How to Have the Best Week Ever!
Managing Time with the Optimal Week Tool by Samantha Cooprider. Wouldn’t it be incredible to get everything you wanted done? To finish...
Updated: Feb 16, 2022
And the Phone Commandments
by Hans Onome.
One thing to remember in reading all health articles: there is more right with you than is wrong with you. So keep believing in yourself, do the work with a smile, and keep those you love close. Akpojotor: where there is life there is hope.
It's a paradox of life that the technologies we use to make life easier make other things more difficult in the long run. Take chairs, for example. We can't imagine life without them, but most of us have lost the ability to sit on the floor criss-cross applesauce. Shod feet and sitting through life have given us poor posture and chronic inflexibility. Forget those popular body shapes: pear, apple, square, or triangle. We're all becoming chairs!
And since you're probably sitting right now: shoulders back, tuck your chin, brace your core. See if you can hold that for a minute and don't hold your breath; breathe normally.
If we could only still squat like this little guy.
This, of course, is the way we used to sit long before we got fancy. But neither shoes nor chairs were designed to addict us. The smartphone and its primary pathogen, social media, are different stories. They are deliberately gamified to keep us swiping.
And what gets swiped? Yikes. Other than our identities, our energy, focus, and time.
Has this ever happened to you? You're looking at your phone for something specific, and then blip! Where did the time go? What were you doing before? Fifteen-plus minutes have slipped by along with your focus. Argh! You've been tricked by the algorithm yet again - deliberately distracted! The devil on your shoulder has become the cell phone in your pocket.
Remember this acronym about your smartphone's ulterior motives and tricky games.
When people create goals or resolutions, they usually forget to plan for the inevitable distractions that come their way. How much time spent with your phone could be redirected to writing your book, walking outside, meditating, or meal prepping? According to national averages, 5.4 hours! That's a lot of dumbing down, and lots of people exceed that routinely.
So along with planning our goals, we also need a plan to maintain energy, focus, and time for what matters most by reducing distraction.
How about adding a short addendum to your goals with your own Phone Commandments?
Here are a few to get you started. You fill in the blanks.
Thou shall limit my mobile screen time to ____hours daily.
Thou shall not use the phone before ___am nor after ___pm.
Thou shall charge my phone at night outside of my bedroom.
Try these for starters and tailor them to fit your situation.
Lastly, I say this all the time, usually twice for good measure. If you're reading this, there is more right with you than "wrong" with you. Keep believing in yourself, do the work with a smile, and keep those you love close.
Akpojotor: where there is life, there is hope.
Until next time. Thanks for reading. ~𝛿
Hans is an ICF-certified executive coach at Inner Confidential, specializing in mental fitness and methodologies for healthy organizations, and a NASM CPT specializing in weight loss and behavior change at the SoFit Network.
John Gottman on Trust and Betrayal
by Dr. Gottman.
The nation's top marriage expert explains why trust is essential to couples and communities--and how we can build it. In this excerpt from his talk, Dr. Gottman discusses his trailblazing work on the science of trust, exploring its importance for couples and communities alike.
For more than 40 years, I’ve studied what makes marriages work. I’ve observed thousands of couples, and many of them—the masters—can skillfully solve their problems.
Yet many others get stuck in their conflicts. Even couples who attend one of my institute’s workshops or therapy sessions have a hard time putting what they learn into practice.
I’ve found that we can help 70 to 75 percent of these couples. But what about the other 20 to 25 percent? How do we help them? What separates them from the masters?
To answer this, I looked at focus groups we did around the United States, involving couples at every social class level and from every ethnic and racial group in the country. I looked at work we did that was funded by the federal Administration of Children and Families, looking in particular at couples about to have a baby. I looked at a large study we did of newlyweds, starting a few months after their wedding. I looked at work we did with the families of soldiers who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
What I found was that the number one most important issue that came up to these couples was trust and betrayal. I started to see their conflicts like a fan opening up, and every region of the fan was a different area of trust. Can I trust you to be there and listen to me when I’m upset? Can I trust you to choose me over your mother, over your friends? Can I trust you to work for our family? To not take drugs? Can I trust you to not cheat on me and be sexually faithful? Can I trust you to respect me? To help with things in the house? To really be involved with our children?
Trust is one of the most commonly used words in the English language—it’s number 949. When I went to Amazon.com and typed in “trust,” I was surprised that 36,000 books came up. Now, a lot of these were business books, on how to set up a financial trust. But most of them were really about trust in relationships, and trust in general.
On Psych Info, the database that psychologists use to do a literature review, there were 96,000 references to “trust.” And it turns out that when social psychologists ask people in relationships, “What is the most desirable quality you’re looking for in a partner when you’re dating?”, trustworthiness is number one. It’s not being sexy or attractive. It’s really being able to trust somebody.
Through my research, I’ve found that trust is essential to healthy relationships and healthy communities—and I’ve started to learn how we can build trust.
Trust isn’t just important for couples. It’s also vital to neighborhoods and states and countries. Trust is central to what makes human communities work.
In a recent line of research on “social capital,” sociologists ask people: “Do you think people can be trusted?”
This research shows there are low- and high-trust regions of the United States. Nevada is a very low-trust region. (Nobody seems to be very surprised by that.) Minnesota is a very high-trust region. The Deep South is a very low-trust region.
We see similar disparities internationally. In Brazil, two percent of people say they trust other people. In Norway, 65 percent say they trust other people.
So what are the characteristics of low-trust regions? Few people vote, parents and schools are less active. There’s less philanthropy in low-trust regions, greater crime of all kinds, lower longevity, worse health, lower academic achievement in schools.
And low-trust areas have greater economic disparities between the very rich and the very poor—and the greater the discrepancy between the very rich and the very poor in a country, the more it predicts economic decline in that country.
Clearly, there are vast implications of low trust for states, for neighborhoods, for countries. Isn’t it amazing that it’s in the best interests for us to care economically about the people who are disenfranchised in this country? Yet over the last 50 years, CEOs in the U.S., on average, have gone from making 20 times what the average worker makes to 350 times what the average worker makes.
Harvard University political scientist Robert Putnam wrote the classic book on social capital, Bowling Alone, which documents the dramatic decline of trust and community in the United States over the last 50 years. Yet when Putnam was asked, “Okay, how do you change all this?”, he had to say, “I don’t really know.”
I think part of the answer involves first defining trust and measuring it scientifically. Science requires us to be precise and objective. When we measure something objectively and precisely, we automatically get a recipe for how to fix it.
So how do you build trust? What I’ve found through research is that trust is built in very small moments, which I call “sliding door” moments, after the movie Sliding Doors. In any interaction, there is a possibility of connecting with your partner or turning away from your partner.
Let me give you an example of that from my own relationship. One night, I really wanted to finish a mystery novel. I thought I knew who the killer was, but I was anxious to find out. At one point in the night, I put the novel on my bedside and walked into the bathroom.
As I passed the mirror, I saw my wife’s face in the reflection, and she looked sad, brushing her hair. There was a sliding door moment. I had a choice. I could sneak out of the bathroom and think, “I don’t want to deal with her sadness tonight, I want to read my novel.” But instead, because I’m a sensitive researcher of relationships, I decided to go into the bathroom.
I took the brush from her hair and asked, “What’s the matter, baby?” And she told me why she was sad. Now, at that moment, I was building trust; I was there for her. I was connecting with her rather than choosing to think only about what I wanted. These are the moments, we’ve discovered, that build trust.
One such moment is not that important, but if you’re always choosing to turn away, then trust erodes in a relationship—very gradually, very slowly.
My graduate student Dan Yoshimoto has discovered that the basis for building trust is really the idea of attunement.
He has broken this down with the acronym ATTUNE, which stands for:
Awareness of your partner’s emotion;
Turning toward the emotion;
Tolerance of two different viewpoints;
trying to Understand your partner;
Non-defensive responses to your partner;
and responding with Empathy.
By contrast, the atom of betrayal is not just turning away—not just turning away from my wife’s sadness in that moment—but doing what Caryl Rusbult called a “CL-ALT,” which stands for “comparison level for alternatives.”
What that means is I not only turn away from her sadness, but I think to myself, “I can do better. Who needs this crap? I’m always dealing with her negativity. I can do better.”
Once you start thinking that you can do better, then you begin a cascade of not committing to the relationship; of trashing your partner instead of cherishing your partner; of building resentment rather than gratitude; of lowering your investment in the relationship; of not sacrificing for the relationship; and of escalating conflicts.
I believe that by understanding the dynamics of trust and betrayal, we can work to make relationships more trusting. But more than that, we can help people become more
Dr. John Gottman is a psychologist and one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of marriage and couples. His research has enabled him to predict, with over 90% accuracy, when observing a 5-minute conflict conversation, which couples will stay together and which will separate. The articles were re-printed with permission from the website of The Gottman Institute, an organization that teaches practical skills for successful relationships. For videos, products, workshops and therapy, visit www.gottman.com. Copyright © 2021 -2022 by Dr. John M. Gottman. Reprinted with permission by The Gottman Institute.
Updated: Feb 1, 2022
A Holiday For You
by Lana Lu.
Happy New Year, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays - so many happy days! How about a Happy "Love Yourself First" Day?
There's a day for mothers, fathers, and couples. There's a day for singles in China, which last time I checked was the largest shopping day in the world. And in Canada and the UK, there is even a day for boxes...or something like that. A day for ourselves can't be out of the question, right?
Many of us put others first during the holidays - some of us put others first all year long. We expect gifts from others on birthdays, but a "Love Yourself First" day could be a day for self-love when you remember to care for yourself, the tireless, hard-working hero that you are.
It's popular on social media to make loving yourself self-indulgent and I don't knock all of it; sure, splurge every now and then. But loving yourself is more than pampering. It is also in the smaller moments that bring serenity, compassion, and growth. Just like with gifts for loved ones we always say, "it's the thought that counts." This statement doesn't mean that cost never counts; it means we value the thoughtfulness for the gift far more than the expense of it. The same can be said of gifts for yourself.
All this to say a "Love Yourself First" day doesn't have to be costly. It can be inexpensively creative yet incredibly valuable. Think of the qualities that make your life happy and consider activities that rejuvenate, strengthen and encourage your mind and heart.
A "Love Yourself First" day could represent a day of healing and a halt to the grind of an overly stressed environment. It could be the day you listen to your body and charge your compassion batteries for yourself and those you care for most. It could be a day for yourself, wholly designed by you.
Whether you spend it alone or with friends, the important thing is to gift yourself something that serves a need, promotes growth or honors self-appreciation. After all, the love we have for ourselves not only supports our own happiness - it also reveals how well we love others. If we can only give what we have, we must love ourselves first to love others best.
So how can you get a bit of "LYF" time every month? What days will you pick? What if there was an actual holiday for the day? What month and day would you make it?
How about February? The love month, of course! And the day - well the first. And what would we call the annual "LYF" day celebration? Well, the "valen" in Valentine's name means health, strength, and worthiness.
Eureka!! Valenmine's Day it is: a day that reminds you of your strength, your value on this planet, and the gift you are to the people you love! If that sounds good to you, join the movement! Let's go!
Here's to more "Love Yourself First" days every month and to more "LYF" time throughout the year. And may every February 1st remind you that you're more than worth it! ~φ
Lana is an undergraduate student-athlete studying psychology, public health and business.