My Take on a Book Review #8 – Emotional Agility – Susan David

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I heard about this book by listening to Lewis Howe’s podcast “The School of Greatness” (which I talked about in this blog post).  He interviewed Susan David and they talked a lot about how important it is to pay attention to your emotions and how doing so can help you succeed in work and life.  Sounded interesting…so I read her book…and it was really good!

She has a lot of similarities to Brene Brown (who you know I love!…see here, here, and here!).  They both talk a lot about being present, being vulnerable, facing difficult emotions/situations instead of bottling them up, etc.

Susan’s definition of emotional agility is that it’s “a process that allows you to be in the moment, changing or maintaining your behaviours to live in ways that align with your intentions and values”.  It’s not about ignoring difficult emotions, but about holding these emotions loosely, facing them, and then moving on.

There are 4 essential movements of social agility:
1. Showing up – face your thoughts, emotions, behaviours willingly with curiosity and kindness (she talks a lot in this book about being kind to yourself…even when you’re not your best self)
2. Stepping out – detach from & observe the emotions to see them for what they are – just thoughts.
3. Walking your why – your core values will provide the compass that keeps you moving in the right direction.
4. Moving on – chasing courage over comfort, challenge yourself, no regrets.

A quote I liked about compassion  “it gives us the freedom to redefine ourselves as well as the all-important freedom to fail, which contains within it the freedom to take the risks that allow us to be truly creative”.

There have been tons of studies done that show documenting your emotions (i.e. truthfully writing down the difficult situations/emotions you’ve been in) is a tremendously helpful way to deal with stress, anxiety, & loss.  She gives many examples of these studies and the results were impressive.  I would’ve never thought this could be so powerful.
“The point is that those thoughts are now out of you and on the page.  You’ve begun the process of “stepping out” from your experience to gain perspective on it”.  Makes sense to me!

While you’re working on “stepping out”, she gives tips on helping you be more mindful.  If you’re like me, your mind never stops and it’s really hard to try and make it stop.  Here are some tips to help you concentrate…
– Pick an object (a flower, your toe) and focus on it for one minute.  Really look at it…as if you’re looking at it for the first time.
– Rework a routine.  Pick something you do every day and take for granted (making coffee, brushing your teeth).  Focus on each step and action.  Be fully aware.
– Really listen.  Pick a piece of music and really tune in, listen like it’s the first music you’ve ever heard.

Walking your why is about identifying your values.  Easier said than done!  Here are a few tips to help get you started in figuring out what your values are!
– Deep down, what matters to me?
– What relationships do I want to build?
– What do I want my life to be about?
– How do I feel most of the time…what kinds of situations make me feel the most vital?
– If all the stress and anxiety in my life were suddenly gone, what would my life look like? What things would I persue?

Moving on isn’t just about leaving that “stuff” in the past, but also about getting the right balance between challenge and competence.  We don’t want to be overwhelmed or underwhelmed…we need the right amount of “whelmed”.

The ultimate test for any action should be…is this going to get me where I want to be?  It may require you to choose courage over comfort.  Or have that difficult conversation.  If you don’t, you allow misery and misunderstanding to exist/thrive.  Read that again!  There’s definitely some truth there!

This was an interesting book to read.  Lots of “hmmm” moments and quotes.  Definitely one you should put on your list!

 

 

 

 

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My take on a book review…

Ever since I finished my degree in spring of 2017 (BEST FEELING EVER!!!), I was excited to start reading for ‘fun’ again and not because I ‘had to’ for school (even though most of my classes were quite interesting).  I read probably half a dozen “fun” books as I call them…aka fiction.  When I was about ½ way through the one I thought to myself….what am I doing, why am I reading this useless book.  Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy fiction…but I’d obviously read one too many of them!

So, after a few conversations with people I compiled a list of non-fiction books to read and started on that list!  Nerd alert….I decided to make some notes on these books for myself so that I could reference back to my main takeaways from them without having to re-read them (I’m not against re-reading, it’s just that my list of books to read is getting longer and longer so I don’t have time to re-read right now!).  Then, with more discussions I was encouraged to blog these notes…sort of my take on a book review I suppose.

Some of the books I’ve read (& will blog/write a review about in the future):

Daring Greatly – Brene Brown
The Gifts of Imperfection – Brene Brown
The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman
Make It Stick – Brian, Roediger, McDaniel
The 80/20 Principle – Richard Koch
The No Asshole Rule – Robert Sutton
The 4 Hour Workweek – Timothy Ferris
How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie
The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F@#$ – Mark Manson
You Are a Badass – Jen Sincero

On my reading list (and growing daily!):

Rising Strong – Brene Brown
Braving The Wilderness – Brene Brown
Option B – Sheryl Sandberg
The School of Greatness – Lewis Howes
On Fire – John O’Leary
Girl Boss – Sophie Amoruso

Would love to hear of some other must read books out there!
Stay tuned for my first unofficial book review….is there a book you’d like a review on first?

 

The importance of self care

As follow-up to my last post, which you can read here, I thought I’d talk about some ideas to to help keep ourselves mentally well.  Again, this post isn’t just for First Responders…these are things anyone can (& should do).

We all lead busy lives…and it’s easy to put taking care of ourselves at the bottom of our to-do list.  But there’s only so long that your body will allow this kind of abuse before your physical and mental health start to take a toll

Self care is one of the most important things we need to focus on for both our physical and mental health, and most self care activities have a positive impact on both at the same time.  I’m just going to provide a list of simple things you can do to take care of yourself.  Some require very little time or effort.

  1. Unplug for 5 min, 30 min, 60 min…whatever time you’re able to.  Turn off your phone, TV, computer, everything electronic and just enjoy the break from social media for awhile.
  2. Further to the social media discussion…take out any negative people you “follow” or are “friends” with.  You don’t have to delete them if that’s too harsh, but you can “unfollow” or “mute” them.  There’s enough negativity in our lives without these negative people on social media.
  3. Pause….and take a minute to deep breath.  Yes, a full minute (or more).  It’s amazing how relaxing this is.  I recommend you do this anytime you get that feeling of anxiousness or something overwhelming you.
  4. Walk or run.  I’m not a runner…but people tell me it relaxes them!  For me there’s nothing more relaxing for me than walking my dog at the dog park.  Something about watching the pure joy she has running free there!  The fresh air does me good too!
  5. Laugh!  At anything…a funny comic book, tv show, youtube video, etc.  It’s amazing how good laughter makes you feel.
  6. Perform a random act of kindness.  It doesn’t have to be something huge.  Help someone carry groceries to their car, hold the door for someone, buy someone coffee, the possibilities are endless.
  7. Exercise.  This one is pretty obvious, but much harder to schedule time for.  But it can be anything.  I already mentioned running/walking.  Other ideas…yoga, fitness classes, weightlifting, etc.
  8. Hobbies.  Read a book, play an instrument, knit, paint, etc.  These are great to relax you.

What are some of your go to self care tips?  Please share some of your favourites.

 

 

What motivates you?

I bet many of you struggle to maintain motivation to eat healthy, be consistently physically active, and many other healthy lifestyle struggles.

As a Peer Fitness Trainer, I have recently started trying out a few challenges with some of my coworkers that I can tell want to make some changes in their lives.  These challenges are still fairly recent and new, but so far they are appearing to be quite successful and a lot of fun for both myself and the person achieving them (way to go to those people who’ve successfully completed one of my challenges!).

But, it’s got me wondering…why do people need some sort of challenge from an external source (i.e. me) to hold them accountable for their actions?  Why isn’t the internal motivation of “I want to be healthier” or “I want to feel better” or “I want my pants to fit better” enough?

I definitely don’t know the answer, but I do know that external motivation is the key factor in a lot of people achieving their health and wellness goals (myself included).  Think about it…people sign up for a fitness class with a friend.  Why?  Because they know they will keep each other accountable and actually attend the classes.  People sign up for group sports for the same reason…accountability.  Money can also be a motivating factor….if I’m spending all this $$$ on these classes I better actually attend the classes.  Weight loss groups work in a similar way…being held accountable to the group, or the weigh ins, or the inches lost, etc, etc, etc.

I don’t care what motivates you, but you HAVE to find that person or reason to get yourself going!!  Here are some suggestions for keeping yourself motivated and accountable:

  1. Find a buddy!  This would be my #1 recommendation!  Find a friend who has the same interests as you (whether it’s fitness or nutrition) and hold each other accountable at all times.  Start a FB group, or text message group and talk as often as you need to in order to stay on track.
  2. Ensure your goals are SMART:
    S:  Specific.  “I’m going to walk 30min a day 3x a week” vs. “I’m going to walk more”
    M: Measurable.  “Eat at least 4 servings of vegetables a day” vs. “Eat more veggies”
    A: Achievable.  If you hate running, do NOT make a goal that you are going to run!
    R: Realistic.  “I’m going to do yoga 5x a week and run 3x a week and play soccer 4x a week…as well as work full time, spend time with your family, etc”.  That is definitely not a realistic goal in my world!
    T: Time.  There has to be a deadline.  For example…my first SMART goals I made with my coworkers had a deadline.  Once that deadline hits I made contact with them to see how they did (and also contacted them through their challenge to see how it was going, and made them aware that they could contact me at any time).  And, it allowed us to make new SMART goals with a new deadline.
  3. You have to want to make a change.  Be honest with yourself.  If you have no ambition or desire to make the change (no matter what it is or how big or small it is) it won’t be successful.  Everyone wants to be healthier or fitter or look better in a bathing suit, but if you aren’t serious about it it’s not going to work.  You just have to think a little harder about a more achievable or SMART goal that you actually want to accomplish and can be successful at.
  4. This one fits in with the “T” of SMART goals….but make sure your goal has a deadline.  Training towards something will also help you be successful.  Some examples…a run (there’s tons of races around Saskatchewan and area in the summer!), a physical test (our PFT test, a hiring physical, etc), your wedding, someone else’s wedding, a certain birthday/anniversary, etc, etc, etc.  Having that end goal is often huge for people!

I can blabber on all I want about how to get motivated, but unless you find that thing that gets you started all this talk is just talk!  I just hope one of my suggestions will sink in and help one of you!

Please comment and share with me what motivates you!  I’d love to hear it!