Category Archives: the office

Choose How You Want to Feel

By Kare Anderson
Emmy-Winner | TEDx | Connective Behavior | Speaker | Columnist | Author | Strategist
Follow

Breandan and Emma, the couple up the hill from me in Sausalito have been married 54 years, they proudly told me last year. They walked, hand-in-hand past my home each morning, usually laughing, smiling and pointing out things to each other along the way.

Originally from Ireland, they listened, in bed, to BBC News at dawn so they usually had a tidbit of news to share with me if they happened to pass my home when I was finishing my lame attempt at morning exercises in the back yard.

When Emma died suddenly, Breandan stopped walking. He stayed inside their home and ignored my knock on their door. Several times. Later, when he started walking again, he told me his son, a motivational speaker on leadership, suggested that he start saying positive self-affirmations every morning “to lift his mood.”

He retorted, “My mood doesn’t need lifting! It’s right where it’s supposed to be.” So his well-intentioned son then mailed him a card pack with cheery faces on one side and, on the other, a series of upbeat daily affirmations. The card pack was entitled ”Yes, I Can!” to which Breandan hotly responded (to me, but not his son, I gather) “No I won’t!”

Write Yourself Through Your Journey to a Better Emotional Place

That gift inspired Breandan to get out of the old chair he sat in most days, with a morose look on his face, and take action, but not in the way his son intended. He wrote his own collection of “realistic affirmations.” I figured that the sentiments reflected his way of responding to grief, his stubborn resistance to being told to feel better and his core attitude about living life as it happens. Some were darkly funny. Yet his basic resilience started to shine through as he finished writing his sayings by the end of the year. “Not every cloud has a silver lining so start liking the clouds.”

I thought of Breandan when I read that Norman Vincent Peale may have been wrong, at least for some people, when he advocated saying positive self-affirmations to lift one’s mood. That’s a startling revelation for many of us Americans who have been bombarded with self-help messages based on the belief that positive affirmations are entirely beneficial.

“Repeating positive self-statements may benefit certain people, such as those with high self-esteem, but backfire for the very people who need them the most,” concludes social psychology professor Dr. Joanne Wood. Even those with high self-esteem felt only slightly better after repeating a positive self-statement.

The news gets worse for those with a low self-image Wood and her colleagues found:

• People with high self-esteem are more likely than those with low self-esteem to try to improve their moods when they are sad, as well as to savor their moods when they are happy.

• Those with low self-esteem sometimes even try to dampen their happiness, and engaging with others on Facebook seems to reinforce that reaction.

Don’t Fight Those Feelings. Instead, Notice Them, Then Choose What to Feel

Like obsessing more about the elephant in the room after being told to ignore it, being told to repeat “get happy” sayings, when sad, can make us feel even more sad. As Ed Yong concluded, “Statements that contradict a person’s self-image, no matter how rallying in intention, are likely to boomerang.“ “Don’t believe everything you think. “Thoughts are just that – thoughts,” wrote Pocket Peace author Allan Lokos.

Instead, of trying to change your feelings (as cognitive therapy attempts to do) change how you choose to view your thoughts. That approach calls on us to be mindfully observing what we are thinking and feeling from a calm pool, so to speak, without getting repeatedly sucked into the downward swirl of them. As Thich Nhat Hanh wrote, “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”

Practicing this way we can notice what we are feeling in the moment without immediately reacting, thus becoming better at choosing how we want to act. This approach is called ACT:Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. To reinforce that practice, “think of yourself as a kind friend,” suggests Duke University psychology professor Mark Leary. That bolsters yourself-compassion and thus your happiness. “One is a great deal less anxious if one feels perfectly free to be anxious, and the same may be said of guilt,” Alan Watts wrote.

Breandan, by the way, has begun writing his memoir, describing some of the adventures he shared with Emma, the people they met and the joy of living with her “through thick and thin.” His writing enables him to take the ACT approach, to observing and accept his sadness at his wife’s passing and to choose to focus, instead, on the many of the happy times they enjoyed together. He showed me the quote he chose for the first page:

“In the end, just three things matter:

How well we have lived

How well we have loved

How well we have learned to let go” ~ Jack Kornfield

As Byron Katie would say, he is “loving what is.” See more ideas at my Quotable and Connected column at Forbes.

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140716144633-7216756-choose-how-you-want-to-feel?_mSplash=1%5C&published=t

Advertisements

The 19 best sports moments from ‘The Office’

The series finale of NBC’s The Office airs Thursday night, capping a nine-year run for the groundbreaking sitcom.

Courtesy of USA TODAY – By – May 15, 2013

The 19 best sports moments from ‘The Office’

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2013/05/the-19-best-sports-moments-from-the-office/

Coming up with this list was hard, but satisfying.By – May 15, 2013 at 1:48pm EDT
 The series finale of NBC’s The Office airs Thursday night, capping a nine-year run for the groundbreaking sitcom. While the show generally mined laughs from the workplace, relationships and juvenile sexual innuendo, sports played a big role in some of the most memorable scenes. For The Win went back through the seasons and selected the 19 greatest sports moments from The Office.

1. Michael Scott’s free throw routine and Dwight Howard-like shot.

2. The merits of drafting.

(lol.theoffice.tumblr.com)

(lol.theoffice.tumblr.com)

3. Dwight’s Mike Lieberthal bobblehead (from his days as a minor league player in Scranton).

3830_3_full

4. Rollerskating to Dave Matthews Band, deep tracks only.

5. Quoth the Gretzky.

tumblr_m4cs55fdIJ1r3tcqko1_500

6. Soccer is the reason Jim plays basketball.

TheOfficeSoccerBall

7. Stanley isn’t good at basketball.

8. Ping pong games as B stories.

pingpong2

9. Naming a character “Ryan Howard” after the baseball player “Ryan Howard” (leading to this brilliant moment from an Atlanta Braves game).

10. Dressing up as the Miami Heat on Halloween.

officeheat

11. Dwight’s “Year in Martial Arts” presentation.

12. Goodbye, Toby.

tumblr_m3hk3swau81rskeexo1_400

13. Dwight can “physically dominate” the rest of the office.

14. Carbo loading before a 5K.

pingpong2

15. Deangelo Vickers’ disastrous dunk.

the-officesq2

16. Jim plays basketball with Dr. J for some reason.

MV5BMTg5Mzg4NDAwNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzExMzM5OA@@._V1._SX600_SY399_

17. Andy makes his own at-bat music for high school baseball players.

18. Dwight gets a black belt from Tony Soprano’s nephew.

dwights

19. Michael Scott attempts to leave on a high note.

tumblr_mau8jvhJuH1r9qg32o1_500

 MORE ,

%d bloggers like this: