Archive | May, 2012

Assume Good Intent

29 May

What would happen if you were to assume good intent as your first plan of action – in all situations?

You might be thinking, “What are you talking about?”  OK, it’s like this. People typically act out of good intentions, even if the behavior seems destructive, unhelpful or inconsiderate.  This might seem like an oxymoron, bad behavior = good intent?

We all have the same basic needs to feel:

  • Safe, emotionally and physically
  • That we belong, we are included
  • We have influence or some degree of control in our situation
  • We have a purpose, our life matters
  • Things in our world are relatively fair

We all do things with the good intention of fulfilling these driving needs –this is often at an unconscious level.  If a person doesn’t feel competent (safe), or included or respected, they will act out with the good intent of protecting themselves.

Quite frankly, other people do not wake up in the morning trying to figure out how to make your life miserable (although it feels that way some days!)  They wake up trying to figure out how to feel that they are doing a good job, they are contributing, they are important and valued and respected.  You might actually believe your kids, family members or co-workers sit up at night plotting against you and conceiving ideas to make you insane, but I’m guessing they’re really loosing sleep trying to figure out how to feel that they belong in a meaningful way, that they matter to someone or have some control over their lives.

I’m not suggesting that assuming good intention means you allow people to treat you badly or that you make outrageously bad decisions. I AM suggesting that it’s worth a few moments of your time to stop and ask yourself, “I wonder what good intention could be behind this crazy behavior?  I wonder if this person is acting out because they feel at risk?”

Here is a choice you can make this week, notice people and situations that you find confusing, frustrating or downright belligerent.  Choose to put on your curious learner cap and assume they do have good intentions, try to imagine what their good intent might be or what risk they might be experiencing that is causing them to act out.  Can you find a little empathy to craft a new path with them?

Good Luck!  This is definitely a healthier plan that letting anger and frustration flood you with stress!


I Love My Life Moments!

8 May

After pondering the Regrets of the Dying, I thought it might be good to talk about one of my favorite topics I LOVE MY LIFE MOMENTS!

What? I Love My Life Moments are noticing and relishing in anyone of the many moments in everyday life that are positive, interesting, life-giving, satisfying or amazing!  Don’t wait for something big to happen – checkout that stunning flower.  Seriously, take 20 seconds and examine it!  Maybe it’s the first bite of a really good:  apple, salad, muffin, ice cream, etc.  Enjoy watching that cute kid, animal, old couple or sign. Choose to stop!  Notice!  Savor!  Ask yourself how much you can enjoy this moment.  After it’s over. think about it again and tell others about your I Love My Life Moment.

Why do it?  Believe it or not it’s good for you mind and health (to say nothing of the fun factor!)  I Love My Life Moments can help pump positive chemicals into your body that repair your immune system and grow positive memories in your brain. Get a load of this… you can’t do Fear and Gratitude simultaneously!!!  That means if you are loving your life – even for a moment – you can’t be in fear (often associated with worry, anxiety, and stress)!  If you haven’t already, check out this book report by Dr. Leaf – how your thinking affects your health.

How to do I Love My Life Moments?  This is 100% choice.  Choose to pay attention to your surroundings and look for what is beautiful, pleasing and amazing.  Think about what you’re eating – enjoy it!  Nature is filled with stunning wonders, if you look for it – you will find it.  Let yourself be amazed easily.

Who is involved in I Love My Life Moments?  Anyone you invite in.  Personally, I tell lots of people about my Moments.  Every time I repeat the story I reinforce the positive impact to my brain and health, and encouraging others to look for what is good.

When?  Now!  Or maybe you want to start by noticing one I Love My Life Moment at a specific time each day:  at noon, your drive into work, before you go to bed or at dinner.  Seriously every day has tons of opportunities!

Where?  Of course the answer is everywhere – however, I’m going to encourage you to take a 10 -20 minute walk everyday in search of a Moment.  A little walk is also good brain food.

Please let us know what I Love My Life Moments you discovered today!  Here are a few of my recent Moments:

  • A hot cup of coffee with a banana that is perfectly ripened -awesome flavor sensation!
  • Looking at the pink tulips that are just opening up.
  • The taste of fresh basil in my salad.
  • Watching the 11 month old child next door squeal with delight in his stroller.
  • Knowing I’ll be sound asleep tonight – even if he is still squealing  – ha.
  • Looking at a picture (for the 20th time) of my friends and I at a bon-fire this weekend.
  • Taking time to sit in the sun for 5 minutes over lunch.
  • Re-reading an email where someone said something nice about me.
  • Squeezing orange juice over a piece of crazy dark chocolate cake and sharing it with a friend.  Seriously, how good are the moments of my life!?!?