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Building Resilience as Life Goes On

Apparently, we need to fortify our resilience throughout our lifespan – not just during childhood.

Life has positive surprises for each of us as well as unexpected challenges.  Life experience, including emotional regulation skills, actually may give older people an advantage over the young.  It is good to be prepared for stress, but apparently we can build capacity for resilience after a challenge occurs as well.

The recommended ways to foster resilience throughout one’s life span include:

  • Practice optimism and spend time with positive people
  • Reframe the stressful situation as possessing gifts or at least a new story for self and others
  • Don’t take things personally, some things just happen.
  • Recall your past successes and comebacks
  • Give support to others even while you are struggling
  • Expose yourself to stress to make yourself stronger over time, such as a marathon challenge, or a trip to an unfamiliar country.

What other ideas to you have to foster your resiliency?

Enjoy the day!


How to Build Resilience in Midlife

By Tara Parker-Pope, Well/Mind Column, July 25, 2017

Procrastination: Catalyst of Creativity, or a Waste of Time?

In a past blog, I presented some upbeat evidence that procrastinators were more creative than people who finish tasks early, and were “masters of idleness,” as Jean O’Callaghan from the University of Roehampton in London offered. Recently, though, an actual procrastination conference met at DePaul University, nearby our executive coaching office. Sixty people from around the world attended.


The conference reported that 20% of the worldwide population chronically procrastinate, but was otherwise light on ideas that might be employed by those who constantly delay. Many researchers at the conference took up much more negative views towards the practice, not exactly hailing procrastination for its creative outcomes.


One coaching technique we have developed with our clients reporting delays – not mentioned at the conference – is to create tangible accountabilities, and to employ optimized task and time management skills in combating procrastination. What works for you to complete your goals or responsibilities?  If you experience inertia and distraction, do you ever reap creative benefits?

Enjoy the day!


What We Finally Got Around to Learning at the Procrastination Research Conference

By Heather Murphy, Science Section, New York Times, July 21, 2017

Doctors: Think Twice Before Talking About Your Fitness

Doctors used to think that if they weren’t a role model of healthy behaviors that they were failing in their role as a physician. Doctors who smoked or failed to look fit were criticized for virtually saying to patients, “Do as I say, not as I do”.

However, the latest research reveals that Doctors who speak about success in their own pursuit of fitness risk offending patients and team members.

People seem to like when their physicians define wellness broadly, and show interest in the patient. Doctors who disclose their commitment to fitness in their own lives can at times be seen to shame patients who possess elevated weight or poor health habits. At Kaiser, patients were found to be more likely to choose a physician who did not advertise their own wellness accomplishments, rather than a physician who did.

What do you think physicians should say when they want to inspire you to reach a wellness goal?

Enjoy the day!




When Your Doctor is Fitter Than You Are

By Lauren C. Howe, Well Column, New York Times, July 13, 2017.

Show Up When You Say You Will

Show Up When You Say You Will

People are cancelling or breaking social commitments easier than ever before. In the New York Times, writer David Brooks categorizes the different forms that “bailing” has taken in the digital age.  One can bail on their close friends (possibly the most acceptable group to bail on), their fragile friends, their distant friends, or their professional connections (usually the least acceptable). The author  admits that he himself, does this frequently.

Is this really OK?

Of course it isn’t.

Wisdom regarding commitments can be found in dating and human resources. Daters often consider dropping someone who is markedly late or entirely misses the first date.  When companies hire, if one is late for the first interview, employers will usually lose interest in an applicant as well.

So be respectful, be empathic, listen well, and look forward to your meeting or plans.  If you no-show, you risk ruminating in bed that very night out of guilt and then getting up the next morning to pen a newspaper column like the author apparently did to justify his “bail.”

In short, simply show up.

Enjoy the day!




The Golden Age of Bailing. David Brooks. New York Times. July 7, 2017.

Think Twice about getting knee surgery for Degenerative Arthritis

After this holiday weekend’s activity, if you or someone you know suffers from arthritic knees, you might want to check out this week’s link.

Jane Brody, a health writer at the New York Times, warns that if you don’t have an athletic injury, and if you do have severe arthritic knee pain, you may want to consider knee replacement instead of arthroscopy – the frequently prescribed and minimally invasive procedure on your joints.

More research has come out that questions the health outcomes following arthroscopy when compared to the positive outcomes a knee replacement can have, even though knee replacement is a tough surgery to get through!

It is also likely worth trying physical therapy before knee surgery if you keep up with the exercise over time. It may put off the surgery for years.

A study published in May confirmed that arthroscopy surgery for degenerative knee arthritis and meniscal tears resulted in no lasting pain relief or improved functionality.

One physician recommended the following for degenerative arthritis in the knee:

  • If overweight, lose weight
  • Reduce activities that aggravate the knee
  • Take Tylenol-type pain relievers as needed
  • Exercise as recommended by your doctor

Sometimes, being a leader in your life means keeping up on research and evaluation of current treatment traditions to examine if they are still justified as best practices.

Enjoy the day!



What I Wish I’d Known About My Knees

Jane E. Brody. July 3, 2017. New York Times.


Talk to Yourself! (Seriously.)

Talking out loud to yourself may not be as strange as others frequently judge it to be.  In fact, it’s a way of getting some distance from ourselves and reflecting.  Researchers claim that positive, motivational, and instructional self-talk can actually help achieve peak-performance.

Basketball players pass the ball faster when they motivate with spoken self-talk. And evidence shows that when you say “you can do it,” you are more prone to actually “do it.” Even unspoken self-talk can be effective.

While unspoken self-talk is easier to pull off if you’re around others, researchers are beginning to establish the idea that actually hearing words from yourself – out loud – might be more motivating.

But talking out loud at the grocery?  Someone might call the store manager!

So, will you start talking to yourself more often?

Enjoy the day!


SelfTalk picArticle:

The Benefits of Talking to Yourself. Kristin Wong. June 8, 2017. New York Times.

What Matters Most to Employees in 2017?

It’s a generally accepted maxim that, to keep employees, a company must learn what employees want.

A new article in Crain’s takes this a step further, and looks at different wants from employees across the age spectrum. Some “wants” that transcend employee age?

–    Recognition and Contribution

  • Wages that slowly rise
  • Benefits (health insurance, etc.)
  • Occasional meals on the company’s dime
  • A feeling of belonging in the workplace

According to Crain’s, If an employee feels and experiences these things, they tend to stick around. Crain’s adds that an employer should consider opening their door to their employees – literally and metaphorically. By simply walking around the office, engaging in conversation with subordinates, truly listening to employee concerns, and being accountable to their word, Crain’s argues that leaders can improve their overall company performance.

As millennials continue to enter the workforce en masse, we’re also seeing that some young employees don’t quite comprehend that every-day office tasks can occasionally be tedious, boring, or monotonous. Helping a young employee become aware of this universal job pain, ironically, can help them raise their performance.

What else works for you?

Enjoy the Day!


Creating a good workplace is not rocket surgery. Editorial. Crain’s Chicago Business, April 10, 2016

More Good News for Coffee Drinkers!

More Good News for Coffee Drinkers!


Athletes are often counseled to avoid coffee for up to a week before a sporting event to boost effects of a caffeine on the day of performance.


However, research by Bruno Gualano, a professor of physiology and nutrition at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, revealed that effects of coffee ingested an hour before a sporting event are similar whether athletes avoid caffeine for week before the event, or whether they never stop their caffeine intake the prior week.


Coffee drinking athletes can breathe a sigh of relief — it is O.K. to drink your daily cup an hour before your workout or event.

Enjoy your day!


Article:  Boost Your Workouts with Caffeine, Even if You Chug Coffee Daily, by Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times, June 6, 2017


Chimpanzees in the Wild Identify Medicines for Illness

In the 1980’s human researchers began to notice that chimpanzees in Africa practiced a form of basic empirical research that identified plants with the capability of treating parasitic and bacterial illnesses.

It appears that chimpanzees learn basic medicine from other members of their group and family. They also exhibit an amazing learning capacity to only eat bitter or bad-tasting plants with healing capabilities when there is a need to ingest them for health. Less developed life forms are more instinctual in their knowledge of medical treatment, but still practice some treatments.

What’s amazing is that animals at times appear to be more empirical than humans. Chimpanzees’ beliefs tend to be based on observations of treatment efficacy. They also practice a form of poly-pharmacy, that is ingesting multiple plants that have the same effect, which reduces antibiotic resistance. Humans, on the other hand, use single agents – a practice encouraging resistance. Humans also may embrace useless or even harmful healing practices for centuries at a time, while animals are more likely to reject useless treatments in favor of more effective ones.  Bloodletting and overseas “cures” for cancer, are all examples of past and current human practices that occasionally can harm or kill people, that may later be discovered to have no medicinal benefit.

This article is eye-opening and is quite humbling to realize we are not the only scientists on the planet.

What do you think?

Enjoy your day!


Article: The Self-Medicating Animal by Moises Velasquez-Manoff. New York Times Magazine. May 18, 2017

Efficient Primary Care Optimizes Health Outcomes of Common Chronic Illnesses

Countries that provide quality primary care have better health outcomes.

In Spain, almost 40 years ago, community health centers were built within 15 minutes of every Spaniard. In the US, centers like these with assigned primary care doctors can potentiate wellness and avoid unnecessary hospitalization and illness. This would keep the overall costs of healthcare down.

These are not new concepts in the U.S. for anyone currently with health insurance, but making sure everyone has a primary care physician nearby might be something to consider.

I wonder what the cost-benefit of these local health centers would be when studied. What do you think?

Enjoy your day!


What Spain Gets Right on Healthcare by Carolyn McClanahan. May 11, 2017. The New York Times.

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