The Science Behind Affirmations: How They Lead to Positive Changes

Thoughts about affirmations are mixed. An affirmation is simply a thought. They are thoughts in the form of simple phrases that you intentionally create and repeat to yourself. Depending on your mindset, our thoughts can take us towards what we want or they can lead us down the rabbit hole. Knowing the science behind affirmations is helpful and shows us that using something simple like positive affirmations can help in so many areas of our lives such as transition, business, sports, and life in general. I’d like to share the following with you by Reniel, January 26, 2022.

The Science & Benefits Behind Positive Affirmations
So to tackle your problems you just need to repeat positive thoughts? Yes, and science backs it up. Positive affirmation practices have been linked to a reduction in stress and the effect of negative thoughts and in turn, an increase in cognitive performance and creativity.

As the world-famous psychologist Daniel Kahneman describes in his bestseller “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, the brain has two systems through which it functions.

  • One is responsible for our conscious and deliberate thoughts
  • The other operates quickly and automatically with no voluntary control and no effort

The decisions we make without any conscious thought are the realm of beliefs, generalizations, and biases that each of us has and forms throughout our lives. He explains that those are “mental shortcuts” designed to make quick decisions that were vital for our survival when resources were scarce.

They were also decisions that were energy efficient because the brain consumes a lot of energy compared to its size.

There’s no denying that we receive a lot of information from our environment and it is filtered through those “mental shortcuts” which in turn affects our actions and judgment. Thankfully, those beliefs that we hold are not innate and fixed, but ones that can be changed with deliberate practice.

So if you’ve ever had a vision problem, you know what a miracle it is to put on the right pair of glasses or lens. And positive affirmations are the pair of glasses that will allow you to see yourself and the world in a way that makes you feel better and gives you the chance to take action towards your goals.

The Negativity Bias
Unfortunately, each of us has a negativity bias to some extent, which means we tend to dwell on our negative emotions more than our positive emotions and thoughts.

But if we utilize and incorporate positive affirmations in our life, it can allow us to restore balance in our life and make us realize that the voice in our head that keeps bickering insults aimed at us may not be right after all.

Positive affirmations can also help us achieve our goals because it makes us more confident in our abilities and decreases our stress which then enhances our cognitive performance.

Finally, positive affirmations may improve our relationships with other people because low self-worth often leads to isolation and unwillingness to develop social bonds with others due to a false belief that we are not worthy of love.

How To Practice Positive Affirmations
First, you need to craft the positive affirmation phrases you will be using.

It’s best to begin by reflecting on who you are as a person, what are your current struggles and aspirations. This is important so that you align the positive affirmations you intend to use with your core values so that you have a very clear idea of what actions and thoughts lead you to feel anxious and insecure.

After you figure that out, it’s time to create phrases that are the opposite of the negative thoughts that keep spinning in your head.

If you have reflected that “I’m not good enough,” an example of a positive affirmation would be, “I’m worthy of love,” or “I’m doing my best every day and that’s enough”.

You could also use encouraging phrases such as…

  • “I’m confident”
  • “I am powerful”
  • “I’m fearless”

…that serve to reaffirm your positive perception and offer support.

Make sure your positive affirmations are personal, easy to remember, and understandable. This means that they should generally be short and simple so they are easy to practice.

Usually, it’s best to start with 2-3, repeat them whenever you can, put them in your phone or write them around your home so that you see them every day. You may even discuss them with friends and relatives so they can keep you accountable if you want to.

Try Positive Affirmations & See How You Feel
With all that in mind, don’t be afraid to try affirming positive thoughts.

This new year, make it a habit to stay positive and take steps towards a better life, one positive affirmation at a time.

When One Door Closes…

“Mom, what is wrong with people?” my daughter asked me in a defeated and frustrated tone. “Why don’t people do what they say they are going to do?” she continued. “He didn’t even bother to call.” Her heat had been broken for two weeks in the dead of winter, and the HVAC tech that was scheduled to come out was a no show yet again (for the fourth time in a row and she was freezing). Now she may have been referring to a specific situation regarding her heat, but her questions were valid.

I sat silent for a minute thinking about what she had said. “Mom, are you there?” she asked after about two minutes. “Yes, I am just thinking about what you said,” I replied. The truth is, what she was asking me boiled down to respect – respect for others, respect for ourselves, and respect for our work. Life is full of HVAC techs that do not show up and do not call to apologize. The lesson to be learned is how to not let others’ incompetency or complete disregard for others affect you.

I told her that it is more than okay to feel disappointed and frustrated when people disappoint and frustrate you, but that it is important to not take it personally and to move on and figure out another path to journey down. I gave her five minutes to rant and get it out of her system. Once she cooled down, I asked if she wanted my opinion (I always ask before I offer it because sometimes people want to vent and other times people want solutions, and I am not a mind reader). She wanted my opinion.

I told her that there was no point in reaching out to this tech again as that road seemed to be a dead-end after four failed attempts. We brainstormed a bit about solutions, instead of going over the problem again. After about 30 minutes we had gotten the name of two independent HVAC specialists (one from Google and the other from her law school classmate). She emailed her landlord asking for a return phone call. The landlord called about 20 minutes later and they had a productive human-to-human conversation, whereby the landlord agreed to coordinate billing for one of the new techs she found and pay for a hotel nearby until the heat was fixed (that law school education came in handy). She hung up and exhaled (for the first time in about two weeks).

When we get frustrated by things and people outside of our control, it is important to take a moment to pause and regroup. We need to get to a calm place where we can think clearly and come up with solutions. Going over what keeps going wrong only ingrains that message further into our brains. Rather, shake it off, and instead of trying to fight through closed doors, look for a window that is slightly ajar to open and climb through. We cannot change others, we can only shift ourselves and how we react and interact with others. So, if you want to get a positive result, approach with positivity.

Shifting from push to pull

Do you want to feel more energetic during the day? If so, try shifting from “push” to “pull.” A program called “Positive Intelligence” teaches labeling our actions and thoughts as helpful, or not, in identifying the direction we want to head in. For example, when headed in a negative direction we look at what can be sabotaging or depleting us. Whereas going in a sage direction, meaning that we are wisely guiding ourselves, leads us to be more energized, productive, and positive.

From “Positive Intelligence”:

Research has shown that our reservoir of willpower is exhaustible and can be depleted. In one study, participants who used up their willpower trying to resist unhealthy snacks put in front of them later gave up faster when faced with challenging puzzles. Has this happened to you?

The saboteurs push you into action based on negative emotions like stress, fear of failure, or looking back. This negative push of saboteurs drains your willpower and that has great consequences because it spills over into other things. For example, if you begin your workday using willpower to push yourself to do multiple unhealthy, unpleasant tasks by noon your willpower reservoir might be depleted. Further consequence might be the inability to resist temptations and eat unhealthy food at lunch. Another potential consequence might be impatience with colleagues in an afternoon meeting; moreover, you may not be as resilient in recovering from the stress such as a failure later that day.

An upside – your sage (wise advisor) pulls you into action based on positive emotions such as empathy, curiosity, wonder, creativity, passion, or compelling vision. This pull of the sage based on positive emotions is compelling and doesn’t require willpower to keep going. It’s easier and flows naturally.

Today as you find yourself pushing yourself or others with negative emotions, stop and shift to pull. Make the task or situation more compelling and appealing. Use sage perspectives such as empathy, exploration, or innovative powers to inject something positive into the situation. Turn direction into something you want to do rather than something you have to do. Shifting to pull means you keep your reservoir of willpower full so you can be more patient with others (allowing you to handle unexpected challenges) or to recover from failures faster.

Good Vibrations!

In the words of the Beach Boys, “Good, good, good, good vibrations!”

On a brighter note: 10 Things Going Well on Our Planet

I don’t know about you, but I am so tired of everything negative. I’d like to share some positive actions people and companies are taking to help one another. Heroes are as diverse as the acts they choose to do. 

  1. People, volunteers are stepping up to help others in need 
  2. Positive attention and actions being taken on the environment
  3. Animals (elephants, gorillas) being born in Africa have greatly increased and no longer is on the endangered species list
  4. Tech firms are making the digital world less intrusive for children to respect children’s privacy and personal data
  5. Man jumps into a bay to save a toddler
  6. Town raises $1k to give to a UPS driver to thank him for being essential during the pandemic
  7. Furniture store owner donates his retail space as a shelter
  8. Plumber helped 10,000 vulnerable families by fixing heating and plumbing for free during the pandemic
  9. Teacher spent every day in lockdown preparing food for his pupils and delivered 7,500 packed lunches
  10. Pollution is dropping

The great thing is, I can fill pages with good news. If you get the urge to help others, there is nothing too small, or big, so go for it! You’ll get as much joy as the recipients. Email me your top ten at: [email protected]

Focus on What We Can Control

My grandmother had a saying, “When you plan, G-d laughs.” I realized as I got older that what she was really talking about was control.

It’s not that she was saying not to plan, it’s that she was saying make your plans but be flexible about them. How I interpret it is that there will always be situations that are outside of our control and learn to “go with the flow.” It’s certainly less stressful. In my experience I’ve noticed that there’s usually something better waiting for us, and instead of pushing through a closed door, seek one that is open. You can be persistent, and at a certain point you want to make decisions to shift or to keep pushing and depleting your energy.

Your time is valuable and precious. Don’t waste it on things you can’t control. The more you resist, the more things persist. That makes life harder. You do have control of yourself – your reactions, actions, effort, and attitude. You will benefit by using your energy wisely.

Focus on the action you can take by making conscious decisions to move forward. Put your energy into something fulfilling and satisfying.

Don’t let negative emotions, resentments, and unproductive thoughts linger and guide you. Manage your emotions outside your comfort one. It may feel uncomfortable stepping out of your comfort zone. Take baby steps. You don’t have to jump in the deep end of the pool, just put a toe in.

To summarize, follow these tips for a positive outcome:

1) Use your energy wisely when things are out of our control

2) Make conscious decisions

3) Put your energy into things you can control

4) Focus on thoughts and actions that move you forward

5) Take baby steps

6) Choose something that is fulfilling and has meaning to you

7) Watch life flow more easily

Reset for your good health!

It is an understatement to say that the pandemic has taken its toll on all of us.  Everyone has been affected in some way, shape, or form, and tested our resiliency.  Turning on the news for five minutes will make you want to turn it off.  But we are strong and can get through this together, one day at a time.  I wanted to share some ideas and suggestions for simple things we can all do each day to keep our own spirits high and hopefully raise the energy of those around us.  

For my own mental wellness, I have been incorporating some easy and small things into my daily routine to improve my mood.  Doing these things consistently, even on days when it is hard, has been incredibly helpful.  Whether it is getting some fresh air and sunshine for 20-30 minutes per day, cooking a new (or old) recipe I enjoy, FaceTiming with my loved ones, going for a walk or exercising, practicing gratitude and meditation, or saying positive things to myself.  No matter how I was feeling beforehand, I always feel better afterward and the cumulative effect over time is inspiring.

Now part of what makes me feel good is feeling connected to others.  And during this time when everyone is dealing with their own struggles and possibly far away from family or friends, feeling connected is more important than ever.  And this can be as simple as saying hello to your neighbor, smiling at someone you pass by on the street, opening the door for a stranger, asking how the checkout or delivery person is doing or calling a friend or family member to catch up.  It does not take much to make someone else’s day, and in turn, it can make your day as well!

As we navigate this together in real-time, make sure to find the little things that keep you positive and energized, and help to put a smile on your face and those around you.  Compassion and kindness are free, so have a great day and week ahead, and remember to Take Command of Your Life!

The only person you can control in the world is yourself. Here are some tips to make life easier:

  • Smile through your mask -you can see a smile through the mask
  • Open the door for someone
  • Say ‘hello’
  • Practice gratitude
  • Watch a silly movie
  • Laugh
  • Treat yourself and others with compassion and kindness.
  • Build your resilience – view things as stepping-stones rather than obstacles
  • Have a positive mindset
  • Connect through technology if you cannot in person
  • Do something that makes you feel productive

Live your best life!

Sleep, Sleep, Sleep – Counting Sheep!

The whole world seems to be tired or experiencing a “mental fog.”

We are living in a society where one in every three of us is not getting enough sleep. There are waaay too many things preventing us from getting a good night’s rest. Some of these are by designed by business interests that want to keep us awake, so our relationship with sleep is not the healthiest. When you consider COVID stresses, streaming videos, and for some, nightlife, it is easy to understand.

Sleep is a topic that should be taken seriously. It is one of the most important aspects of your health and life. Good sleep involves an understanding of diet, exercise, and work/life integration. We know that without a restful, peaceful sleep, we are not our best selves. The goal is to calm our mind and central nervous system.

Sleeping tips for anyone (at any age) can be helpful. Consider the tips below if you are someone who gets up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back to sleep, or if you have a hard time falling asleep once you get into bed.

A few things you should know before I get to my tips. When you wake up in the morning, your cortisol (stress hormone) is high. The reason is because it helps to keep you awake and alert as you get ready for the day ahead. So, ease into the day.

Next, stress, even when you first wake up, will adversely affect your day and your sleep at the end of the day. So, wait before you begin your “work-day.” By this I mean do the personal things upon awakening first – checking voicemail and emails can wait. Ease into the day – many of us check our voice messages and email the minute we get up in the morning. Any given message can certainly start to cause stress or alertness. Then your adrenals jump up, your cortisol (which is a big part of your sleep process) increases, your heart rate may get higher, and you may get anxious. And then you are ‘off to the races’ and you haven’t brushed your teeth yet!

Pay attention to your resilience level. Your resilience level is shaped by your thinking style (look at what energizes you and what depletes you), your individual needs, and your experiences. How have you sustained your resilience during this pandemic? You have to dig deep to persevere and endure. Sleep, diet, and exercise, which many consider trite, are of the utmost importance. I said this above, but it bears repeating: without a restful, peaceful sleep, you are not your best self.

One of the tools that I use for myself and which I use to guide clients is setting up a nighttime routine. People often hesitate or resist setting up a routine, but they really can work. Think about how good it will feel to get a good night’s sleep. You’ll feel refreshed, clear, and ready to take on the day!

Creating a Routine

Be prepared – mentally. Allowing yourself to calm and decompress helps you to relax. You can visualize how you want your day to go. Leave yourself a list of one or two things at the end of the day so it helps you get started the next morning.

Form a habit. Do the same thing each night at the same time, such as turning off everything electronic at nine o’clock; then brushing your teeth and getting into bed. This sends a message to your body. You are telling your body and your mind to settle down instead of your mind telling you how it is going to be and running the show.

In this process, take command of your chatter or self-talk (and therefore your life). Your mind really does sometimes ‘take on a life of its own,’ literally and figuratively, and it’s hard to quiet it down.

Prepare your body and mindset with an intention to improve your sleeping habits, and to create a routine, so you are not sabotaging yourself each night.

Breathing Exercise

Here’s a simple breathing exercise: 4X4X4. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold it for 4 seconds, and breath out for 4 seconds. You can adjust the seconds with a rhythm that works for you.

Tapping – Emotional Freedom Technique (commonly referred to as Tapping)

Tapping is a wonderful technique where you tap on different points on your body to release stuck energy. When tapping, you are working on the underlying emotional component and the pain or problem while tapping on it. Tapping calms the mind and nervous system. Five to ten minutes of tapping sends signals to the brain, cardiovascular system, nervous system which allows your body to relax and let go. Considering we have 65-70,000 thoughts each day with 77% of those thoughts being negative, tapping can be very helpful. To learn more about it, feel free to contact me with absolutely no obligation. It’s easy to show this to you on FaceTime or Zoom.

You can also visit

Be Vigilant With What You Put in Your Body and Mind

Biochemically it is important what we choose to put into our body and mind (violent shows, the news at bedtime, junk food, our self-talk, any discomfort or pain) as these choices WILL affect us, both positively and negatively. If you watch the news, don’t watch before you go to bed. Cortisol, a stress hormone, is a very big part of the sleep process. Remember, your mind continues to process even as you sleep.

Mind Dump

I keep a pen and pad on my night table. If I have a lot on my mind I write it down to get it out of my head, knowing that I can refer to it in the morning. It allows me to decompress and that process is calming.

Build Your Resilience and a Positive Mindset

Set your intentions and create a nightly ritual that works for you. Because of the negative slant that our brain has, we tend to think of what’s missing rather than focusing on what we have. You must be intentional with your thoughts. You control your thoughts, they don’t control you.

Take command of your life … Make yourself and sleep a priority.

Do You Have Zoom Fatigue?

Zooming should be in the next edition of the dictionary. It is now more a norm of business interaction than in-person communication. And it can be fatiguing! At first, wow, what fun, but after a while, being on video call after video call gets to you. It becomes fatiguing, both physically and emotionally. Sitting all day can get to your back and neck, and not being with others can feel isolating. Being on constant video calls (whether it’s Zoom or another platform) requires more mental processing than face-to-face interactions. Moreover, seeing ourselves gives us the sense that we are always “on” and have to act accordingly.

Now, the veteran zoomers among us tend to multi-task even more than usual. Our poor brains! The brain is not meant to multi-task so we end up using even more energy to do so.

It appears there are efforts moving us back to “normal.” In some geographic areas and in some businesses, in-person meetings and gatherings have begun, while others are being more cautious and sticking with videos, and still, others are trying hybrid meetings which could be the best resolution of all.

“Normal” is coming, and yes, the COVID vaccine is being rolled out, but as a gentle reminder, it is not a cure. It does not prevent you from becoming infected, and it does not stop the possibility of you infecting others. The vaccine, they say, will reduce your symptoms if you become infected. Therefore my friends, until we understand more about COVID and the different strains, as well as knowing more about the different vaccines, please be careful. Think not only about yourself and also about others.

Here are some tips to help Zoom fatigue:

1) Schedule 10-15 minutes between each call so you don’t burn out.

2) Center and ground yourself in between calls and shake off the energy from one call so you go into the next with a fresh, positive, clear-headed mindset.

3) Stand up and walk around between calls, change your posture, step outside, or do some deep breathing.

4) Eat healthy snacks with protein and healthy drinks and avoid excess sugar and caffeine.

5) Do some exercise stretches at your desk, standing or on a mat. For example, try some bicep or tricep curls, lay on your back, pull your knees to your chest and rock back and forth so you are massaging your lower back.

6) Turn off video camera – Just listen without being on screen. You may be able to focus better just using your auditory sense and giving the visual a rest!

7) Use your time productively and shorten the length of your calls. Try 45 minutes instead of an hour, or 30 minutes, or even 15 if you can. In the course of a day it can make a big difference.

8) Schedule a screen-free time, even if it’s on the weekend.

9) Try a meeting-free day. Do some tasks to catch-up and aren’t screen-related.

10) Reduce stress with whatever works for you – music, meditation, sports, taking your dog for a walk, and so on.

On a personal note … Drum roll: Eliminate the word pivot from your vocabulary – that fatigues me!!!

Tips on Staying Mentally and Physical Fit

What are you doing to stay mentally and physically fit? For physical fitness, if your answer is, I’m not sure, not enough, I want to do more, or I need to do something, then it’s time to get creative.

In pre-Covid times, I was working out by going to exercise classes, playing tennis when I could, and using different machines at the gym. Nowadays, I work out at home. Turning a room or area in your house or apartment into an at-home gym can be the answer. For example, I bought foam square flooring and laid it over tile in my living room so I had cushioning for better body support. I created a workout space for myself consisting of a yoga mat, press bench, various weights, kettlebells, resistance bands, and a table to put my phone or laptop on so I can take online classes. I also really enjoy getting outside and walking my dog.

For my mental fitness, I focus on work, practice meditation, and gratitude, do jigsaw and crossword puzzles, read, write, and journal.

To relax, I listen to soothing music and audiobooks, take walks, get fresh air, bake, and watch Netflix.

Doing all of these things helps me stay clear and positive. There are so many things that are out of our control (especially these days), that being able to focus on the things we can control, like eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising, and virtually connecting with loved ones, will help keep us all mentally and physically strong.

What are you doing to boost your mood and fitness during this time?

Rethink, Regroup, Rebuild for Now and the Future  

The new year has gotten off to a quick start. The headlines in the news continue to be about vaccines and politics, and a more recent voice that has been one of hope and promise. Wishing you all to be well and safe. Our medical community doesn’t need more patients! Thank you to all people who have been in service and volunteering to help our country, our world. It’s our duty to leave the earth in good shape for the generations to come. Let’s all work together.

We now have the first month of 2021 behind us. What I found interesting in 2020 was how fast the year passed. With most people working remotely and being home in general, and most activities being shifted to video calls, many thought the year would pass by slowly. Instead, the year seemed to go by at warp speed. Even January passed by in the blink of a second.

Working efficiently and effectively with our time management and organization skills are of the utmost importance. With many of our kids home, ranging from nursery school to college, we need to create an environment that is good for adults and children to work and play. Design or redesign a space that works and is comfortable.

Since we aren’t quite sure what the new normal will look like, I think it’s important to set up some type of routine or schedule so that we have something constant in our lives. Eating our meals together, setting a homework time, monitoring how many zoom calls we are on, and so on, will create some consistency and structure. Where we can have some control in our lives, take it.

Here are a few tips to help you manage … and if you’d like a time management tool simply email me at [email protected]

Self-time and Self-care
I am putting this tip first because people tend to put it last. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to help others. Make sure you have downtime during the day. Take breaks. We should be called human doers instead of human beings. Most of us do, do, do! We are not machines … even machines need to be well-oiled! Try just ‘being.’ Take good care of yourself. Stay healthy. And if you go out, follow safety guidelines. Be respectful.

A pause allows you to take a breath, to be present, and to be at choice. Therefore it gives you a chance to rethink, to regroup, to rebuild.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~ Viktor Frankl

Be Positive
When making decisions you want to be sure you are coming from a positive mindset. Making fear-based decisions typically don’t bring you the outcomes you desire. Focus on what you have, not what’s missing. We all have the opportunity to be happy and move forward.

Be Present
In the present, we are fully alive and engaged in what we’re doing. It’s okay to think in the past or the future but bring yourself back to the present. It’s only in the present that we can be at choice.

Clear the clutter
If you want to clear your head, start with the clutter around you and within you. There are three types of clutter. Emotional, electronic, and physical. Clear your head of negative self-talk, clear your physical space of anything you are not using or plan to use, and clear your computer of the hundreds of emails that are just sitting there. When you clear the clutter, you will be able to focus better and with clarity.

Be Productive
If you haven’t set goals, it’s a great idea to do so because they help us navigate our lives. Make a reasonable ‘to do’ list and go through it one by one by one. People feel good when they are productive … you can feel their energy when they succeed. For starters, write down a couple of personal goals and professional goals and set your sight on accomplishing them.

A Story of Resilience and Strength We Can All Learn From

You hear the statistics often. You see some people following the safety rules set up for Covid, while others are proceeding with little or no caution.

It’s been a long haul for me personally. My 95-year-old mother passed this week because a staff member unintentionally brought in Covid. Although the nursing home was following the rules, such as taking temperatures, checking for external signs, it simply was not enough because so many people are asymptomatic. However, this is not a story about the nursing home. They really were doing their best.

My mother amazed me. I used to ask her, “how do you wake up each morning ready for a new day?” Being in pain all the time, feeling isolated due to Covid, she never complained. In fact, she didn’t realize herself how strong she was until I pointed it out to her and acknowledged her courage and positive outlook. When I asked her how she does it, she said there were two choices. She said the first choice was to complain, which makes you feel worse. She said she chooses the second, to be grateful for each sunrise. Which is how I choose to live my life.

I told her about a book by Viktor Frankl called Man’s Search for Meaning. This was a gripping story about how a man in a concentration camp managed to survive because of his resilient attitude. To paraphrase Frankl when served his meal of the day, a bowl of dirty water with a fish head in it, he said he managed to see the beauty in it, or he’d never survive.

Frankl wasn’t born with a resilient gene, and neither was my mother. Over the years they built their resilience muscles until they were really well developed and a natural ‘go-to’ for them. I work out my resilience muscle each day when I work out. Let me explain …

Most of us think of resilience as bouncing back. And while it is about bouncing back, in addition, it is about how long does it take you to get back up. If you fail do you stay down, or do you look at the failure and learn from it? The resilient person learns from it and builds from there.

I view resilience as a thinking style. We have thoughts that are negative and toxic, and they deplete our energy (like gossip or anything with mal intention), and we have thoughts that energize us (points us in the direction we want to go). If we want to increase our resilience, we have to practice by having thoughts and building habits that are productive and positive. To make this thinking a habit, we have to practice by shifting and reframing negative to positive and productive thinking. This builds our resilience.

Resilience isn’t something you are born with. It is something you strengthen by working out with it each day. For example, if you want to develop stronger arms, you lift weights, and after repetition, your arms become stronger and more defined. The same is true of resilience.

Many people would have given up a while ago given my mother’s situation. She chose to be resilient. She was a role model for courage and heart. I will miss her terribly. I know she’s moved on to whatever is next for her and that she’ll watch out for us like a guardian angel would.

Make sure you are taking care of yourselves and your loved ones. Be patient, build your resilience, and hang in there during this time of uncertainty.

Using Your Time Productively: 8 Tips for Better Living During Stressful Times

How have you been managing your time during Covid? Most people are working, playing, eating, celebrating different occasions, and so on, from home. People are becoming more comfortable with ‘tele-everything’ and adapting to virtual platforms, both professionally and personally. 

No one is sure what the new normal will look like yet, and life as we know it will be different. That is not a “bad” thing, it’s simply different. From ordering groceries to ordering almost any product you can think of, many people are managing well. 

Doing something constructive with your time is important. Many of us thrive when we feel a sense of achievement and in learning something new. I have a client that is taking piano lessons, another client that is learning how to host virtual workshops, and another who has joined a group who share similar interests. My husband started a podcast.

The point is to take baby steps forward. Here are some things you can try. And if you have any other ideas, please share ([email protected]).

Be Productive

Do one thing each day to move yourself forward. What about setting up a nice office space in your house or apartment?

De-clutter and organize your “stuff”

There are so many people de-cluttering and organizing that stores that sell the containers and storage are backordered. De-cluttering and organizing will allow you to think more clearly and feel more focused.

Spend quality time with your family

Staying in on a weekend as opposed to running errands, eating out, going to the movies, etc., can be a wonderful way to spend quality family time together. Try a board game, video game, or anything else that comes to mind. Be creative, especially with the holidays coming up. Is there something you can make, build or design together?

Positive mindset

Practice positive, productive thinking. You can look for the silver lining in all situations without being ‘Susie Sunshine.’ When we don’t have control over certain areas in your life, make the best of any situation that you can.  

Catch up with technology

It’s a good time to learn how to use technology if you are not skilled at it.

Books and games

What about joining a virtual book club or playing games?

Celebrate occasions

Why not celebrate a virtual birthday, graduations, or any milestones? Any joy is worth celebrating. 

Home gym

Stay in shape, physically and emotionally. There are many on-line fitness classes being offered. For example, I put the rubber flooring on the tile in an area in my home so that the floor was cushioned, bought some weights, a Pilates ring, jump rope, bands, and mats, and I watch a class or two several times a week. It gives me a great way to start the day and provides structure that I like. It’s a win-win! And it was inexpensive!

Like everything else in life, you can make good use of the time or you can complain. It’s your choice, choose well! Change is okay … it can even be better than okay!

Resilience and Flexibility in a Changing World

We are now in the seventh month of living with Covid, and we cannot say what our ‘new normal’ will be. There have been positives – people reaching out to help one another, and negatives – stress and anxiety that come from losing a job and income, declining health, and not knowing what’s next?  

As we try to navigate through each day, two attributes, amongst many, can make our lives easier: resilience and flexibility.  They have become a necessity in order to successfully get through each day. How resilient and flexible we are can determine the level of stress we take on (and how we deal with it), and our happiness.

Most people view resilience as bouncing back. It is more — resilience is not just about getting back up but about how long it takes to get back up. Are you staying down emotionally and physically and letting circumstances take the wind out of your sail, or are you looking at a situation or circumstance and learning from it and getting back on your feet?

Resilience is a thinking style. In fact, I view is like a muscle. We aren’t born resilient. We have to build our resilience the same way you build your arm muscle. If you want to strengthen and have muscular arms you need to work out consistently and build that muscle. It’s the same with resilience. You have to develop that muscle so that each time you metaphorically fall down, it takes you a shorter and shorter time to get up and bounce back.

Emotional resilience also means not letting others, situations, or circumstances dominate you so that you deplete your energy. Where you spend your time is where you place your energy, so be aware of where you place your thoughts. In fact, check-in with yourself so you are aware of whether your thoughts are productive or non-productive, and consciously make your thinking resilient. For example, when negative situations arise, think of choices and possibilities. A resilient mindset won’t let you think there are no options or choices.

Tied into resilience is flexibility. Being flexible results in handling change in a way that things go more smoothly, and it means you see options that give you choices – that “go with the flow” attitude. The next time there is a strong wind, notice how some trees are flexible and bend, while other trees snap because they aren’t flexible.

My 95-year-old mother is an example of resilience. She wakes up each day, no matter how she’s feeling physically, and she has an attitude to keep moving forward. Her failing health does not deter her … or the fact that she has seen very few people since Covid hit. When I ask her how she does stay so positive, she says you do what you have to do to keep pushing ahead. She has bounced back from so many health scares and has made a choice to make the best of life. And believe me, she is no Polly-Anna. She is incredibly resilient!

With a future looking like we’ll all be living with a “new normal,” hang in there. Stay safe and be well. It is a time for us to all come together and live peacefully.

Be Creative and Use Your Imagination During the Pandemic … And Don’t Pressure Yourself!

People are sheltering to protect themselves and their loved ones from the spread of the coronavirus. Whether you are quarantining with others, or alone, use your imagination and be creative to stay mentally and physically healthy. Creating helps us feel better. 

Constructively Vent and Get Outside

I’ve got clients telling me if they have one more video call, they’re going to scream! Screaming might actually be a good idea. It’s good to get it out in a constructive way. 

Find your own space to ease the burdens of being tired and frustrated. Whether that space is inside or out, there is nothing wrong with a good scream. Many people also find that simply being outside can help clear the head. That space can make it possible to be more creative. 

What Inspires You … Take Action and Make it a Reality


Another client told me he and his family love music. Each is playing the instrument they play, or singing, and trying to make it ‘band-worthy.’ While they may not make it to a real stage, it can be fun to dream! 

If you enjoy music, and it’s a stress-reducer for many, there’s an online concert venue called ‘StageIt’ where artists perform live shows from their laptop that are never recorded or archived. ‘StageIt’ allows both the artist and the fans to be part of the show. Check it out! 


Some people find inspiration in writing. It doesn’t have to be long or a masterpiece. Get your laptop or a pen and notebook and start writing. Become your creative you.  Write a story.  The exercise itself can be amazing!

Another idea to keep you focused is to write out some goals:  put pen to paper and write down one short-term and one long-term goal. Visualize what you want to achieve and write brief steps on how to make it happen. 

Cooking and Baking

For all of us, cooking and baking can be a great outlet. Whether you create new recipes or use old recipes, you can have fun and enjoy it! 

Try Something New or Restart Something You Had Put Away

Remember that old model plane you were gluing together or that painting you started? What about the book club you’re in but haven’t read the past two books? Now is as good as time as any to develop a new hobby or rekindle what you started. There are many games online today that you can access and be as involved as you like!

Brainstorm Ideas

This might be a very good time to set personal and professional goals you would like to reach, and then brainstorm some ideas with friends, family or colleagues. What would you like to accomplish, short-term or long-term? Keep it simple. It doesn’t have to be hard.

Physical Exercise

It is also very important to be physically fit. You may have been a member of a gym or played team sports. Keep in mind you can do things outside like running or walking. Something I did recently was to set up an in-house mini gym. I take on-line fitness classes. I have also purchased light weights, mats, a jump rope, and bands. I’m taking everything from cardio and aerobics classes to barre and stretching. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! Whew!

One word of caution is to not pressure yourself. You can’t force creativity. Check in with yourself and accept where you are. Let that be your starting point. After all, life is about cycles. Day gives way to night, the tide flows in and out and so on. Be kind to yourself and do your best.

Making Adjustments and Choosing to Stay Motivated During Covid

By now, most people realize that there is no end in sight for the Coronavirus. One day the numbers go down in people contracting the virus and then a surge is announced with numbers going up. No end in sight can result in people feeling down or anxious, and while that is one choice, there are other perspectives. 

The choice I’m making for myself, and in guiding my clients, is to focus on staying motivated, being productive, and socially connected. While we all have to make adjustments in life, health, and business, we must also hold onto whatever is positive.

Here are a few tips that are easy to follow:

Don’t be a news junkie – If you’re addicted to the new, there’s a good chance you’re feeling down. Try to minimize the amount of time your spending listening or watching the news. Don’t watch or listen before you go to sleep because that’s what you’ll be processing the whole night.

Set goals each day. Even if you’re productivity is not at its peak right now, the sense of accomplishment feels good, no matter how small it is! 

Make sure you are taking breaks throughout the day. While working at home is difficult for some (ability to focus and be disciplined), overworking can be an issue for others. Making a schedule can help you integrate your work and personal life.

Watch your energy level. Be aware whether you are feeling depleted or energized so that you can make the appropriate adjustments to your life.

Plan Face-Time or Zoom calls to stay socially and professionally connected.

Take care of your fitness. If you can spare some room, try an at-home fitness area. Order a mat, some hand weights, and bands for the legs. There are online fitness classes or make up your own routine.

Follow the guidelines with social distancing and stay healthy.