My Will Power vs My Won’t Power

I admit it –  My will power is puny.  The more I try to eat healthy foods the more I scarf down sugar laden carbs.  About 3-4 days is my limit for exerting will power.  Finally!  Research has confirmed I’m normal (sort of).

It turns out that everyone has will power, but only a limited amount to use each day. 

Research shows that just the act of resisting temptation wears out will power and we are more likely to lose the ability to discipline ourselves later. This includes not only stopping oneself from dong something unhealthy or unhelpful, but also depletes the ability to concentrate on doing something you want to do.

Rather than depend on will power, it is easier to put ourselves in situations where little or no will power is needed: Easier not to buy ice cream, than to have it at home and not eat it;   Easier to put a loud alarm clock far from bed so you have to get up than to have the snooze button next to the bed that you can tap (over and over) with your eyes shut and your head on the pillow. 

Reference:  Switch, How to change Things When Change is Hard Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Maui’s “Mini-Tail” of Will Power

Scratch by Peggy

by Peggy

There it sat, in the middle of Maui’s path, taunting him with texture. Maui knew his human would be upset if he scratched this BIG, TEMPTING scratching post called couch.  

” Don’t scratch the couch.  Don’t scratch the couch.  Don’t scratch the couch” 

He had lost count of how many times he heard this.  But every time he passed by that couch, his brain remembered how great the rough fabric felt and directed his claws to come out, longing for a manicure. 

Did Maui scratch?  Yup.  Just like humans, the stress of resisting continual temptation wore out his will power.  I can’t blame him.  Maui can’t remove the couch, he can’t go outside where he would be free to scratch whatever and where ever he wanted . . .

. . . unlike me who could throw out all the junk food and not buy anymore . . . if I had the will power . . .

 

 

 

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The Loss of Self Identity

From birth we are constantly, chronically losing our identities.  As we grow and develop those loses are generally seen as positive and things to look forward to:  Losing our dependency of childhood; being able to drive; setting out on our own.  I liken these types of losses to waves that are constant and ubiquitous. 

With loss that involves tragedy or illness, the sense of who we are is wrested from us – more like a sudden tsunami than relentless waves . . .  

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Heart Sisters is a blog I’ve followed for several years.  Carolyn Thomas, the blogger, suffered a “widow-maker heart attack” and has devoted her time and energy to educating women, clinicians and the public about woman’s heart issues.

In an excellent post Two big factors that can impact a patient’s loss of ‘self’ Carolyn references Dr. Kathy Charmaz

“When California sociologist Dr. Kathy Charmaz studied the subject of suffering among those living with chronic illness, she identified an element of suffering that is often overlooked by health care providers.(1)  As she explained her findings:”

“A fundamental form of that suffering is the loss of self in chronically ill persons who observe their former self-images crumbling away without the simultaneous development of equally valued new ones.

“The experiences and meanings upon which these ill persons had built former positive self-images are no longer available to them.”

“Dr. Charmaz also found that this profound sense of having lost the “self” you used to be before being diagnosed is generally the result of both external and internal influences on how we view ourselves. “

Click below and read the entire post:

Two big factors that can impact a patient’s loss of ‘self’

Carolyn’s post spoke to me personally on several levels:  

  • As a psychotherapist I spent 30 years trying to help others adjust to “loss of self”.  
  • Ten years into my private practice I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia – my own tsunami.
  • When I retired my “loss of self” was not a tsunami but the wave was at least a 20 footer.

jw

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Pawsitively Tuesday – Love Blooms

For this I pray

you’ll give love away

Like a beautiful rose

 love blooms and grows

Inhale the fragrance airborne

But first . . . strip off the thorn

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Meditate with the Dalai Lama

Meditating is hard for me.  My monkey-mind jumps over and around what I’ve decided to focus on, climbs into places and spaces that have no bearing on anything  and swings from thought-branches I didn’t even know were there. 
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When I read this article written by Sanjay Gupta, MD and his invitation to meditate with the Dalai Lama himself I was a bit more reassured.  Here’s the part that caught my attention:  (jw)
“This is hard for me,” I said.
“Me, too!” he exclaimed. “After doing daily for 60 years, it is still hard.”
It was at once surprising and reassuring to hear him say this. The Dalai Lama, Buddhist monk and spiritual leader of Tibet, also has trouble meditating.”

‘”I think you will like analytical meditation,” he told me. Instead of focusing on a chosen object, as in single-point meditation, he suggested I think about a problem I was trying to solve, a topic I may have read about recently or one of the philosophical areas from the earlier sessions.”

“He wanted me to separate the problem or issue from everything else by placing it in a large, clear bubble. With my eyes closed, I thought of something nagging at me — something I couldn’t quite solve. As I placed the physical embodiment of this problem into the bubble, several things started to happen very naturally.”
“The problem was now directly in front of me, floating weightlessly. In my mind, I could rotate it, spin it or flip it upside-down. It was an exercise to develop hyper-focus.
Less intuitively, as the bubble was rising, it was also disentangling itself from any other attachments, such as subjective emotional considerations. I could visualize it, as the problem isolated itself, and came into a clear-eyed view.”
Too often, we allow unrelated emotional factors to blur the elegant and practical solutions right in front of us. It can be dispiriting and frustrating. Through analytical meditation, His Holiness told me, we can use logic and reason to more clearly identify the question at hand, separate it from irrelevant considerations, erase doubt and brightly illuminate the answers. It was simple and sensible. Most important, for me — it worked.”

Meditation for skeptics

“As a neuroscientist, I never expected that a Buddhist monk, even the Dalai Lama, would teach me how to better incorporate deduction and critical thinking to my life — but that is what happened.
It changed me. And I am better for it. I practice analytical meditation every day, usually early in the morning. The first two minutes are still the hardest, as I create my thought bubble and let it float above me. After that, I reach what can best be described as a “flow” state, in which 20 to 30 minutes pass easily.
I am more convinced than ever that even the most ardent skeptics could find success with analytical meditation.”
 
To read the entire article click here.

Procrastination Style, Part III – Solutions

If you haven’t already . . .Take the quiz, Part I

Read the post, Part II –  My Inner Conflicts to see what YOUR Inner Conflicts are so you can solve them.

Beat Procrastination and Make the Grade: The Six Styles of Procrastination and How Students Can Overcome Them

by Linda Sapadin

“1) The Perfectionist: You’re overly concerned with not meeting high expectations; you work so hard you never finish (or, sometimes, never start).”

Alphabetize cans by Peggy

“Solutions: Appreciate that it’s your perfectionism, not external standards that make you do what you do. Set realistic (not idealistic) goals before starting. Focus on progress toward your goals. Engage in positive self-talk. Set time limits for each task. Learn to make mistakes—really—do so deliberately and see what happens!”

“2) The Dreamer: You’re great at planning and scheming but frustrated by the practical reality of sitting down to do hard work”.

“Solutions: Try turning some of your dreams into concrete goals and spend time on them regularly. Figure out how academic success can make you feel good about yourself (pleasure doesn’t only come from external sources). You’re not exceptional— the same standards and expectations apply to you. Don’t wait for the spirit to move you; learn to harness your energy.”

“3) The Worrier: “What ifs” get in the way. You avoid making decisions, resist change, and are fearful about the unfamiliar.”

“Solutions: Remember that not to decide is to decide; delaying decisions changes the course of your life. Turn nerves into excitement. Don’t “catastrophize”—not everything has to feel overwhelming. Believe in yourself—it’ll make you less fragile. Commit, then figure out how to accomplish something. Don’t let qualifiers and negative statements creep into your thinking. Answer your “what ifs” with a plan. Break bigger projects into pieces. Hang out with optimists.”

“4) The Crisis-Maker: You enjoy the last-minute adrenaline rush and tell yourself you work best under pressure.”

“Solutions: Think about multiple reasons to do an assignment (instead of only last-minute stress). Recognize that you don’t know if you’ll enjoy an assignment until you start it. You’re not a victim; see tasks as opportunities. Remember the positive aspects of your responsibilities. Reward yourself for getting started earlier. Get your adrenaline going with other activities.”

“5) The Defier: You rebel against external deadlines and expectations. You might be overt about this, or you might exhibit a more passive-aggressive kind of defiance.”

“Solutions: Take responsibility for where you are and the choices that got you there. Negotiate when possible—you just might get your way. Choose your battles and consider the consequences. Remember the relationship between short and long-term choices. Set aside time to do the things you enjoy. Channel your rebellious side into a cause you care about.”

“6) The Overdoer: There’s too much on your plate because you can’t say no or set appropriate boundaries. As a result, there’s never enough time to do it all.”

“Solutions: Remember that no one has it all; you have to prioritize and decide what to care about. Your academic success should come before making others happy. You’re in control—take control. Learn to say no. You’re entitled to relax and reward yourself; don’t feel guilty for doing so. Be more proactive than reactive. Ask for help!”

https://www.amazon.com/Its-About-Time-Procrastination-Overcome/dp/0140242716

https://www.reed.edu/academic_support/pdfs/handouts/6%20kinds%20of%20procrastinators.pdf

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Pawsitively Tuesday – LIfe’s Lessons from Noah’s Ark

  1. Don’t miss the boat.

  2. Remember that we are all in the SAME boat.

  3. Plan ahead.  It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.

  4. Stay fit.  When you’re 600 years old, someone may ask you to do something REALLY big.

  5. Don’t listen to critics; just get on with the job that needs to be done.

  6. Build your future on high ground.

  7. For safety sake, travel in pairs.

  8. Speed isn’t always an advantage.  The snails were on board with the cheetahs.

  9. When you’re stressed, float a while

  10. Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs; the Titanic by professionals.

  11. No matter the storm, when you are with God, there’s always a rainbow waiting.

However,

The woodpecker might have to go!

Procrastination Style, Part II – My Inner Conflicts

It’s About Time: The 6 Styles of Procrastination and How to Overcome Them

by Dr. Linda Sapadin

“Chronic procrastinators are not lazy; they simply need to cultivate a more natural and fluid transition from mental activity to physical activity, while allowing an appropriate amount of time and energy to complete the task. To do this, the procrastinator first needs to understand the inner conflicts that produced the procrastination pattern. This book provides a quiz to help the reader understand which procrastination style or combination of styles best fists them, and it offers suggestions for changing how you think, speak and act, based on your procrastination style. Here is a review of the six styles.”

If you haven’t already, take the quiz click PART I – HERE

Style #1:  Perfectionist.  Reluctant to start or finish a task because they don’t want anything less than perfect.

Personality Type:  Critical
Thinking Style:  All or nothing
Speaking Style:  I should…  I have to…
Acting Style  Flawless
Psychological  Need For:  Control

Style #2:  Dreamer.  They don’t like details.  This makes ideas difficult to implement.

Personality Type:  Fanciful
Thinking Style:  Vague
Speaking Style:  I wish…
Acting Style:  Passive
Psychological need for:  Being special

Style #3:  Worrier.  They have an excessive need for security, causing them to fear risk.  They fear change, causing them to avoid finishing projects so they don’t have to leave the comfort of the “known.”

Personality Type:  Fearful
Thinking Style:  Indecisive
Speaking Style:  What if…?
Acting Style:  Cautious
Psychological Need For:  Security

Style #4:  Defier.  A rebel seeking to buck the rules.  By procrastinating, they are setting their own schedule — one that nobody else can predict or control.  More subtle forms are called passive-aggressive.

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Personality Type:  Resistant
Thinking Style:  Oppositional
Speaking Style:  Why should I…?
Acting Style:  Rebellious
Psychological Need For:  Non-conformity

Style #5:  Crisis-Maker.  Addicted to the adrenaline rush of living on the edge.

Personality Type:  Over-emotional
Thinking Style:  Agitated
Speaking Style:  Extremes – “Unbelievable”
Acting Style:  Dramatic
Psychological Need For:  Attention

Style #6:  Over-Doer.  Says yes to too much because they are unable or unwilling to make choices and establish priorities.  They have difficulty making decisions.  Prime candidate for burnout.

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Personality Type:  Busy
Thinking Style:  Compelled
Speaking Style:  Can’t say “no”
Acting Style:  Do-it-all
Psychological Need For:  Self-reliance

                    *          *          *

Now that I’ve read all 6 styles my profile is:

  • Personality type is Dreamer #2  (Fanciful)
  • Thinking style is #1 Perfectionist  (All or Nothing)
  • Speaking style is #5  Crisis Maker (Extremes)
  • Acting style is  #2 Dreamer (Passive)  
  • Psychological style is #6- (Self-Reliance) 

I’m an all-purpose, well-rounded procrastinator.

(Dr. Linda Sapadin doesn’t address that  category in her book . . . I’ll have to write my own book . . . when I get around to it.)

Coming! Part III-SOLUTIONS for your procrastinator style