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Wow! Is it already Week 8 of Summer of Well-Being? I am so grateful to our guest bloggers for their wonderful content, and I hope each of you is taking advantage of their knowledge and suggestions, and trying a few on for size. I’m excited about our guest this week, Leoncio Alvarez, from MUNCH This!, who will take some delicious recipes and show us how to make them healthier! Super cool, yes? Make sure to join us on Thursday for his blog.

If you need to catch up on all Summer of Well-Being blogs, you’ll find them here

This past weekend I decided to tackle a wellness goal that I have been wanting to try for quite some time, but never made the time for it. When I noticed that Summer of Well-Being guest blogger, Mary Trontz, was offering a 3-day cleanse, I knew this was the time. There are many ways to cleanse and different systems offered. I chose the 3-Day Refresh by Shakeology, because it does most of the work for me with little prep or hassle. Because my hubby also is participating in the Summer of Well-Being, we decided to do this challenge together, and today is our last day! Today, day 3, I’m really feeling the positive effects, and I can’t wait to see the full results tomorrow!

So, what have I noticed? 

  • I’ve been more tired than usual. My body is definitely detoxing and saying, “Whoa, woman! What are you doing?” We decided start over the weekend to allow ourselves time to rest. That’s been helpful!

  • Staying hydrated is necessary for energy, and also to help us feel more full. In this case, I’m following guest blogger, Davis Mitchell’s advice of drinking a minimum of half my body weight in ounces.

  • Some headaches, which I feel may be due to detoxing and releasing my coffee habit.

  • And, some moments of bloating and nausea.

  • Mostly, the first two days I noticed how easy it would be to give up after day 1! It has taken a lot of will power and positive self talk to keep me going, especially when I’m cooking normal meals for my kiddos! But, tackling this with a buddy definitely helps!

So, how do you stick with a goal when the going gets tough?

Although I’m proud that I have almost reached my goal and have managed to stay focused and on point, I really enjoy learning from others what helps them to reach their goals, especially when the going gets tough.

This weekend I spent some time watching the British Open. Both my step-father and son are avid golfers, and so my liking to golf has grown over the years. It was very exciting to witness 25-year-old, Rory McIlroy win the Open (again), and three out of the four major crowns in golf. When asked what he told himself to keep his mind positive and focused on the goal, he said that he repeatedly told himself two words over and over…PROCESS  and SPOT.

PROCESS. SPOT.

Easy and effective, and that’s why I felt compelled to share it with you today.

He tells himself that golf, and winning a tournament, is a process. It’s not the outcome of one hole, or in my case, one day of cleansing; it’s in sticking with the plan and getting through. At every hole, he would say to himself, “spot” as a reminder that his only role in that very moment (moment-to-moment) was to focus on the next spot; where he needed to place the ball. For me, during my cleanse, my spot was the next hour. What do I need to do to be prepared for the next hour? Taking it moment by moment–spotting– was really helpful.

If you haven’t yet found a way to get through your well-being goals, or any goals for that matter, maybe this easy tip from a young, extraordinary athlete can help you get there. Also, to develop your athlete’s mind, make sure to catch guest blogger, Mike Rosenfeld’s vlog, if you haven’t already!

Our well-being is most definitely a process; a life-long one. I hope that the process for you has been a positive and joyful one! And, remember, if you’re not feeling challenged, you may need to step up your effort a bit. I know you can do it!

Have a magnificent week!

Namaste,

Monique

 

Ocean

Meet Ocean, our brand new Labradane puppy, whose been in our lives for only two weeks. I wrote about her in my blog last week, and I want to write about her again today, because having her join our family has brought up so many great memories, as well as both joyous and challenging moments. Keeping up with my well-being habits has not been easy these last few weeks, and as a good student of my own teachings, I decided I had to broaden the way I not only looked at our new situation, but also how I could transcend it, bit-by-bit.

In thinking of transcending the challenges, I immediately am taken back to a time in my life when my grandmother, Amelia “Mami”, moved in to our childhood home, together with my sister and her family, as well as with my grandfather, Mario “Papi”. My sister had a Yorkshire Terrier named “Rambo”. Rambo was a very loving dog, despite his hyper tendencies. He loved to cuddle and be spoiled. My grandmother hated the idea of living with a dog in the house and complained to no end about it. But, she had no choice in the matter. Rambo wasn’t going anywhere.

Because my grandmother didn’t work, she stayed home all day. Her role was a very traditional, maternal one. Cook, clean, babysit, sew, etc. But, it was a lonely life during the day, because she was not interacting with others and had no young children to care for. Little by little, she let Rambo get close to her. He really seemed to fill a void for her, one that no one else could. Sometimes I wish I could have been a fly on the wall, listening to her conversations with Rambo! Before you knew it, she and Rambo were inseparable! She even made home-cooked meals for him!! I mean, really??

My grandmother’s demeanor changed. She was more bubbly, and giggly. When she wanted to be funny she didn’t have to try hard, she was hilarious, mostly because she laughed at herself so hard that we laughed at her! Rambo became her daily companion; her everything. Loving him and caring for him was a high priority for her. So, you can imagine how difficult it was when Rambo died. Mami was so depressed; unconsolable for months. Watching her suffer was very hard for all of us. We saw my grandmother’s overall well-being soar because of her very close relationship Rambo. It was a true wellness lever for her.

I share this story, because I’ve had a few moments over these last two weeks when I have noticed that how I have been thinking about our new life with Ocean has not been supporting or allowing my well-being to be optimal. I have found myself reacting too much, complaining, and feeling sorry for myself (when I can’t sleep, or have to clean my rugs- again!, or take the puppy out on wet grass, or in the rain every 1/2 hour). Thinking of how much joy Rambo brought to my grandmother’s life, and also how much love and joy our former dog, Cousteau, brought to our lives, has helped me to become more intentional (I’m learning how to puppy train!), set realistic expectations (yes, she’s a puppy and will poop and pee a lot and cry at night!), and really forgive both Ocean, for doing what she can’t yet understand and control, and forgive myself, for being an emotional human!

I’m also really enjoying her and focusing on who she is naturally– a pup who offers so much unconditional love, which is not always easy to find, and I’m imagining how amazing our lives will be with her as she grows up. Day-by-day it is getting easier. And, well, I just can’t get enough of her puppy breath! I’m learning so much about training puppies now (instead of just complaining and feeling like a victim), that I can probably offer you a few tips if you ever need them! LOL.

Shifting a bit to well-being at work, companies that are putting the well-being of their employees first are understanding the important link between pets and their owners’ happiness and productivity. More and more we are seeing employers adding pets at work as a benefit. I just came across this video interview with Dr. “Woody” Woodward, who serves on the board of our Center for Leadership, sharing this trend.

What part do pets play in your well-being? Are they enhancing your well-being? If so, how?

I, for one, am looking forward to going on longer, faster walks with Ocean, which I know will enhance my wellness plan. And, there is simply no way to measure the amount of love that a pet can bring in your life. It can be priceless.

I’d love to hear your stories!

If you’ve missed any of our Summer of Well-Being blogs, you will find them here.

AND…you won’t want to miss our guest blogger on Thursday…the amazing Mina Shah! Catch you then!!

It’s your life. Lead it well.

Monique

 

Welcome Back to our Summer of Well-Being awareness program! We are nearly half-way through the program, and already I’ve received feedback on how so many of you are enjoying the blogs/vlogs and choosing to make your well-being a priority through small, attainable steps. If you’ve missed any of the blogs, you will find them here.

ChiaLynn

Have you heard this popular new expression, “Shut the front door!”? It’s so catchy that I find myself using it often instead of saying something like, “No way!”, or “You must be kidding me!” In the context of my blog today, however, as well as in preparation for Sheena’s blog on Thursday, I’m thinking of it in this way…

  • Our minds are so darn busy that we consciously have to “shut the door” to our mind to intentionally focus it toward something meaningful, And…
  • Life sometimes feels like we are on warp speed that we have very little consistency and change is ever-present, keeping us from achieving a sense of balance. Our plans keep escaping out that front door and we want to shut it!

Is is realistic to keep shutting the door, or should we proactively keep it ajar doing a little dance with it?

I am a fan of Kabbalah wisdom, and today’s message couldn’t have been more spot on for me in thinking of this door in my mind’s eye. It says:

When the Israelites were in the desert, they were given food one day at a time. They were told not to create a stockpile; the manna would fall from the sky everyday.

The message in this is actually quite simple and clear: Today is the day that counts. The Creator will provide for us each day. There is no such thing right now as “tomorrow.”

If we aren’t capable of giving of ourselves today, if we aren’t able to establish a connection to the Divine love that each of us has within, then we have yet to understand this important lesson—that each day is in itself the fulfillment.

No person on earth has a guarantee that tomorrow will happen.

The simplicity of this message excites me! All the planning in the world won’t matter if we cannot connect with what’s important, purposeful, and divine in this moment. When all of our wellness plans go flying out the door, how do we achieve a state of well-being in this moment? If you happen to be very excited about achieving a greater sense of well-being, but are having difficulty being consistent, why not try dancing in the moment?

This morning was one of those mornings when my door flew open! We just brought home a new puppy, and as joyful as it’s been, it’s also been exhausting and unpredictable! I found myself struggling with trying to control this little ball of energy (yeah, right!), as well as making plans–all of which flew out the door as well! Just like having a new-born baby, my sleep has come and gone. If you’ve been following my blog and read those I wrote about Arianna Huffington’s, Thrive, you know that one of my critical wellness levers is sleep! Not only was my “front door” open, I was sleep walking out of it!

The truth is that our path to well-being will be most solid, I believe, when we have the capacity to make the appropriate “well” decisions moment-by-moment, leaving behind the complaints and excuses. On this more hectic day, some of my moment-to-moment decisions were:

  • 5 am: Drink warm water with lemon to detox while I play with the puppy!

  • Grab another glass of water to drink while driving my daughter to camp.

  • Starving by 7 am, but no great options at home! I chose to wait until 9 for breakfast with a friend so I could choose a healthy snack and small cup of coffee (instead of large!).

  • Pick up a salad on the way to the office so my exhaustion doesn’t cause me to pick something “easy” or “quick”.

  • Run up the stairs to the office to get my heart moving.

  • And the dance continued!

I am a planner by nature, but I have to admit that leaving the door ajar and dancing in the moment sometimes just feels right. The stress of planning it all and knowing it all can also hinder us from feeling well. And, as the message above indicates, there is a divinity to trusting in the moment–what is revealed or given to us, or what we choose to make happen today. In the same, if our wellness plans failed yesterday, we still have today!!! When it’s not empowering, this dance certainly provides us with a great opportunity to learn and to forgive ourselves if we happen to not choose wisely.

When it comes to your well-being, is dancing in the moment hard for you, or do you thrive on it?

Do you want to shut the front door? How can you benefit from leaving it ajar?

Wishing you an amazing week of wellness!

Namaste,

Monique

Photo courtesy of ChiaLynn

SUMMER OF WELL-BEING WEEK 4

 

An important part of our well-being is how we support ourselves and our growth through our thoughts and feelings. They are always the precursor to action—good or bad. Accessing your Brilliant Zone has everything to do with the well-being dimensions of Thinking and Feeling, and ultimately Transcending ourselves to achieve our BIG  life goals. This week, our well-being expert Mike Rosenfeld shows us how we can access our Brilliant Zone in three easy steps! As well as, how to be on fire, share your gift with the world, and how to play it big, not safe. Watch his video below!


Mary P
Mike Rosenfeld
Peak Performance Coach
Mike Rosenfeld is highly respected as a peak performance coach and motivational speaker who counsels CEOs, entrepreneurs, and professional, Olympic and collegiate athletes. His Authentic Power program assists individuals and teams maximize their unique strengths and abilities and excel in all areas of life.

 
 
 

 giving

It’s Week 4 of Summer of Well-Being!

If you’re new to our community, WELCOME! WE ARE SO HAPPY TO HAVE YOU! You can find all previous blogs/vlogs here.

On Thursday we welcome a vlog by Mike Rosenfeld, Peak Performance Coach who works with CEOs, Entrepreneurs, and Athletes/Olympians. Mike is going to teach us how to access our “Brilliant Zone!” I can’t wait for his video! His energy is CONTAGIOUS, and I know you’ll appreciate what he has to offer us this week.

Today, I close out my blogging about Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive. This book is truly a gift for everyone, but in my opinion, more specifically for high-achieving and successful professionals and executives who know in their gut that there is a “better way” to operate and to define success, and certainly, a better way to feel about our work, our impact, our relationships, and our well-being. I’ve been picking parts of the book that resonate strongly for me, and I invite you to do the same for yourself.

The last chapter in Thrive is all about giving. In the very beginning of the chapter Arianna states,

“Well-being, Wisdom, Wonder: All are critical to redefining success and thriving, but they are incomplete without the fourth element of the Third Metric: Giving.”

I believe that most of us intuitively understand the importance of giving, caring, empathy and compassion, because of our spirituality, religious practices, or simply by how we were raised, or the role models in our lives. I also believe that for some, giving is in their DNA. Now, with Social Entrepreneurship growing in popularity, it’s easier to integrate our desire to help others with our desire to be financially “well”. We even see this trend with the Millennials who lead the way in volunteering, with 43% of them engaged in service. And, universities have been on to this for quite some time, folding-in service learning and leadership into the fabric of college life. Here, at FIU, it is directly tied to our strategy, to the experience we want our students to have, and to the impact we want them to make in our communities once they graduate. Even companies and innovative start-ups are realizing that by providing their employees with the opportunity to serve others and be impactful in ways they decide helps them to stay engaged in their work and even increase their productivity and longevity with the company. Here are some numbers to back this up, based on a 2013 study by UnitedHealth group about employees who volunteered:

  • More than 75% of the employees said they felt healthier.

  • More than 90% said volunteering had put them in a better mood.

  • More than 75% reported experiencing less stress.

  • More than 95% said that volunteering enriched their sense of purpose in life (which, in turn, has been found to strengthen immune function!)

  • Employees who volunteered reported improved time-management skills and enhanced ability to connect with peers.

Regardless of the trends and stats, however, do we truly understand the capacity to which giving not only helps others and the world we are connected to, but the capacity to which it CHANGES US? Again, intrinsically I feel we do, but where’s the proof that Giving is the Miracle Drug? If you’re like me, you’ll get emotional, and even shed a tear or two when you see people doing good. I just can’t help it! Have you seen the Pay It Forward commercials by Liberty Mutual? I just love them! You can view one of them here. This is the intrinsic stuff I’m talking about. You watch this commercial and you immediately feel better, and perhaps you want to go out and pay it forward.

How do we pay it forward more often, and how is paying it forward directly linked to our wellness? Here’s some MORE good info Arianna shares in Thrive:

  • One study demonstrated that volunteering at least once a week yields improvements to well-being tantamount to your salary increasing from $20k to $75k.

  • A Harvard Business School study showed that “donating to charity has a similar relationship to subjective well-being as a doubling of household income.”

  • A study by scientists from the University of North Carolina and UCLA found that participants whose happiness was mostly hedonic (i.e., focused on self-gratification) had high levels of biological markers that promote inflammation, which is linked to diabetes, cancer, and other conditions. Those whose happiness included service to others had health profiles showing reduced levels of these markers.

  • A 2013 study led by Dr. Suzanne Richards of the University of Exeter Medical School found that volunteering was connected to lower rates of depression, higher reports of well-being, and a significant reduction in mortality risk.

  • In Give and Take, by Wharton Professor Adam Grant, “Those who give of their time and effort to others end up achieving more success than those who don’t.”

Pretty interesting, yes? We can read all the studies in the world and believe in their results, but at the end of the day, we must pay attention to what we feel and what we know. For me, I have no doubt that these links are true, based on my own experiences of philanthropy and compassionate actions. In fact, in my courses and coaching about Energy Leadership, we look at the benefits of shifting our thoughts and actions from Level 2 (conflict and competition) to Level 4 (compassion and others focus) and what that does for our energy, whole-life well-being, and how we lead others. What’s your experience?

Now let’s look briefly at how focusing on our well-being can increase our capacity to be giving and compassionate!

  • A 2013 study by researches from Harvard University, Northeastern University, and Massachusetts General Hospital found that “meditation enhances compassionate responding,” providing “scientific credence to ancient Buddhist teachings that meditation increases spontaneous compassionate behavior.”

  • Oxytocin, known as the “love hormone”, when released can promotes empathy and giving. It increases the compassion toward one’s family and the groups one identifies with. Oxytocin is in a constant battle with cortisol, the “stress hormone”, which increases in our bodies when we are exhibiting behaviors related to: judgment, fierce/negative competition, stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, fatigue, etc.

Small shifts in our well-being, then, as we have been promoting these last few weeks during our Summer of Well-Being, can help us lead more compassionate and caring lives, which clearly boomerangs right back to us with a greater sense of wellness. It’s a full circle!

I agree with Arianna that compassionate behavior is something that can be cultivated through certain wellness practices–not only for ourselves, but for our children–how we educate them and teach them how to feel better and solve problems.

So how do we learn to give each day? To live outside ourselves and not what’s important only to us? How do we find opportunities to give and to tap into the amazing healing power that it has?

I like this view, by John Burroughs,

“The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, everyplace is the center of the world.”

Yes, the opportunity to give and to care is always right where we are. As in the commercial I shared above, small gestures go just as far for others and for us as do the large, intricate ones.

How will you pay it forward today? I’d love to hear your thoughts around Giving as the Miracle Drug. Chime in below.

It’s your life. Lead it well!

Namaste,

Monique

SUMMER OF WELL-BEING WEEK 3

This week our well-being expert is Lina Acosta Sandaal teaching us about Emotional Intelligence. Read her blog below to learn what emotional intelligence is, how to achieve it, and some great ways on how to increase your emotional intelligence day by day!


The Nest Miami2We all experience positive and negative feelings. Most of us want to protect ourselves from negative experiences and avoid negative emotions. However, every time we tell ourselves that our negative emotion is intolerable, we rob ourselves of an opportunity to develop emotional intelligence and a way of walking through our emotions into taking intentional decisions. Most importantly, neurologists know that we best engage, learn, and make meaningful decisions when we are in a receptive state. A receptive state  is when someone feels seen, soothed, secure, and safe. The alternative is a reactive state  where we are constantly looking for danger and reacting by fighting, running away or freezing. If we work on our emotional intelligence, we move towards being in a receptive state more times than not. Ask yourself these two questions:

WHAT EMOTIONS DO YOU GUARD YOURSELF FROM FEELING? WHY?
WHAT EMOTION DO YOU TRY TO AVOID FROM FEELING? WHY?

Take the answers to these questions and the next time you feel them, go through the process that I will walk you through next. If you practice handling these emotions with emotional intelligence you will no longer need to “react” to the feeling, and will become more “receptive” to the information these feelings give you.

Emotional Intelligence is being able to:

  • •Feel an Emotion
  • •Tolerate Emotion
  • •Recuperate from Emotion

This is learned by:

  • •Naming and labeling emotion
  • •Physically experiencing emotion
  • •Seeing and empathizing with others   (REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT)

 

Tools to Build and Increase your Emotional Intelligence

FIRST – FEEL THE EMOTION:

  1. Label the feeling. (“I am scared of this new job hunt. I am embarrassed what my friends will think.”)
  2. Pause (try 90 seconds) and remind yourself that this emotion is transient and not permanent and no action needs to be taken while experiencing/labeling  the feeling.

“It takes less than 90 seconds for an emotion to get triggered, surge chemically through the blood stream, then get flushed out…..anything beyond that is of your own choosing.” —Jill Bolte Taylor  (http://www.ted.com/talks/view/lang/en//id/229)

SECOND- TOLERATE EMOTION:

  1. Narrate to yourself what is happening:
    1. Describe the feelings in your body.
    2. Wonder what the feeling reminds you of.
    3. Check in with expectations or “shoulds” that may be helping you to feel this particular emotion.
    4. Walk yourself through what happened right before you started feeling this way and how you have walked yourself out of this feeling before.
  2.  Make a choice to breathe, move (i.e. walk, jump or simply pump your fists) or embrace yourself until you feel the emotion begin to pass (placing one hand over you heart and another over your stomach while breathing soothes most people.)

THIRD-RECUPERATE FROM EMOTION:

In the moment:

  1. Continue to tell the story of “the FEELING event” – this time observe yourself and tell yourself, as if you were a lawyer, the facts of the event.
  2. Reinforce how you were able to calm down – tell yourself several times what you did to calm down.

 

Day to Day

  1. Learn to breathe and calm down, most of us hold our breath more often than we think.  Just one deep breath will reboot our neurology. (i.e. Yoga, meditation, Simply Being app)
  2. Journal or get used to speaking regularly to a close friend/partner about your emotional state allowing yourself time to process and understand your emotions.
  3. If you find that when you ask yourself “what does this feeling remind me of?” you remember past hurts, you may want to work with someone who can help you understand and know your history and how you make sense of your own emotions as it is influenced by your past history (eg. therapists, personal coach, clergy)

“Anyone can become angry-that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way-that is not easy.” —Aristotle

 


Mary P
Lina Acosta Sandaal
Lina Acosta Sandaal, MA, program director of The Nest in Miami, is an expert in child and adolescent development and infant and early childhood mental health, having worked and trained at Vista Del Mar in Los Angeles, Yale’s Minding the Baby, National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and Child Trauma Research Programs.
Website: thenestmiami.com
Facebook: facebook.com/TheNestMiami
Twitter: twitter.com/thenestmiami

 
 
 

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Welcome to Week 3 of Summer of Well-Being! If you’ve been following our last few blogs, you know that I’m reading and writing about Arianna Huffington’s new book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom, and Wonder.

Each week we also have been featuring a guest expert to share a tip on improving your well-being. If you missed those, make sure to check out Mary Trontz’ blog about Strengthening your Core, and Davis Mitchell’s vlog about Hydration.

This Thursday you’ll hear from Lina Acosta Sandaal about Emotional Well-Being. So much of what I teach through my courses and coaching has emotional intelligence at its core.  You simply cannot lead your life well or lead others successfully and meaningfully without having or acquiring this skill through practice. It’s one of the most difficult skills to master, because you have to be aware and in tune almost all the time. Lina teaches us a great way to practice this skill!

Last week we discussed the importance of Wonder for our wellness. I promised I’d report back on all the wonder I discovered on my vacation, and my promise to myself that I would not head to the office first thing on Monday with so much stress that my vacation would have been pointless!

Well, the vacation did not come without stress. My daughter ended up in one of the Bahamas’ medical centers, day 1, with what we thought was an eye infection. And, on day 4, she slammed into the pool wall, injuring her chin! Luckily, she is healing nicely and had lots of love and support during both incidents. I have to say that I kept it together and focused on all the positives, which were many! Being intentional about how I wanted to feel during and after my vacation really helped! In fact, I’d love to share with you my video below of the two dolphins—Exhuma and Robella, who were the cause of much WONDER and joy during our trip! We actually got to swim and play with them in the open ocean and experience their beauty and brilliance. And, it is my first morning back to work and I’m feeling great! A bit tired, but staying focused on getting things done with a Caribbean state of mind.


http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=98361615&force_embed=1&server=vimeo.com&show_title=0&show_byline=0&show_portrait=0&color=00adef&fullscreen=1&autoplay=0&loop=0

Wisdom and Success

This week, I’d like to focus on the importance of Wisdom on our journey toward well being. In Thrive, Arianna Huffington describes it in this way:

“Wisdom frees us from the narrow reality we’re trapped in—a reality consumed by the first two metrics of success, money and power, long after they have ceased to fulfill us. Indeed, we continue to pull the levers not only after their diminishing returns have been exhausted, but even after it’s clear they’re actually causing us harm in terms of our health, our peace of mind, and our relationships. Wisdom is about recognizing what we’re really seeking: connection and love. But in order to find them, we need to drop our relentless pursuit of success as society defines it for something for genuine, more meaningful, and more fulfilling.”

When I read this I naturally want to question, “What is success, then, and how do we redefine it, understanding that the majority of our waking hours are spent trying to achieve ‘it’?” Maybe you have struggled with this question as well? In reading one of my favorite blogs—Sources of Insight, Zig Ziglar’s definition of success is:

“…closing the door on your office at the end of the day knowing that you did a good job and knowing that those that interacted with you had a positive experience.”

“…looking forward to getting home and seeing the people you love.”

“…turning out the lights and saying to yourself it just doesn’t get much better than this.”

When I read this definition I get excited! Yes, success should be measured (daily) by how we affect other’s lives positively, connecting with and loving others, being purpose-driven in all that we do, and being grateful. You with me?!!! All of these concepts are found in Thrive.

 

Wisdom and Time

In Thrive, Arianna refers to the epidemic of “time famine” and how it sucks the wonder and wisdom out of our lives. She shares,

“In order to manage our time—or what we delude ourselves into thinking of as managing time—we rigidly schedule ourselves, rushing from meeting to meeting, event to event, constantly trying to save a bit of time here, a bit there. We fear that if we don’t cram as much as possible into our day, we might miss out on something fabulous, important, special, or career advancing. But there are no rollover minutes in life. We don’t get to keep all that time we ‘saved’. It’s actually a very costly way to live.”

How can “time famine” affect our well-being? A study led by Lijing L. Yan at Northwestern University found that young adults exhibiting time urgency and impatience had a higher risk of developing hypertension and weight gain. No surprise here! If this study measures young adults, can you imagine how adults who live unconsciously this way year after year are affected over time?

 

Wisdom and Habits

So much of wisdom is tuning into our minds, our hearts and our intuition. How can we put ourselves on a path to well-being if we are not aware of what is working and what is not working in our lives? In the book, Arianna shares what poet Mark Nepo says about this understanding:

 “(Sacrifice is) giving up with reverence and compassion what no longer works in order to stay close to what is sacred.” Arianna adds, “So recognizing when habits are no longer working for us and sacrificing them is a cornerstone of wisdom.”

I also appreciate what Arianna shares about “Keystone Habits” from Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit:

“Reprogramming the autopilot (in each of us) takes different amounts of time. What makes it easier is focusing on ‘keystone habits’; when you change one of them, it makes changing other habits easier. (This) starts a process that, over time, transforms everything. Keystone habits say that success doesn’t depend on getting every single thing right, but instead relies on identifying a few key priorities and fashioning them into powerful levers.”

Arianna’s keystone habit was and continues to be sleep. By getting more sleep regularly she is able to more easily create other new well-being habits, such as meditation and exercise.

 

Finding Your Thread

In closing, I love a Greek Mythology story that Arianna shares about Ariadne (also Arianna’s given name), in which Theseus could be saved and free to return to Athens only if he entered the labyrinth and slew the Minotaur (monster, or our old habits!). All who had gone before him had perished, but Theseus, guided by the thread Ariadne had given him (what guides us back to our center; our core sacred being), was able to make his way into the labyrinth and come out of it alive and victorious. What a great analogy, huh?

So, here’s my challenge to you this week:

  1. What is your Keystone Habit? That one thing that you can do that will be the foundation for your path to well-being?
  2. Create one small action step to begin creating that Keystone Habit.
  3. Take a piece of thread that will remind you of your step and tie it around your wrist as a reminder.

Here’s a picture of mine! My Keystone Habit is movement! I’ve noticed the difference in every aspect of my life (especially how I sleep!) when I move—whether it’s yoga, walking, biking, dancing, etc. My step is to do a minimum of 20 minutes a day.

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Please share what your Keystone Habit is below, and I’d love for you to share a picture of your Thread! Thanks for tuning in today. “-)

It’s your life. Lead it well.

Monique

Photo courtesy of Neerav Bhatt

SUMMER OF WELL-BEING WEEK 2

Our expert this week is Davis Mitchell. In this video Davis shares with us her insight into the importance of hydration, and she also gives us some expert tips! Watch the video below to find out:

• The three things you need to know to take care of your cells.
• The symptoms and side effects of dehydration.
• The damaging effects of alcohol and caffeine.
• Her formula to determine how much water you should be drinking for your body weight.



Davis Mitchell
Davis Mitchell
Inspiring confidence and self-worth in young women through clean vegan eating and a healthy lifestyle, Davis Mitchell is the expert in the realm of women’s health and vibrancy, leading with compassion and heart. Her methods deliver results when you decide, commit and resolve to take your health to the next level. Join her as she lives by choice, not by chance!
Instagram: @davisjaclyngreenlife

 
 
 

SUMMER OF WELL-BEING WEEK 1

Today, Mary P. Trontz helps us focus on the well-being dimension of Moving, and how we can better lead our bodies and our lives from our Core in just a few seconds everyday.


Along with a sound diet, the key to obtaining a lean, toned torso is building a strong core. To build a strong core you need to exercise a variety of muscles from your hips to your shoulders.

When these muscles contract, they stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle and create a solid base of support. When this happens, we are able to generate powerful movements of the extremities.

A strong core distributes the stresses of weight-bearing and protects the back:
• Reduces Back Pain
• Reduces the Risk for Lower Back Injury
• Improves Posture
• Improves Athletic Performance

Planking is an exercise that engages several muscles and strengthens your core.

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Try to plank at least 30 seconds every day.

There are several plank exercises. Here are just a few to get you started:

Regular or Side Plank — begin with a 30 second hold & increase gradually
Plank Jacks — adds leg workout & cardio
Hip Twists — tap hip side to side to workout your obliques/love handles
Suicide Planksas you advance add shoulders/arm workout (start with 5 per side & increase to 10 gradually)

If you’re holding a standard plank, here is some expert advice, so you get the best results:

• Keep your shoulders square above your wrists
• Tuck your hips under by contracting your abs
• Keep your neck long and relaxed
• Focus on something directly underneath you to keep your spine and neck neutral
• Keep your back flat (your body should be in a straight line)
• Stay up on your toes and keep your heels down, low, or flexed
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Mary P
Mary P. Trontz
Certified Fitness Trainer & Independent Team Beachbody Diamond Coach
Mary P. Trontz is a Certified Fitness Trainer and an Independent Team Beachbody Diamond Coach. She obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of North Florida. Currently, she spends her time as a bootcamp instructor, personal trainer, fitness coach and nutrition consultant.
Website: www.Beachbodycoach.com/MaryTrontz
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MaryFitnessCoach
Email: maryfitnesscoach@yahoo.com

 

 

Thank you, Mary, for sharing this strength-building exercise for our core, in just a few minutes a day! If you’d like to use this platform to help stay accountable to new ways you can improve your well-being, list your SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) goal below in the comments!

 
 
 

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And so it begins …The Summer of Well-Being Program launches today, and runs through the end of August. Each Tuesday you will receive my personal blog, and each Thursday you’ll receive our Guest Expert’s blog — both focused on helping you think about what well-being means to you, and what small shifts can help you increase it.

Thank you for joining us on this journey! I’m excited. I hope you are too!

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If you watched my intro video to our Summer of Well-Being, you’ll know that part of the time I’ll be blogging about Arianna Huffington’s new book, Thrive. In the book, we learn that Arianna’s journey into wellness started at a very young age, with her mother imparting wisdom, practices and values that would help her make those necessary changes at those most crucial moments. One of those moments for her was when she was burning the candle at both ends; trying to do it all and do it best. She was running on fumes, which was the norm for her, but on this day she couldn’t power through; on this day she landed on the floor with a broken cheek-bone and gash over her eye. This was her wake-up call. That inner wisdom kicked in, the small changes began and what has emerged is a new Arianna who has continued to “thrive,” but not just with the usual two success metrics of money and power, but with the addition of a third metric she has created, one of well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving.

In the book we learn that 60-90 percent of doctor visits are to treat stress-related conditions. Women in stressful jobs have a nearly 40 percent increased risk of heart disease, and a 60 percent greater risk of diabetes. And, as women have made substantial strides in the workplace, self-reported levels of stress have gone up by 18 percent. Arianna shares:

“The Western workplace culture — exported to many other parts of the world — is particularly fueled by stress, sleep deprivation and burnout. I had to come face-to-face, or face-to-floor, with the problem when I collapsed.”

But, of course, it’s not just a problem for women. In the book, former president of Google China, Lee Kai-Fu, shares about being diagnosed with cancer in 2013:

“I naively used to compete with others to see who could sleep less. I made ‘fighting to the death’ a personal motto … It’s only now, when I’m suddenly faced with possibly losing 30 years of my life, that I’ve been able to calm down and reconsider. That sort of persistence may have been a mistake.” He shares that his new plan includes, “Sleep enough, adjust my diet and start exercising again.”

 

My Accident.

In 2007 I had a similar experience that really began a transformation for me — one that challenged my idea of what was truly important, and mostly, how I wanted to feel about myself and the world I lived in every day. It challenged all of my decisions, as well as my knowing of what impact I wanted to make; legacy I wanted to leave. That’s why this book resonates so strongly with me.

I remember that day vividly. I was devastated and embarrassed. I asked myself, “Did I really do this?” My schedule was so hectic during that time, by choice. I was striving for a level of success (and a definition of success) that just wasn’t achievable, sustainable or purposeful. I would come home from a full day of working, kiss my family, change clothes, and leave again to tackle a side job 40 minutes away. Intuitively, I knew I had made some terrible decisions, but I did not want to fail. I was in rush-hour traffic, and I was exhausted, as I always was those days. Well, I didn’t make it to where I was going that evening, because I fell asleep while driving and struck the car in front of me. I woke up when I hit her, and I woke up in many other ways as well.

Just from that one incident I was able to clearly see that I was off purpose and vision, operating in a way that would continue to damage my health, career and my family life. I also learned that my lack of sleep and diet was contributing to my exhaustion. I made immediate changes that made a huge difference. That was 7 years ago, and I’m still learning daily and finding the right techniques and tools that work best to help me accomplish my life goals.

 

Success Redefined.

You don’t have to fall on your face, get diagnosed with a disease, or fall asleep at the wheel to make changes. My hope for all of us is quite the opposite. My hope is that we all will be proactive in making small, better choices that will help us redefine success — from the inside out — and think about “Third Metric” living! As Arianna states:

“This book is designed to help us move from knowing what to do to actually doing it … practical daily practices, tools and techniques that are easy to incorporate in our lives … to reconnect with ourselves, our loved ones and our community — in one word, to thrive.”

 

Simple Steps.

In part one of Thrive, Arianna provides a lot of research and data that suggests that there are three simple things we can begin to do to have dramatic effects on our well-being:

  1. Get just 30 more minutes of sleep to immediately improve your health, creativity, productivity and sense of well-being. Either go to bed earlier, get up later, or take 2 short naps a day. In the book, Bill Clinton admitted, “Every important mistake I’ve made in my life, I’ve made because I was too tired.”
  2. Move your body, in any way, anytime! Walk, run, stretch, do yoga, dance, etc.
  3. Introduce five minutes of meditation into your day. Build up from there.

 

Commit.

During the Summer of Well-being you will learn great ways to do what Arianna is suggesting from our experts. You are invited to try what calls to you. In the book I was drawn to a concept by Thoreau called “Shake off the village,” referring to freeing ourselves from the distractions that are constantly begging for our attention, and fully experience the world around us. Thoreau says:

“I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit … What business have I in the woods, if I am thinking of something out of the woods?”

The idea of shaking things off mentally, physically, emotionally, etc., feels so freeing to me. It is the one thing I do every day without fail. I happen to be on a beautiful campus surrounded by awe-inspiring trees, lakes, birds, etc., that it has become a daily mindful retreat for me. I feel the moment when it’s necessary and take to the outdoors for my mindful walk. I shake it all off! And then I am back, refreshed, recharged and ready to keep things moving.

So, I hope you will join me and the multitudes of others who have joined in on our Summer of Well-Being, to take small meaningful action toward a life well led.

Please share with me along the way what steps you’re taking. I can’t wait to hear what tips resonate for you, and how you are feeling.

On Thursday, we welcome Mary P. Trontz, a Certified Fitness Trainer and an Independent Team Beachbody Diamond Coach. She spends her time as a bootcamp instructor, personal trainer, fitness coach and nutrition consultant. She’s going to teach us how to live well, starting with our core!

Mary P

If you still haven’t joined our Summer of Well-being, do so today! Just subscribe on this page (upper right-hand corner) to make sure you receive our weekly tips!

Namaste,

Monique

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage by considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them; every day begin the task anew.” — Francis de Sales