Monthly Archives: October 2017

Life is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

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Galen Rupp won the Chicago Marathon on October 8, 2017. Rupp is an accomplished athlete having competed for the University of Oregon and the United States Olympic Track and Field teams.

 

Galen Rupp

Galen Rupp of the United States wins the 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Chicago. –The Associated Press

 

I am not a runner, however, I am fascinated by the minds and lives of people who run. So many of the runners that I know are independent, determined, positive, and future thinking. The parallels between training for a big run and living life are endless.

Pace Yourself

“In a marathon, if you run too fast, you get exhausted. If you run too slow, you never make it.” ~ Uday Kotak

We only have this moment in time. If we hurry through it, we miss out on the experience, the memory. Be mindful of the moment and allow yourself to savor it before moving on.

“The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep on running.” ~Unknown

This Too Shall Pass

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” ~Albert Einstein

Painful moments are just moments. Tap into your wells of resilience and stamina. Reach out to supportive friends and family members when life gets tough. The act of giving up is not the same as pausing or resting. Giving up means not only starting over again, but having to rekindle the motivation. Stay the course and you will reach your goals in time.

Talk to Yourself Positively

“Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired in the morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.” ~ George S. Patton, U.S. Army General, 1912 Olympian

Use affirmations to remind yourself that you can get through the difficult times. “I’m okay, right now.” or “I can do this.” are simple reminders that can carry you through times when you feel like you cannot go any further. Positive thinking increases energy and allows us to continue forward despite struggle.

“With the spirit of endurance, we shall strive in any situation.” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita

Set Goals

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”  ~ Pablo Picasso

Set achievable goals for yourself, then attain them. Once you’ve attained your goals set new goals. Goals keep us moving forward, but only if they stretch us and are achievable. If you set goals that you cannot accomplish in a timely manner, you set yourself up to fail.

Set goals for every area of your life. Consider a career goal, a health goal, and a relationship goal. Start small and create a plan that will guide you to the completion of your goal.

Rest and Recover

“The best of all medicines are resting and fasting.”  ~ Benjamin Franklin

Take time regularly to rest and recover. Runners training for races take breaks in their schedule.  On a daily basis, this can be as simple as reading for 30 minutes in the evening or going for a walk. Plan time in your week to ride your bike, spend the day at the beach, or take a hike in the mountains. Plan a big trip once or twice a year to allow yourself to completely disconnect and recharge. Resting will allow your mind and body to become stronger and increases endurance.

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Between the Miles

I have always counted the miles.

Sometimes they came quick,

Other times slow.

The distance between things,

The way I could know.

Close could feel far,

And far could feel near.

The miles that passed too quickly,

The ones I ran out of fear.

They weren’t all the same,

So I had been told,

The unmarked trails,

And the days I was bold.

Some miles went down,

Spiraling so low,

When I was afraid to look forward,

There was nowhere to go.

The sunset came fast,

And the day turned to night,

But the trails could be endless,

If I looked at them right.

Everything I knew,

All I was told,

The conversations left behind,

The people who grew old.

When the miles stretched out before me,

I wanted to sew them at the seam,

Looking forward and then back,

Holding everything in between.

~ Jacqueline Simon Gunn

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7 Tips for Talking to Children About Mass Shootings

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With great sadness I read of another mass shooting. 58 people have been confirmed dead and hundreds more were injured in the Las Vegas shooting on Sunday, October 1, 2017. As adults, it’s difficult to understand the hows and the whys of these events. For children, it’s even more difficult.

Young children, under the age of 8, have a difficult time differentiating between fact and fiction on screens including television, computers, smartphones, and game systems.

Children over the age of 9 have greater understand, but when overexposed to information about shootings and other traumatic events are at risk for developing anxiety, depression, anger, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Below are 7 tips for talking to children about mass shootings and traumatic events.

1. Limit exposure to news.

If possible, do not allow children under the age of 9 to watch the news.

If older children are watching news, make a point of watching with them. Take time to help them express their thoughts and feelings about the information. Provide additional information from a calm, adult perspective. Point out positive media images if appropriate.

Engage children in non-news related activities: Watch movies on DVD, play board games, go for bike rides, go to the park.

2. Reassure children that they are cared for and safe.

Remind them that there are more good people in the world then bad. Encourage them to make a list of all of the supportive people in their lives.

3. Validate their feelings.

Let them know that it is okay to be sad or scared, but they are and will be okay.

4. Identify ways to give back.

Doing something productive can help manage feelings. Encourage children to write a letter of encouragement to the injured, collect soda cans and donate the proceeds to a medical fund to help victims, or other ideas that they may generate.

5. Check in with them periodically.

Ask children if they have any questions. Be sure to let them know that you are open to talking more if they want.

6. Monitor adult conversations.

Children hear more than adults realize and can often misunderstand adult reactions to traumatic events. Have adult conversations in private spaces where you cannot be overheard. If a child overhears part of a conversation, be open and honest about your feelings while continuing to reassure the child of their safety.

Some indicators that your child needs professional help includes:

  • Persistent worry or anxiety about their safety or the of their friends and family.
  • Continuing to focus on thoughts of the incident, including seeking out news information, talking about the event, or drawing pictures of the event.
  • Significant changes in behavior including inattentiveness, irritability, sleeping too much or too little, lack of appetite, etc.
  • Persistent headaches or stomachaches.
  • Increased sensitivity to sounds.

On Being or Acting As If

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Or, fake it until you make it.

Change is difficult.

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Smoothing out old patterns and creating new pathways doesn’t happen overnight. But is there danger in faking it? Yes, and no.

When we use affirmations, we affirm statements that are how we want life to be.

“I am healthy, strong, and fit.”

We may not be there, but our affirmation is pulling us that direction. We are working towards being.

When we act “as if” we can allow ourselves the opportunity to grow into our desired behavior. Putting on your running shoes and running around the block can begin to move you closer to being a runner.

However, acting as if can create significant cognitive dissonance when the acting is not being followed up by doing. Cognitive dissonance can become strong motivation to work harder at being more authentic. Ignored, it can develop into shame and manifest depression and anxiety.

Think back to the CBT triangle.

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Stating that “I am a runner” when putting on shoes each day, but only walking as far as the kitchen for potato chips can create feelings of defeat, despair and disappointment and drive thoughts of insecurity.

Acting as if can be healthy if there is truly action behind it. In this same scenario, the client puts on their shoes and runs around the block each day. Each time they run, they increase their stamina and experience feelings of accomplishment. They begin to run a little further and positive emotions and thoughts increase about their move towards becoming a runner. Soon, they are no longer acting as if, but are firmly entrenched in being. They are a runner.

Take time to reflect on what you want to manifest in your life. Are you on the road to being? Or, are you just acting as if?