Monthly Archives: December 2010

What are the top New Year’s resolutions for ‎2011? Should you consider them and find yours? While the order of the top New Year’s resolutions changes from year to year, and from source to source, these are some common evergreens as highlighted by About.com:

1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends
2. Fit in Fitness
3. Lose weight
4. Quit Smoking
5. Enjoy Life More
6. Quit Drinking
7. Get Out of Debt
8. Learn Something New
9. Help Others
10. Get Organized

What are our New Year’s resolutions ‎2011 tips? We’ll provide them the AmAreWay :-) AmAre in Italian, means “to love”; in English, interconnectedness: (I)Am (we) are. As a framework for success, transition, and happiness, AmAre stands for being:

* A – Aware and Accepting
* M – Meaningful and Motivated
* A – Active and Attentive
* R – Resilient and Respectful
* E – Eating properly and Exercising

We become Aware of current conditions, resources, strengths, goals: what is our priority for 2011? Changing one aspect involves changing its components as well, however we need to keep focus: we cannot change/do everything at once. Once we are more aware, we decide to be Accepting and appreciate the qualities which are already there. We all have rich qualities!

We see what is Meaningful for us, instead of making a resolution just because it seems everyone else is. We become Motivated to implement it, here and now.

We are Active in cultivating our resolution, and Attentive about results and feedback from action.

We Resilient in face of difficulties, or simply when things take longer than expected to be achieved. Remember, the first month is very important when it comes to implement resolutions, so let’s make sure each day contributes to our committment. And we are a;sp Respectful, because we are aware other people have their own goals and resolutions as well.

We consider Eating properly and Exercising to support our course of action. Proper food and regular exercise re-energize
our mind and body.

And, above all, happy new year!

frank

The beginning of the New Year often brings resolutions including a new fitness routine. Clinical Psychologist and Author of “In the Therapist’s Chair”, Dr. Jacqueline Simon Gunn, explains that the “New Year becomes a concrete representation of a fresh start and therefore affords people the opportunity to feel they can begin anew and stick to certain changes.”

Fitness goals are often part of the New Year resolutions as most people feel they over indulged during the holidays and now must undo the damage. As Dr. Gunn observes, “In my clinical experience most people have some discomfort with their bodies. A new fitness program provides a sense of control and initiative surrounding discomfort in relation to body image.”

Dr. Gunn, who is also a marathon runner and avid swimmer, offers tips on how to remain
committed to your fitness routine throughout the New Year. Her most important advice is to focus on the goal of feeling better rather than a physical transformation. “Those who are able to experience feeling better as the main fitness goal are more likely to stick to a workout routine. The benefit of feeling good is more immediate and therefore more sustaining.”

Tip 1: Find a type of exercise you enjoy.

If you enjoy the outdoors find an exercise that will keep you outside. If the gym experience is more your style try different kinds of exercises until you find something you like. If you get bored easily, alternate your routine and add variety.

Tip 2: Change the way you perceive your work-outs.

Try not to place too much emphasis on weight control as this approach adds pressure and makes the routine less enjoyable. Instead, experience your workout routine as a way to make you a more complete person. Recognize the routine as a way to experience spiritual growth in your life via perseverance, challenges and self-growth.

Tip 3: Find meaning in your workouts.
Do not look at it as something you have to do. Rather, come to see it as a meaningful part of who you are becoming, a high energy, in shape, strong and powerful person.

Tip 4: Spiritual growth rather than physical appearance.
Experience the high of becoming physically stronger and more emotionally balanced. The more physical activity you accomplish the more mentally sharp and powerful you will become. Focus on the mind and the physical comes with the package.

Dr. Jacqueline Simon Gunn is a Clinical Psychologist and Author of “In the Therapist’s Chair”. In addition to her private practice in Manhattan, Dr. Gunn is the Psychology Internship Training Director and Clinical Supervisor of the Trauma Program at the nationally recognized Karen Horney Clinic.

Dr. Gunn has one M.A. in Phenomenological Psychology from Duquesne University, another M.A. in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and her Doctorate of Psychology in Clinical Psychology from Miami Institute of Psychology. She also completed a two-year certificate program to specialize in Eating Disorders, Addictions and Compulsivity at The William Alanson White Institute. Please visit www.drjacquelinegunn.com for more information.

New Year’s resolution No. 1: Lose weight is the title of an article written by Katherine Dorsett (http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/diet.fitness/12/31/lose.weight.new.resolution/). She provides an inspiring story about losing weight, and also some tips about making and keeping New Year’s resolutions in 2011:

Clinical psychologist Mark Crawford of Roswell, Georgia, says some people sabotage themselves by not being clear on their goals. He offers some tips for getting it right.

1. Be specific about your goal.
“Saying that you want to lose weight is way too general,” Crawford said. “You should set specific goals, like you want to lose 5 to 10 pounds.”

2. Set a realistic goal.
Make sure you set something achievable and sustainable.

3. Establish a plan to reach your goal.
“Say things like I’m going to exercise four times a week, and I’m going to eat smaller portions,” said Crawford.

4. Set a time frame to reach your goal.
“Thirty days is a manageable goal to start with, and then go from there,” he said.

Above all, Crawford says stay the course. “You will make mistakes,” he said. “You will have slip-ups, it is part of it.” But never use it as an excuse to give up.

A website supported by the National Institute of Health notes “the key to successful weight loss is making changes in your eating and physical activity habits that you can keep up for the rest of your life.”

And even if you don’t need to lose weight, it’s a good idea to follow healthy eating and exercise habits to keep you healthy throughout your lifetime.

If you are interested about New Year’s Resolutions for Entrepreneurs Kara Ohngren provided some advices on http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/217806 including:

Planning: Business Planning
Harness the power of planning your time well, taking care to allocate your schedule according to priorities. Wait when it’s appropriate, hurry when it’s appropriate, and apply patience, vision and common sense. — Tim Berry, Business Plans

Communication: Social Media
Do whatever it takes to get out of your comfort zone and into your “power place” to grow your business. Embrace change and new technologies, including social sites. Choose what works best for reaching your target market, and run with it. Most important: Have fun. — Starr Hall, Social Media

Prioritizing
Ask yourself, “What can I stop doing?” Begin to put stronger accountability practices into place to create a better business foundation. — Nina Kaufman, Making It Legal

Mobile Marketing

Make mobile marketing a high priority. Capture mobile shoppers by updating your website to load quickly in a variety of browsers and making them Facebook and Twitter interactive. Offer competitive pricing and tap into the soaring popularity of coupons by texting them to your customers’ mobile phones. — Kim T. Gordon, Marketing

Flourish, the new book of Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman, will be published in March 2011. Being from the same author of “Authentic happiness: using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment” and “Learned Optimism”, this is likely to become one of the most influential books of this decade.

We will provide more updates about the book Flourish, for now these are the presentations of the above-mentioned books by Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman:

Authentic happiness: using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment
(For more reviews, please visit: http://books.google.ca/books?id=3L0BCCoFMRgC&dq=martin+seligman+new+book&source=gbs_navlinks_s)
Over a decade ago, Martin Seligman charted a new approach to living with “flexible optimism.” Now, in his most stimulating and persuasive book to date, the bestselling author of Learned Optimism introduces the revolutionary, scientifically based idea of “Positive Psychology.” Positive Psychology focuses on strengths rather than weaknesses, asserting that happiness is not the result of good genes or luck. Seligman teaches readers that happiness can be cultivated by identifying and using many of the strengths and traits that they already possess — including kindness, originality, humor, optimism, and generosity. By frequently calling upon their “signature strengths” in all the crucial realms of life, readers will not only develop natural buffers against misfortune and the experience of negative emotion, they will move their lives up to a new, more positive plane.

Drawing on groundbreaking psychological research, Seligman shows how Positive Psychology is shifting the profession’s paradigm away from its narrow-minded focus on pathology, victimology, and mental illness to positive emotion, virtue and strength, and positive institutions. Our signature strengths can be nurtured throughout our lives, with benefits to our health, relationships, and careers.

Seligman provides the Signature Strengths Survey along with a variety of brief tests that can be used to measure how much positive emotion readers experience, in order to help determine what their highest strengths are. The life-changing lesson of Authentic Happiness is that by identifying the very best in ourselves, we can improve the world around us and achieve new and sustainable levels of authentic contentment, gratification, and meaning.

Learned optimism: how to change your mind and your life
(For more reviews, please visit: http://books.google.ca/books?id=a1pDPgAACAAJ)
Known as the father of the new science of positive psychology, Martin E.P. Seligman draws on more than twenty years of clinical research to demonstrate how optimism enchances the quality of life, and how anyone can learn to practice it. Offering many simple techniques, Dr. Seligman explains how to break an “I—give-up” habit, develop a more constructive explanatory style for interpreting your behavior, and experience the benefits of a more positive interior dialogue. These skills can help break up depression, boost your immune system, better develop your potential, and make you happier..

With generous additional advice on how to encourage optimistic behavior at school, at work and in children, Learned Optimism is both profound and practical–and valuable for every phase of life.

This is a guest-post that Margaret Nichols kindly shared with us.

I am a trainer with the Oneness Movement in the States and internationally, whose goal is “to set humanity free.” As far as mission statements go, that may seem like a tall order, but what Oneness teaches goes along with the AMARE authentic happiness formula, and it is an easy, ongoing daily practice, drawn from ancient traditions.

The key is to be authentic to the experience in front of you as it is happening. So many of us, particularly those on a path toward mindfulness gloss over the importance of the real feelings that may come up, wanting instead to opt for a rosier picture or reach toward feelings of being more comfortable in the moment. Some of us may be so closed off that any genuine emotion doesn’t even have an opportunity to come through.

Until we can find a place of allowing every experience to be what it is and be comfortable in every situation, the ongoing practice is to really just BE where we are. It is only through this authenticity that a genuine compassion develops and naturally arises within.

This doesn’t mean that every time we are angry we lash out. Of course we must be respectful of those around us, but if we can take responsibility for that anger and watch it until it dissolves, or if it doesn’t dissolve, at least be aware of it and know that it only comes from our own perception of any given situation, the anger will lessen and lessen until one day it has no hold over us. This runs true for the entire gamut of emotions: pain, loss, resentment, fear, judgment, blame.

We don’t have a choice what happens to us in this life, we only have control over the way in which we react to our circumstances. This is the attention needed and the action to take when a charge arises. The more and more we choose to do this for ourselves, energy is taken away from the negative emotions and instead fuels us to organically take action in other positive areas of our life. Our inherent nature is happiness, and thus far so much conditioning has slowly veiled the human condition that our efforts must be to unearth that which is most lovely within us.

“The assertion of separateness has destroyed our capacity to work together. It is becoming more and more essential, if we are to survive, that there be a spirit of cooperation with the universe. And one cannot possibly cooperate with another, unless one is harmonious in himself/herself, not broken up or in conflict. As long as the mind dominates all our actions, there can be no cooperation.” – Sri AmmaBhagavan

We must begin with ourselves first. Then peace and happiness naturally arise and spread to our family, our nation, and our world.

Margaret Nichols is a writer and internationally recognized leader in the Oneness Movement, teaching in New York as well as mentoring other trainers nationally. Her raw, comic blog, oneness. in the city. (http://magsnyc.blogspot.com) encompasses essays about navigating consciousness in an urban environment. Upcoming she is teaching alongside awakened teachers at the first ever East Coast Oneness intensive weekend, February 4th-6th. http://onenessawakeningeast.eventbrite.com/

As reported by USA Today on http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2010-12-30-tibet-monks-Dalai-Lama30_ST_N.htm

[…] Wearing the traditional crimson robes and closely shorn heads of Tibetan monastics, the six men — most in their 30s — are taking physics, biology and chemistry classes with hopes of returning to Tibetan monasteries in India to teach science to other monks and nuns.

It’s the first established program for Tibetan monks from India to train at a Western university, said Geshe Lhakdor, director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in India. “They are pioneers,” he said in a recent interview while visiting Atlanta.

The program is the newest evolution of the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, which is helping the Dalai Lama with his goal of training monastics for the 21st century. Monks and nuns are masters of the mind through the practice of ancient traditions, but they must also master modern concepts of science and technology, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said in a recent visit to Emory.

“The monastic institution is traditionally the learning center, so we must put science in this institution,” said the Dalai Lama. “Even Buddha himself said ‘All my followers shouldn’t accept my teachers out of faith, but out of constant investigation.'”

For the monks, the year spent at Emory in Atlanta means long hours sitting in classes conducted in a language they struggle with and terms they’ve never studied before. Try explaining the concept of photosynthesis — a process where plants turn carbon dioxide into oxygen with the help of sunlight — to someone who has never even heard of a chemical compound.

“My mother wasn’t happy about my coming here,” said Ngawang Norbu, 36, who is from Bylakuppe, the largest Tibetan settlement in India. “But when I told her it was part of His Holiness’ vision, she was very happy. I’m taking a small step toward fulfilling his wishes.”

Each morning the monks wake up early to meditate in their bedrooms before heading to classes, meetings with professors or English tutoring sessions. They cook meals at their off-campus apartment to save money and shop together at Indian food markets and the dollar store.

[…] The relationship between Emory and Tibet began in 1991 when former Tibetan monk Geshe Lobsang Negi moved to Atlanta with the blessings of the Dalai Lama to establish the Drepung Loseling Institute, a Buddhist monastery and learning center near campus. Slowly a partnership began to evolve, and in 1998, the university formally launched the Emory-Tibet Partnership.

Three years ago, Emory professors published a general science textbook translated into Tibetan. They travel each year to Dharamsala, India, home of the Dalai Lama’s headquarters, to teach science to monks and nuns.

And dozens of Emory students go to Dharamsala annually to study at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, where the Dalai Lama is the founder and a top teacher.

“I’m constantly amazed it’s gotten as far as it has,” said Arri Eisen, an Emory professor who teaches in Dharamsala each year and has monks in his biology classes in Atlanta. “A lot of it is the sheer energy or power of His Holiness. He has this way of envisioning things and making them happen and inspiring people to make them happen.”

The close ties with Emory led the Dalai Lama to accept a five-year appointment as a distinguished professor at the private university in 2007 — with regular visits to campus to give lectures and work with faculty and students. Although the Dalai Lama has honorary professorships at universities across the globe, Emory was the first place he has a teaching professorship.

The Dalai Lama, the winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, has talked of mixing science and mathematics training into monastic life for years but wasn’t able to do it until Emory developed curriculum in the monks’ native tongue.

There have been challenges: professors well versed in evolution are looking for ways to explain the theory to monks who believe in reincarnation and translators have had to develop new Tibetan words to describe some scientific concepts that don’t exist in Eastern traditions.

“I was very happy when I heard I could come here,” said Sherub Tenzin, 33, one of the monks who fled Tibet for India when he was 19. “In India, we cannot learn science like this.”

Ran meets with author Byron Katie in LA and discusses her system, The Work, and how it helps transforms people’s lives.

Marcello Spinella, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Richard Stockton. He kindly agreed to share his research about The Practice and Benefits of Loving-Kindness. Below, we provide his introduction to the topic, while the whole article “The Practice and Benefits of Loving-Kindness” is available in pdf format.

Few people think of kindness and compassion as something that can be exercised and developed like a muscle. More often, we think of it as something that is triggered in knee-jerk fashion by an external situation. However, if we look closely, we can see that in any given situation, whether or not we react with kindness and compassion involves making choices. It may be easier to react this way in some situations (e.g. a helpless infant) and harder in others (.e.g. during an argument with an adult), but the aspect of choice nonetheless exists.

Fortunately, there are exercises to develop these characteristics and anyone can reap the benefits of doing so. Many people are familiar with mindfulness meditation, which involves observing one’s own internal experiences (e.g. thoughts, emotions, memories, sensations). But there are also meditation exercises to develop loving-kindness and related characteristics. Rather than just observing experience, this kind of meditation involves actively evoking thoughts of kindness and allowing them to naturally develop and flourish.

The whole article “The Practice and Benefits of Loving-Kindness” is available here.

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