Blog Categories: Managing Self
Posted on September 8, 2019
In my experience as a pscycholgoist and leadership Coach, I often hear the challenge successful people have in managing their thoughts around mistakes which they have made. The pointers given in this brief Harvard Business Review article are timeless and quite effective. And, to top it off, these “manage your mind around mistakes” methods are founded in social science research.
Posted on May 7, 2019
This article points out the key ways to use strengths, and how we often overuse key strengths. A study is cited on how often managers can overuse signature strength or, as Melinda Gates is quoted as saying: “Often our greatest weaknesses are the other side our strengths.”
From The New York Times:
How Your Strengths Can Sometimes Become Weaknesses
Instead of striving to use your strengths more often, aim to use them more wisely.
Posted on March 27, 2019
I frequently look for new ways to schedule my “to do” tasks…good ideas here…I have used the MIT’s method for years and find it rewarding as at least at the end of the day, I can say I accomplished my Most Important Tasks. Read more about these 5 scheduling methods and possibly find one that works for you.
Posted on August 23, 2017
Resilience, defined by most as the ability to recover from setbacks, adapt well to change, and keep going in the face of adversity, is widely considered now an important behavior to nurture well-being and healing from life’s challenges. This article outlines specific ways one can practice and develop resilience to manage the stresses living a life may bring.
Posted on April 11, 2016
Taking time in the midst of a busy work day to breath deeply has been shown to increase awareness, decrease stress and anxiety as well as enhance work performance. To learn more read this brief “how to” article complete with a 5 minute breathing meditation instruction.
Posted on February 14, 2016
The world as we know it today is complicated, busy, stimulating and filled with “breaking news.” How to calm the brain and body and get a good nights rest? After all, we are learning through mind/body research how important a good nights sleep is to our days of fulfilling work. Good news: social scientists have discovered some ways to train our brains to power down at night and look forward to the new day tomorrow. This article gives great insights and specific activities as to how to end our day celebrating what was and – start the new day with the anticipation of fun and contribution.
Posted on July 1, 2015
Every wondered “What is the best version of myself?” The answer to this is embedded in this article which outline recent research on ways to make your life happier – or ways to infuse more positive emotion into your life…and enjoy it. Caveat: like much of life, this involves attention, monitoring and practicing new ways of doing things.
Posted on November 16, 2014
Situations in our work lives, can evoke strong emotions: a tense meeting, challenging changes in the organization, a co-worker gets let go…or you are told your position is cut. How to manage and respond with your best self? I often encourage clients to use this simple and incredibly effective writing tool to get clear on what they want, what they believe and what they think.
Posted on July 18, 2014
TAKE TEN MINUTES OUT
By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.
Stress plays a major role in our lives. We can become addicted to
it. We can become ill with it. Using it, we can achieve more. We
can “break down” from it. We can adapt to it. Some of us are so
adapted to it, we don’t know how to function without it.
Over the past 20 years, the U.S. Surgeons General have reported that
85 percent of our illnesses are related to stress. Stress can kill
us. Dr. Herbert Benson coined “the relaxation response” to describe
the opposite response to stress. But these days, who has the time to
learn the relaxation response? We’re so busy running on
stress-created biochemicals; we rarely incorporate relaxation into our
lifestyles. Failure to balance the stress response with the
relaxation response, however, puts us at high risk for some type of
physical, mental, emotional or relational breakdown.
Here are a few quick, five- or ten-minute activities, which you can
rapidly incorporate into your high-speed, highly-stressed daily life.
They just might help you create a stress-relaxation balance in your
Go on ten-minute mini-vacations in your mind. At the workplace or
at home, close your eyes, take 5 deep, sighing breaths, and in your
imagination, create a sensory-rich picture of your favorite vacation
spot. Picture yourself there. Smell the scents in the air. Feel the
breeze on your skin. Listen to the sounds of the birds, insects,
water or wind. Listen to the silence. Experience the warmth or
coolness of the air around you. See the colors, light and shadows of
the scene. And taste your favorite food while in this vacation spot.
Picture yourself lying down and enjoying the surrounding environment.
And relax. Soften all bodily tension. And breathe as if you were
falling asleep. This ten-minute vacation can profoundly generate the
Go to the restroom or home bathroom. Splash water on your face.
Take time to massage your facial muscles with warm water. Let your
jaw drop slightly and massage your cheeks. When your hands are very
warm, rub the back of your neck. Focus your attention on softening
all your face and neck muscles. Allow your eyes to rest in the warmth
of your hands covering them.
When you return from work, or before bed at night, take a very warm
bath or shower. Light candles and incense. Softly play your favorite
music. Imagine that the stress in your body is being dissolved and
washed away by the water. Focus your attention on dropping
responsibilities and stressors of the day. Imagine them dropping off
you like scales, as you gently rub your body…perhaps with scented
soap or lotion. Put your mind in neutral. Let your entire body go
limp, and imagine it becoming a part of the water itself. Focus on
your long, slow, deep breathing.
Learn how to meditate. Meditation and grateful prayer are very
helpful in de-stressing you. Once you have learned, you can pray or
meditate almost anywhere and any time. Repeat a favorite word or
phrase, e.g. “I am completely safe.” “I am loved.” “I am at peace.”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Read inspirational, positive
affirmations. There are books available, collections of brief stories
or single phrases. Carry around a small book to read for ten minutes
at a time, and invite your mind to re-focus on what you read.
Go for a walk. Yes, I know exercise is that grim “E-word.” But
moving your body when it has been still for a long time, relaxes all
those stiff muscles used in holding you upright against the pull of
gravity. So move around, walk, do isometrics or take ten minutes to
jog in place. You will find such activity very relaxing.
Drink a glass of water or juice. Eat a healthy snack. Eat it
alone, in a quiet place. Keep the sips of water in your mouth for
full minute before swallowing. Chew your mouthful at least 150 times
before swallowing. Pay attention to how it smells, tastes and feels.
Imagine it as restoring you with vitamins, minerals, and energy lost
to the stress you’ve been experiencing. Become totally absorbed in
the process of chewing and swallowing…and do it very slowly.
None of the above activities require more than ten minutes. Why not
incorporate each of them into your daily life? When they become
habits, you will begin to balance the stress-response with the
relaxation-response. It may just resolve 85 percent of the problems
you have now. A balanced life is a healthy one. Enjoy!
Dr. Thomas is a licensed psychologist, author, speaker, and life
coach. He serves on the faculty of the International University of
Professional Studies. He recently co-authored (with Patrick Williams)
the book: “Total Life Coaching: 50+ Life Lessons, Skills and
Techniques for Enhancing Your Practice…and Your Life!” (W.W. Norton
2005) It is available at your local bookstore or on Amazon.com.
Posted on July 17, 2014
Surprising new research that shows us how we all have learned at an early age to detect lying or dishonesty. This short article by Robert Biswas-Diener reminds us to pay attention to this primal sense. Whether your leading a team, managing a group of people or managing yourself in the midst of a difficult communication, learning more about how you can detect inauthentic communication is a good skill to hone. How to Spot a Lie