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Posts Tagged ‘#begreat’

A longer version of this post (with 5 ways to relax) first appeared here at Attorney@Work.

relaxation sitting reflection statue

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“Relax: re·lax (rəˈlaks/) v. make or become less tense or anxious.”Being tense and anxious can make you worried, uneasy, irritable, exhausted and even susceptible to illness, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, gastrointestinal ailments and depression. And, as we all know, life is stressful and can make you unhappy.

So, We Must Learn to Relax

Clearly, relaxation is good for you. The benefits of lessening tension and anxiety are enormous. It makes you think more clearly, work more efficiently, handle stress better, and live as a nicer, happier and healthier person. Of course, a two-week vacation with no responsibilities and no calls from the office or home would be great. But be serious, that in itself would be stressful. What would be happening back at home and the office?!? A better idea is finding ways to relax, to rejuvenate both mind and body, with small amounts of time.

Meditation and yoga are two ways to take a “mini-vacation” with minimal time. Meditation and yoga allow you to control your mind and your thoughts, especially when you can’t control the other things happening in life. It helps relax your mind and body by focusing your thoughts on your breath during the practice and lowering the levels of the stress hormone Cortisol.

Ideally, you’d practice meditation and yoga every morning. Meditation can be easy to incorporate into your daily routine if you begin with breathing meditations, where you sit quietly and focus on your breath. Start with as little as two or three minutes a day. Or, if your mind tends to wander, try guided meditations where you are “talked” through the meditation so you can focus only on what the speaker is saying. Daily yoga may be more difficult to incorporate, so make it a weekly goal. If you can’t make it to a class, use an app such as Pocket Yoga. And if you only have five or 10 minutes, do a short series of sun salutations with focused breathing. You can search YouTube to learn sun salutations.

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*Portions of this post first appeared here at Attorney@Work.

bed bedroom blanket blur

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I’ve said it before, sleep is the foundation of health. According to Russell Foster, a circadian neuroscientist at Oxford University, the quantity of your time asleep affects the quality of your time awake. Over a third of our life should be spent sleeping. This can feel like a waste of time, but it’s not! Sleep-deprived people cannot function at their highest ability. Sleep deprivation decreases your ability to remember and process information. A good night’s sleep can give us up to a three-fold advantage in complex problem-solving. Also, cutting sleep short by even an hour or two reduces the effectiveness of your immune system by about 25 percent, leading to more illness and disease. And did you know that lack of sleep increases the release of a hunger hormone that causes cravings for carbohydrates and sugars, making it much more difficult to maintain a healthy weight? Don’t neglect this vital part of your fitness.

For the longest time, I thought something was wrong with me because I always felt so tired during the day. Then I started using my Fitbit to track my sleep. I realized that even when I was in bed for eight hours, I wasn’t getting a full eight hours of sleep. When I first started tracking my sleep, I was getting about six hours each night, on average. Now that I’m tracking it regularly, I make a conscious effort to avoid shortchanging myself on sleep too many nights in a row. I don’t always achieve my eight-hour goal, but when I feel exhausted at the end of the week, I can see how much sleep I didn’t get. And I can try to do better the following week.

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Be Great by giving to others. After I started by Be Healthy running group, I needed a new pair of running shoes. As I sat looking at my old running shoes, I thought that surely someone could use them. They didn’t have quite the support I needed anymore, but the shoes are still in pretty good shape. And someone can use them: someone at Soles4Soles.

According to their website, “Soles4Souls creates sustainable jobs and provides relief pexels-photo-609771.jpegthrough the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world.” One way they do this is by collecting donated used shoes that are in good condition and providing them to people in poverty around the world. Those people are trained on how to start and run their own small businesses selling the shoes at a very affordable price to people who need them. These small business owners make enough money to provide food, shelter, and education for their children. There are donation centers around the United States, or you can purchase a shipping label to send in your shoes.

Yet another small act that makes a BIG difference.

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One way to Be Great is to Be Healthy. Many of the issues that affect our health are actually a result of chronic inflammation. One tasty way to reduce inflammation is with green tea. Now that is it spring, I made Green Sun Tea on my deck. I added turmeric, which is an Asian spice in the ginger family with a great bright yellow color. Turmeric contains curcumin, which reduces the production of a protein that makes your immune system work overtime, thus causing inflammation. I also added ginger because I love ginger. It’s also good for your digestive system, so why not!

2018-05-03 15.06.36Take 3 cups water, 4 green tea bags, one turmeric/ginger herbal tea blend bag, and a few pieces candied ginger. Put all in a  large mason jar (or a washed glass peanut butter jar, which is what I used). Put out in the sun for several hours. Remove the ginger. Pour all into a pitcher, add 3 cups cold water, and chill. Delish!

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pexels-photo-433495.jpegI wrote previously about my May goals: essentially Being Great, which to me means being healthy, being present, participating in my community, nurturing my relationships, and contributing to others. As I think about how to Be Great, I discussed five personality and life traits that enable us to Be Great: being Compassionate, Listening, being Assertive, being Creative, and Persevering.

These are BIG ideas and they bring to mind BIG changes and whole movements of groups of people. But don’t forget to think small too. We can make a BIG difference by doing small things consistently. 

Decide how you want to Be Great, what you want to do to Be Great, then do something small everyday. And you will make a BIG difference!

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This article first appeared as “Five Traits of Great Lawyers” on April 20, 2018 at Attorney@Work. It has been adapted below to apply to all people, not just lawyers. You can see the original post here.

What makes a great person? Is it intelligence, good people skills, effective communication? Of course, we must have a certain level of intelligence and motivation, along with experience and opportunities. But the truth is, the traits that transform a good person into a great person may not be the ones you think.

Here are five traits that make a person stand above the rest. Cultivating these traits provides the opportunity to really understand others and life, and lead an effective life.

1. Compassion

Compassion is an emotional response whereby one perceives another’s problem and authentically, genuinely wants to help resolve the problem. This is part of what people do: friends come to us with their problems, or to avoid future problems, and we help resolve or avoid the issues, whichever the case may be. If you don’t find yourself in this helpful position often, you may not think that compassion is important. But it is. The compassionate person focuses on how others feel and is accepting of their perspective, whether or not he ultimately agrees with it.

Compassion is the foundation for good people skills. Without compassion, you cannot put yourself in another person’s shoes or fully understand the problems they face. Without compassion, you cannot understand your adverse positions, anticipate what will happen, and take pre-emptive steps to avoid future problems. Without it, you cannot provide the best solutions.

2. Ability to Listen

Effective communication skills are essential to good relationships. One of the most important aspects of communication is listening. Of course, what we say, how we say it and when we say it are important. But we can only do it right if we listen first. Listen to the people that matter to you. Listen to your family, friends, adversaries, and colleagues. We must take in much information, analyze and synthesize it, and exercise good judgment to help. It starts with listening.

3. Assertiveness, Not Aggressiveness

I often hear people say, “She’s not aggressive enough to be effective.” That’s not right. You don’t need to be aggressive — though you must be assertive. Assertive people state their opinions and make themselves heard, while remaining respectful of others. Aggressive people attack or ignore others’ opinions in favor of their own.

Much like those who lack compassion, overly aggressive people cannot understand another’s position when it varies from their own. That makes them ineffective at understanding the problem and thus incapable of providing an effective solution. Even more detrimental, overly aggressive people act without respect for others. This damages interpersonal relationships, ultimately leading to an uncooperative environment that makes resolution or agreement impossible.

4. Creativity

We need to be creative to find real solutions to the issues that arise in life. Each problem is unique; each must be handled differently, and each solution carefully crafted. We must learn to think outside the box. The best way to create unique solutions is to approach each situation with compassionate listening, which enables you to really understand the issues and what is needed. That level of understanding can lead to long-lasting solutions that work for all interested parties. Stalemates often arise when one person fails to approach the problem with compassionate listening and, instead, becomes unnecessarily aggressive. Don’t be that way.

5. Perseverance

Success is achieved with perseverance. We must keep working, keep trying and keep going. We must be able to walk away when things are not working, take a break and come back fresh and ready to “fight,” negotiate or whatever life requires.

Now go out there and be great!

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