Words can be used as Weapons

Words can be used as weapons

Words can be used to shame, blamarchere, humiliate, hurt, discourage and intimidate.

Words used as weapons can create emotional distress even when the intentions are careless instead of deliberate. Words can be thrown out in anger or frustration. Words can be used in a deliberate pattern of verbal abuse. I think we fail to recognize the effect of verbal abuse on our physical and emotional health. We have been told to toughen up and ignore hurt feelings, that we are too sensitive and cannot take a joke.

 

In reality your response or understanding of the intended meaning of words is what counts. If you think you have been insulted or ridiculed: then you have been. Trust your internal instinct on how the words were intended.

Suzette Haden Elgin reminds us, “ That verbal violence is a toxic menace. The majority of illnesses and disorders that develop in the workplace have emotional stress as their direct or indirect cause.” (1.)

Words can be carefully crafted as a verbal attack. Elgin describes here how

to recognize the “Verbal Attack Pattern”.

“The most reliable clue you have to verbal abuse is to listen to how different words are stressed in the spoken sentence. Listen for odd or abnormal emphasis to be placed on words spoken.”

Examples: If you really cared about your health–you would get off the couch and start exercising

What is so difficult about eating healthy? It is so simple any one could do it.

In both these examples the attacker is not interested in your answer.

These words are not used to encourage or support. A verbal attack is meant to injure, blame or shame. You don’t have to apologize or explain when under attack. Here are some short ideas about how to defuse a verbal attack.

The attack will include a bait: Some part of the sentence will attack you personally and expect you to defend against that part of the sentence.

Your best defense is to recognize that attack pattern and ignore the bait.

Instead keep your voice calm and address the situation at hand or agree with something that has been said.

All words spoken are not absolute truths. Just by understanding and recognizing a verbal attack can help you reduce its impact or power to inflict pain. It saddens me to realize how often we accept criticism as our fault without questioning the intention behind the words spoken to us. My hope is to raise awareness of the words we hear and speak. That we focus on how to communicate with sensitivity to others and learn to defuse or deflect words used as weapons. I have gathered many tools and skills over the years as a martial arts instructor and teacher of verbal self-defense. I hope this blog gives you some new ideas and would be happy to discuss your specific situations with a coaching call. Schedule a call with Coach Gwen

Elgin, S. (2000). The gentle art of verbal self-defense at work. Paramus, NJ. : Prentice Hall Press

 

 

Do you Have Spring Fever?

What is spring fever? The common definition is restless and distractive behavior brought on by changes in weather and daylight. It seems that spring weather brings out my urge to clean out my closets, start new projects and reflect on how I am spending my time. I use the wild ups and downs of the weather patterns in Colorado to refocus, slow down and think. Some days we get clear sunny days and I just want to be outside. Then when it snows or hails again I get this urge to take massive action on projects and complete undone tasks.

 

Version 2

Why does the weather or longer sunny days affect our mood or behavior? I know there is a research-based answer; I am more interested in what longer sunny days can do for us. Do you feel like skipping work and spending the day outside? Is that an outrageous thought? Have you really looked at how much you work lately? What would it take to get you outside and enjoying the weather more often? Spring weather can be an opportunity to reflect, reassess and make changes that allow you to feel centered and happy with how you spend your time.

 

Is there a cure for spring fever? Yes. Get outside. Spend time on things just for you. Stop doing everything for others. Start doing things for yourself. Start with a change of pace. Slow down and pay attention to how you feel and what you really need. Then decide what actions will support you in this changing season. Short-term ideas are simple steps.

  • Create a change in your daily routine.
  • Get outside more often
  • Do something just for the fun of it
  • Be social
  • Take a trip for a day or longer
  • Be lazy and unproductive for a full day

A good solution to make a lasting change is to take a day to reflect and consider what you want from life. What do you want more of in your life? What do you want to spend less time doing? Dream big. Consider all options before you start making plans. Review your long-term goals. Break those down into shorter actions that you can do daily or weekly. Use this changing spring weather to create a positive space in your life for healthy change.

 

Daily junk food or weekend binge?

Are Weekend Binges as Harmful to Gut Health as a Regular Junk Food Diet?

 

junk food

Eating healthily during the week and filling up with fast food over the weekend is just as bad for your gut health as eating junk food
every day of the week, according to a new study from the University of New South Wales.

In the study, two groups of rats were either given constant access to either a healthy food or junk food, while another group cycled between the two diets, receiving healthy food for four days and junk food for three days, over 16 weeks. A variety of metabolic markers were analyzed, including body weight, fat mass, insulin and leptin.

At the end of 16 weeks, rats on the cycled diet were 18% heavier than the rats on the healthy diet. In addition, the rats who were fed the junk diet food had reduced levels of microbial species which metabolize flavonoids, which have been linked to weight loss.

Researchers also established that the microbiota of cycled rats was nearly identical to the microbiota of rats on the junk food diet, with both groups’ microbiota being substantially different to the rats on the healthy diet.

Head researcher, Professor Margaret Morris, the Head of Pharmacology at UNSW said, “While these findings are yet to be replicated in humans, those who are strict with their diet during the week may be undoing all their good work by hitting the junk food over the weekend.”

Professor Morris believes that “The study suggests certain gut microbiota, including Ruminococcus and Blautia, may be promising targets for future therapeutic strategies to treat metabolic disorders”.

Source: University of New South Wales. “Weekend binges just as bad for the gut as a regular junk food diet, study suggests.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 January 2016. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160120112112.htm

How to manage your stress

stress does not have to wreck your day

stress does not have to wreck your day

Stress is a normal reaction to events that occur around us. How we manage or react to stressful situations is the key to stress being a positive challenge or a negative impact on our health. Here are some ideas to put into action so your life feels more under your control.

  1. Practice gratitude. This one action alone has been linked to increased happiness. Start small with writing down one thing that you are grateful for at the end of every day.
  2. Positive self talk. Too often our internal self talk is negative and critical. How helpful is that to learning from our mistakes? Listen to your own self talk. Be kind to yourself and consider what you have achieved every day instead of what is left undone
  3. Learn to say no.  Stop saying yes to all requests or taking on new responsibilities. This is the path towards overwhelm. Stop and consider what each request really means. Does this request fit my goals? What will I learn? What will I have to give up to start this new project. Then only say yes if this new idea fits your needs.
  4. Plan ahead. Take the time to plan out your day or your week. You make better decisions on what is important when you are focused on what you need. Identify one most important thing for each day.
  5. Avoid negative people. You know who they are. These are the people who complain, blame and point out the negative of every situation.
  6. Reduce your clutter. I know why we get piles of things, there never seems enough time to deal with the  stuff on our desk or in a closet. Start small and take 30 min to sort out your piles.  See how it feels to clear out one area.
  7. Socialize with friends.  Being out with other people in a social setting gives you a different perspective on life. A strong connection with other people supports your own wellbeing and emotional health.
  8. Play. Play with your kids, your friends and your pets. Do something fun. Laughter and play are great ways to lighten your mood.
  9. Practice self care. Be aware of what you need to recharge or reenergize at the end of a busy day. Take the time to do something nice for yourself today.
  10. Appreciate beauty around you.  Sometimes we get so stuck in the clutter of our brain that we forget to focus on the external environment. Stop and notice the bigger things in life. Admire a sunrise, clouds, work of art or anything that grabs your attention.

Any change takes a while to become a habit. Try one of these ideas and see what happens. A healthy lifestyle is based on making small changes over time. Get started by takin this stress assessment. Do you know your stress triggers?

Healthy Food Habits for Busy People

Healthy habits are small choices that you make each day that support your larger goals and vision of living well. This list will give you some ideas on how to turn your ideas into action steps that move towards a higher quality of life. Keep it simple when it comes to food choices. That is what works when you balance a busy life with healthy eating habits.

 

  1. Plan meals ahead. You know that if you have a plan for the week you make better choices. Set up a time each week to plan out your meals, snacks and needs so that you have healthy choices on hand when you need to eat.
  2. Use a list at the grocery store. This will save you time, money and avoid impulse decisions at the store.
  3. Buy the bulk of your food on the outer isles of the grocery store in produce and protein. Avoid the center isles where the processed food lives.
  4. Read labels. Start looking for added sugar with words that end in –ose: Frutose, dextrose, glactose, or syrup, barley malt, fruit juice concentrate.
  5. Stop drinking soda. This is the one thing that could make the biggest difference to your health. Diet soda with artificial sweetener is no better when it comes to keeping you in a cycle of craving sugar.
  6. Drink more water. Have a water bottle or glass of water close to you. Just the habit of having water in front of you will increase your intake. Ideal is 8 cups/ day.
  7. Cook ahead or cook double portions so that on hectic days you have food ready when you get home or leftovers to pull out of the freezer.
  8. Eat out less at restaurants. You can both save money and calories by cooking your own food. When you do eat out- choose foods that are baked, grilled and not fried. Ask for salad dressing on the side so you can control how much you use.
  9. Make a large pot of brown rice on the weekend when you have more time. That rice will last all week to add to your protein and vegetable dinners. Try quinoa as a grain that is healthy and easy to cook as your side for meals.
  10. Make open face sandwiches that only use one slice of bread- you can have lettuce on top to hold everything in. Pack your sandwich with protein and veggies. Try mustard instead of mayonnaise to flavor it.
  11. Avoid late night snacks. Put up a closed sign in your kitchen as a reminder

 

Here are some ideas of healthy snacks that you can grab and go with.

  • Fruit- it is a fast food
  • Vegetables with hummus
  • Cheese- like mozzarella sticks
  • Almonds or nuts that are raw and unsalted
  • Protein shake
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Yogurt- Greek – plain- you can add your own vanilla or nuts

The bottom line is to make your food choices ahead of time so your system makes it easy to eat healthy at the end of the day when you are tired or low on energy.

Keep it simple and start with small changes that fit your needs. If you need more ideas on how to simplify your life: take action and Contact Gwen for a complimentary coaching session

 

 

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