Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Where's Your Super Human, Super Hero Suit?

When my son was 4 years old, he created an invisible lightening suit that he put on when he wanted a little super human, super hero strength (adult translation:  confidence and verve).  Like a flash, he would stop what he was doing and make the motions of putting on the suit:  draping the hood and mask over his head; putting his arms through the sleeves, and of course, taking his super human, super hero position (lightening sound effects included) as if he were ready to take on the bad guys and conquer the world.  

I would smile as he would transform himself and then I would marvel at the real life power this imaginary suit held for my little guy.  It gave him certainty, confidence and inner strength.  And it was always there, for play or purpose.  It was a game changer in the best possible way and I secretly hoped that he would always have that lightening suit in his life and at his ready. 

It's been a while since I've seen him put it on so I asked, "Where's your lightening suit these days?"  In the most natural, matter of fact manner, he told me, "It's not gone.  It's always with me."  We talked about it a little and he told me that the lightening gives him special powers.  He went on to say that the suit just turns on "like, if there's a mean kid or bully or something."  I asked if it ever turns on at hockey and he said, "sometimes, if I have to go super fast or Coach needs me to do something really hard or something." 

It took me decades to figure out what my 6 year old innately understands:  when you give positive energy a tangible form, you can see it, seize it, and make anything possible.  It's not make believe; it's real.  So, where's your super human, super hero suit?  Put it on today, or just try one on for size. You may discover a whole new road to remarkable and you may have a little kid to thank for it. RELAX.  SET.  GO.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering 9/11

I look out my window as I write this and stare at the perfect blue sky in NYC . . . the same one we all remember on 9/11 and the one that can transport us back there, if even for a moment, during an otherwise regular day.  But today isn’t regular.  The memory of 9/11 is always there but it comes crashing down, each year, on the anniversary in a way that is still so raw and painful.  

I realize that we have to go on with celebrating life and that everyday activities have to happen, even on 9/11 but I also recognize the need to go there;  to allow ourselves to feel something or everything.  I am for moving on but I am not for sanitizing the enormity, anguish and sadness of that tragic day.   I watch the coverage and in an instant, emotions come rushing back as I remember details with a clarity that I can’t even apply to what I did last week.  Then the veil of numbness sets in as I go about my day.

Living in downtown NYC evokes very personal memories but none are more personal than those of the people who were at the WTC, lost loved ones that day, or involved in the massive aftermath.  My prayers are always with them but especially on this day, my heart is theirs.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Are You In a Busy Rut?

No matter how busy you are, do you ever feel like you should be doing more (or doing more productive things)?  

It’s easy to fill a day with busy and busy is easy to justify.  It usually means doing a lot of stuff that is necessary but it’s not necessarily what you need to do in order to feel productive about what your doing.  And if what you’re doing feels like you’re running in place, then the place you’re in is a Busy Rut.    

You can’t walk away from busy but you can bust it up a bit.  Don’t make busy your excuse and by all means, don’t make it your epitaph (she was too busy to live).  Believe me, busy is a slippery slope and what slips the fastest are the years gone by and the woulda, shoulda, couldas.  So put a little busy aside (you can find the time if you make it a priority) and do something that breaks the pattern.  It’s different for everyone so you decide what you need to do . . .  and use a little RSG to bust up your busy rut. Get out of your comfort zone and get off the treadmill that’s keeping you captive.  You may still be running, but you will at last, be going somewhere.  RELAX.  SET.  GO.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Give Yourself a Little RSG

The summer has been a whirlwind of activity.  I’m always in motion yet always tuned into the ease and accessibility of RELAX. SET. GO.  I use RSG a lot and experience more and more how its simplicity is what makes it so prolific, and so potent. The simple tools can take me anywhere I want (or need) to go . . .  and it can get me going in an instant.

In the last 24 hours I have used RSG to:
  • clean my apartment   
  • overcome the embarrassment of making a painfully long overdue phone call 
  • lovingly devote my entire, otherwise productive day to an unexpected family matter
  • forgive myself of guilt ridden good intentions
  • be patient in light of mounting frustration
  • energize my entrepreneurial spirit
  • get out of a rut and get things done!
We’re human so you know how it goes.  Even in the best of times, we can all use a little RSG.  If nothing else today, use RSG to give yourself a little lift (you can never feel too good, loved or lucky), something to laugh about, and some motivation to get you through the mundane and onto the magnificent.  You will like it, you will see.  RELAX.  SET.  GO.  .  .

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Turn On Your Brain . . . Part II

The last post introduced Brain Balancers and Brain Benders as 2 of 4 Brain Basics needed to chart the course for peak plasticity and pave the path to overall good health.  Here are Brain Basics 3 and 4:

Brain Boosters
Physical exercise is necessary to keep the body and brain in top form. Make sure to start the oxygen flowing even if it’s just from walking. Stretching in the morning also helps to wake everything up -- including your brain. Whatever you do, get the blood and endorphins moving! Go to the gym, go for a run, ride a bike, take the stairs, swim. Try yoga which is both meditative and physical and has the added benefit of mentally directing the brain.  Competitive sports also do this because the challenge is to be both physically and mentally alert. Exercise is important now and at every life stage. It will keep you physically fit, clear your mind, help you focus and become psychologically therapeutic. It boosts metal processing and can protect the brain from decline in old age. Most people agree that they feel better and perform better when they exercise. Your brain will say the same.

Brain Bolsters
You are what you eat. So take a minute to think about your intake. A balanced diet is a must and more and more research suggests that vitamin supplements are, too. Antioxidants (cleansers that ward off deterioration), omega-3 acids (promote brain development and function), folic acid (blood levels), selenium (mood), complex carbohydrates (function) and vitamins B (function), C and E (antioxidants) can all be found in fresh foods or taken as supplements. Berries, grapes, prunes, spinach, salmon, flaxseed, walnuts, almonds, yogurt, oat bran, garlic and tuna are just some of the many foods that provide one or more brain bolsters. Gingko Biloba (memory) is probably the most commonly known supplement and fish oil high in omega-3 (farm grown, no mercury) is said to be the brain’s best friend -- for life. Feed your body, feed your brain.  For more information, check out www.lifeextension.com.

Activity engages brain plasticity and apathy encourages brain atrophy. Complacency turns the brain “off.” New challenges keep it “on.” So, go ahead and challenge the brain with new activity and new ideas.  Make exercise a priority and exercise your right to be the best you can be. Direct your thoughts to the positive and keep physical and emotional chaos in perspective through the ability to balance.  Provide nourishment and get the opportunity to live life a little larger, a lot happier, and definitely healthier.  RELAX. SET. GO.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Turn On Your Brain . . . Part I

Brain plasticity, or brain fitness, thrives on stimulation but depends on balance.  Complacency, redundancy and everyday routine constrict brain plasticity, but so does the constant beating of over exertion caused by stress and habitually negative influences.  You may not be able to control genetics but you can orchestrate how you live.  What you put in is what you get out.  You have the input so use it!

Use it to nourish your brain.  Use it to keep life positive.  Use it to teach the brain new tricks.  Use it to teach yourself some new tricks.  Four brain basics are all you need to chart your course for peak plasticity and pave the path to overall good health.  To keep the post on the short side, I deliver them in two parts.  Part I:

Brain Balancers
The brain does listen and the squeaky wheel does get the grease, so when chaos starts to take over and things seem to be in overdrive, put an emphasis on balance.  Put the emphasis on good energy.  Think positively.  Think that anything and everything great is possible.  Take a minute to RELAX. SET. GO.  Tell your brain to slow everything down, especially when you are at the height of stress.  Take a deep breath and direct the brain to process, balance and restore.  Stay away from the negative.  Make a visual for it and push it out the door.  Destructive thoughts are just that, especially when they fuel an already stressful situation.  If you give them weight, so will the brain and plasticity will bear the burden.  Plasticity is pliable.  Mold your thoughts . . . Mold your brain. You have your fingers on the clay!

Brain Benders

Brain benders are defined as physical and intellectual dexterity exercises.  Dexterity exercises challenge our dominant sides and help break comfort zones.  It’s basically doing the opposite of what comes naturally.  If you are right handed, try using your left hand instead.  Not so easy to do . . . and that’s what makes it so good for the brain.  You have to think about it.  You have to direct the brain to do something different . . . to be flexible.  Learn to play an instrument or a new dance step and you will find the same benefit. Pretty much any physical action that challenges your brain to break a dominant pattern can be considered a brain bender.  And the more variety, the better.  

The same goes for intellectual dexterity. Crossword puzzles, educational classes, reading, logic games and quizzes all bend the brain to think differently and stay flexible.  If you tell the brain you can’t do something, it won’t even try.  So push yourself just a little and you will see results.  Switch it up when it gets too easy or routine and always keep exercising your right to bend your brain. 

Remember, the brain responds to the direction we give it.  We should be directing it all the time.  Keep it positive.  Keep it pliable.  RELAX.  SET.  GO.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Heart of Stress is the Brain

Even though people correctly relate stress to the heart, the reality is that the heart of stress is the brain. It’s true. Stress threatens the very thing that makes us think, yet we rarely think about it all. So, think about this: The entire body’s response to stress begins with the brain. So does the ability to manage it.

The brain sets off the chain reaction that sends the stress signal to every other organ in the body. Stress hormones and adrenalines released in the brain trigger shifts in emotion and memory. They also signal the heart to beat faster, the lungs to increase the respiratory rate, and the immune system to become suppressed. They send more blood to vital organs which means less blood for non-vital organs like skin, the gastrointestinal track and stomach. Pretty much everything goes into either overdrive or under-drive. Acute stress sends the body reeling and chronic stress inhibits the body’s ability to balance back from the stress response. Either way, it's not good for your health.

It may not make sense that you can use your brain to tell your brain what to do but that is exactly what RELAX. SET. GO. does. And, managing stress is a big part of it. When you RELAX., you call on the brain to balance. When you SET., you tell the brain to respond in a positive manner. When you GO., you put the response into motion. You connect 'thought' to physiology and stress response.  The response is connected to brain plasticity and brain plasticity is connected to everything.

Brain plasticity is the ability of the brain to adapt, to change and to be challenged throughout the duration of our lives. It is the brain’s willingness to fight against gradual deterioration and some say, to foster the idea of the brain’s very own regenerative fountain of youth. The old adage is true, the mind is a terrible thing to waste. Even more true today, it is a terrible thing to waste away because of the mind.

Think of the brain as a robust mound of clay that can either stay moist and pliable or become dry and shrivel up. The plasticity of the clay, or in this case the brain, is the key to maintaining maximum function. You have to work the clay to keep it flexible. The same goes for the brain and keeping it fit and nimble from now through old age is an opportunity of a lifetime. Just scratching the surface of brain plasticity opens new doors and new thoughts about staying healthy and aging gracefully. More to come. RELAX. SET. GO.