Keeping Calm, A Critical Keystone Habit

What are Keystone Habits?

Habits are what we do every day. Habits can help us grow or hold us back. Some habits are more important than others — they have the power to transform our lives.

Keystone habits lead to the development of multiple good habits. They start a chain effect in your life that produce a number of positive outcomes.

Getting enough restful sleep every night is a keystone habit. It will help you face the next day with energy, help you be more productive and think more clearly.

Exercising everyday is a keystone habit. Walking and working out will give you strength, keep off unhealthy pounds and boost serotonin to the brain, a chemical that will keep you serene.

Saving some money for the future is a keystone habit. Socking away a few bucks will keep each week will have you feeling more secure about that unpredictable rainy day ahead.

Read more about keystone habits in The Power of Habit.

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Keeping Calm, A Crucial Keystone Habit

Chances are if you are reading this, you are to some degree stressed out. Focusing on managing our emotions while nurturing a peaceful mind is imperative to navigating the chaos of every day living.

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The Multitude of Benefits that Come from Keeping Calm

  • Keeping a cool head, remaining calm, no matter what situation arises is key to retaining common sense and gaining others’ respect.
  • Managing our emotions in times of stress helps us maintain control over our lives.
  • Standing composed while all around you is flipping out in a chaotic crisis helps keep your thoughts collected.
  • A calm mind will bring about peaceful contentment.
  • No matter what is happening, remaining calm will give you a sense of confidence.
  • A peaceful and clear head will keep your vision for the future clear. Calm begets clarity.
  • Staying calm during the biggest of battles will help you appear less crazy than your colleagues.
  • Your concentration increases with each calm breath you take.
  • Your worries become lighter and your state-of-mind more carefree.
  • The thoughts that you have and words that you speak are less crass and more compassionate.
  • Life is easier when we move with through challenges creatively in a calm way.
  • We become more proactive and less reactive.
  • We become kinder and less cruel when we are calm and take more thoughtful calculated risks instead of impulsively moving in every direction.
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A calm demeanor is contagious. Try it. The next time you are in a situation where everyone is flying off the handle, stay calm. Don’t speak, don’t yell, don’t move. Just be the calming force, the rock, the reminder of how powerful a calm state-of-mind can be.

Okay, My Ideas on How to Stay Calm 

Know that things are bound to go wrong today. They just are. Ain’t no getting around it. Someone will piss you off, drive you crazy, make you angry, but on the other hand, something good will happen today too. Guaranteed. Life is peppered with a bit of both.

Redefine what stress means to you. A dropped cell call? A cracked laptop screen? The wrong dressing on your salad? What does life-threatening stress look like to you?  Define what a real threat looks like. Categorize what constitutes a real problem before you get hit with one. Everything else is easy.

Slow your speech and your gait. Seriously. Walk like a old wise spirit. No rushing, just simple, confident steps with your posture strong and your head held up high. Or sit still. Unless the house is burning down or someone is bleeding out, don’t react. Process the pain in the moment and then decide how you will react.

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Put your hand on your heart. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Remember what really matters. Remember how short life really is. Ask yourself, what is most important to you right now? 

Smell your way to serenity. Use calming oils throughout the day. Inhale lavender, rosemary or geranium before you send that scathing email or make that frustrating phone call. Keep an oil by your desk or burn a soy-based scented candle in your home or office.

Take calming action. Take care of what is in your control. Don’t hesitate. Get what you can get done.  Don’t know what to do first? Make a priority list and check it off. Realize that life is 10% what happens and 90% how you react to it.

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Clear all the clutter from your life. Your home, your desk, your relationships. If it isn’t serving you well, get rid of it. If you are going through a crisis, keep everything in your life really, really simple.

Carve out moments of joyful time. Hack your happy chemicals. Slip away for a while, get lost in a book, go for a walk, ride your bike, safeguard your sanity.If you are in the midst of a long-standing stressful situation, like caregiving for the terminally ill, making your way through a divorce, trying to find your next job, take a moment to do what you enjoy. Lower your level of cortisol by doing something that makes you happy.

Ask yourself what is good about this? Even though this horrible thing is happening right now, what is good about it? Perhaps it is a problem that finally came to a head? Maybe it will finally move you in a new direction that you knew you were suppose to go? Perhaps this problem offers you an opportunity to try something new?

Slow down on the consumption of everything. This includes drugs, alcohol, food and caffeine. Purposefully chew more slowly. Talk more slowly. Walk more slowly. Slow down to a very soft and gentle pace. Rushing to nowhere will bring no good effect.

Watch a sad, sad movie and cry really fucking hard. Cry until your eyes sting with pain. A list of heartbreaking movies to get you going here.

Realize how short life really is. Check out the internet’s friendly reminder of how long you are going to live, aka the Death Clock.

Give up your mind. Listen to a guided meditation. Author of Radical Acceptance and mindful meditator, Tara Brach offers a free podcast.

Play with puppies or watch puppies. Check out these live puppy cams.

and. . .

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For more powerful tips on how to remain calm throughout the day, check out this article on LifeHacker and  this one on Forbes.

Credit for today’s Illustrations and Ocean inside me

 

 

 

 

What Are You Grateful For Right Now?

I’m grateful for another chance. The opportunity to start from scratch. An opportunity to improve my attitude and behavior. This day is fresh, clean, unworn with emotional stains. 


Nothing carried over from yesterday, just this rare and beautiful day, made up of many moments ahead, today is a day in my life, not my entire life. How will I use it? 


What I choose to think about today will make me and much around me, better or worse, it is up to me.


Today is a chance to break my bad patterns of behavior. 

An opportunity to control my short temper, release my self-pity and remove envy of others.

I can help those right in front of me that need my help. 

I am given this day as an opportunity to finish projects and work that has been nagging to be done.

Perhaps I will start something new that I’ve been wanting to try.

Maybe I’ll apologize, sympathize, empathize with others.

What are your grateful for right now? How will you use this day? 

Surefire Success: How to Get What You Want

I love listening in between the lines. Especially to smart people. People like performance coach, Tony Robbins. Evan Carmichael edited an all day Tony coach session that you can watch here.  I am watching about ten minutes a day every morning and taking copious notes.

Inspired by Tony’s tenacious approach, I created this surefire success equation to get anything you want. Anything. A raise at work, a new startup business off the ground, shed the last ten pounds, you name it. Anything you want.

  1. Know what you want and believe you can have it.
  2. Know what it takes to get what you want. If you don’t know, find out. Ask the people who have what you want what it took to get it. What did they have to do to achieve the results. How long did it take? How much work did they do each day? 
  3. Ask yourself the question, what is absolutely certain, 100% necessary, in order for me to get what I want. What must I do in order to get the results I want.
  4. Make the list of what you absolutely must do and get to work.
  5. Do the work. Do it daily. Check off the list. And then review your results. Be sure you are getting closer to getting what you want. If you are not getting results, get REAL with yourself. What are you not doing? What are you doing wrong? Where do you need help? New skills? 
  6. Ask yourself, can I do any of these tasks, the actual work, better. Not faster, not quicker, but better. Are there any tools to help me perform the work better? Any professionals out there who can coach you? If there are, then find the tools, find the people. Use the tools. Hire the people.
  7. When you do get what you want, appreciate it. Be grateful for the work it took to get there.

What type of mindset does it take to win? To outperform and produce stellar results.

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It’s not just practice that produces results. It’s perfect mindful practice. Practice combined with absolute certainty that you will achieve whatever you set out to do. You burn the boats.

Tip Sheet for #6

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Absolute certainty that makes you tap into your full potential that has you take massive action which in turn produces remarkable results that reinforces your belief in your absolute certainty.

This is what it takes to get what you want.

And using failure as a tool.

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Mindset Tip

Don’t choke at the free throw line. Be absolutely certain in your mind that you know without a doubt that you will achieve the results you want.

 

This Day Was Made for Adventure

Last night I closed my eyes before falling to sleep and made a decision. I want every day to feel more exciting and adventurous.

 

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Or in other words. . . .

A common song sung to a great melody is another way to find beauty.The Art of Writing, Lu Chi’s Wen Fu.

So, today showed up again. In all it’s predictable glory. The same usual sunrise, just slightly different.

Another clean and clear slate of a day to paint on. To set things right, to improve and to create a new. Another breath, another moment proceeding another moment. This day was made for adventuring.

Today I have made a decision to expect more from myself and more from this day.

Every moment today will be held accountable to demonstrate the wisdom I need right now.

I will look for evidence that the people around me really do care.

I become more conscious of the choices I make today.

This process begins with turning worry into wonder. Anxiety into action.

My improved life comes from making conscious choices while making a commitment to change the way I see the ordinary wonders of the world.

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How to Make An Ordinary Day an Adventure

Ask a stranger a question.

Don’t plan out every minute. Leave a little room for spontaneity.

Travel home on a different route tonight.

Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.

Experiment. Create something. Anything. Get into maker mode.

On Self-Renovation & Expanded Versions of Ourselves

According to one of my favorite thinkers, change must happen individually, before it can happen on a grander collective scale. Oh to be the change we want to see in the world.

. . .society gains nothing whilst a man, not himself renovated, attempts to renovate things around him.Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essay on New England Reformers

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Our ability to really influence our reality around us first calls for purposeful self-transformation. Renovating the way we think.

. . .for the inmost in due time becomes the outmost. . .

It starts by being brutally honest with ourselves and realizing there is no need for any of this thinking, if we don’t have each other.  Sure we could live like hermits. . . or

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understand that we need and belong to one another, love says – we are not our own.

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To be a greater, more expanded version of ourselves.

Note to self, read this bookDiamond Minds

I think the hardest part, the most difficult, is letting go of our ego. First we must know what should be changed, the thoughts that lead to unwanted emotions of anger and pain. Things that can get in the way of real progress. We might study ourselves and thought by thought, we must address the behavior we want to change.

It’s difficult to acknowledge the pain.  To take responsibility for the problems we cause in our lives. The hurtful things we say, the anger and lashing rage, the shut down of communication. The selfishness and greed.

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Self-awareness can be very difficult for this reason. Our ego does not want us to acknowledge our own faults.

Here are some signs that your ego is in control (inspired from Simple Life Strategies)

1. You get a cheap thrill from gossiping about other people’s problems.

2. You have a power surge to the brain after winning an argument. You just knew you were so right about that.

3. You compare yourself to others who you feel are better or worse off than you. This takes the focus off of you. An easy way out.

4. How dare he, she, they treat you that way? Haters are just going to hate. No, not really. Sometimes it’s just not you.

5. You feel a tinge of jealousy when you see other people having a real good time. Especially on Instagram and Facebook.

6. You go on and on about yourself before addressing anyone else in the room.

7. You’d rather look great than try harder next time.

8. You’re often upset when your not recognized at work. We’re not in pre-school anymore people.

9. You create impossible goals and then beat yourself up when you don’t reach them. This is where I live.

10. You blame others when things fall apart in your life.

Self-awareness starts by admitting our mistakes, looking at our behavior, taking responsibility for our actions.

So I begin by acknowledging my part in all of this.

For not knowing or understanding ourselves is like grabbing the tail to direct the head of a dragon. First we most know.

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Next on my reading list

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The Ego is the Enemy, by Ryan Holiday

 

 

On Thinking Clearly & Writing More Nobly

The Goal: A Completely Transparent & Unclouded Mind

I am not an online shopper. I don’t buy much stuff at all. But this week I’m anxiously checking my mailbox daily. I’ll try (almost) anything to tame my unsettled and restless monkey mind.

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What did I order, you ask? A brain boosting mushroom (minus the visuals ) coffee with lion’s mane (supposedly good for memory and in a category of safe, smart drugs or nootropics) as well as chaga and Rhodiola which was used by the vikings to calm the nervous system while enhancing immunity from Four Sigmatic.

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I am also creating my own filters so I can focus on. . .

Paying Attention to What Matters Most

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As I listen to Jason Silva at The Sydney Opera House explore the exponential growth of technology and how it is shaping our personalities, I realize how much a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.  In a world of abundance, the only scarcity is human attention. Recommended reading: from Kevin Kelly The Inevitable, Understanding the Twelve Technological Forces that Will Shape Our Future.

How Time Totally Trumps Money

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With all there is to be distracted by. . .hell, time moves oh too quickly.

So as I focus on what to study, read, learn and create, I tell myself, I can always make more money, but I can’t create more time.

Listen to How to Waste Money to Improve the Quality of Your Life

 

On Writing More Clearly & Nobly

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Studying Lu Chi’s Wen Fu: The Art of Writing

From Catalogue of Genres

A body of writing may take any of a thousand forms,

and there is no one right way to measure.

One whose language remains muddled cannot do it;

only when held in a clear mind can the language become noble.

The Few Things You are Here To Do

 

In a world of constant distraction, how do you focus on what is important? Watch the one minute video above for great advice from Rob Bell.

And the next new thing in your life comes when you leave behind things that previously would have belonged.

You, fully grounded and centered doing a few things, not distracted, or exhausted or or burned out, but you fully present doing a few things are 10x more powerful than you spread thin busy being distracted doing a 1,000 things.

In order to say no you first had to have said yes.

For many people there is no filter for what they say no to. It begins with a few things you have said yes to.

Ask yourself, What are the few things you are here to do?

And then you say no to everything else.

You know you are making progress when something that would have survived 18 months ago, no longer makes the cut because there is always a narrowing of the way.

The narrowing of the way always involves saying no to something that previously would have survived.

You are the steward of your energies.

Where are you using your energy?

Rob Bell, How to Be Here, June 2016

ReSet Your Thinking

Have you ever wished you could just change the way you think? Rewire your brain? Take action and move forward in a new and improved direction?
I have recently met someone who is helping me do just that and her name is Laura Simao. I feel so blessed to know her. Laura is in the middle of creating ReSet.

What is ReSet? 

ReSet is a transformative personal development frame work that incorporates self-applied design thinking and cognitive and behavioral neuroscience insight and techniques to help you become a more self-aware, creative thinker and problem solver.

So far, my ReSet sessions with Laura have helped me uncover my deeper values, beliefs, goals and skills to ultimately achieve a higher level of success in all aspects of my life.

My big challenge is that I want to produce excellent work. I don’t want to rush and I want to be very thoughtful about everything I am creating. This is not an easy thing to do in our very busy and fast moving world.  Don’t you agree?

How it is done – Laura’s process
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So here we have my new mindset, after four sessions with Laura.
Clarity
I achieve a new level of excellence as a leader today by remaining organized and focused with clarity about my current goals. I target and focus on the results I want to achieve. This is my mantra, my daily ritual to achieve a state-of-mind and new trait of excellence with everything I do.
Today’s results included -(these will change as I grow, create and focus on different projects)
  • Securing an additional consulting client that I really want to work with and help succeed.
  • Completing the most timely task for each current client.
  • Building out one more additional section of ThePRPlaybook.com.
  • Reviewing and adding one brilliant idea to my social media strategy.
  • Adding shareable content to my social media platforms.
  • Immerse myself in an energized spin, swim and dance class.
  • Some evening time spent well with my husband.
  • Being as helpful as I can for my daughters in whatever capacity they need me.
  • At least one hour mastering my video and editing skills.
I don’t need to rush. I am thoughtful every step of the way. I remember, I cannot fail, as I am co-creating with God.
I am talented, experienced and a strategist. I do not need to fret, rush or feel pushed to create work in a hurry.
Discerning
I am discerning about all of the projects I decide to take on today and in the future. I do not chase after every shiny new thing.
My criteria for choosing anything else to focus on today –
Is this task critical to achieving the results I want today?
Will this add any long term value to my goals? To my work?
Is this something I may be interested in the future?
I am discerning about who I associate with and the projects I take on. I say no to most and I say it kindly.
I choose my posse, my pack, my people that I work with and I am always humble and kind. I learn from everyone. I grow as I go.
Grounded
I am grateful and grounded today. I am calm, centered and serene. I don’t rush. I make time for everything I am creating today. I am thoughtful and capable of producing excellent work.
It takes time to create and I remember I have God as my co-pilot. There is never need to worry about sloppy work.
I remember Emerson. “God will not have his work made manifest by cowards”.
Smart
I am dedicated to life long learning. I am always improving my skills of storytelling, writing, video and editing. I make smart decisions.
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely
Depth
The time I gain not rushing around being busy gives me time to think and create. To think critically and to review my work with a discerning eye and to add as much emotional creativity as possible to create excellent work.
What’s inspiring me right now:
The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly
How to Be Here by Rob Bell

We Gather Strength As We Go

No Bone” that’s what was written in black Sharpie marker on the bandages wrapped around her head.  The trauma team wheeled my daughter past the waiting room so quickly I had to look twice and then again. No bone? what does that mean? Did they remove her skull?

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It was an icy, sleeting, snowing, stormy day. The accident was bad. Ariel was brought to Nassau County Trauma Center and put on life support immediately. By the time we got to the hospital she was out of surgery. The removed her part of her skull to relieve the pressure.

One severe acquired brain injury, a terrifying time through her coma, two major head surgeries, four months at Mt. Sinai Hospital’s Traumatic Brain Injury center and two and a half years of rehabilitation later. It’s now been nine years since the accident.

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How do we get through times like these?

We gather strength as we go.

Yes life can be hard. But we stay strong and in the moment.

We see clearly and act correctly.

Endure and accept the world as it is right now.
We ask good questions. Like what are the opportunities that can come from this obstacle ?

We remain positive and see things for what they are – and no worse.
Do what we can.
Endure and bear what we must.
We gather strength as we go & grow.
Inspired by my life and the amazing book The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

Tuesday Transformation

Some days life can be so damn difficult. Things aren’t what they’re suppose to be right now. We don’t have the right job,  enough money, the best partner, the ultimate home or apartment.

It’s all okay. When we are stuck, blocked, we must pivot, make a small change to our approach, rethink our course of action and move through the process of getting stronger.

Remember this life is a process of growing, learning while building mental and physical strength to prepare for what lies ahead.

Follow the process –

Right things, done right, right now.

Words of encouragement from The Obstacle is the way.

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