Tag Archives: Personal Power

Three Ways to Reset your Brain for Resilience

Never too little, never too late!

Never too little, never too late!

There is a lot of information available on healthy ageing; and much of that writing includes strategies for a healthy brain, like this article by Michele Rosenthal titled 7 Ways to Exercise Your Brain – and Why You Really Need To!

When I spoke at a Senior’s Wellness Day recently, I was reminded about how important it is for all of us – at any age – to practice strategies that help keep our thinking flexible and ‘buoyant’ during every phase of our lives.

Three strategies that are particularly useful are 1) ReACT, 2) Reframe, and 3) ReAlign.

1) ReACT: Stuff will happen. No matter who you are, where you live, or what you do, your life will be filled with surprises – many happy ones and some that you’d rather avoid. When one of the latter happens in your life, instead of reacting impulsively (and often negatively) try this strategy to ReACT:

A – Accept your current reality. Say, out loud or to yourself, ‘I accept (whatever it is that is negative).’ For example, you might say ‘I accept that my friend is showing signs of dementia.’

C – Choose a vision of what you’d like in this situation. When you decide what you want, your brain automatically moves into a more positive state. In the example above, you might say ‘I choose to be a positive influence on my friend, and to enjoy spending time with her as much as I can.’

T – Take action to move toward your vision. When you are moving toward your vision (what you want), you are not gripped (and limited) by moving away from what you don’t want (the negative situation). In this example, you might do the following: ‘I will become informed about dementia so I can be a helpful resource for my friend.’ ‘I will visit my friend when I am well rested and am feeling good.’ ‘I will take my friend out for a walk or to enjoy a coffee at our favourite spot at least once a week.’

2) Reframe. Thoughts are just thoughts. They are not facts. When you experience a negative emotion, the internal dialogue you are having is generally negative and self-limiting. A reframe is a way of changing that narrative (thoughts) so that you can make the best choice possible in that situation.

Let’s say a store clerk does not respond when you say ‘Thank you’ after making your purchase. Your might feel angry, and your internal dialogue might be something like ‘These young people today have no manners! They don’t care about giving great service, particularly when it is to an older person! They have no respect!’

You could choose to reframe these thoughts. Your reframe might be, ‘She must not have heard me say “thank you”.’; or ‘He is likely distracted with something important right now.’; or ‘She might not have been trained how to interact with customers.’ Any of these reframes will result in a slight shift in YOUR emotional experience. You might still like to have a ‘You’re Welcome’ when you say ‘Thank You’ but you will not be focused, negatively, on a story about the clerk that serves neither you nor anyone who might run into you the rest of that day!

You might even decide to provide some feedback to the clerk – to let him know that a ‘You’re Welcome’ would be most welcome to you! If you do decide to do that – and you choose a softer reframe – you’ll be in a much more resourceful state when you provide that feedback. After all, remind yourself that the story you are telling yourself is just a story…so why not choose a story that helps you to be more positive and more effective in your interactions.

And, let’s face it, you truly have no idea what might be going on for that clerk at that time and on that day. Your softened reframe, and helpful approach, might be just what that clerk needs in what might be an otherwise lousy day.

3) ReAlign. When you experience a challenging situation, choose a body exercise to help you realign your energy.

One of my favourites is called ‘Skiing’. It is a wonderful body exercise to use when you find yourself feeling agitated and angry.

Stand feet apart, knees bent.  As if you are skiing, bring your hands up and then down, allowing a ‘swoosh’ sound to come out of your mouth as you breathe out.  Repeat 5-8 times or until you have released some of the angry energy.  Notice your capacity to care, once the energy is released.

I also like ‘Hands over Eyes’, a great exercise to use when you are feeling overwhelmed with ruminating thoughts.

Rub your hands together rapidly until they are warm. Place a hand over each eye. Notice how the soothing heat from your hands calms the state of your mind.

My last book is filled with thinking strategies and body exercises. I am most happy to provide you with a free copy of WakeUpToYourHabits_ebook here. It includes 52 body exercises that can help you to shift out of negative emotion and into positive emotion. Try out the exercises and choose the ones that work for you.

I’d love to hear what works for you. Leave a comment here or email me at deri@derilatimer.com.

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! A TEDx Speaker and Author, Deri’s message reinforces that positive habits are the pathway to a happier and healthier life – at work, at home and at any age! www.derilatimer.com


7 Strategies for a More Respectful World

Man&WomanMeeting1Aretha Franklin sang about it (R.E.S.P.E.C.T.), Rodney Dangerfield quipped about it (“I don’t get no respect!”), and just about every workplace has a policy related to it (Respectful Workplace). It’s perhaps even a regular topic of conversation around your kitchen table.

I am thinking about the topic a lot these days, largely fuelled by the media coverage regarding Jian Ghomeshi and the allegations surrounding the former CBC Radio Host. Jian is innocent until proven guilty, and as a wife, mother, sister and friend of many lovely men, I believe he deserves – as much as the rest of us do – that we withhold judgement until all the facts are out in the open. No matter what the end result of this situation, something went wrong; someone did not communicate properly; someone was hurt because they got something different that what they expected; someone did not respect someone else.

So, what, then, is respect? Dictionary.com defines respect as: “esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person…; proper acceptance or courtesy…”

Wikipedia defines respect in this way: “a positive feeling of esteem or deference for a person or other entity (such as a nation or a religion), and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem. Respect can be a specific feeling of regard for the actual qualities of the one respected (e.g., “I have great respect for her judgment”).
In the many workshops I have delivered on the topic over 20 years, I consistently hear that respect means “being seen, heard and valued”.
Often, when we think of respect – we think about how we feel; “I do not feel respected in this meeting.”  Yet, the feeling that comes with being respected or not, relates to how we interpret what we are noticing in other people’s behavior. The person says or does something, we add meaning to that behavior based on our past experiences, and then we feel the emotion connected to that behavior and our interpretation of it. Respect is therefore more a description of what we notice in one another’s behavior, and what meaning we add to that behavior.
So, can one person find a certain behavior respectful, while another person finds the same behavior disrespectful? Absolutely! That is why we cannot get around the need for open, honest, accepting communication. Respect is about understanding.
No matter what, when respect is present, we feel good. When respect is absent, we don’t.
I thought it might be a nice refresher for us all – at work, outside of work, in all of our relationships – to remind ourselves about how to show respect to everyone we meet.
You will show R.E.S.P.E.C.T. when you:
R – Receive information from the world around you. Open your eyes, ears and heart to others. Truly, intentionally, attend to what’s going on around you – including what others are doing and saying.
E – Express your wishes, interests, needs, and inquiries simply and articulately. “I’d like to work with you on the project.” “May I kiss you?”
S – Share important information. Rather than assuming the other person knows exactly what you are asking or saying, be sure to give them enough information in order for them to understand.
P – Practice mindful listening. Pause (that means stop talking), focus entirely on the other person (their words and their non-verbals), breathe, pause.
E – Establish boundaries. Inquire, paraphrase and empathize with the other person. Then discuss your mutually agreed upon boundaries for this part of your relationship.
C – Create a ritual of checking in. Lasting relationships are those that provide consideration for the rights and responsibilities of each person, and clearly outline a way of relating that is comfortable and meaningful to everyone involved. Check in regularly and assess how you are doing.
T – Tell a friend. There is no question that you learn best that which you teach to others. Share the respect-generating tips from here – and others you learn along the way – with people in your life. Social learning is the best kind of learning – and, of course, people will learn most from you by watching what you do (not just listening to what you say).
To quote the beautiful Ms. Franklin….R.E.S.P.E.C.T.; find out what it means to me…
Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), the international measure of excellence for professional competence, proven experience, and optimal client satisfaction. Deri combines a business degree in human resources management with 20 years of experience engaging audiences across every business sector. Deri provides inspiration and information to create psychologically healthy organizations for increased positivity, productivity, and profitability!


How to Have a Caring Conversation with Someone who is Making You Miserable

WomenShakeHands3“My boss is a bully.”

“My co-worker constantly berates me for making even the smallest error, or asking what she deems a ‘stupid’ question.”

“My colleague’s voice tone is condescending and insulting toward me when we are in meetings.”

Do you work with someone whose behavior is challenging your energy and enthusiasm for work? Maybe it’s a family member, who you find yourself avoiding because he or she is a real ‘downer’ at family gatherings.

Having a caring conversation with someone who is making you miserable can be challenging. Like most conversations that are worth having, this one requires a little bit of planning and foresight. Also, like most conversations that are worth having, this is one that you will surely be glad you have had, after it is done.

Remember these simple tips as you prepare for your conversation:

Purpose prevails.

Think about your purpose in having this conversation with this person. Why is it important? What impact is the challenging behavior having on your relationship? What’s in it for you and for the other person, to change the course of your communication in the future?

What’s recent is remembered.

When you are preparing for the conversation, think about and address only the most recent example of challenging behavior. For example, you might say “Yesterday you yelled at me and called me ‘irresponsible’ when I made an error in the order.” That is more effective than saying “You always yell at me.” or “You are a bully”. or “Three weeks ago you yelled at me.” When your language is about a specific occasion that is fresh in the other person’s mind, you can more easily focus your conversation on that one example.

Anticipation beats aggravation.

Before you meet with the other person, think about how you imagine he or she will react to what you wish to discuss. What might he say? How might she behave? If you are able to anticipate his or her reaction, you can prepare yourself for it. Sometimes this helps you in thinking about how you will open your conversation. For example, you might start with “Sally, I know that you are struggling with some tough things in your life right now.” or “George, we have not spent a lot of quality time together at these family gatherings because there is often so much going on.”

Empathy enlightens.

Whatever happens during the conversation, choose to empathize, to look at the situation from the other person’s perspective. When you empathize, you naturally ask questions to help you understand (their position), rather than defend (your position). “Joe, it seems to be frustrating for you to have to keep training new staff, only to have them leave after only a few months.”

Openness leads to opportunity.

Choose, as you prepare for the conversation, to be open. Although you prepare ahead of time for what you want to say, you are also open to hearing new information that can help you to determine – together – how you can get along moving forward.  Sitting in silence, breathing deeply, and repeating the words ‘I am open’ before you meet with this person, can help you be in a positive place when you enter the meeting.

Hopeful helps.

End with a statement about how you are confident and hopeful about the future of your relationship with this person. In fact, start with this as your opening also!

Opening: “Jane, I value you as my leader, and I’d like to have a conversation about something that is getting in the way of our working relationship. I know that after we have this conversation, my performance will be enhanced and so will our department’s results.”

Closing: “I sincerely appreciate your time today, Jane, and I am confident that we will be able to continue to develop the kind of working relationship that will help us both to achieve our goals.”

Positive propels!

The next time you see something positive from that person, point it out! Even if the positive occasion is a rare one, take time to show your appreciation. The more you focus on ‘what’s good’, the more of that you will get!

Have you got any tips to share – something that has worked for you?

Deri Latimer is an expert in positive possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), the international measure of excellence for professional competence, proven experience, and optimal client satisfaction. Deri combines a business degree in human resources management with 20 years of experience engaging audiences across every business sector. Deri provides inspiration and information to create psychologically healthy organizations for increased positivity, productivity, and profitability!










A Piece of the Dalai Lama’s Mind

This blog post is a short one.  Arianna Huffington interviews the Dalai Lama and he references the importance of emotions in overall health.  And, more importantly, how the emerging research in neuroscience is helping us to discover how to ‘change our mind’ and our life.  I totally want to hang out with this guy!!  Enjoy!

Deri Latimer, B Mgt, CSP, is an expert in positive possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of Certified Speaking Professional. Deri combines a Business degree in Human Resources with experience from business sectors including health care, manufacturing, education, agriculture, government, mining, transportation, tourism, and professional services. Deri provides practical strategies for mental health ‘at work’; impacting individuals and organizations to increase resilience to change, energize engagement with the organization, and propel meaningful performance results that last!  www.derilatimer.com

Are You Looking Up or Falling Down?

I have been speaking with someone who is really feeling ‘down’ right now.  And, I have to admit…it’s kind of …well, ‘bringing me down’.

Partly it’s because this person has been ‘down’ for a very long time.  And partly it’s because I am having to ‘fight’ to stay ‘up’ – and I don’t like it one bit.

So, I have made a decision to limit my time with this person.  It may seem selfish, but I believe it’s what’s best for me – and for this person. 

It has got me thinking about how we ‘grow’ that which we focus on (and surround ourselves with).  If we only talk about what’s bad (difficult, unpleasant, frustrating, etc.), that’s what we notice.  And then we say ‘see, I was right!!’  And guess what (you already know this)…everyone else around us starts to feel the same way we do…and we all fall into the muddy pool of despair together (okay, maybe I am getting a little dramatic!!)

Well, no more.  I have never been a person who stayed ‘down’ for very long; and I have to admit, I have now reached my limit!

Do I sometimes feel ‘down’?  Absolutely!  I just refuse to choose to stay there.  Frankly, it’s way too exhausting!

I have been researching the brain for a client project lately.  You likely already know that we are actually hard-wired to notice danger (i.e. what’s bad).  So, we need to ‘work’ at noticing what’s right.  And, when we do…we release all sorts of wonderful neurotransmitters like dopamine that ‘open up’ our perspective and allow us to see more possibilities.  Focusing on what’s wrong acutally ‘closes’ our viewpoint, and limits our ability to see options and opportunities right in front of us (we sometimes ‘fall’ right past them). 

We can develop a habit of noticing what’s good (right, beautiful, pleasant, joyful, etc.), though.  Begin by making it your intention every day to look for what’s right – for what’s good.  Have your discussions be mostly about what’s going well.  When someone shares good news with you – pass it on!  Spend just a little time on the difficulties in your life.  Share them, yes.  Label them, for sure.  Then reappraise or reframe, and carry on.  The more you stay focused on the difficulties, the more they ‘grow’ (and the downward spiral continues).

I read a couple of articles recently that struck me and support this message.  In ‘Can watching a move about Happiness make us Happier?’    The author, Ryan Niemiec, says ‘The renowned observational learning theorist, Albert Bandura, observed that most of what we learn in life comes from what we observe and that this information is encoded within us for future use. Thus, it makes perfect sense that watching a movie about happiness would help us learn more about happiness and actions we might take to become happy, as we observe the positive role models in a given film.” 

And he goes on to say ” The idea is to expand and widen these moments of happiness. Along these lines, science guides us to reminisce about the positive (in this case, the positive aspects of the movie), to savor and relish in the positive state, and to share the positive feelings with others. When you see a movie that leads you to feel happy, what do you do with that positive emotion? Do you mindlessly leave the theater while the credits are rolling looking to be the first person in the parking lot? Do you turn to your mobile device while walking out of the theater, curious about who might have e-mailed or sent you a text message during the film?

Or do you take time to reflect on the work of art you just witnessed? Do you discuss the film with others? Do you examine the strengths and behaviors the characters in the film exhibited and how they might serve as models for you? Do you consider the ways in which the characters impacted you and what subsequent changes you might make?

Taking the time to be mindful of these questions might help you expand your happiness.”

A second article I read was meaningful to me more than one way.  Mostly, because I have a daughter about to graduate from high school.  And I, like all parents, have spent my life working to prepare her to be a resilient, productive, positive, happy person. 

The article in HR Magazine called ‘Graduate Recruitment:  You need a good attitude, not a good degree says Ernst & Young’  written by David Young states that “with over 22% of 16-24 year olds out of work, graduates will need to build resilience and get out of their comfort zones if they are going to realise their potential, according to the findings of a survey by Ernst & Young…(the survey) showed that while graduates have many core strengths, they aren’t always willing to take risks and can struggle to recover from setbacks.”

In other words, you have to be able to look up or you’ll fall down.  And when your perspective is ‘down’ it really is just like falling…you are taken away, easily, down a vortex of negativity.

Looking up might take a little more work at first, but the ‘up’ view trump the other one – hands down!!

Deri Latimer, B Mgt, CSP, is an expert in possibilities for people! She is one of fewer than 10% of speakers globally who hold the designation of Certified Speaking Professional. Deri combines a Business degree in Human Resources with experience from business sectors including health care, manufacturing, education, agriculture, government, mining, transportation, tourism, and professional services. Deri helps individuals and organizations optimize their performance by managing their energy; applying the latest research and practice in positive psychology, appreciative inquiry, emotional intelligence, neuroleadership, and employee engagement.  www.derilatimer.com