we enjoy, we still find ways to remain “busy.” Many of the activities we engage in are necessary, such as our jobs, caring for our children, washing, bathing, eating, sleeping, etc. But, our ancestors did the same daily chores without all the assistance and support that the modern world gives us. Great grandma probably canned a lot of her own vegetables, killed her own chickens, wrung out her laundry by hand, and made homemade spaghetti sauce. Great grandpa walked a couple of miles each way to the factory where he worked 50+ hours per week, did all his own yard work, carpentry, and found time to make sure that his kids stayed out of trouble. If you think about it, they probably cared about their spouses, children, and family as much as we do, and perhaps even more. I wonder if, when Great grandpa ran into an old buddy he hadn’t seen since last December if he lamented that he was “Busy, real busy?” Somehow though, I don’t think so.

The reality is that the term, busy, is a relative term, subject to changing with the times, societal norms, and our own personal evolution. Humans learn through imitation. You’ve been learning this way your whole life, even if you don’t realize it. As young children, we watch what others do, follow along as best we can, and eventually make some of those activities our own. This pattern continues in various ways, shapes, and forms for the rest of our lives. Granted, there are some things that we learned to do from books and school, but most of the more subtle and ingrained behaviors that we adopt are learned this way. This style of learning is one of the reasons that many of us believe that we are “too busy.” Some of the stuff that we are too busy with would make great grandma and grandpa roll over in their graves.

Evolutionary psychologists talk about a concept called “maladaptive evolution,” which is a behavior that persists in a species because it was adaptive in the past, but is maladaptive in current conditions. A simple example is the human craving for sweets. We crave sugar in our foods because our bodies are more inclined to store it as fat. Thousands of years ago, accumulating body fat was necessary for survival and was a reason that some survived and others died. We no longer have a need for all the body fat that we accumulate, having outgrown the need to provide our own heat. Likewise, we no longer need to be on the go 16 to 18 hours per day to satisfy survival needs. Many of the problematic behaviors that humans engage in in the 21st century can be traced back to our evolution and a previous time in human history when that kind of behavior was not only necessary, but was considered virtuous.

The “too busy” phenomenon remains as part of modern man’s attempts to feel significant, important, and in control of what happens to us. Much of what we are busy doing may not be as important as we think, but it is a way to feel in control of things that “could happen” and the “what if’s” of life. For example, I spoke to a guy the other day whose daily life is in havoc because of his son’s youth hockey schedule. It is “wicked important” that young Jason not miss practice, (keep in mind I live in the Boston area), because if he doesn’t he won’t skate with the A level team next year. This means that he will fall behind, skate with inferior players for a year, which will retard his athletic development, he won’t be able to get into a prep school, which means no Division I hockey scholarship and, of course, no lucrative NHL career.

Many parents schedule every aspect of their children’s lives, particularly when they are younger. They place their children into “playgroups,” ostensibly to give them socialization and healthy interaction with their peers. This is all well and good, but a secondary reason for this is to choose who their children will associate with. They usually pick children of families in similar social and economic circumstances as theirs, unconsciously insulating zne ladytheir children from kids of other races, backgrounds, and religious denominations. Many also over schedule their children with “healthy” activities, regardless of whether the child shows an interest in that activity or not. They do so in an attempt to protect their children from harm, idle time, and to teach them discipline. This is adaptive up to a point, but it is important to know where that point is. You have to ask yourself at some point, is your daughter’s dance class leading to a role in the Nutcracker in 15 years, or is it just a fun activity that she enjoys right now? Is it so important that your child is reading at a sixth grade level in grade 1? Does she really need tutoring with this if she is only reading on a first grade level? Many parents over schedule their children’s lives in an attempt to create meaning in their own lives, and to feel that they can control the future for their child. I was a classroom teacher for many years and witnessed firsthand the stress that this placed on children, as well as their families. Maybe your kid will learn more by choosing their own activities than they will by you presenting them with a smorgasbord of things to do.

Many people, regardless of what they do for work, take a strange pride in “taking work home,” and working at their job on their own time. I know, it’s a very difficult habit to break, as this is one of my own problems. I frequently find myself on camping trips in the dead of summer, in the middle of nowhere, checking my iPhone for emails to see what’s going on at my day job. Yeah, I know, I’m working on it. Like all behaviors, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge and recognize.

The adaptive function of work is that it gives our lives meaning and purpose. We’ve all heard stories of that guy who retired after working hard his entire life and then dropped dead his first week into retirement. Anecdotal evidence, or is there something to this? Maybe learning to relax and prioritize along the way to retirement may keep us from becoming that guy.

Being “wicked busy” (remember, I’m from the Boston area), prevents us from sitting with ourselves, our families, and some of our deeper thoughts. Most of us are afraid of introspection and being left alone with ourselves. This is a reason why so many people when asked to discuss what they believe in will begin with a discussion of politics, Republicans versus Democrats, conservatives versus liberals, Obama, 9/11 conspiracies, etc. They never talk about how they feel about life, death, the universe, families, values, or ultimate questions. Even our beliefs appear to be influenced by other’s opinions, learned much as we did during childhood. It keeps us “busy,” distracting us from things that are frightening.

Coping with this need to be busy and occupied cannot be accomplished without recognizing that we are doing it. Sitting down and making an honest assessment of how you spend your time and what is truly important in your schedule is a must. If you have a family, particularly if you are currently parenting, It’s a good idea to sit down with your spouse and decide why you are scheduling that soccer practice, right after that hockey practice, on the afternoon of little Joey’s tutoring class, just before the sleepover that he is hosting for his birthday.

So, when you are emerging from that long winter’s hibernation this season and find yourself complaining to somebody the you are “busy,” ask yourself some questions, one of which is “Am I really?” It’s also a good idea to think about what you say to others and yourself about how busy you are. Here’s an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal essay written in 2012:

“Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.”

There are 168 hours in a week. Spend some time taking a look at how you are really pupspending them. Are you doing things that are important and what you are consciously choosing to do, or are you falling into some perverse kind of competition, a 21st century “keeping up with the Joneses?” If you are, stop, breathe, and reassess what you are doing with your life. And, take notice how frequently people you haven’t seen for a long time tell you that they are “wicked busy.”

John

P. S. If you found this article helpful, you may benefit from some personalized mindbody coaching. Contact me at http://mindbodycoach.org/contact-us/ if interested in online mindbody coaching. Please check out my Products page through the link at the top of this post.. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and social media. Email me with questions at john@mindbodycoach.org

“Fatigue Makes Cowards Of Us All”

“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”- Vince Lombardi

I first heard this quote as a high school and college football player in the early 1970s. At vince-lombardi-1913-1970-grangerthe time, I naïvely accepted it as true because, after all, it came from the most iconic coach of that era. Of course, the connotation of this phrase applied it to quitting, giving up, and accepting defeat during a difficult contest. Vince did not have a “know when to hold them, know when to fold them” attitude towards the game. The implication of the quote was that, if you didn’t get tired, you would be more courageous, and of course you’d win more often. I’ve come across this quote two or three times in the past month and decided to do some research on what fatigue makes us. Lombardi was not 100% correct, but he also wasn’t too far off the reservation.

Fatigue is a physical and/or mental state of being tired and weak. It is also referred to as tiredness, exhaustion, lethargy, and listlessness. Physical and mental fatigue, while different, often coexist, as a physically exhausted person remaining in that state long enough will eventually suffer from mental fatigue as well. Mental fatigue is more insidious, creating states of poor concentration, impulsivity, and diminished decision-making capacity. Fatigue is a symptom, rather than a sign. It is usually non-specific and has many possible causes.

Physical fatigue is quite easy to understand. A person’s muscles simply cannot do things that were previously easy, for example needing to pause while carrying the groceries in, losing your form at the end of a sprint race, or you losing your hand eye coordination, all are simple examples. Doctors usually carry out strength tests (the “I’m going to push against your hands but don’t let me” thing) during routine exams, in order to diagnose causes of physical fatigue to rule out more serious problems.

Mental fatigue is harder to identify. Initially, it may appear as difficulty in concentration on tasks, which leads to low frustration tolerance. This can often lead to irritability and agitation if not nipped in the bud quickly. When symptoms of mental fatigue are severe, they are usually accompanied by physical fatigue. A person may eventually not want to get up in the morning or perform activities of daily living. People may feel sleepy all the time, have diminished capacity for consciousness, or even feel mildly intoxicated. Mental fatigue can be life-threatening if the sufferer has to perform tasks such as driving an automobile. A person’s reaction time is slower, attention is diminished, and they may experience micro-sleep; brief periods of time where they are not aware that they have lapsed into sleep. Mental fatigue is among the most common reason for accidents in transportation, aviation, and medicine, leading drivers to crash and doctors to make errors effecting their patients.

Obviously, Vince Lombardi was talking about physical fatigue that results from a lack of preparation for the specific athletic requirements of football. This type of fatigue will occur anytime a person repetitively does a physical action. At some point, you simply have to stop, rest, and regain your physical capability and coordination. Naturally, the better physical condition you are in, the longer you can fight off the obvious fatigue that simply has to occur. Experts say that 10% of all people globally are suffering from fatigue at any given point in time. Think about that for a moment. 10% of everybody on the planet is in a state of fatigue right now. The National Institutes of Health in the United States found that approximately one in five, 20% of Americans, claim to have fatigue severe enough to interfere with normal daily life.

Fatigue is a more chronic condition than sleeplessness, lingers for a longer period of time, and is potentially more damaging. Sleeplessness can be ameliorated through a couple of good night sleeps, getting a person back to their normal baseline. Fatigue is accompanied by a lack of motivation, physical, and emotional energy. A person does not feel refreshed after sleeping an adequate amount of time. Some symptoms that distinguish it from sleeplessness are:
⦁ aching or sore muscles
⦁ apathy, lack of motivation, and lack of emotional and mental energy
⦁ poor concentration and decision-making
⦁ lack of hand eye coordination and fine motor skills
⦁ lack of large muscle control and coordination

There can be an almost infinite amount of reasons that one suffers from fatigue, some obvious, some not so much. If you’ve ever played a demanding, physical sport then you winslowknow exactly what Lombardi was talking about. Technically, you weren’t a coward, but after you quit I’m sure you asked yourself if you had give up a little too prematurely and felt you might have been able to push through it. Part of the culture of athletics is that you push yourself to the max and, “leave it all out there on the field,” meaning that you gave absolutely everything you physically and mentally had to the event. Did you really? Who knows, but any honest athlete has to ask themselves that question occasionally. Whether you did or not, I’m sure you know exactly what physical fatigue feels like, and can identify with the desire it creates to find that soft spot to lie down on and quit.

Mental fatigue is harder to identify, assess, and pinpoint causality. Mental fatigue can be caused by:
⦁ grief, loss, and bereavement
⦁ poor diet
⦁ alcohol and drug consumption
⦁ anxiety and depression
⦁ boredom
⦁ endocrine and metabolic problems
⦁ undiagnosed sleep disorders
⦁ improperly managed chronic pain
⦁ poor stress management skills

If you are suffering from fatigue, the good news is that there is a lot that can be done to alleviate it. While fatigue can be a symptom of a larger medical issue, it usually is not. In most cases lifestyle, attitudinal, and time management adjustments can make a huge difference in how you feel those 16 hours per day that you are awake and functioning. There are some action steps that you’ll need to take:
⦁ Start with a full physical from your primary care physician. If you are over age 40 you should do this every few years. My suggestion is that you do it every year, regardless of your age. Too many people think they had a physical in the past year when, in fact, it has been years. Our minds tend to create internal stories that we want to believe about things we find uncomfortable. Getting a complete physical is one of them. This is absolutely necessary as all the “want to,” desire, and motivation in the world is going to take you nowhere if your thyroid, blood sugar, or metabolism needs tweaking
⦁ Develop some kind of exercise regimen that you perform a minimum of three times per week and have at least one period of light exercise every day. Don’t create the “too busy, don’t like it, or I get enough exercise working around the house,” excuse to justify the fact that you’re not doing it. Three formal exercise periods per week, accompanied by light stretching or walking every day will keep your body tuned up. You don’t need to be fanatical about this, but you must be meticulous. You simply have to get moving, as motion is a primary condition for life and the creation of energy. Don’t think you need to go to a gym or make a huge time commitment. My hunch is that you have a living room floor, a little space in your bedroom, and gravity available in your home. Use it wisely.
⦁ Make sure you drink enough water. Chronic dehydration is a major cause of episodic fatigue. How much water we need daily is a controversial topic, depending upon a person’s unique physiology and the amount of liquid in the foods that they consume. The bottom line is, no pun intended, the color of your urine. If it’s relatively clear you’re probably fine.
⦁ Get enough oxygen by learning to breathe properly. Lack of oxygen to the brain is the reason that we yawn. Most of us don’t get enough fresh air, and those of us who do could maximize what we do get by breathing correctly. It’s a little adjustment that yields huge dividends. Refer to http://mindbodycoach.org/breathing-101-improving-lifes-basic-activity/ to learn how.
⦁ Train your mind and brain as if it was a muscle. What you read, watch, and listen to on a regular basis will impact your mental energy and focus. A brief meditation practice done consistently is among the best activities that you can do to create the mental relaxation required to avoid fatigue. Refer to http://mindbodycoach.org/moving-meditation/ for suggestions if traditional meditation is difficult for you.
⦁ Train your mind and body to maximize your sleep. Sleep is, by far, the most overlooked activity that contributes to physical and emotional wellness. Refer to http://mindbodycoach.org/winding-falling-asleep-easily/

If your fatigue symptoms do not respond to the suggestions here, then medical attention exec_physical_exammust be a part of your solution. In most cases, there will be an easy fix that a doctor will be able to help you through. Your doctor may also be able to refer you to appropriate specialists, including behavioral health experts. Too many people put off the annual checkup because of fear and a type of “what I don’t know can’t hurt me” attitude. Well, it can. Confronting this fear of your doctor and getting to the origin of your fatigue is robbing you of a lot of what life has to offer.

If you suffer from fatigue, don’t be a coward. Find out why and do something about it.

John

P. S. If you found this article helpful, you may benefit from some personalized mindbody coaching. Contact me at http://mindbodycoach.org/contact-us/ if interested in online mindbody coaching. Please check out my Products page through the link at the top of this post.. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and social media. Email me with questions at john@mindbodycoach.org

Wherever You Go, There You Are: Transcendence In Everyday Life

“No matter where you go, there you are.”- Confucius

We are living at what is probably the most exciting and velocitized moment in all of humandistracted history. We have access to methods of communication, medicine, foods, information, and transportation that could not have been imagined as recently as 200 years ago, not a long time in the entire span of human history. It’s very easy to get caught up in the moment in a negative way. Life can very quickly denigrate into a rat race where one finds themselves waking, traveling, working, traveling home again, sleeping, and then rinsing and repeating the same sequence over and over again. A lot of people live for weekends, and vacations, building up all kinds of stress and tension in the meantime. Maybe it doesn’t have to be that way.

My “day job” is working in the city of Boston. My workday consists of a 42 mile door to door trip that I have to take every day. The employee parking lot is a quarter-mile from the counseling center where I work in a rather nice neighborhood of the city. I can’t help but notice as I walk to and from that parking lot that most people walk with their head down or connected to a cell phone. In fact, most people in the city never look above eye level. Too bad. They may be missing some of life’s transcendent moments.

Part of the human experience that is missing in the contemporary world is our intimate connection with nature and our environment. This connection has become increasingly more distant over the past 100 or so years, as fewer of us produce our own food, perform our own work, or spend time outdoors. We have more technology and information than we probably need, yet remain very disconnected in a literal sense from our nature and our surroundings, keeping us feeling apart from our environment and the natural world. Finding ways to reconnect with this aspect of life is incredibly important to our emotional well-being. (See also http://mindbodycoach.org/ecotherapy/ )

I’m sure many of you are responding to this with a “Yeah, but…” as in, “I live in the city,” or “a crowded area,” or “there’s too many people we are I live.” For most of a day’s 24 hours that may be true. However, too many people never frequent the parks, hiking trails, bike paths where they live. They have a scarcity mindset which encourages them to focus on what they don’t have, and a superficial look at their living situation confirms for them that nature, and the transcendent moments it can provide, are not available to them because of geographic location. They simply do not notice the things that are potentially available to them that could be very helpful to their physical, emotional, or spiritual wellness.

starsRegardless of where you live, when was the last time you sat and watched a sunrise or a sunset? When was the last time you spent a few moments looking up at the night sky pondering the totality of the universe and the wonders of the stars? Spending a few moments doing that from time to time as a tendency to put the day-to-day problems of your own existence in a better, healthier and realistic perspective. These simple actions done daily, or at least a few times a week, can create transcendent moments that allow you to feel connected to things larger and greater than yourself. It’s a nice way to realize that you, and your problems, maybe aren’t that important.

And, for you “yeah but…” people, it may just be a matter of your getting up a little bit earlier, before everybody else, to get outside and possibly witness a sunrise. Maybe look up and notice where the sun sets each evening and spend a little bit of time observing. Take that nasty bag lunch outside, sit on a bench, and partake of some fresh air and sunshine along with that baloney sandwich.

Four years ago I bought a dog, and energetic boxer which I named Boss. I bought him in the wintertime, which dog people know is one of the worst times in the Northeast to be house breaking a dog. I had to bring him outside two to three times during the middle of the night for him to go to the bathroom. Normally, you stop doing this in a few weeks because a trained dog no longer needs this, being able to sleep straight through the night. I realized that it was so cool to go out at least once per night to look up at the stars, breathe in some cool clean air, and enjoy that feeling of “I guess I’m not as important as I thought I was” that only a transcendent moment can give you. We have been repeating this ritual at least once per night ever since.

A few moments in nature each day can be found regardless of where you live. As far as I bostonknow, sunrise, sunset, the moon, and the stars don’t discriminate. A few moments each day, connecting to something far greater than ourselves, can only be a good thing.

“He is one of those who has had the wilderness for a pillow, and called a star his brother. Alone. But loneliness can be a communion.”- Dag Hammarskjöld

 

John

P. S. If you found this article helpful, you may benefit from some personalized mindbody coaching. Contact me at http://mindbodycoach.org/contact-us/ if interested in online mindbody coaching. Please check out my Products page through the link at the top of this post.. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and social media. Email me with questions at john@mindbodycoach.org

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