Extreme Kindness Week

Collegiate West CO Trail/ CD 12,548

I live in a mountain town, where extreme sports and outdoor adventures are common.

People will spend weeks and months getting ready for a local event because they enjoy the challenge and like to be in top physical shape. I enjoy outside exercise and it does reenergize me by just spending time outside. I think it is important to recognize and start any exercise program right where you are. Recognize that most of us are not and will not be top competitive athletes. So rather than compare our performance on anything to the top elite competitors, what if we appreciated ourselves for where we are performing right now.

What if there was a competition for extreme kindness?

What if you had to practice being considerate of others and kind to yourself every day to get ready for this event?
How would you treat yourself if being kind to yourself was the key to success?

I am going to define kindness as when you recognize all the positive things in your day and appreciate what you have accomplished. Unkindness would be to point out and focus on any mistake, disappointments or things not done exactly right. Then you would berate yourself for all of them repeatedly.

For extreme kindness week take up this challenge for yourself.

Be aware of how much of your talk is positive.

Can you rephrase things to point out the positive side first?
Listen to your self-talk this week and be aware of what you are saying to yourself.

How much of your talk is negative?

How much of your talk is positive?

Do you allow for mistakes and learn from them?

Do you review every mistake over and over again feeling worse each time your review it?

How would your treat yourself if extreme kindness was your only focus?

Take up the extreme kindness week challenge with a friend and see what you learn

Kindness is part of the ability to be optimistic. Optimism is a key characteristic of resilient people: those people who are good at handling stressful situations. Looking for the positive aspects in self and others is a way to build up your own internal optimism, while practicing kindness.

Amazingly when you focus on kindness  in your own life, you will find kindness does exist everywhere.

Why Solitude is Important

Have you ever just craved some quiet alone time?

Little girl with a book

I have had two clients last week who brought up the issue of needing some more space and time to themselves. The hectic pace of their lives and the sheer volume of interactions with people in their own home were becoming an irritation instead of a joy. This brought up the discussion of the effect on not getting quiet time as an adult. This I understand. I was the kid who climbed up into a tree to read- so no one would bother or interrupt me. My mom understood this need for quiet time- because she pretended not to notice where I was- even with all three of the family dogs sat patiently under the tree waiting for me. Now I understand the term introvert and how well that fits me.  According to Susan Cain one our of every two or three people out of the population are considered introverts.  Cain has a TED talk and a book-Quiet- on The Power of Introverts. Yet how many quiet spaces are there in your work environment? Most of our work spaces are designed for interaction and extroverts. In a busy household with different schedules and tasks that need doing- where is the quiet conversation? If solitude is part of what matters to you- then finding the time to be quiet is important to your ability to cope with the rest of the day.

What are the benefits of solitude? Solitude allows you to unwind and rest your brain. The absence of stimulation allows your brain to slow down and stop processing information. Solitude gives you time and space to consider your own needs and choices- rather than just going along with the group. It is easier to focus and concentrate on a specific issue or project with no outside distractions. You think more deeply about a topic when you are alone. I consider solitude the antidote to too much outside stimulation. I avoid big box stores partly because of the noise, lights and general level of activity there. Am I a hermit? No. I like social settings with friends where you can talk and interact. I am not as comfortable in a loud, crowded environment where you have to talk over loud music. Solitude for me is a choice that allows be to replenish and recharge my brain, my energy and my emotional levels.  If a quiet space fits your needs- then make choices that give you that space to recharge.

  • Schedule time alone
  • Walk outside at lunch for a change of environment
  • Swimming- or exercise outside can provide solitude
  • Get up early
  • Meditate
  • Pause before you start on weekend projects- enjoy your morning coffee outside

I have found the simple solution for me is to drink one cup of tea alone in my office without doing anything else. Just sitting and doing only one thing is enough to provide a calm  start to my day. This week – be aware of where you can find moments of solitude and enjoy them for what that quiet moment gives back to you.

If you have trouble finding a calm space- contact me for more ideas.

A responsible brain gets to rest

What being a perfectionist and very responsible person has done for my productivity.

I like to get things done- and feel like I am moving forward with projects and goals- who Doesn’t?

What I have been experimenting with is using an online tool called Todolist- I was afraid it would make things too complicated- instead- I am not searching for pieces of paper where I captured my thoughts last night on what needs to happen this week or today. Like anything else it only works well if you set up things in sequence- for any program- here are my best practice tips

  • Break down every project into individual steps
  • List out every step as an action to be taken
  • Give yourself enough time for each step
  • Not all projects have to go on your schedule- some just sit there until you are ready  to start
  • Only schedule things that you actually have time to do each day-
  • this one is the toughest one for me to learn- I get excited about working on something and want to get it all done right now.

A good reality check for me is to write down how much time I will allot to each task or project

Remember to allow time to exercise, get outside and take brain breaks. This keeps me feeling good about life and not chained to the to do list. So far I am liking my new tool and enjoying the satisfaction of having my stuff all together in one place. That reduces the stress of feeling like you might miss something or forget something,

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That for me is the key – ending each day feeling good about what I got done. I like the feeling of having things sorted and set up for another day. That makes it easy for me to let go of work and move into play. This is really important when you work from home- having a mental process that closes your office door for the day and lets you be refreshed and recharged while still in your home.

Find out what works for you- how do you switch gears? What makes it easy for you to close your work brain down for the day?

Ideas -listen, learn and grow

If you want your life to change- consider ideas plus inspiration. That concept comes from Jim Rohn. He was a motivation speaker who used stories to create ideas and inspire other people to take action. So where do good ideas come from? First you have to listen. Listen to yourself, listen to others and be open to new information. Good ideas are everywhere if you are looking and listening. Slow down to give yourself time to think. My favorite time of day is early morning before any activity – just sitting with a cup of tea and thinking about what is planned for the day. Set your goal to learn one thing every day. Challenge your brain every day. Absorb what you learn and than apply it to your unique situation. What you focus on grows. I want to keep my brain active and growing- what about you?

Pay Attention

I work with some people, who have memory loss. What I have learned is that activity has to have a function to make sense to my clients. Doing something without a reason or not being able to connect that activity to what they want to do is a flop. So walking outside is enjoyable, tossing a ball is a natural reaction, while lifting leg weights does not have a strong connection to daily needs. What if I took that lesson into my own life? How much time do I spend doing things that make sense and bring purpose to my life? How much of my time is busy time, filling up the space with activity without understanding what it does for me? Do I stop to ask – how does this activity fit into my life’s purpose? A curious exercise would be to start paying attention to the value of how I spend my time. I challenge you to do the same. If you placed a higher value on your time: what things would you do more of and what things would you stop doing? Try making a list- it is amazing the difference when you take ideas out of your head and put them in front of you on paper. Then pay attention to where your time goes and how you spend it. Why am I more careful with my money and so careless with my time?

Personal Boundaries

Personal boundaries are those invisible limits that you set around your life to allow good things in and keep you out of harmful situations. I consider boundaries as landmarks that mark my comfort zone in many situations. For many years I was a yes person. I would agree to take on any project and fix any situation for others with no regard for how that affected my energy levels. Then I moved to the other extreme and became a no person to any request. I had to learn to say no to everything because I did not trust my own system for deciding what things were harmful or helpful to me.
What can strong boundaries do for you? Personal boundaries put you in charge of how you live your life and how you choose to interact with others. They demonstrate respect for your needs and how much you treasure yourself.
What happens when you have no limits or personal boundaries?
One example is that you invite people into your life before you know their trustworthiness. You open yourself up to victimization. You find yourself overcommitted and unable to keep promises with feeling overwhelmed with no end in sight. Very weak boundaries can lead to emotional upheavals and feeling that life is out of control.
What happens when you set up very strong or rigid boundaries?
Here safety and control are you key needs. The results are not being open to new ideas or shutting yourself off from interactions and personal growth.
How do you find a middle ground? You learn by paying attention to your current boundaries and how they are working for you? What things have you agreed to do that immediately created a sense of overwhelm for you? What people or requests made you uncomfortable? When have you wanted to change your mind and join in after you turned down an invitation?
The best idea I can give you is try treating yourself as you would your very best friend. Be considerate of your own time. Take actions that demonstrate your value in life. Make it a process to act as your own best friend.

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