My impression of a person, place or thing depends on how they present themselves in the moment. I agree first impressions count, but to me they aren’t the be all and end all. They are often tainted by other issues more pressing at the time. This means I am always ready to change my view should different circumstances prevail.
After consideration, I realise my impression is unconsciously judged and can be explained by the following acrostic poem:
When these values can be seen in a person, place or thing, I leave the experience feeling good and wanting more. The more of these values missing, the poorer my experience. Do you know what drives your impressions?
Last December, after 25 years I was reminded how relaxing it is to go to the beach after work. To lye on my back free floating, totally unmoored to the world —just bobbing around in the waves. Trusting I was safe but keeping an eye out for any bigger waves that could do me harm. Then to keep myself safe, I would simply dive under the wave and avoid its direct impact. Free floating is now my preferred mindful activity for the warmer months.
As I gazed over the horizon watching the random sets of waves, my muscles relaxed and looked for a new way to work. Suddenly, I realised my free floating had turned into the best core exercise I had ever done and with no effort on my part.
Give it a try and say goodbye crunches. Take you feet off the ground and free float. Go with the rhythm of the waves and focus on the horizon. It’s my favourite way to centre myself.
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Retreat is an active word. It’s not a sign of weakness, but a sign that you are in-charge of your reactions. It shows you know when to do something differently. To me, the word RETREAT breaks down into the following powerful actions and helps me to move forward in the direction I need to go even if it’s not the direction I originally wanted to.
Return to a safe space
Experience feelings associated with current stress
Take time out
Recover your strength
Experiment with new ideas
Activate a new plan
Test it out
Have you ever found retreating to be a successful strategy to move forward?
Treasure is something of value. It can come in all shapes and sizes, be shiny and sparkle or be ugly and covered in dirt. Everyone’s treasure and things they value are different. For me, my most valued treasure is my personal values.
S elf Respect
They are how I live my life, raise my family and connect with people. Without any of them my life would be unbalanced. Individually, my values are only part of the picture, but together they form a very strong bond that can get me through any obstacle life throws my way.
Do you have a wish list of dreams you want to achieve? Most of us do and the good news is that with focus we have the power to make them happen.
Like water through peculation turns into amazing coffee, we can focus our energy into achieving our dreams and watch them develop before our eyes. Yes, it takes time. So does anything worth having. Because quality is never thrown together.
Give this, let’s think about how much of our spare time can redirect into focusing on our goals. Most of us could spare half an hour a day with a little tweaking. Do you realise that even as little as half an hour a day, every day for a year turns into 182 hours.
How are you spending yours?
When I think about a sandwich I don’t think about food but a way to deliver difficult feedback. I start by telling the person something they do well. Where possible I try to make it as close to the topic we are discussing. After we have discussed this for a minute or two I then introduce my difficult feedback. Where possible I look at the big picture of the issue discussing how the problem impacts the person and others. If appropriate, I will also give some ideas to help the person to move forward and make the changes required. To complete my feedback I would ask the person if they needed anything from me and remind them of the positives of what they are doing.
Often feedback is very difficult to hear but I find the more open the discussion, the better the outcome. By using the feedback sandwich, the person becomes less defensive because the news has been softened by positive feedback. It is a system that works well and has an overflowing impact of developing respect between the people involved.
A win/win for everyone, the feedback sandwich is:
This week, I have read David Gillespie’s The Sweet Poison Quit Plan and discovering the impact of sugar on the body. Research has shown that sugar, or more importantly the fructose in sugar effects us because it’s:
- Converted to fat by our liver
- Interferes with our appetite control hormones
I like everyone else thought my diet was reasonably balanced however what I didn’t realise is how much hidden sugar is in the healthy everyday foods we eat. So as a challenge, between now and the end of the year I plan to watch my daily intake of sugar attempting to keep it down to the recommended 6 teaspoons a day for women. This is actually 24 grams of sugar as 1 teaspoon of sugar equals 4 grams of sugar. It won’t be easy but I think the improved health of my body will make it worth it. Let me know what you think and if you are up for the challenge too.
How is your most important relationship? No, I don’t mean the one with you partner or kids, I mean your relationship with yourself. I like Shirley Maclaine believe that this is your most profound relationship and its depth mirrors the depth of your relationship with others. It’s easy to please others or blame ourselves but neither of these behaviours allow us to get close to others. To let people into your life, you need to be friends with yourself first. To know what you like, your passions, your strengths and weaknesses and be ready to stand up for them if necessary.
When life doesn’t go according to plan, can you set aside the emotion for a minute and look at your role in the situation before making a plan to move on? There are always two sides to every story. And although being open and honest with ourselves can be very difficult to do, it is important for our mental health. The more we understand ourselves and take responsibility for our actions, the more we grow as a person. From this growth we learn any lessons necessary to make sure our future relationships are profound and we enjoy a better quality of life.
Working in mental health, for me crisis management, big and small, can be a daily occurrence. And while helping someone or even myself through a crisis is a good feeling, I don’t believe it is the best part of the experience. Like Marilyn Monroe in the above quote, “Within crisis, are the seeds of opportunity,” I agree that the opportunities that arise after the event are. They create personal growth within us that transforms our lives. We are a changed person, older and wiser. due to the lessons we have learnt or have been forced to deal with due to the crisis.
For more information on my inspiration to get through a crisis stop by my earlier post below.
Getting Through Tough Times
Life is unpredictable and that is what makes it great. If everything we did was the same everyday, yes it would be safe but also boring. One of the things I love about mental health nursing is that no day is ever the same. It’s the interactions with people that make the difference and change the course of the day. I see being unpredictable as adding the following to my life:
Unpredictability makes life more exciting, like the difference between riding the rapids or a calm stream. A mixture of both allows us to use all of our skills.
Lower Tonangiro River