Showing posts from January 8, 2017

What to Do When You Feel Stuck in Negative Emotions

ByKira M. Newman

According to a new book, the key is “emotional agility”: being less rigid and more flexible with our thoughts and feelings.

We’ve all been there: A strong emotion like anger or fear sucks us in and suddenly we can’t seem to control the things we say or do, hurting ourselves and those around us. “We act like wind-up toys, repeatedly bumping into the same walls, never realizing there may be an open door just to our left or our right,” writes Susan David, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School, inEmotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life. Her book is a guide to life’s trickiest emotions: not how to avoid them but how to learn to move through them. If we have the courage to do this, she argues, we will cultivate deeper relationships and a more authentic life. When we get stuck—i.e., held in thrall of a particularly nasty feeling—there are a few common culprits, writes David. Monkey mind:We’ve spiraled off into a cascade of regret about the pa…

Inspirational Quote – January 14, 2017

“On particularly rough days when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through rough days so far is 100%…. and that’s pretty good.”

Pretty good? I’d say it was fantastic! We can all relate to this quote can’t we? I know I can. What’s the alternative when life strews your path with pain either physical or mental, sorrow, self-doubt, debt, or all the other things that can happen and you need to overcome and deal with. This also often happens when it’s just the latest in a long line of problems just adding to your sense of frustration. However, and here’s the thing to keep in mind, you’ve been here before and everything got sorted didn’t it? You moved on didn’t you? So what’s different this time? Exactly……nothing! Know and believe that it’s going to be ok this time too and it will.


Can Love Stories Change the World?

Deep within us all lies a tender heart. A heart that's been wounded, heroic, or generous. That guides us with a whisper, or drives us like a sergeant. No matter who we are, where we live, or what we've done, we all have stories with our hearts as protagonist. Love stories. Matt Hopwood believes these powerfully personal, emotive narratives can be transformational for both individuals and communities. Since 2012, he has collected hundreds of stories from his travels in England and elsewhere for his project, A Human Love Story. What drives him is the idea that these stories can change the world -- through the courage and vulnerability it takes to express them; by simply bringing them into awareness; and by using them in our human interactions to heal disconnections. Here, Hopwood shares from his heart more about his mission.

Inspirational Quote – January 13, 2017

“Stay focused on the Light and the shadows will always be behind you.”

As light tends to banish many of our fears and bring us peace and comfort we seek it out and welcome it. The same could be said of our state of mind when we are troubled or beset by worry and feeling stressed. It’s in our own best interests to do our best in order to stay positive and believe that our issues can and will be resolved, rather than allowing darkness to take hold and make everything appear worse than it really is. By focusing on the positive light ahead we consign our doubts and fears to the shadows behind us together where they belong.


Civic Beauty Without Permission

It wasn't long before Tony and I were standing on San Jose's Santa Clara Street, cars whizzing by, looking at a vintage concrete bridge. Its sides were tiled. In some places, the tile had been broken off, vandalized. Each panel featured colorful, original designs. The work, obviously, had required thousands of hours. But it wasn't finished and now stood in benign neglect. What happened here? I asked Tony. "It was Rick Hawes," he said. "I want to meet this guy," I told Tony. If a man had decided to just start tiling a bridge in the middle of San Jose without bothering to file for a permit, without seeing a commissioner, without lobbying the board --well, that would be a pure act of...of what? -- unauthorized civic improvement?

Can Compassion Training Help Physicians Avoid Burnout?

ByJill Suttie

A new study suggests that compassion training may buffer against the detrimental effects of high-stress medical training, particularly for those prone to depression.

All of us want our doctors to treat us with care. But the rigorous, high-stress training provided by medical schools seems tozap students of empathy for patientsand well-being, making it less likely that these students will morph into compassionate caregivers later on. Now,a new studysuggests a potential remedy for overly stressed medical students: compassion training. Researcher Jennifer Mascaro and colleagues from Emory University randomly assigned volunteer second-year medical students to either 10 weeks of Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT) or to a waitlist. The training, based on the Tibetan Buddhist practice oflojong, consists of cognitive exercises that strengthen students’ attention and explore the nature of suffering—how it arises in ourselves and others, of human interdependence, and of the ra…

Inspirational Quote – January 12, 2017

“Bad news is: You cannot make people like, love, understand, validate, accept or be nice to you. You can’t control them either. Good news is: it doesn’t matter.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself! It’s all about your sense of self-worth and realizing you do not need the validation or indeed the stamp of approval from other people to tell you how special and unique you are. You should already know it. Also, and more importantly you wouldn’t behave like that towards them so why would you allow anyone to behave like that towards you? Live and let live I say. In the great scheme of things it really does not matter.


12 Questions Around Volunteerism

In this thoughtful piece ServiceSpace founder Nipun Mehta fields twelve probing questions on how to nurture and sustain a volunteer culture.  "Since 1999, ServiceSpace has been volunteer-run. It's a constraint and an asset. It opens us up to sensing multiple forms of capital...Leadership turns into laddership. Compassion is contagious; instead of pushing, we count on the pull. The metaphor shifts from manufacturing to gardening." Drawing on his ServiceSpace experience Mehta notes that "volunteers are strongest when they are moved by love."

--by Nipun Mehta
[Last year, about fifteen of us had a breakout call with some visionaries of World in Conversation and Laddership Circles, around working with volunteers.  Below is a glimpse of the Q&A that emerged, on the call and afterwards.]

The most fundamental design principle is our mindset. Typically, volunteers are used as a means to an end -- this is our mission, we need this stuff done to achieve our mission, and…

How to Fight Stress with Empathy

ByArthur P. Ciaramicoli

Psychologist Arthur Ciaramicoli argues that empathic listening may be the key to reducing stress in our lives.

How many times have you been concerned about a friend or other loved one and asked if everything’s all right only to be told, “Oh, I’m just stressed,” as if there’s nothing to worry about? We often use the words “I’m stressed” casually in our everyday conversations, with little acknowledgment of the adverse effects of stress in our lives. But evidence suggests that we should be much more concerned about our stress levels than we are. The Center for Disease Controlfoundthat 66 percent of American workers say they lie awake at night troubled by the physical or emotional effects of stress, and stress has been linked to many health problems, includingobesityandheart disease—especially amonglow-income Americans. Stress not only affects us, but it can impact those around us, too, especiallyour children. Not all stress is bad, of course. Stress can also beinvigora…