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May 29, 2014

How to Think Straight When Things Go Sideways

3 Times MoreWe can plan so carefully, and then things go sideways. Out of nowhere, so many things suddenly need attention right now thatit’s overwhelming. Sometimes, the enormity of what needs doing plus confusion about where to start can leave us feeling paralyzed. Other times we panic, trying to multitask and do a little of everything all at once. Either way we don’t make much progress and that often intensifies our anxiety.

Try this: tighten your focus down to your one next move. Instead of looking at the big picture, zoom in. Decide on the one next thing you are going to do. It could be as simple as, “I’m going to get a glass of water.” That’s as far ahead as you look. Don’t allow yourself to think about anything else until you’ve poured your water and taken a sip. Then, decide the next one thing to do. Again, it should be a small step, like “I’m going to make a list – get everything that’s buzzing in my head down on paper."

This technique has three very powerful effects: 1) It slows us down so we feel more in control (Yes, I got that glass of water). 2) It calms us down so we can begin to think more clearly. And 3) It turns down the volume on all the noise and needs so we can begin to filter and prioritize.
So when things go sideways (and they will!), panic and paralysis aren’t your only choices. You can shift your focus to the “next one thing” and quickly regain your ability to feel calm and think straight.

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March 17, 2014

Get 3 Times More Out of Life

3 Times MoreWe know it’s important to eat well, exercise, stay positive and set goals. So why do we stay stuck? Because just knowing isn’t enough. We need to translate what we know into what we do. But how do you put everything you should be doing into action? You don’t – because you can’t. What you can do is “Pick 3.”

Try this: When you take a workshop, read an article or walk out of therapy session, pick three things to incorporate into your life now. Be specific about what those three things are and how you're going to put them into action. For example: You read an article about “Super Foods.” The minute you finish, pick three super foods and add them your grocery list now. Done – and life changes for the better. Not only will you feel good about eating healthy, you immediately enjoy a healthy sense of taking action and moving forward. Instead of letting all those good intentions swirl around like little failings, you use “Pick 3” to quiet all the “I should” chatter and take control. Plus, you don’t just do something, you do three things you wouldn’t otherwise do. It’s that easy to get three times more out of life!

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January 1, 2014

Resolve to Stop Holding Your Breath

New YearHappy New Year! We love fresh starts and resolutions – and here’s a great one for 2014: Stop holding your breath. No more waiting, no more “I’ll be happy when …” or “If I were rich, I would …”. Starting immediately, let yourself become the person you’ve always wanted to be. How to start?

Try this: think about a trait you want to strengthen. Then use it to filter your choices. For example, if you want to be more positive, consciously choose to be positive. As you focus, you’ll begin to define exactly what that trait means to you. Realizing you have the choice to be positive right now is so empowering! You’ll immediately feel happier and more in control. For instance, instead of allowing yourself to be forced into a role you don’t want (like the Big Bad Wolf who always has to say 'no'), choosing to be positive means you’re free to create all-new options for dealing with situations so you can say 'yes' without compromising your values or feeling stuck in a role that isn’t you.

Once we’re clear about who we want to be there’s nothing stopping us! In fact, The LiveWell Institute’s whole reason for being is to put this awareness to work in schools, businesses, homes and families so people can start using their strengths to improve their lives and the world. Being happier and changing the world … now there’s a good resolution for 2014. And achieving it starts so simply: just exhale and choose to start being you now.

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December 10, 2013

Why Can’t Kids Be Content?

FlashlightDoes it seem like sixty seconds after the holiday presents are unwrapped the kids start focusing on what they didn’t get? No wonder! That’s because we aren’t teaching our kids how to be content.

Between TV shows, commercials, social media interaction and even lunchroom talk with friends, there’s a lot that’s teaching kids how to learn to look for what they don’t have. The learning is so deep that even when they get something they’ve wanted they quickly refocus on something new they don’t have.

It’s as if kids go into a dark room with a flashlight. They shine the flashlight over into the left corner where the room is empty. Because they never shine the flashlight over to the right corner where the room is piled with wonderful things, kids conclude, “I don’t have what I need.” Our job is to teach them how to see the full picture.

Try this: Each day from now until the end of the year, have kids write down something for which they are grateful. It could be a thing, a person … anything. The only rule is that they can’t write down the same thing twice. This is such a simple activity, but it is a powerful learning experience. Day by day, you’re helping kids shine their flashlight all around to see all they do have. They can’t help but become aware of their abundance and to begin to define that abundance not just in terms of things, but in terms of people, feelings, knowledge and dreams. Gratitude is a great gift to give your children this holiday season – one that will let them continue to unwrap a deep sense of contentment throughout their lives.

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November 24, 2013

A Good Holiday Stress Strategy

Holiday FrenzyAs the holidays pull everything into the spotlight – relationships, finances, shopping, cooking and socializing can all create STRESS. But that’s not necessarily bad. It’s actually good to have some stress in your life. It can be energizing and ultimately rewarding. That is, after all, why we keep “doing” the holidays year after year – because it feels so good at the end. But could it also feel better before we cross the finish line?

Try this: Instead of viewing stress as a state, view it as a strategy. For example, your usual response to holiday stress might be to shut down or give yourself permission to be angry or rude. Instead of being reactive with an old habit, get ahead of things with a stress strategy.

Start by defining what does and doesn’t work for you during the holidays, what triggers overload and how you react. Just being aware of your triggers helps you deal with them before you get blindsided by feeling angry, overwhelmed or frustrated. Before the holidays hit full force, take time to map your stress triggers and match each trigger with something specific you can do to stay balanced, nourished, hydrated, rested and happy. When you trade stress habits for a stress strategy, you’re in charge and you can actually use stress in a positive way to “power up” and get things done.

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October 12, 2013

Creating a STAR in Every Classroom

StarEvery teacher wants to create a STAR moment – Something They’ll Always Remember. Of course kids need to remember lessons about math and language, social studies and science. But what else will they remember? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the STAR moment was discovering how to be kind, positive, happy humans?

True, schools today are adding pillars of ethics, character and values to the curriculum. But what about teaching kids how to be … happy? Can you even teach that?? The fact is you can – and you can do it at any grade, from preschool through college. At The LiveWell Institute, we’re seeing these STAR moments at work as teachers strengthen their own positivity to both model happiness and teach kids how to focus, relax, be open to others and to experiences, and make gratitude a lifelong habit. We’re seeing teachers’ positivity cut through disengagement, negative habits, stress and anxiety to connect kids with all that’s good in the world – and in themselves.

Teaching happiness creates that STAR moment for every child in the classroom, and this in turn creates generational change. In the same way we’ve used education to address smoking and other harmful habits, we have the opportunity to raise a generation of kids whose awareness of happiness and gratitude helps banish everything from bullying to negative peer pressure. How to start making this difference today?

Try this: eliminate blame. “He started it” … “the dog ate my homework” … banish blame from the classroom. Instead, help kids focus on their own power and their own responsibility. Help them feel good about the control and choices they may not even know they have.

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