Don’t Be Blind-Sighted By Bubble-Ups

So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good. Helen Keller

A woman I spoke with who had lost her mother years ago called her sudden memories of her mother “bubble-ups.” One bubble-up for her was, “My mother had many friends, sometimes I wonder where they were after she died.” One of my bubble-ups is when the University of Nebraska football team takes the field. In that moment, I can’t help but shed a tear because I feel the presence of my beloved dad.

We are frequently blind-sighted by our bubble-ups. A memory suddenly assails us and brings tears, anger, or guilt. Be patient with yourself as the memory comes and goes. “Tis the season for bubble-ups.

Affirmation: I accept my memories as they come. 

Coaching questions: What “bubble-ups” have you experienced? How have you handled them? If necessary, reframe them from annoying to precious.

Avoid the Christmas Worry Loop

The fact that a waiter can more easily recall incomplete orders than served ones is called the Zeigarnik effect, named for the Russian psychologist who did the study. A later study showed that people are 90% more likely to remember undone tasks than those they completed. However, if you tell your brain when you’ll complete a task, it will kill the worry loop. 

This is why I love lists. Once I get the menu for a party on a list, map out when each course will be prepared, the day for shopping, and timing for the party, the event seems less daunting. Christmas lists work the same way. With nineteen grandkids and four greats, I have a Christmas Gift Book. I list each family, the amount of money to be spent on each adult and child then I begin to fill in ideas and purchases. I like to have the process well underway before Thanksgiving. My gift buying is now complete and my wrapping day is scheduled. I remind myself that I’m nearly done so my brain can relax and not be burdened with the undone tasks ahead. 

Affirmation: Dear Brain, we got this!

Coaching question/requests: What techniques do you use to keep out of the worry loop? Remember to tell your brain when you’ll complete a task. Enjoy these last days before Christmas.


Pay Attention!

If we don’t consciously choose where we want to direct our attention, there will always be something in our path to misdirect it. Linda Stone, writer and consultant

Stone coined the phrase “continuous partial attention,” the idea that we pay partial attention continuously out of a desire to not miss anything. We are constantly on the lookout for something more interesting than what’s before us. In an age of endless distraction, paying attention to any one person, idea, or task at a time can be challenging.

Taking a moment between tasks will help you strength your attention factor. Deliberate rest will also recharge your energy. I’ve noticed that when I take a break from writing or other tasks, I return with renewed energy and focus. Time away is not lost productivity but the opposite. At this busy time of the year, take a break, a deep breath, and recharge so you can give your full attention to the people and events you treasure. 

Affirmation: I pay attention.

Coaching questions: What’s distracting you? What keeps you from giving tasks, friends or loved ones your full attention? What will you do to remedy your continuous partial attention? 

Taking a Risk

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Helen Keller

Eighteen years ago today I met my husband, Ken. He was 57, I was 55 and we met on Today, meeting in cyberspace may not be unusual but in 2000, it was a “You met him where!!?” kind of thing. We were both recent widowers looking for a companion for dinner or a movie during the long Illinois winter. 

Our meeting was risky. We were perfect strangers, meeting in cyberspace, talking a few times on the phone, then sitting down face to face at a neighborhood restaurant. We were willing to have a daring adventure. We married two years later and are living happily in paradise on sunny Marco Island. Sometimes you just have to embrace the adventure. 

Affirmation: I am adventurous.

Coaching questions: What is an adventure you’d like to embrace? What’s holding you back? How might your life be different if you took a chance? 


Five Eating Tips For the Holidays

Mindful eating is about awareness. When you eat mindfully, you slow down, pay attention to the food you’re eating, and savor every bite. Dr. Susan Albers, author, psychologist

My husband and I have a couple of Christmas parties this weekend so I’ve been thinking about how to cope with the party food. So much sugar, carbs, fat, alcohol. Yikes! Here are a few tips I’ve found:

  1. Don’t show up hungry. Eat something nutritious before the party and you’ll be less tempted.
  2. Be clear about your health goals. Now is a good time to review your plan—lose weight, lower sugar consumption. What’s your intention?
  3. Align your actions with your goals. Spur-of-the-moment food choices are made when you forget what it is you want and do the opposite.
  4. Stay hydrated. Drinking water positively affects your overall health, your cognitive function, concentration and alertness. 
  5. Enjoy. When you do indulge, notice what it is you are eating, be mindful of the texture, taste, smell, and  enjoy the experience. 

Affirmation: I eat mindfully.

Coaching questions: What’s your holiday eating plan? What will you do to enjoy the season and take care of your health at the same time? 


Relief From Fear

And the angel said unto them, “Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Luke 2:10

God commands us to not be afraid. He doesn’t suggest it, he commands it, over and over in the Bible. Luke 2 is the message of the angel to the shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth. They had just seen a great light—-scary for a bunch of kids alone at night out in the fields. 

Life is scary sometimes and the feelings of fear are part of what has kept humans alive over the centuries. But most of our fears are unfounded and we need to remind ourselves to “Fear not!” It helps if there is something after the phrase. In scripture, God offers hope or a solution to those who are fearful. Simply telling yourself to not be afraid isn’t enough. Fill in the next statement, because _________. This will take you to the heart of your fear enabling you to move on.

Affirmation: I will fear not (when appropriate).

Coaching questions/request: What is causing you to feel fearful? What will help you take the command, Fear Not!, to heart? Say to yourself, fear not, ____________ (fill in with the help that will come, the reality of the situation, or simply I can get through this.)

The Gift of Generosity

True generosity is an offering; given freely and out of pure love. No strings attached. No expectations. Time and love are the most valuable possessions you can share. Suze Roman, author, financial advisor

’Tis the season of giving. There are “duty gifts” and “love gifts.” We give both. The greatest gifts are those given freely with no attachment. No expectations. As Suze says, true generosity is an offering. I take this to mean offering as in the biblical sense, a sacrifice. 

Humans are inherently insecure creatures. The accumulation of things offers us a sense of security. This is why giving generously out of love gives us such a feeling of satisfaction and joy. In addition to all those duty gifts you’re buying, consider giving at least one love gift with no strings attached. Spent your money, your time, or use your talents—all are gifts. 

Affirmation: I give out of love.

Coaching questions: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? What’s the best gift you’ve ever given? What gift of love will you give this season?