Pillar 4 of Brain Health: Social Interaction

 

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” – John Lennon

Welcome to Stand In Love!  If you are a first time connector, I am SO thrilled you joined us! 

Today, we are exploring Pillar 4 in our 6-part series on Brain Health.    To dive deep into this topic, I called up my girlfriend and friendship expert Shasta Nelson.  In case you missed the post featuring Shasta’s 3 core components of friendships, you can read it here.  So how does social connection promote brain health, and how can Shasta’s years of research on this subject benefit you? Read on!

Shasta’s personal mission: “Friendships can save the world!” 

Shasta Nelson, M.Div., is the Founder of GirlFriendCircles.com, a women’s friendship matching site in 65 cities across the U.S. and Canada. Her spirited and soulful voice for strong female relationships can be found in her books Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness and Friendships Don’t Just Happen! The Guide to Creating a Meaningful Circle of GirlFriends.

Here’s our girlfriend chat!

Q:  Shasta,  in your book Frientimacy, you share the importance of positivity in the cultivation of friendships and social interactions,  What role does positivity play in connecting socially?
“Positive feelings are the foundation for every relationship we have!  At the end of any interaction, whether we are conscious of it, or not, we are determining how much we want to interact with that person again, and we’ll base it off of how we felt in their presence.  In fact, research shows us that for a relationship to stay healthy, our positivity-to-negativity ration has to be at least 5:1, meaning that we need five positive emotions for every negative one.  So while we can never do away with all negative qualities, life stressors, or relational disappointments; we can always add more positivity: more kindness, empathy, laughter, acts of service, affirmation, gratitude, pride, etc.”
Q:  According to your extensive research, what would you say is the biggest obstacle to social connection?  What would you say to someone who feels they just don’t have the energy or mood to connect socially? 
The most common self-reported obstacle is “lack of time.” I hear it repeatedly.  And unfortunately it’s a vicious cycle in that the less frequently we see our friends, the less meaningful it can often feel, and so then the less often we want to make the time to see them.  On the contrary, the more we spend time with each other— the more we feel like we know what’s going on in each other’s lives, the safer we feel sharing, the more we feel supported, and the more relaxed and positive we feel.
Consistent time and interaction is one of the three requirements of all relationships that I teach in my book Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness; and without interaction we can’t do the other two requirements: positivity and vulnerability. It is time together that provides us the chance to share our lives and feel supported.  So, while some friendships can survive less consistent interaction now if they have a history of time spent together, we simply cannot create new friendships without the gift of a lot of time together.
Q:  Let’s talk about the  “8 Vital Friends Role “ … a part of your book Frientimacy I really enjoyed!  What is the benefit of having friends who play different roles in our lives, and how does that help contribute to our ability to connect socially? 
Those 8 Vital Roles come from Tom Rath, author of Vital Friends, and I agree: they are so enlightening!  It reminds us that we all have different strengths and roles that we play for our friends which means that we can’t expect any one person to be all of those things.  One myth that we’ve had to slowly let go of is this belief that 1-2 relationships can do for us what our tribes and communities used to do for us.  When we have healthy expectations of who our friends are, and what primary role they can play in our lives, we then, for example, know whether to reach out to a Builder, Collaborator, Connector, or Energizer.
Q:  Everyone who has read your book and those who will want to read it (it’s SUCH a GREAT read) will want to know :   What are your favorite ways to connect?   And would you mind sharing a time when you connected with someone and it resulted in a deep, long-term friendship or relationship?  
My favorite ways to connect are through long conversations where both people are feeling seen— which means both people need to feel safe sharing (vulnerability) and feeling supported (positivity).  My temperament bonds through conversations, especially conversations about things like ideas, feelings, and psychology.  To feel close, I ultimately want to feel like I can say anything and that you will, too!  For some people, this would sound exhausting! ha!  But put me in my living room, with a glass of red wine, a couple of friends, and a long evening ahead of us— and I am one happy girl.
And in answer to your second question— the secret to that wasn’t having a long and meaningful conversation with someone as that can happen somewhat often, but what turned it into a long-term friendship was the fact that we repeated it, which helped give us the consistency needed to get the friendship off the ground.  For example, a couple of my more recent friendships come to mind and what helped them turn into friendships instead of a friendly interaction was that they were in some monthly group I was a part of which allowed us all to keep getting together and build some shared history.
Q:  If you were to leave us with a few lasting thoughts on why it is important for our brain health to connect socially, what would you share? 
The research is staggering on this but in a nutshell: feeling supported buffers our bodies from absorbing the impact of stress.  How we answer the question, “how loved and supported do I feel?” will tell us more about our future health than almost any other factor including our diet and exercise.  Our immune systems are stronger, we live longer, we recover from surgery and sickness faster, we feel more optimistic, and we report greater happiness when we feel connected to others.  The best thing we can do for brain and body health is make sure we develop supportive relationships.

Thank you Shasta for sharing your passion and expertise with the Stand In Love community! Let’s continue the conversation… please share in the comments any thoughts or feelings that arise when reading this interview!  Stand In Love is a welcome place for serving PEOPLE, inspiring IDEAS, and living your PURPOSE!  


Extra Credit Readers:  Check out this video on Ginger: The Oil of Courage!  Goes hand- in-hand for social connection!!!

Pillar 3: Food & Nutrition

Hello Stand In Lovers!

How was your week of Mental Fitness?  Anyone try Linda’s Tiny Habit suggestions from last week’s post? SO many nuggets of goodness in that video interview!  Today we are diving into the topic of  Food & Nutrition, the 3rd pillar in our 6-part series on Brain Health.

It’s important to remember there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to how and what we should or should not eat.   What we do know is that by integrating plant-based, whole foods into our daily routines, we are practicing Hippocrates’ sage advice, “Let food be thy medicine.”  

Primary Nutrition

According to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, it is vital to look at the full spectrum of our lives, outlined in the color wheel below.   Take a look at each area and see where you may be hungry for something deeper than you are currently experiencing.

Primary Food Wheel.png

How to make your Circle of Life

Place a dot on the line separating each section on the wheel to see how satisfied you are with each area of your life.  The closer the dot is to the center of the wheel, the more dissatisfied you may be in that particular area.  Dots closer to the outside circumference of the wheel suggest you are more satisfied in that category.  After you have placed a dot on each of the lines dividing the areas, connect your dots and see what your Circle of Life looks like.  Perhaps a couple of areas are super awesome, while others may need a little TLC.  That’s perfectly ok… our lives are in constant change, and there is no right or wrong here, just insight.

Nutrition for Brain Health

Along with the Primary Food listed above, let’s take a look at some key foods noted for their support in brain health and function.

What To Eat

  • Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach–  Try this green smoothie recipe with a touch of Wild Orange essential oil!  It’s fast, healthy, and SO delicious!
  • Dark-fleshed fruits like blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are loaded with polyphenols– antioxidants that help fight free radicals.
  • Sustainably sourced fresh fish rich in Omega 3’s like salmon, tuna, or halibut.
  • Walnuts, flaxseeds, and soybean are great alternatives for Omega 3 fatty acids if fish isn’t your thing.  Another great option is supplementing to ensure you get the required amounts.  Here’s a fantastic Raw Coco Bite recipe with walnuts and Wild Orange.
  • Whole grains such such as oats, barley, and quinoa, are rich in many of the B vitamins that work to reduce inflammation of the brain.
  • Avocado– try this amazing Lazy Avocado Sushi with Ginger recipe or replace your butter with avocado on your morning toast for something new! (mental fitness practice at the same time- way to go!)
  • Dark chocolate– a great source of antioxidants that potentially improve blood flow to the brain and reduce inflammation.  I like to mix a drop of Black Pepper essential oil when making my own for some spicy punch and extra benefits!

Spice Up Your life

  • Herbs and spices like turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger are packed with antioxidants that may help decrease harmful inflammation in the brain and elsewhere.  I like using a touch of Ginger essential oil in my herbal tea, and add Cinnamon essential oil to my homemade granola recipe.  There are endless ways to incorporate the benefits of doTERRA’s gorgeous CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade) essential oils into your foods for brain health.  Here are additional  recipe ideas using essential oils!

Hydrate

  • Water-  This is one of the simplest ways to keep your brain healthy and fluid. Need help drinking more, it’s simple! Try adding a drop of Lemon, Grapefruit, or Wild Orange essential oil to your next bottle (stainless steel or glass due to the volatility of the natural aromatic compounds).   I love using Slim & Sassy in my water to help fight off cravings throughout the day.

Tools are designed for use.  May these help guide you on your brain health and wellness journey!  Stand In Love is a community, and all are welcome to join!  Please feel free to share, comment, tag, or like this post, so we may help others on their path to wellness!

P.S.  For those of you following me on Instagram @standinlovejen,  as promised, here is my favorite breakfast bowl recipe:

Jen’s Breakfast Bowl:

  • 1 cup steamed broccoli
  • 1 whole egg + 1-2 egg whites scrambled with turmeric
  • top with grated purple cabbage and sliced tomato
  • drizzle fresh vinaigrette made with herbs and a drop of your favorite essential oil on top!

season with S & P. and ENJOY!

Jen's Breakfast Bowl.JPG

 

Jennifer Miller is a Las Vegas based writer, DoTERRA wellness advocate, and BeadforLife Community Partner.  She is the founder of StandInLove.org  ,a platform for sharing her passions: Serving People | Inspiring Ideas | Living Your Purpose
Do you desire more freedom, flexibility, and want to empower others? Join me today! 

 

 

Pillar 2: Mental Fitness

Ever considered the fitness level of your brain?   We are constantly reminded that physical exercise helps increase oxygen to our brains and promotes overall health, but when was the last time you saw an advertisement urging you to increase flexibility and motor functioning of your supercomputer?

Welcome to Pillar 2 in our 6-part series on Brain Health.  This week’s focus:  Mental Fitness.  In case you missed last week’s post on Pillar 1 of Brain Health: Physical Exercise- you can find it here.

Our brains, like our muscles, are hungry for activation and use.  Today’s blog post is a video interview with Linda Fogg-Phillips, director of Tiny Habits Academy.  Linda is an expert in habit formation and behavior design, having taught over 65,000 people around the world through a rigorously tested scientific model designed by her brother, Stanford Ph.D and professor, B.J. Fogg.  Whether you want to adopt new personal habits, or train members of your business to help improve the lives of their clients, Tiny Habits can help!

We explore 5 key components of Mental Fitness and share insights on positive habit formation while pairing them with the purest and most potent essential oils in the world!  You don’t want to miss this!

Enjoy the show !

Feel free to share these tips with your friends and family, it’s the best way to reinforce your learning!! #standinlove#tinyhabits

 

 

To begin your journey with these life-changing essential oils, click here.

Thanks for joining, and see you next week as we explore Pillar 3: Food  & Nutrition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 6 Pillars of Brain Health

 

Did you know that your brain weighs approximately 3 pounds, and processes nearly 70,000 thoughts per day?

Inspired by an encounter with world-renowned memory expert, Jim Kwik last week at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, I am thrilled to share more in-depth my passionate work in essential oil therapy as a doTERRA Wellness Advocate and Business Coach!  It’s no surprise that doTERRA’s 5 pillars of health and wellness align perfectly with the The Six Pillars of Brain Health, as defined by the Cleveland Clinic.  Together, we will take a look at specific doTERRA essential oils to help you maximize each pillar of brain health.  This is a 6-part series, and my goal for you is twofold:  First, for you to fall in love with your supercomputer, and more importantly, for you to discover the wonderful world of Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) essential oils that will help boost your health and wellness naturally!  Ready for a learning journey?

 The Brain is a Supercomputer

The brain is the most vital organ to everyday life and functioning and, together with the spinal cord and peripheral nerves, makes up the central nervous system which directs, coordinates, and regulates voluntary (conscious) and involuntary (unconscious) processes.   The brain, like a muscle, is “use dependent” meaning it requires continuous use to grow stronger.  A humbling statistic Jim pointed out shows nearly 75% of what we learn is lost within 48 hours if the memory is not exercised properly.

Our brains manage and direct all organs, systems, and body processes and have several layers of protection including the skull, thin membranes, and cerebrospinal fluid.  The brain also has a protective mechanism commonly referred to as the blood-brain barrier, which keeps cells of the nervous system separate from cells throughout the vascular system (the rest of the body).

Essential Oils and the Brain

Due to their unique chemical constituents and the fact that they are carbon based, essential oils are able to permeate the protective blood-brain barrier and provide support for such things as headaches, migraines, vertigo, emotions, and mood.  Oils like Frankincense and Sandalwood are composed of specific chemical constituents called sesquiterpenes, and have a particular affinity for supporting the brain.  Essential oils with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are also particularly important for maintaining a healthy brain.

Now that we have a basic understanding of the brain and essential oils, let’s take a look at the first of 6 pillars.

Pillar 1: Physical Exercise

Research shows people who exercise regularly may have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.   Exercise improves blood flow and memory; it stimulates chemical changes in the brain that enhance learning, mood and thinking.  Have you ever taken a walk and suddenly an idea came to mind that would help improve a work situation,  or relationship conundrum?  Exercise pumps oxygen to our brains and magical things happen!

 Essential Oil Tips

  • Pre-workout:  Try using the blend Breathe or Peppermint essential oils to awaken the lungs and prepare them for activity.  Both of these oils help promote clear airways and provide an invigorating aroma.  Place a small drop in the palm of your hands, rub together and cup hands over the nose and take a few deep inhalations.   I love starting the day this way!  You may also like Eucalyptus oil or Purify- the Cleansing Blend as well! That’s the beauty of essential oils, there are endless choices.  Pick what works best for you!
  • During workout:  Try a drop of your favorite energy boosting citrus oil like wild orange, lemon, lime, or grapefruit in your water for a quick pick-me-up while exercising.  Just remember safety precautions when using cold-pressed citrus oils. For more on oil safety, click here.  Not only is lemon refreshing, and invigorating, it has been used historically to help lower blood pressure.
  • Post workout:  After any exercise, enjoy the soothing benefits of the Deep Blue Rub, by applying topically to areas that feel sore.  This is an amazing blend of Wintergreen, Camphor, Peppermint, Blue Tansy, Blue Chamomile, and Helichrysum – oils that are frequently studied for their abilities to soothe inflammation, alleviate pain, and reduce soreness.  The cool, refreshing sensation when applied is an added bonus!

For all you DIY lovers, try making this simple Joint Juice blend to help promote joint support!  Simple and effective!

  • 30 drops of soothing blend (Deep Blue)
  • 25 drops of frankincense – (this boosts the benefits of Deep Blue!)
  • place in 10ml roller bottle
  • fill the rest with fractionated coconut oil and shake to blend.
  • rub onto affected area as needed.

Join Stand In Love next week as we take a look at the 2nd Pillar of Brain Health: Mental Fitness!   

Jennifer Miller is a Las Vegas based Writer, DoTERRA Wellness Advocate and Business Coach, and BeadforLife Community Partner Volunteer. She is the founder of Stand In Love.org  -a platform for sharing her core values:
Serving People | Inspiring Ideas | Living Your Purpose
For information about how to join the Stand In Love circle and begin using essential oils, please visit www.mydoterra.com/standinlove.  By becoming a wellness advocate, you will receive 25% off retail pricing and join a community committed to inspiring change, and encouraging health and wellness around the world!

 

 

 

Earth Day Essentials

“Smell is a potent wizard that transports us across thousands of miles and all the years we have lived” – Helen Keller

Each year on the 22nd of April, nearly a billion people spanning 192 countries participate in some form of Earth Day event.   What started in 1970 as a modern environmental movement with 20 million people has multiplied into mass activism.

This year’s theme: Environmental and Climate Change Literacy.    According to Earthday.org, the world’s largest environmental advocacy group, the mission is simple:  To diversify, educate, and activate the environmental movement worldwide.

In honor of Earth Day, we will explore the wonders of volatile aromatic compounds, also known as essential oils.

What is an Essential Oil?

By definition, essential oils are the volatile liquids (aromatic compounds) distilled from plants including the seeds, bark, leaves, stems, roots, flowers, and fruits.   Science estimates there are currently over 390,000 plant species in the world.  Of this vast number of plant species, an estimated 10 percent of these plants are oil-producing.

History provides accounts of essential oil use for beautification and purification dating back to the Egyptians.  Accounts show that King Tutankhamen’s tomb included 35 alabaster jars for essential oils.   Biblical accounts show that Frankincense and Myrrh were given to the Christ child.  Even Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, was sited for his belief in using plants as medicine.

As a doTERRA Wellness Advocate, I have the privilege of educating people all around the world on the numerous health and wellness benefits that stem from the use of Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) essential oils.   It is important to note that not all essential oils are created equally.   Because of doTERRA’s rigorous third-party testing, they ensure the highest levels of purity and potency.  This is very important when it comes to using essential oils internally.  Let’s explore a little further how to use these miracles of nature!

 Essential Oils Usage

Aromatic

Some essential oils induce uplifting or invigorating effects, while others are more calming. Diffusion is one of the simplest methods for using essential oils aromatically. You can achieve the same health benefits by simply placing a few drops of essential oil in the palm of your hand that is then cupped around the nose as you breathe deeply.

  • Apply oil to a cotton ball and place in the air vents of your vehicle
  • Mix oils in a spray bottle with water and mist over furniture, carpet, or linens
  • Add oil to a batch of laundry or to dryer sheets
  • Use in household surface cleaners (try this 10 day challenge)

Topical

Topical application is a very effective method for applying essential oils. Because essential oils have low molecular weights and are lipid soluble, they easily penetrate the skin. Once absorbed, they stay in the applied area for a localized benefit.

To decrease the likelihood of developing a skin sensitivity, especially on young or sensitive skin, it is advisable to use a carrier oil (such as Fractionated Coconut Oil) to dilute more potent oils and when trying an oil for the first time. The recommend dilution ratio is typically one drop of essential oil to three drops of carrier oil.

Other Effective Methods of Topical Application 

  • Add a few drops of oil to a warm bath
  • Make a hot or cold compress by soaking a towel or cloth in water, adding essential oils, and then applying to the desired area
  • Add oil to a lotion or moisturizer and then apply to skin

Internal

Certain essential oils have a rich culinary history and can be used as dietary supplements supporting a variety of healthy conditions. When you sprinkle cinnamon on your oatmeal, sip a mug of peppermint tea, or add fresh basil leaves to your spaghetti, you are actually consuming some volatile aromatic essential oil compounds.

Essential oil contributes many health benefits as well as flavoring and aroma properties to foods. When in their concentrated form, essential oils can be used as dietary supplements for more targeted and potent health benefits. Internal use is a very safe and effective method of application because of the sophisticated physiologic processes of our bodies.

When ingested, essential oils directly enter the blood stream via the gastrointestinal tract, where they are transported throughout the rest of the body. Essential oils are lipid soluble so they are readily transported to all organs of the body, including the brain. Then, like all things we consume, essential oils are metabolized by the liver and other organs and are then excreted.

Effective Methods of Internal Application

  • Use oils in recipes for cooking or baking to replace fresh or dried herbs and spices
  • Remember that essential oils are much more potent than dried or fresh herbs and spices, so start with a very small amount
  • For more potent oils, it may be better to administer them by toothpicks (dip the end of a clean toothpick into the oil and then add to the food) rather than drops
  • Add essential oils to water, smoothies, milk, tea, or other drinks
  • Take essential oils internally in a veggie capsule or add to a small amount of applesauce or yogurt

What are the benefits of using doTERRA essential oils?

The benefits of using Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) essential oils include:

  • Physical– doTERRA essential oils boast a wealth of physical health benefits including respiratory and immune support, stress and tension relief, as well as aiding in restful sleep.  They promote feelings of well-being and balanced mood,  aid in digestion and metabolism, and support increased cellular function.  They help increase positive feelings, improve the appearance of the skin, and help protect against environmental and seasonal threats.
  • Emotional- Using essential oils can be overwhelmingly therapeutic in nature, especially when it comes to healing emotions.   Whether you are holding on to unresolved feelings, past trauma, or any number of negative emotions, essential oils help support the healing process by releasing limiting beliefs and helping mend a broken heart.
  • Spiritual– Using essential oils is often a profound experience.  Not only do they support you on a physical and emotional level, but they help establish a soul connection.   There is a unique mystery about the use of essential oils, dating back to the earliest of civilizations.  How profound to have this community with nature and experience peaceful and tranquil feelings.  Essential oils help increase our spiritual awareness, and inspire us to connect with our life’s true purpose.

There are a vast number of reasons for exploring the world of essential oils.    I made a personal decision to explore alternative ways of coping with anxiety which has been my companion since age 18.   I will never forget the first time I used lavender essential oil.  I recall specifically the impact it had on my nervous system, and it planted a seed that would one day grow into a profound passion.

We will take a look at specific oils and their health benefits in future posts, so if there is a particular oils you would like to explore, please leave a note in the comments. Additionally, if you have doTERRA oils you love using, share a tip with all of us!  To experience the benefits of Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils  learn more about the StandinLove community here.    I would love to support you on your health and wellness journey!

Happy Earth Day and cheers to Abundant Health

Jennifer Miller is a Las Vegas based writer, DoTERRA wellness advocate, and BeadforLife community partner and is the founder of Stand In Love.org  -a platform for sharing her core values:
Serving People | Inspiring Ideas | Living Your Purpose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What No One Tells You About Habits

“Maintaining constant high motivation is unsustainable, but if things are easy to do even when motivation is low, they are more likely to succeed. ” – BJ Fogg, PhD.  

While in Salt Lake City last weekend, I toured the famed Temple Square, as well as the architecturally appealing public library where exposed glass elevators and unique art installations added intrigue and emotion to a book-exploring expedition.   Thanks to a chain of serendipitous events I arrived in Salt Lake City eager to connect with Leah Barker the CEO of global poverty eradication nonprofit Choice Humanitarian and to train with  Linda Fogg-Phillips, M.S. Health Promotion and Exercise Physiology.  Linda serves as the Director of the Tiny Habits Academy, a Behavior Design platform founded by her younger brother, BJ Fogg PhD., a renowned innovator, scientist and teacher at Stanford.  BJ’s focus is on teaching people who design solutions for others.  

My goal for you as readers of StandinLove is simple:  sharing this methodology will help you  practice the skill of creating new habits.   According to BJ’s research, it’s not the adopted habit itself that matters, it is the fact you acquired the tools needed to create these new habits.  You gained the necessary skills that will help you succeed in multiple areas in your life.  

What is a tiny habit?

A “Tiny Habit” is a baby behavior.  Yep.  One little, itty-bitty action that, when repeated, builds momentum and results in the formation of a bigger, long-term habit.   A “Tiny Habit”, according to Dr. Fogg’s design is a behavior:

      • you do at least once a day
      • that takes you less than 30 seconds
      • that requires little effort 

Recipe for Tiny Habits:

According to BJ’s research, the recipe for developing tiny habits has 3 simple ingredients:

  1. Identify the behavior you want in your life.                                                                                What behaviors are you looking to add to your life for increased positive benefit?  Do you want to develop a new health routine, nutrition option, start a new hobby, increase your home organization, de-stress more effectively, begin to exercise regularly, or maybe practice gratitude more often?   These are merely prompts to get your brain thinking and to inspire you to think about what YOU want to do in your life.  This is about you and your life.
  2. Find out where it fits in your life.                                                                                                                 BJ says an important part of implementing this new tiny behavior is to  “Plan to do the new tiny behavior after an extremely reliable habit you have, what I call an “anchor.”   Notice the key point in this ingredient towards making a tiny habit:  planning.  With just a tiny bit of thought beforehand and a touch of mapping out your desired behaviors, you are already on the road to successful tiny habit formation! 
  3. Match it to an anchor routine.                                                                                                          The anchor is the habit or behavior you always do.  The anchor must be a reliable habit, extremely precise, and is most effective when it is tied to the desired frequency of the new tiny behavior.

 Examples of Tiny Habits.

After I brush, I will floss one tooth.”

After I pour my morning coffee, I will text my mom.”

After I start the dishwasher, I will read one sentence from a book.”

After I walk in my door from work, I will get out my workout clothes.”

After I sit down on the train, I will open my sketch notebook.”

After I hear any phone ring, I will exhale and relax for 2 seconds.”

“After I put my head on the pillow, I will think of one good thing from my day.”

“After I arrive home, I will hang my keys up by the door.”

By having the AFTER I __________,  I will ____________ formula, it is simple to introduce a new desired specific behavior by linking it to an existing behavior (the anchor) you are already doing!  Automatic. Powerful. Simple. Effective.

Why use tiny habits?

By design, implementing Tiny Habits increases your ability to make changes in your behavior in simple, effective, and fun ways!  Each time you perform a tiny habit, you then have the opportuntity to celebrate your big success!  Imagine having 3 tiny habits a day, all super simple to peform, and then having mini victory dances as soon as you think to do them, AND once you complete them!  That sounds like fun to me! I was thrilled to practice Tiny Habits for the week prior to my trip, and I look forward to continued training with Linda and BJ to bring you even more helpful tools and tips!

According to Dr. Fogg, “Most people haven’t mastered making desired behaviors automatic. That is a key focus in Tiny Habits: training automaticity.   Once that is rock solid, you can then work toward the full behavior without losing the automaticity.  That is how you eventually master the FULL behavior as a habit. “

Benefits of implementing Tiny Habits.

  • Gain skills (increased ability)-  the heart of any behavior change
  • Learn behavior sequencing
  • Build self-confidence for behavior changes
  • Chance to celebrate tiny victories multiple times daily!

Want to try  Tiny Habits for yourself for a week?  It is fun, and I promise you will learn a thing or two about yourself, and have a GREAT time in the process.  My favorite Tiny Habit was “After I wake up in the morning and put my feet on the ground, I will say ‘it is going to be a GREAT day!’ ”

Cheering you on as you choose Tiny Habits and celebrating your victories alongside of you!

xo Jen

 

 

 

 

International Women’s Day Tribute: Got Core Values!

“I want a positive, healthy learning environment for my child, and I will do anything to make that happen.  I believe every child deserves the right to thrive.” – Sandi Herrera, CEO Got Core Values!

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day tomorrow under the banner #BeBoldForChange, I am honored to celebrate the passion and vision of one relentless Las Vegas corporate-culture coach turned public school education advocate, Sandi Herrera.  Sandi is the CEO and founder of Got Core Values!, an innovative nonprofit organization whose mission is to transform the lives of children in the public school system through the development and implementation of core values and culture coaching for school administrators, teachers, and leaders.

Sandi shared her bold vision with me this week during a conversation over green smoothies at a neighborhood Starbucks.

Delivering Happiness Inspiration.

Sandi’s chance encounter with  Delivering Happiness  founder Tony Hsieh earned her the position of COO in 2009, heading internal culture and training for the organization.  Her skills in organizational and relationship systems coaching would reach new heights as she engaged C-level executives of businesses across the nation with the heart of Delivering Happiness: to inspire passion and purpose in the workplace for a happier world.  Through rigorous study of positive psychology and neuroscience research, Sandi and her team inspired the hearts and souls of workers around the world.   The world took notice, and so did the local Las Vegas community where Delivering Happiness runs its international operation.  Desiring happiness and positivity in their work environments, local schools began requesting this hybrid of consulting and coaching.

Internal Reckoning.

At the time Sandi was delivering happiness to executives in top corporations, she was pained by the challenges her own son faced in the local school system.  “School culture affects kids perceptions.  I’m not going to have my child feel like he’s a bad person just because he is not in a conducive learning environment.”   Sandi quickly found herself internalizing the core values of Delivering Happiness, whose number one core value is  “Be true to yourself. Live with passion and purpose.”  Could one mother impact the learning environment for her child and create a domino effect resulting in thriving educational environments for all children?

The answer… YES.

Leveraging her expertise and success in talent dynamics, culture coaching, and leadership  development, Sandi has worked fastidiously over the past four years introducing  Got Core Values! into six Clark County district high schools including Title 1 schools, like Mohave High School in North Las Vegas and magnet schools like West Career and Technical Academy in Summerlin.   Through rigorous piloting, testing, and measuring results, Sandi is ready to expand her culture coaching team and take on the valley’s vast network of public schools, with the goal of 30 implementing partners before the start of the school year this fall.

Ambitious Solutions.

Her passion and pursuit of transforming the public school system is not limited to coaching and introducing culture into the school climate.   It is extended to engaging local businesses to partner with schools in the district.

“Companies want to help so much, but often times they don’t know what to help with or how to help.”  Sandi’s mission is largely relationship driven: to break down barriers between schools and businesses with a focus on collaboration.  “Organizational culture is organizational culture.  There are nuances, but at the base of it all, we are all human beings.  And when we realize that we are both in the people business, that is how we will make progress and have momentum forward. ” 

Sandi believes there is tremendous power in the business community, and by partnering with a local public school, educators and business leaders will learn from each other, develop a new common language that will help them implement strategies for effective communication, leadership, culture, and relationship building from the top.  All of this will flow to the students, the future leaders and members of our communities. Sandi’s dream of core values and comprehensive positive sustainable cultures in our schools does not stop in Las Vegas.  Her sights are set on replicating this coaching methodology nationally and globally.

I have witnessed Sandi’s compelling work first hand.  Her determination and pointed focus on the goal of delivering core values to schools for the benefit of the team, students, and neighboring communities is nothing shy of remarkable.  She is living the #BeBoldForChange motto and serves as an inspiration to us all as we celebrate International Women’s Day 2017.

LEARN MORE

If you are an educator, administrator, business leader, or concerned community member inspired by Sandi’s story, please contact Got Core Values! to learn how to contribute your time and talent in the local community.

You may also follow Got Core Values! on Facebook for updates.

Happy International Women’s Day to all my beloved friends around the world inspiring change everyday!   #StandinLove #IWD2017 

How to Make a Change in 6 Simple Steps

Hello StandinLovers!

Today we celebrate Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday.  This celebration in America dates back to the late 16th century as French explorers, commanded by King Louis XIV, commemorated newly discovered land near present day New Orleans.  In 1702, the first French capital was named at Mobile, Alabama where one year later French settlers organized the first Mardi Gras celebration.   While Mardi Gras symbolizes the conclusion of fun-filled, indulgent festivities, it is also the eve of a period of introspection. This year is particularly symbolic, as it falls on the last day of the month, with the fasting season beginning tomorrow on the 1st of the month.   A meaningful time to set an intention for the six-week Lenten period.   What is it that you would like to focus on adding or removing from your life, thereby opening up new possibilities, inspiring ideas, and creating lasting change in your life?

Educated in Catholic schools,  I was accustomed to fasting for 40 days as penance for my sins.  My limited focus growing up centered on the ritualistic and obligatory renunciation of my favorite things.  As an adult, I realize this period is not an obligation, rather an opportunity; an empowering choice with benefits.  Fasting plays an important role in many faiths and is an integral part of secular practices.  Philosophers Socrates, Plato, and Hippocrates relied on fasting to increase focus and heighten awareness.

Today’s tips are designed to inspire you to make the most of the Spring renewal season.  They are adapted from best-selling author and motivational leader, Tony Robbins.  In Awakening the Giant Within, he shares a specific methodology for making change, which I believe will serve as a guideposts for your personal journey of change during this 40 day period.

6 STEPS to CREATING LASTING CHANGE

  1. DECIDE.    It all starts here.  What is your intention for this period? What is it you truly want to do, feel, or experience in your life?  Most of the work is in this first step.  Take courage, trust your gut, and make the decision.  There is tremendous power in decision-making.
  2. GET LEVERAGE.   Tony suggests we “associate massive pain to not changing now, and massive pleasure to the experience of changing now.” He continues,“the greatest leverage we can create for ourselves is the pain that comes from the inside, not outside.  Knowing you have failed to live up to your own standards for you life is the ultimate pain.”  Translation:   Retrain your brain and establish new ways of thinking.  Take the decision you made in step 1, and create new neuro-associations linking to this behavior.  Make the new behavior so enticing, that you cannot imagine going back to the old behavior.
  3. INTERRUPT the LIMITING PATTERN.   This is the heart and soul of the 40 day fasting practice.  It is an interruption of your regular routine.  Fasting breaks up existing patterns of behavior, thought, and actions.  This is exercise for the brain!  Flex those muscles, work those neurons and create new pathways for improved thinking and doing!  How incredibly invigorating to take responsibility for the way you think, act, and behave.  Taking ownership of your emotions and actions eliminates feelings of victimization and reduces disempowerment.
  4. CREATE NEW EMPOWERING ALTERNATIVE.   Anyone in recovery knows that abandoning an old habit means replacing it with a new, healthier alternative.    Choose wisely, and be realistic.  If food is your struggle, replace with a healthier option that will not leave you feeling guilty or shamed.  Remember, this is about your concious choice to change or replace.
  5. CONDITION NEW PATTERN UNTIL CONSISTENT.   Behavioral Scientist B.F.Skinner developed the Law of Reinforcement, inspired by Thorndike’s Law of Effect.  The theory: Behavior which is reinforced tends to be repeated or strengthened; behavior which is not reinforced tends to be extinguished or weakened.
  6. TEST IT.     How do you feel each day?  When you wake up, you have a daily opportunity to test or practice this new thought or behavior.   Do you recognize subtle shifts in thoughts, behaviors, or actions? Do things that once bothered you now seem less fear and anxiety provoking?   Make notes in a journal and keep track of your progress.   Journaling is a healthy way to visualize your changes and rewards your efforts!

Fasting is not limited to food abstention. You may decide to fast from social media, television, or any routine activity requiring time and space; things that block you from experiencing your deepest, heartfelt desires. Another common practice is fasting from negative emotions: complaining, arguing, or judging, thereby making room to practice heart healthy emotions like joy, positivity, and acceptance. Benefits of fasting include mental clarity, a renewed sense of purpose, as well as physical improvements like a relaxed digestive system.

Finally, it is important to remember we are human beings, not perfectionist bots.  That means we will allow ourselves and others grace and compassion when we slip up and fall.  If you missed the last post with tips on self-love and whole-hearted living,  learn more here.     Please share your ideas and tips for the Spring renewal season! You may inspire someone who needs to hear your idea!

Laisser les bons temps rouler!

3 Tips for Whole-Hearted Living

“The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.” – Julia Cameron

Hello friends of StandinLove!  If this is your first visit to the blog, I would like to welcome you!  So glad you popped in!
This is a creative place where people from around the world gather in connection.  It is about People | Ideas | Purpose.    StandinLove represents  3 words and 1 purpose.  The S from Stand is for Serving People.  The I from in is for Inspiring and Inviting Ideas.  The L from Love is Living your Purpose.    How do we SIL?  Connection, Engagement, and Encouragement.   On that note, I am beyond grateful for the group success of this weekend’s Share the Love connection event!

The purpose?  Invite friends new and old into the BeadforLife circle to share our hearts over good old-fashioned cups of hot Ugandan black tea.  The ambience was just right.  The rains descended from a cloudy desert sky, providing a much-needed shower to the dry and dusty landscape.  We filled our cups, and together, imagined we sat alongside the makers of the beautifully rolled recycled paper jewelry that brought us all together Saturday afternoon.   What I appreciated most about this particular small-group gathering is the realization that the women came together not just for the BeadforLife jewelry, but to connect with one another out of a deep desire to be a part of something larger than themselves.  It was beautiful to behold.  We collectively raised over $900 for BeadforLife, which will send 3.28 deeply impoverished women to the Street Business School– a 6 month entrepreneurial training program taught in mobile classroom environments in Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, and Kenya!

Sharing thoughts and viewpoints on subjects we currently enjoy, we practiced something friendship expert and author Shasta Nelson refers to as frientimacy.  I offered a few insights from inspiring writers who have influenced my passion for living each day with whole-hearted intention.

What does it mean to live with your whole heart? Let’s discover 3 simple ways we can start connecting with our whole hearts today, in honor of February 13th: Self-Love Day!

Live Passionately.

What makes your heart sing?  What makes it difficult to go to bed at night and makes you jump out of bed first thing in the morning?  Enjoying a favorite variety of coffee?  Spending time with friends and loved ones?   Refurbishing a well-loved piece of furniture? Organizing your ideas for a new business venture?  Checking a life goal off the bucket list?  Creating visions for future opportunities? Overcoming life challenges with bravery and courage? Learning something new? Influencing others with your creativity?

To live passionately is to live life creatively:  To unlock, unblock, and unleash your creative genius.    Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way has been a staple in learning environments around the world.  One of her many tips to rediscovering passion and creativity in your life is enjoying what she refers to as an Artist’s Date.  This solo rendezvous is designed to replenish your creativity bucket as well as connect you to the things you appreciate most in life.  A walk in the park admiring nature, a trip to your favorite shop, or maybe a drive to a remote location to experience peace and tranquility.  Cameron recommends choosing activities involving all the senses to maximize the creative potential.  Intentionally focusing on what you smell, hear, touch, see, and taste feels incredibly invigorating!

Love Compassionately.

Best-selling author Richard Bolles discusses more than just career transitions in            What Color is Your Parachute.   Whether you are embarking on a new career, entering retirement, or in the middle of a life transition, he takes you on a journey of self discovery, helping you identify your unique talents and gifts with the goal of sharing them with people at home, in the workplace, and in the world.   After completing the detailed, self-reflective  7-petal exercise he concludes with this thought-provoking observation, ” The more you ponder the mystery of you, the more you must ponder the mystery of all those you encounter; every loved one, every friend, every acquaintance, every stranger.” 

Incredibly profound if you stop to consider the implications.  The more we come to understand ourselves at our core, the better we will come to understand and appreciate others.   Why? Because if we truly honor and explore our unique preferences and creative talents, we will then create the opportunity to love others more deeply recognizing their specific talents and gifts.   This understanding of ourselves and others leads to increased compassion and allows our hearts to be full.   There is a reason this book has been a best-seller for over 45 years!

Give Generously.

In Rising Strong,  renowned author and shame researcher Brené Brown explores the concept of giving generous assumptions.  She looks at giving in terms of intangibles like forgiveness, empathy, and giving someone the benefit of the doubt.   The theory presumes  people are giving their very best at any given moment.  She says when we give someone the most generous assumption possible, we invite opportunities to connect on a deeper level.   I believe this plays a fundamental role in whole-hearted living, as it creates space for people to be human.  It grants permission to make mistakes.  It allows grace a seat at the table.  Giving generous assumptions about others helps quiet our own nagging, critical voice telling us to be perfect and releases others from expectations we have placed upon them.

When dealing with relational conflict she says, “What is the hypothesis of generosity? What is the most generous assumption you can make about this person’s intentions or what this person said?”

This notion of giving generous assumptions requires a little strength and a lot of courage.  It means we first have accept ourselves, so we understand how to practice with others.   It is difficult to give from a place of lack. When we give generous assumptions to ourselves, we silence the inner voice, we learn to trust ourselves, and we make room in our hearts.  Making room in your heart is a key component of whole-hearted living.  Creating space to love others.

Please share your thoughts in the comments on any of the reading selections, as well offer books you love that explore living and leading with your whole heart.  We all learn from each other in this beautiful circle of exchange!

Have a terrific week, and I look forward to connecting with you all again soon!

StandinLove,  Jennifer

PS.  BeadforLife is 50% off through the month of February.. if you have an idea or an event at which you would like to share BeadforLife, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to support you!