Posted in Awesome Stuff

Fear Me

I have been a massive sufferer of FOMO for most of my life – and it has caused some serious damage to me, physically, emotionally, and financially. When I was young, the thought that everyone was out doing something fun and I wasn’t drove me nuts – I didn’t know how to be comfortable and happy with what I was doing. In my adult life, I struggled with the notion of ‘keeping up with the Jones’ BS’…and I’m sure I will be paying off that credit card debt for many moons to come. My fear of missing out on things caused me to live beyond my means, to stretch myself when I shouldn’t have…and likely made me a very annoying, and pathetic, person to be around. Argh. So much time wasted. Thankfully, I seem to be overcoming all of it – but what a ride it has been. The tips offered in this article are VERY useful – hopefully they will help you, too. Who cares what others are doing in their lives? Focusing on your own should be pleasure enough. 😊



Why FOMO is Addictive and How to Overcome It by Jade Nyx

What is FOMO?
The official definition of FOMO is:
Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.
But I don’t need to tell you what the definition is, you have all experienced how it feels when your friends are on social media doing something and you aren’t. Missing out on all those jokes, adventures and plans. Feeling excluded.
We have all felt the gnawing anxiety of FOMO as it ruins our once happy moods with envy and sadness. Even if we got invited. Even if we turned down going to this event simply because we didn’t want to. Even if we couldn’t think of anything worse to be doing. FOMO does not discriminate. FOMO worms it’s way into your mindset and sets of that anxiety that makes you breathe just a little faster.

Why Do We Fear Missing Out?
Simply, because we are humans. We are social creatures and most importantly, pack animals. To be socially included is a survival instinct.
If we were rejected by our pack, we were left out to the elements to die so it is biologically programmed into us to want to be included and be a part of the pack.
Since the days of being a cave humans, our societies have drastically progressed since then. Social rejection doesn’t mean death anymore, it is more death to the ego than actual death. But since the rise of Social Media, our primal FOMO has resurfaced because all the things we could be doing to be included are shoved in our face 24/7.
Life isn’t one long party, in between the parties and fun adventures, there is mundane, routine life! And while our routine, mundane life can be wonderful, we still get insecure that our life isn’t perceived as interesting and that is thanks to Social Media.
How FOMO Affects Our Lives
40 years ago, FOMO wasn’t that much a problem because long distance communication wasn’t great. Instead of having 500 hundred friends, we have a few friends that were nearby and if they were doing something, we had no idea and therefore, were not triggered to feel FOMO. Unless someone rubbed it in your face that you weren’t there, then we felt left out.
But now, social media dominates our lives with everyone’s exciting highlights reel bombarding our minds. We always make the assumption that everyone else’s life is so much fuller and more exciting than our own.
Information Overload
Thanks to advancing technology, we are subjected to huge amounts of information constantly and it is too much for our brain.
We can’t tell what person has done what, it all kind of blurs into one and that one person is everyone. Everyone is doing all this cool stuff, all the time, 24/7 and you aren’t. All this information is emotionally and mentally overwhelming us and it is exhausting.
FOMO is a cyclic compulsion that we can’t quit. We are addicted to distraction, using social media as a mental break, in doing so making ourselves feel bad from FOMO and so we scroll more.
We are addicted to social media and we are not good at practicing good social media health.
As much as I would like to blame social media giants for creating platforms that are designed to be addictive, we are the ones that open the app, scroll and feed the addiction everyday. We are the ones that don’t unfollow bad channels, bad people and negativity.
In real life, if someone doesn’t bring you happiness and joy, you avoid them and you avoid all communication with them. But you still have them as a facebook friend, you have unfollowed them in real life but not in your virtual life which is in many ways worse.
So what is the result of this overwhelming information and lack of proper social media care?
Your mental health is in tatters. FOMO has a detrimental effect on our mental health, causing mood swings, loneliness, feelings of inferiority, reduced self-esteem, anxiety and depression.

Overwhelm
You see all these things happening around you and you feel overwhelmed by the huge amount of things going on without you.
There are so many avenues to go down and you don’t have the time, energy or resources to all of these things. Even if we did one of them, there will always be 10,000 more things that other people are doing and we feel insignificant.
Fear
Specifically, fear of exclusion. You feel excluded and therefore afraid on a base level, like if you missed out on this one thing, you will be excluded forever and therefore, fear for your survival in a social group.
Self Hate
We feel uninteresting, boring and average. Fearing that we will be perceived as boring if we don’t attend all the social events, even if we didn’t want to go.
We instinctively care about what people think of us and we use this information to bully ourselves. Making us anxious and depressed, which in turn, makes us anxious at social events so we can’t have fun.
Being Set in a Comparison Mindset
The comparison mindset is a cancer that ruins your life.
We love to compare ourselves to others to work out where we are on the scale of success, because we love succeeding and progressing. It is in our nature. But the comparison mindset only leads to self hate because we are finding reasons we aren’t succeeding and we bully ourselves about it.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone because you aren’t comparable in any form. No one has walked your life, not even an identical twin and no one has what you have. Instead of bullying yourself for your lacks, focus on your blessings and express gratitude for it.

How to Overcome FOMO
FOMO kills happiness. Comparison is the thief of joy and as we compare our lives to those on social media, even though we cannot be compared because our lives are so beautifully different. So what can we do to overcome it?
1. Know That Social Media Isn’t Reality
Understand that social media isn’t reality, there are so many posts of happy cheerful faces doing something cool and being included. But it doesn’t tell the story of the person who is smiling through gritted teeth because really, they didn’t want to be there.
2. Embrace JOMO
JOMO is the Joy In Missing Out<https://www.lifehack.org/633908/the-fear-of-missing-out-has-been-around-forever-even-without-social-media>. When you feel the tugs of comparison and fear, just remind yourself of your worth and take a moment to show gratitude to what you are doing right now.
What you are doing right now is someone else’s dream. Practice gratitude<https://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/40-simple-ways-practice-gratitude.html> and remind yourself that just because something else is happening without you, doesn’t mean they you aren’t important.
3. Reassurance
Reassuring yourself that just because something is happening doesn’t mean that your worth is affected in anyway.
FOMO is caused by a instinctual fear for survival. The best way to deal with a fear is to reassure yourself that you are safe and you are physically, emotionally and mentally are safe. You are still interesting, important and full of worth.
4. Ask Yourself, “Did You Really Want to Be There?”
Seriously, did you really want to be there? I know the travel FOMO when someone is on a warm beach in living Bali with the beautiful yoga poses and you feel the FOMO. But ask yourself, do you really want that life? It isn’t as great as instagram makes it seem.
Also, we get FOMO from parties and events that if we were there, we would hate. We often just want to be seen doing something so we feel cool so people will think we are interesting, which leads to.
5. Try Not to Care What People Think of You
This one isn’t so easily done but it shouldn’t matter what people think of you. You shouldn’t spend your life trying to get favorable opinions from people who wouldn’t turn up to your funeral.
6. See the Larger Picture
We sit there and torture ourselves on all the things that we are missing out on. The reality is, in your entire life, this one thing that is making you feel the FOMO is a grain of sand in the ocean. In less than 24 hours, it won’t matter to you at all, so don’t let it ruin your day because in your whole life, it is nothing.
7. Make More Plans
If you feel FOMO because you feel like you aren’t doing much with your life, go and do something. You are the master of your life.
If you feel like you are being left out, go to more events with people. Alternatively, if you are an introvert like me, try a class, learn a new skill, book a flight, go on a walk, cut your hair. Go do things while you still can! Life is short so fill it with adventure!
8. Self-Care
Check in with your emotions more and take better care of yourself. Take time each day to sit and watch the rain with a cup of tea or meditate, nap, go for a short walk. Spend some time not connected to the internet so your brain has a moment to play catch up and rest.
9. Clear up Your Social Media
Get rid of anything that makes you feel sad, down or depressed on social media. Make sure your social media is a place of positivity and happiness.
The benefit of social Clear up Your Social Media media is you can unfollow people but not unfriend them. In this way, you can stop listening to their opinions all day without hurting their feelings.
10. Be Excited for Other People
If you see someone who is on holiday and you feel the FOMO, you don’t have to unfollow them or throw shade. Be happy for them.
Be grateful for where you are right now and the adventures you have had. Be happy for all these people who are living amazing fun lives and know that it has nothing to do with you.
Final Thoughts
FOMO is a mindset that makes us feel anxious, depressed and most commonly, boring and uninteresting. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
FOMO is only going to get more and more difficult as more of our lives go online, so I hope these techniques can help you overcome FOMO more easily.

Good advice, eh? I know! I hope it helps you – enjoy your day, friends!

Xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I came across this article this morning – the title is “How to be as Likeable as Mister Rogers”, and I kind of love it. Growing up with three TV channels in rural Canada, Mister Rogers was not part of my childhood (we had the Canadian version of him – Mr Dressup – who was just about as fantastic, let me tell you!). Once we got cable, though, I began checking out his show (yes I was 17, so what?) to see what the fuss was all about it…and I LOVED it. I found him to be everything that a person who hosts a show for kids should be – kind, sweet, caring, with such a lovely sense of joy and fun. I appreciated the cadence of his voice, the speech patterns he used were rhythmic and comforting…and don’t get me started on his magnificent puppets. I’m here for puppets anyway (I seriously love them – I don’t know why I don’t work at the Children’s Television Workshop on Sesame Street), but his were extra special. Sigh. I love him. Anyway, back to the list of ways you can be as likeable as Fred Rogers – and I hope you follow it and become as likeable as him. We need more of him in the world. For realz.

How to be as likeable as Mister Rogers

Tim Denning

Make light of dark topics

The TV show that made Mister Rogers famous was called “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” It was a kid’s TV show and often contained dark topics which Mister Rogers was able to present in a positive way.

His ideas about death and the inevitable event we will all face were spoken about using puppets, a dead goldfish lying in a tank that was later buried, and through the use of songs and puppets.

He took a dark subject like death and found something positive in it both for children and for the adults that would watch his show with their children. One such example saw Mister Rogers reflecting on what his mother used to say to him about death:

“Always look for the people who are helping.”

“You’ll always find somebody who’s trying to help.”

Even with a dark topic like death, there is a way to find the positive if you take Mister Rogers’ advice that he learned from his mother. It’s easy to find a horrible outlook from a dark topic — but it’s much harder to see the good and that’s one way to become more likable. Because people fall in love with those that can find the good in every situation.

Make everyone feel good

The whole way through watching both films, the viewer is left feeling good. You feel good for many reasons and most of them tie back to one central theme: it’s so easy to be a good person if you try hard enough the way Mister Rogers did.

There is so much to feel bad or guilty about in life and the internet only amplifies this problem. People that make us feel good are uncommon and so when we’re introduced to such an individual, we like them.

By making us feel good about the world, we feel good about ourselves.

And when we feel good about ourselves, we can achieve outcomes that we may otherwise of believed to be impossible. Make people feel good.

Give everybody your full attention

Ever spoken to someone about an important topic and they are looking at their phone or computer and giving you a small amount of their attention? You feel horrible and wish that they would just listen.

Mister Rogers was different — granted, technology was not robbing us of our attention during his era the way it is now. During many scenes reenacted by Tom Hanks in the film about Mister Rogers’ life (and confirmed by the journalist he was talking with, Tom Junod), Rogers takes a deep interest in everybody he talks with. He asked them questions about themselves and leaves them pondering thoughts long after the conversation is done.

He takes pictures with people he meets and calls them friends, making them feel important.

People love it when you pay attention to them and the way you do that is by being genuinely curious and asking questions about them, rather than talking about yourself.

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less — CS Lewis

Plans don’t always work out

It one scene of the film, Mister Rogers says, “I want kids to know that plans don’t always work out.”

For a typically positive man, this may seem like strange advice. What makes Mister Rogers likable is that he tells the truth and doesn’t sugarcoat brutal life lessons.

By knowing that our plans won’t always work out, we can be prepared for it and not be disappointed or have our thoughts turn to trash when our plans fail. The corporate world has long told me that I must have a business plan (helpful advice), but what is often left out is that even with a plan, things generally don’t go accordingly.

Having a plan is not a way to prevent failure or even prevent it.

Positive ways to deal with feelings

Mister Rogers’ key theme of his TV show that made him likable was to find positive ways to deal with feelings.

We are going to have unhelpful feelings and learning to deal with them is far more useful than trying to suppress them or numb them with alcohol, drugs, binge-watching tv, being unkind on social media or eating junk food.

You deal with feelings by facing them head-on and looking inside yourself at the good and not-so-good parts of who you are.

Get people to tell the truth

Good luck ever trying to lie to Mister Rogers. He was known for getting people on and off camera, to tell the truth. There were the pauses and the stares into their eyes that unconsciously helped them to say what needed to be said.

Talking with Mister Rogers was refreshing because you knew that he wasn’t going to judge you or force you to agree with his view of the world.

Helping people tell the truth is useful and you do that, mostly, from listening to them and letting them know that you’re not going to judge them.

Know everyone’s name

One of the simplest hacks to be likable, that is often overlooked, is to remember people’s names. Cast, crew, journalists and the extras on set were often surprised by Mister Rogers’s uncanny ability to remember their first name and it made them feel valued.

No matter how famous or influential you are, do your best to remember people’s names.

Be well-researched

Researching someone before you meet them shows you care and they’ll like you for it. When Esquire journalist Tom Junod met Mister Rogers, he was surprised at how much research he had done on him.

Their conversations were deep and the friendship that developed later on was partly made possible by the research Rogers had done prior to meeting Tom. With social platforms dominating our lives, we can use them to be well-researched and incredibly curious when we meet someone for the first time.

I personally like to read up on the hobbies of business clients before I meet them to understand them from a different angle. You can tell me about your business, but I’ll learn more by hearing about your hobbies and why you chose them. Because hobbies and business are closely linked.

Give people a chance

Tom didn’t exactly have a brilliant reputation as a journalist with the way he wrote and it was risky, in a way, for Rogers to be followed around and written about by Tom.

But Mister Rogers gave people a chance and lets his character do the talking for him. Even with Tom’s controversial style of writing, it was impossible not to be inspired by Mister Rogers and share that truth with the audience.

See who people can be and not who they currently are, and trust your character to do the talking for you.

Show huge amounts of empathy

Another key theme of the TV show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, was the teaching of empathy. It was a key theme throughout many of the 900 episodes and was acted out by Rogers himself and then portrayed through some of the characters featured in the show.

Joanne Rogers, widow of Mister Rogers, mentioned an interesting idea in an interview with NBC:

“Listen, it’s important for you to know that he was not a saint. Because if you think of him as a saint, then his message is unattainable.”

Being a saint makes the idea of empathy and kindness unattainable and the fact that you have made many mistakes and don’t always see the good in people is perfectly fine.

We’re likable because of who we are, not for unattainable perfection.

Work at your way of being

You may think Mister Rogers was never angry, given his outlook on life. In both films it becomes clear that he was, at times, angry. When asked about his children, he would admit that they were not perfect either.

Everything Rogers does is a work in progress. The reason his anger didn’t dominate was because he learned to work at it and deal with it. The same opportunity exists for you. You’re going to get angry, especially when you’re tired, and working with those feelings is useful. How can you channel that anger into something positive?

Rogers teaches us that we can choose how we respond to anger rather than have the default option selected for us and be held back by it. Working on yourself is how you become more likable and minimize anger that turns people against you.

Write back to people that support you

Mister Rogers would write back to his fans and meet them in real-life. He was generous with his time and gave it to people that needed it.

This is a huge learning for me. Lots of people will support you in your life as it progresses and when they reach out, you have the opportunity to connect with them. People find you more likable when you take the time to respond to them, even if it’s a brief response.

It’s one of the key reasons I do my best to respond to any reader that contacts me directly.

Don’t take the people who support you for granted, and you’ll be more likable for it.

Live modestly

Ever met someone with a giant mansion and a Lambo in the driveway? It’s hard to relate to them, isn’t it?

Mister Rogers was known for taking the subway each day to the TV studio even though his fame meant that he didn’t have to. Like the viral footage of Keanu Reeves riding the subway, Mister Rogers did the same because he lived modestly. You could relate to him because he was just like you.

He let his character shine rather than let his ego be polished and put on display with the accumulation of money. Perhaps Keanu learned this life lesson from Mister Rogers.

The world doesn’t need another rich dude flaunting their money and making us feel like a failure.

We need more people riding the subway and using their money to make a real difference.

Live within your means. Avoid the temptation to buy fancy stuff and you’ll be more likable because you’ll be relatable.

Sharing your problems is bravery

Mister Rogers wasn’t afraid to talk about his problems. It was a small act of bravery that helped the audience understand their own problems through his.

Demonstrating you’re imperfect through talking about your problems is useful. This insight was what inspired me to talk more about mental illness and it may have the same effect on you.

It’s okay not to be okay.

No normal life is free from pain

“There is no normal life that is free of pain. It’s the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth” — Mister Rogers

All great advice, eh? I know!!! I love this so much! I’m on my way to start putting this to practice right now. 😊

xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I’ve been listening to podcasts in the car A LOT lately – not sure what has prompted the change, but since my drive to work is SO MUCH LONGER (argh the traffic blows around San Antonio these days), and I have a lot of time to fill while driving, so…I’m trying to learn stuff. Get smarter. Become a more interesting conversationalist. Podcasts are the way! 😊

  1. Life Will Be the Death of Me – Chelsea Handler: I read the book first, and then listened to all of the episodes of the podcast. I LOVE this new, vulnerable Chelsea – and I love the focus she’s put on meditation. She’s inspired me – I’ve been doing Headspace for a couple of weeks now, and I can’t be sure but I think I may be mildly more chill? Hopefully?! Anyway – the podcast is good, she has friends come on and talk with her…it’s enjoyable. I like it. 😊
  2. The Conversation with Amanda DeCadenet: Full disclosure: Amanda’s show of the same name was one of my FAVORITE TV shows of the past 10 years, so I’m thrilled with the return of her interviews through this podcast. I wish there were more episodes (and I’m hoping like hell that they are coming), but Amanda’s interview style is one of my favorites – she strikes the perfect balance of light-hearted and serious, and she doesn’t shy away from politically-charged topics. She’s WONDERFUL – her podcast is on Spotify.
  3. Good For You – Whitney Cummings: I’ve just started listening to this one last week (it’s also on Spotify), and Whitney is a REALLY good interviewer as well. She hasn’t had that many episodes yet, but if you like Dave Grohl or Busy Phillips, be sure to check those ones out (the Busy one is really good, and I worship at the temple of Dave and think he is quite possibly the greatest man alive).
  4. Unqualified – Anna Faris: This is one of the first ones that I got in to listening to fairly regularly, and I love it! Again, she has a WONDERFUL way with the people that she interviews, and she gets celebrities talking and sharing things that they may not always be so forthcoming about. She’s on episode #227 this week, so…she’s clearly kicking ass and doing well with this. Yaa!😊
  5. Armchair Expert – Dax Shephard: I really enjoy Dax. His self-deprecating sense of humor delights me, and he does a really solid job of interviewing people – sometimes his guests are celebrities and the people you’d expect him to have on, other times it’s evolutionary biologists, pediatricians, or anti-bullying activist Monica Lewinsky (this episode is ACES, friends, you must check it out!)….Dax has varied interests, and I appreciate his eclectic mix of guests and topics. GREAT show! 😊 (Shout out to Dax for asking questions on one of the episodes of Jeopardy Greatest of All Time tournament last week – woot! woot!)

What podcasts are you listening to these days, friends?

xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Repost: Master of the House

Here’s a post from December 2016 – let’s walk down memory lane together, shall we?

What skills and talents do you have? I bet you have tons of mad skills, friends….crazy talented peeps that you are. Are you an expert at anything? Singing? Dancing? Typing? Golf? Basket weaving??? What are you the very best at?

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This is a tough question for me. I don’t know of one single thing that I am an expert at – not one, which is rather sad, when you think that I am 42 years old (gulp) and have worked in the Education industry for 21 years…and I’ve not mastered anything yet to the point of feeling like an expert. Have you? I bet you have. 🙂 The other thing that’s interesting about this topic is this: for a lot of us (women in particular), even if we have mastered something and have mad skillz coming out the wazoo (a technical word), we totally downplay the whole thing. Let me explain – when I am in a job interview (which I totes suck at, by the way), I have zero ability to sell myself. None. When I try, I end up stuttering and tripping over my words, feeling awkward AF because I think I sound like a pompous windbag…it doesn’t end well. So, I generally try to downplay everything, and make it sound as if the things that I do are no big whoop – when, in reality, I do lots of whoop-worthy things. Some researchers call this “impostor syndrome”, where women feel like they are fooling others, faking everything that they do, or getting by because they are just lucky. Jodie Foster said that before she won her Academy Award for “The Accused”, she felt “like an impostor, faking it, that someday they’d find out I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t. I still don’t.”

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So what do those of us who believe we are impostors do? (Yes, for the record, I am TOTALLY this) (Pathetic) (Shame on me) We impostors play things safe, fly under the radar, hide our skills and abilities. We pretend to be less – less capable, less intelligent, less everything….anything we can to disappear into the crowd. Some of us hide our talents as a way of getting those around us to underestimate us – then they will be pleasantly surprised when they see how awesome we can be! (This is my favorite trick) Let’s take a look at an article about this very topic:

Despite their relative success, many bright, talented women no longer maintain their confident youthful enthusiasm. Criticized by high-profile authors like Sheryl Sandberg for not climbing the career ladder, women are often reluctant to promote themselves in the workforce or pursue higher paying careers, such as those in engineering or computer science. Some even feel like impostors, tormented by self-doubt and insecurity.


Why do gifted women lose confidence?


The self-doubt and insecurity start out gradually…

Those bright, energetic gifted girls often start to downplay their talents by middle school in an attempt to fit in. They mask their abilities and “dumb themselves down” to appeal to boys, fit society’s image of an attractive woman, and avoid conflict with friends. Their self-esteem starts to decrease, and they begin to lose confidence in their abilities, especially in math and science. They may steer clear of the more difficult math courses, believing that boys are intrinsically “more gifted.”

Insecurity and self-doubt often persist throughout high school. One study, for example, found that feelings of hopelessness, discouragement, emotional vulnerability and perfectionism increased for gifted girls from 1st through 12th grades. In another investigation, 3/4 of girls who graduated from a school for the gifted did not think they were smart.

Women in college continue to doubt themselves. Many gifted women are challenged for the first time once they arrive at college, and rather than embrace this opportunity, they view it as confirmation of their inadequacies. One study found that female valedictorians lost confidence in themselves when they were in college, despite getting good grades, and that their insecurity increased as they got older.
What are some reasons gifted women hold themselves back?

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1. Impostor syndrome:

Women may doubt themselves and think they have fooled others. Talents and accomplishments are denigrated. Women who feel like impostors assume that it is only a matter of time before their “actual” incompetence and lack of intelligence will be revealed. Social psychology studies have shown that men consistently overestimate and women consistently underestimate their abilities and subsequent performance. As long as they view themselves as impostors, they will continue to doubt and disparage their accomplishments.

2. Attribution error:

Women often attribute their success to luck or effort, and any failure to lack of ability or an internal flaw. There is a widespread assumptions that gifted men are intrinsically “smarter” and that women’s success is due to hard work. In one survey of professors, presumed brilliance was identified as the reason why women were underrepresented in certain fields in both science and liberal arts (e.g., STEM, philosophy, economics), and their prevalence in other fields (e.g., molecular biology, neuroscience, psychology) was attributed to hard work.

3. A higher standard:

Women often hold themselves to an unreasonably high standard. They expect themselves to perfect a skill, have complete knowledge of the facts or master an argument before they assert their authority. Women often lack confidence, hold back on asking for a promotion, expect to earn less, and ask for less when it comes to salary. According to Kay and Shipman:

“Success, it turns out, correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence. No wonder that women, despite all our progress, are still woefully underrepresented at the highest levels.”
4. Identity conflict:

Adult women also doubt their right to engage in focused, competitive goals. They don’t want to be labeled as “bitchy” or bossy, and worry that success will be seen as a threat to friends, family or men. Women have been raised to focus on relationships and to put others first, and a single-minded emphasis on career is in conflict with their sense of self.Even self-identified feminists may feel guilty winning an award, surpassing colleagues for a promotion, or being the breadwinner in the family.
But, sometimes, it’s not about confidence…


Self-doubt, sexist stereotypes, prejudices, an absence of workplace support (e.g., no child-care or family leave), and the glass ceiling all impact women’s progress; yet one of the greatest dilemmas many gifted women face involves finding a meaningful work-life balance. This not only includes an ability to combine work, relationships and child-raising, but also pursuing a career that is both meaningful and challenging.

Many women feel torn between pursuing a career that is personally meaningful (such as one focusing on social justice) and a job in a lucrative or competitive field. A challenging career may be compelling, but women also want flexibility, autonomy, the ability to make a difference, and options for including family needs in the equation.

Rosenbloom reported that interests and preferences explain 83% of the gender differences in choosing a career in information technology – not confidence or math ability. Women were identified in this study as being less interested in inanimate systems, and more concerned with plants, animals and people.

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Pinker also concluded that women made an active choice to avoid STEM careers, suggesting that women may not want to sacrifice personal interests for salary, are less willing to tolerate the relocations often required in these jobs, and may want to focus on people and the arts rather than objects.

Mohr referred to a frequently quoted Hewlett-Packard internal report indicating that women applied for promotions only when they thought they met 100% of the qualifications, whereas men applied as long as they assumed that they met 60% of the criteria. Mohr claimed that women’s lack of confidence was not the only interpretation to consider: fear of failure, a tendency to strictly follow rules, and lack of familiarity with the hiring process also hold women back.

In the Study of Mathematically Precocious Youths, those who scored in the top 1% were tracked down in their 50’s. While most were highly satisfied with their lives, earned more than others, and were more likely to have doctoral degrees, gender differences were identified. Men were more likely to be CEO’s, work in IT or STEM, to have pursued higher pay and freedom as career goals, and earned more than the women in the study ($140,000 vs. $80,000 on average); the women were more likely to work in health sciences, arts or education careers, and sought fewer work hours and greater flexibility in their work.

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What smart women need to know…


Smart women need to appreciate their talents and recognize their right to accomplish whatever goals they set for themselves. Negative stereotypes and expectations that either they or others impose need to be challenged and relinquished. Decisions based on values, needs and personal goals rather than conformity, external pressure or a desire to please others is critical. Women do not have to pursue a highly competitive career; they just need to know that are entitled to choose that path, or to turn it down for something equally meaningful.

I friggin’ LOVE this article, don’t you? There is so much truth here about why we girls keep doing the same self-sabotaging shit to ourselves over and over again. It’s nuts. And it needs to stop. I’m trying to think about this stuff as I am raising my Wee One, and I hope that you are thinking about you can apply this thinking to your life. I know that I’m just one person, and the possibility of me bringing meaningful change to the world is pretty slim – but every journey begins with one small step. So – let’s get walking.

Xxx

PS: A final thought: I have struggled in the workplace over the years – and the past year has been particularly difficult. As I reflect on my career as a whole, I realize that the common element is little ol’ me. I know that I am a good employee – I work hard, I do have a lot to offer an organization…but I am not easy to manage. I can be like a cyclone, and it takes someone special to realize that, to nurture my winds (keeping up the cyclone metaphor, not a reference to me being farty, silly), and to get the hell out of the way and let me do my thing. Most people can’t do that, which is too bad – I can’t help but wonder what kind of a positive impact I could have if I someone would take a chance on me and let me do my thing.

I think a lot about going into business for myself – this is something I really want to explore. One of my dream businesses is owning a pub – I’ve wanted to do this my whole life, and it’s still on my radar. I KNOW that I would love it – and I am one hell of a good bartender. (Ask me to make you a paralyzer or a martini – it’ll change your damn life) Another thing I would like to do is make handmade beauty products – I have been dabbling for the past while, and I think I may be on to some pretty good formulas. I doubt I could ever make a living doing this, but it’s one heck of a relaxing, satisfying hobby. (**NOTE: Do you see what I did just there? Totally underplayed my work with the stuff I’ve been making – WTF, friends? For all I know, I may be sitting on the next Lush formula – grr! My mind is a frustrating entity, and I am a frustrating person.) (Grr)

2020 Update: Good news – I’ve made some progress since this was written. While I still frequent feel like a phony-baloney who doesn’t deserve all of the responsibility I have, I’m managing that better – and my work like has improved dramatically. Yaa! I have found a supervisor who enjoys me just the way I am, he doesn’t micromanage me – he just gets the hell out of the way and let’s me know he will help if I need it. Magical! I still wish I could work for myself, either in the pub or the cheese shop of my dreams (I would LOVE to own a cheese shop!!!)….perhaps someday! At least now I think I’m capable of it! Progress! Baby steps! Woohoo!!!!

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Gimme Gimme Gimme

Update: 21 Day Manifesting Challenge

So, as I mentioned previously, I signed myself up for Gabby Bernstein’s 21 Day Manifesting Challenge – and so far, so good! 😊 A real highlight for me has been the Facebook community….the people in the group are so wonderful, interesting, open…it’s been beautiful to read their stories and what brought them to the challenge. I love it!

Since the 1st of the year, Gabby has sent out an email each day with tasks to complete, and I have kept up – woot! woot! At the beginning of the challenge, we were asked what things we wanted to manifest, and to be CLEAR about those. My list included financial stuff (of course), improved health (not that my health is bad – for a fluffy person I’m in surprisingly good health!), and a way forward with my side interests. There was other stuff on the list, but these are some of the big ones. The main thing that I’ve taken away thus far is the importance of ‘clarity’…you can’t put something out to the universe and hope it will happen, if you aren’t 100% clear on what that something is! It just won’t work!

A second thing that Gabby frequently reminds us of is the intention behind the desires we have – and I think this is key. One of my items was that I want to improve my financial situation – the reason for this is that I don’t want to have to worry about money so much, I don’t want to be always running short on funds for things, I don’t want the stress and the worry… I want to be comfortable and happy, so that I can focus on enjoying time with my family (and not obsess over what everything will cost). I don’t want a heap of money so that I can buy strippers and drugs all day long – that would not be a great intention. I think my motivation is sound ….and I’m hoping like hell that it works!

“I’m worthy of my desires, and attracting what I want will bring more joy to the world.” – Gabby Bernstein

Here’s some other things I’ve made notes of to share with you:

When things get difficult…

  1. Notice the negative thought pattern. Take a deep breath and feel into whatever feelings come up for you. Then exhale.
  2. Stop the spiral of negative thoughts by silently repeating this: I choose to see peace instead of this.
  3. Close your eyes, breathe long and deep as you silently repeat that phrase for at least a minute.

Your energy creates your reality. Consciously choose new thoughts and you’ll raise your vibrations.

When we make feeling good our priority, everything else can flow.

Be unapologetic about how you want to feel.

I will keep you posted on how things are going as we continue through the rest of our 21 days – loving this!!!😊

xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Around the Bend

I’ve dabbled with yoga off and on over the years, and I love it so much that I honestly don’t know why I don’t do it all the time – my own damn laziness, I suppose. Anyway, one of my promises to myself for the year (since I am not doing resolutions) is to get back to yoga, so… that’s what I’m doing! The plan is to do it at least three time a week (and hopefully more!), and see how it makes me feel. It’s been too damn long since I practiced, and I have suffered not one but two broken arms in the past two months (because I’m special like that), so I knew I needed to start slow and easy. I hit up my absolute FAVORITE yoga teacher Adriene Mishler (https://yogawithadriene.com/), and as usual she didn’t let me down. I began with a simple, easy introductory session that got the muscles moving, focused on the power of the breath, and didn’t cause me much discomfort in the aforementioned broken-but-healing arms. It will be awhile before I’m doing anything too complex, but the first session felt GREAT! Now to keep it up!

If you aren’t familiar with Adriene, check out her YouTube channel (and join the other millions of us who subscribe and follow her!) – she’s got videos for everything, her dog appears sometimes, and she’s so encouraging that you will feel like you’ve had a warm hug when you’re finished. She’s awesome! 😊

Namaste!

xxx

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Can’t Get You Outta My Head

Happy Monday, friends! Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend – mine has been rather low key, as I’ve finally succumbed to the wicked cedar in the air here, and I’m feeling rather crap. 😔 I hope it passes soon, but I’ve been here in South Texas long enough to know that it’s just getting going…it’s going to be a long couple of months. Yuck.

Last Monday, I decided it was high time to get serious about meditation – this is the year I’m going to meditate regularly! I paid for the full version of Headspace for a year, and, as I predicted, paying for something had already forced me to use it…and I’m seven days in! Yaa me! If you aren’t familiar with Headspace, you should check it out – it’s a great app, super easy to use, and I’m loving it so far.

There’s tons of benefits to meditating regularly – check this out:

12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation

Written by Matthew Thorpe, MD, PhD on July 5, 2017

The popularity of meditation is increasing as more people discover its benefits.

Meditation is a habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts.

You can use it to increase awareness of yourself and your surroundings. Many people think of it as a way to reduce stress and develop concentration.People also use the practice to develop other beneficial habits and feelings, such as a positive mood and outlook, self-discipline, healthy sleep patterns and even increased pain tolerance. 

This article reviews 12 health benefits of meditation.

1. Reduces Stress

Stress reduction is one of the most common reasons people try meditation. 

One study including over 3,500 adults showed that it lives up to its reputation for stress reduction (1Trusted Source).

Normally, mental and physical stress cause increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This produces many of the harmful effects of stress, such as the release of inflammation-promoting chemicals called cytokines. 

These effects can disrupt sleep, promote depression and anxiety, increase blood pressure and contribute to fatigue and cloudy thinking.

In an eight-week study, a meditation style called “mindfulness meditation” reduced the inflammation response caused by stress (2).

Another study in nearly 1,300 adults demonstrated that meditation may decrease stress. Notably, this effect was strongest in individuals with the highest levels of stress (3Trusted Source).

SUMMARY:Many styles of meditation can help reduce stress. Meditation can also reduce symptoms in people with stress-triggered medical conditions.

2. Controls Anxiety

Less stress translates to less anxiety. 

For example, an eight-week study of mindfulness meditation helped participants reduce their anxiety.

It also reduced symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as phobias, social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and panic attacks (9).

Another study followed up with 18 volunteers three years after they had completed an eight-week meditation program. Most volunteers had continued practicing regular meditation and maintained lower anxiety levels over the long term (10).

Meditation may also help control job-related anxiety in high-pressure work environments. One study found that a meditation program reduced anxiety in a group of nurses (13).

SUMMARY:Habitual meditation helps reduce anxiety and anxiety-related mental health issues like social anxiety, phobias and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

3. Promotes Emotional Health

Some forms of meditation can also lead to an improved self-image and more positive outlook on life. 

Two studies of mindfulness meditation found decreased depression in over 4,600 adults (1Trusted Source14Trusted Source).

One study followed 18 volunteers as they practiced meditation over three years. The study found that participants experienced long-term decreases in depression (10).

Inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which are released in response to stress, can affect mood, leading to depression. A review of several studies suggests meditation may reduce depression by decreasing these inflammatory chemicals (15Trusted Source).

SUMMARY:Some forms of meditation can improve depression and create a more positive outlook on life. Research shows that maintaining an ongoing habit of meditation may help you maintain these benefits long term.

4. Enhances Self-Awareness

Some forms of meditation may help you develop a stronger understanding of yourself, helping you grow into your best self.

For example, self-inquiry meditation explicitly aims to help you develop a greater understanding of yourself and how you relate to those around you.

Other forms teach you to recognize thoughts that may be harmful or self-defeating. The idea is that as you gain greater awareness of your thought habits, you can steer them toward more constructive patterns (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).

A study of 21 women fighting breast cancer found that when they took part in a tai chi program, their self-esteem improved more than it did than in those who received social support sessions (20).

SUMMARY:Self-inquiry and related styles of meditation can help you “know yourself.” This can be a starting point for making other positive changes.

5. Lengthens Attention Span

Focused-attention meditation is like weight lifting for your attention span. It helps increase the strength and endurance of your attention. 

For example, a study looked at the effects of an eight-week mindfulness meditation course and found it improved participants’ ability to reorient and maintain their attention (23).

A similar study showed that human resource workers who regularly practiced mindfulness meditation stayed focused on a task for longer.

These workers also remembered details of their tasks better than their peers who did not practice meditation (24).

Even meditating for a short period may benefit you. One study found that four days of practicing meditation may be enough to increase attention span (26).

SUMMARY:Several types of meditation may build your ability to redirect and maintain attention. As little as four days of meditation may have an effect.

6. May Reduce Age-Related Memory Loss

Improvements in attention and clarity of thinking may help keep your mind young. 

Kirtan Kriya is a method of meditation that combines a mantra or chant with repetitive motion of the fingers to focus thoughts. It improved participants’ ability to perform memory tasks in multiple studies of age-related memory loss (27Trusted Source).

Furthermore, a review of 12 studies found that multiple meditation styles increased attention, memory and mental quickness in older volunteers (28Trusted Source).

In addition to fighting normal age-related memory loss, meditation can at least partially improve memory in patients with dementia. It can also help control stress and improve coping in those caring for family members with dementia (27Trusted Source29Trusted Source).

SUMMARY:The improved focus you can gain through regular meditation may increase memory and mental clarity. These benefits can help fight age-related memory loss and dementia.

7. Can Generate Kindness

Some types of meditation may particularly increase positive feelings and actions toward yourself and others.

Metta, a type of meditation also known as loving-kindness meditation, begins with developing kind thoughts and feelings toward yourself.

Through practice, people learn to extend this kindness and forgiveness externally, first to friends, then acquaintances and ultimately enemies.

SUMMARY:Metta, or loving-kindness meditation, is a practice of developing positive feelings, first toward yourself and then toward others. Metta increases positivity, empathy and compassionate behavior toward others.

8. May Help Fight Addictions

The mental discipline you can develop through meditation may help you break dependencies by increasing your self-control and awareness of triggers for addictive behaviors (34).

Research has shown that meditation may help people learn to redirect their attention, increase their willpower, control their emotions and impulses and increase their understanding of the causes behind their addictive behaviors (35Trusted Source36Trusted Source).

One study that taught 19 recovering alcoholics how to meditate found that participants who received the training got better at controlling their cravings and craving-related stress (37Trusted Source).

Meditation may also help you control food cravings. A review of 14 studies found mindfulness meditation helped participants reduce emotional and binge eating (38Trusted Source).

SUMMARY:Meditation develops mental discipline and willpower and can help you avoid triggers for unwanted impulses. This can help you recover from addiction, lose weight and redirect other unwanted habits.

9. Improves Sleep

Nearly half the population will struggle with insomnia at some point. 

One study compared two mindfulness-based meditation programs by randomly assigning participants to one of two groups. One group practiced meditation, while the other didn’t.

Participants who meditated fell asleep sooner and stayed asleep longer, compared to those who didn’t meditate (39Trusted Source).

Becoming skilled in meditation may help you control or redirect the racing or “runaway” thoughts that often lead to insomnia.

Additionally, it can help relax your body, releasing tension and placing you in a peaceful state in which you’re more likely to fall asleep.

SUMMARY:A variety of meditation techniques can help you relax and control the “runaway” thoughts that can interfere with sleep. This can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and increase sleep quality.

10. Helps Control Pain

Your perception of pain is connected to your state of mind, and it can be elevated in stressful conditions.

For example, one study used functional MRI techniques to observe brain activity as participants experienced a painful stimulus. Some participants had gone through four days of mindfulness meditation training, while others had not.

The meditating patients showed increased activity in the brain centers known to control pain. They also reported less sensitivity to pain (40Trusted Source).

SUMMARY:Meditation can diminish the perception of pain in the brain. This may help treat chronic pain when used as a supplement to medical care or physical therapy.

11. Can Decrease Blood Pressure

Meditation can also improve physical health by reducing strain on the heart.

Over time, high blood pressure makes the heart work harder to pump blood, which can lead to poor heart function.

High blood pressure also contributes to atherosclerosis, or narrowing of the arteries, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

A study of 996 volunteers found that when they meditated by concentrating on a “silent mantra” — a repeated, non-vocalized word — reduced blood pressure by about five points, on average.

This was more effective among older volunteers and those who had higher blood pressure prior to the study (41Trusted Source).

A review concluded that several types of meditation produced similar improvements in blood pressure (42Trusted Source).

In part, meditation appears to control blood pressure by relaxing the nerve signals that coordinate heart function, tension in blood vessels and the “fight-or-flight” response that increases alertness in stressful situations (43Trusted Source).

SUMMARY:Blood pressure decreases not only during meditation, but also over time in individuals who meditate regularly. This can reduce strain on the heart and arteries, helping prevent heart disease.

12. You Can Meditate Anywhere

People practice many different forms of meditation, most of which don’t require specialized equipment or space. You can practice with just a few minutes daily.

If you want to start meditating, try choosing a form of meditation based on what you want to get out of it.

There are two major styles of meditation:

  • Focused-attention meditation:Concentrates attention on a single object, thought, sound or visualization. It emphasizes ridding your mind of attention and distraction. Meditation may focus on breathing, a mantra or a calming sound.
  • Open-monitoring meditation: Encourages broadened awareness of all aspects of your environment, train of thought and sense of self. It may include becoming aware of thoughts, feelings or impulses that you might normally try to suppress.

To find out which styles you like best, check out the variety of free, guided meditation exercises offered by UCLA and Head in the Clouds. They’re an excellent way to try different styles and find one that suits you.

If your regular work and home environments do not allow for consistent, quiet alone time, consider participating in a class. This can also improve your chances of success by providing a supportive community. 

Alternatively, consider setting your alarm a few minutes early to take advantage of quiet time in the morning. This may help you develop a consistent habit and allow you to start the day positively. 

SUMMARY:If you’re interested in incorporating meditation into your routine, try a few different styles and consider guided exercises to get started with one that suits you.

The Bottom Line

Meditation is something everyone can do to improve their mental and emotional health.

You can do it anywhere, without special equipment or memberships.

Alternatively, meditation courses and support groups are widely available.

There’s a great variety of styles too, each with different strengths and benefits.

Trying out a style of mediation suited to your goals is a great way to improve your quality of life, even if you only have a few minutes to do it each day.

Do you meditate? How does it make you feel?

Xxx