Is Small Talk Good for You?

October 15th, 2014

"Optimism helps you find solutions"


Small talk may be common, but it doesn’t do much to nourish our sense of well-being. Compared with people who rated themselves as more unhappy, people who were happiest spent 70% more time talking, had one-third as much small talk and twice as many substantive conversations.

Researchers came to their conclusions by having a group of 79 college students wear a tape recorder for four days and eavesdropping on their conversations. The students also were given tests to measure happiness and personality.

The findings “demonstrate that the happy life is social rather than solitary, and conversationally deep rather than superficial,” the authors, from the University of Arizona and WashingtonUniversity in St. Louis, wrote.

It’s not clear, however, whether happy people attract others for deep conversation or whether deep conversation makes people happier. Further research should be done, they said, to see if having more substantive conversations helps unhappy people become happier.

The study is published online in the Journal Psychological Science.

Leave a Reply

Stop of Comparison Game

September 17th, 2014



Do you compare yourself to other people?   Of course you do, because this is human nature.  It is only natural to experience envy.   Envy isn’t all bad.  It  can be a motivator in the short-run.  For example, if you envy your neighbor’s new car, this can motivate you to work harder in order to earn more money for your own new car.  The problem with playing the comparison game is that envy can become a toxic emotion.  Too much envy, and you will get stuck.

Let me explain.  While it may be comforting to know that on any given measure – whether money, appearance or job status – you will outrank some, there are always others who will outrank you.  This puts you on a downward spiral, a dangerous place to be if you want to keep energized towards reaching your goal.

And, when you are grappling with toxic envy, you often try to make yourself feel better by putting others down.  The belief is that if I can tear you down, I will build myself up.  But this practice doesn’t really put you on an upward spiral because deep down inside, you still don’t believe that YOU measure up.

So, stop playing the comparison game and start focusing on you.  Here are three quick – yet effective – tips to put on an upward spiral:

  • Shift your focus.  Mentally run through those life circumstances in which you feel confident and appreciate yourself.
  • Decide to find your own measure of success.  Remember, you create your  own vision and determine our own goals that are meaningful for you.
  • Challenge yourself to be happy  with your current situation.   In fact, with a positive attitude, you are more likely to make improvements.

End the comparison game…focus on you…and enjoy the journey.  After all, this is YOUR life so you might as well enjoy YOUR journey!


Leave a Reply


August 20th, 2014

bad mood woman

Do you consider yourself an anxious person?  Remember, everyone feels anxious from time to time.  This is normal.  And, in fact,  some anxiety is productive, such as double checking your plans or making a doctor’s appointment.  This is a matter of being well-informed and prepared.  The real problem comes when your anxiety escalates and you become limited or incapacitated in some aspect of your life.  This kind of obsessive worry or anxiety invariably puts you on a downward spiral.

Here are three POWER Optimism skills that you can practice in order to break out of the anxiety loop.

First, move from the No Control Zone to the Control Zone.  Remember, you can’t change others.  You can’t control what’s happening outside of you.  Remembering these facts will make you less affected by what’s going on around you that is producing anxiety.  Repeat to yourself that there is nothing you can do.

Another POWER Optimism strategy is maintaining personal accountability.  Rather than blaming someone else for your anxiety or focusing on a situation that is making you depressed or unhappy, take responsibility for yourself.  Think of positive changes you can make that will alleviate the anxiety.  Give yourself permission to feel anxious about whatever is bothering you.  After all, anyone might feel anxious.  But be sure to check in and ask yourself how much anxiety is too much.  Learn to be an under-reactor rather than an over-reactor.

Third tip. Eliminate negative self-talk and beliefs.  Alter that anxious self-talk, such as, “What if I have an anxiety attack when I am driving home tonight?”  This kind of thinking is likely to trigger an attack.  Create a positive counter statement, such as “I can feel anxious AND still drive.”  Also, be sure to release your limiting beliefs, because these are often the foundation of your negative self-talk.  Such beliefs as “I am powerless” or “Life is dangerous,” feed negativity and fear.  Replace these beliefs with empowering beliefs, such as “I am in charge of my life” and “I can handle whatever situation might arise.”

While change won’t happen overnight, with a commitment and continued practice, you can break free of that anxiety thought loop and start living a life of assurance and tranquility.

Leave a Reply

Embracing Solitude

July 24th, 2014

Often we experience being alone as being lonely.  Here are four strategies to help you be alone with being lonely.

  1. THINK SMALL.  Looking too far ahead is daunting.  Celebrate minor achievements – going to a café on your own, talking to someone at work — rather than fixating on what you have yet to achieve.  questions_and_answers
  2. ASK QUESTIONS.  Don’t let your thoughts go unchecked.  It’s easy to let a negative emotion dictate your mood.  Question what’s caused you to feel the way you do and consider whether it’s justified.
  3. CLEAN HOUSE.  Practice “mental hygiene.”  Take a few minutes every morning for  a bit of psychological housework.  Are there worries or doubts lurking?  Deal with them before you get on with your day.
  4. ACCEPT IT.  Remember that loneliness isn’t a failing.  We’re social creatures hard-wired to be with others and it’s natural to feel unhappy when that’s jeopardized.  Don’t feel ashamed to admit to it.


write in journal for positive attitude

While you may not be able to prevent lonely feelings, using these strategies can give you the confidence that you can at least manage it.

Source:  Psychologies Magazine, November 2013, p. 62

Leave a Reply

Learn To Be A Winner

June 18th, 2014


Even if you are not the least bit athletic or interested in participating in sports, you can learn how to be a winner by applying the principles culled from sports psychologists, who focus on the mental skills that turn competitors into champions.  By learning the four C’s of mental toughness, you too can be a champion – in any endeavor you choose.

Commitment to winning

It is essential to take the time to reflect on why you really want to win and do well.  Before setting out to achieve your goal, consider whether you want to succeed to please other people (such as parents, peers, partners, spouses) or to meet some external judgment of “how you should be.” If this is the case, it will be very difficult to sustain your efforts because your actions are motivated by factors outside of you.  In contrast, if you driven by a genuine desire that comes from within, it will be much easier to increase and sustain actions needed to make it to the winner’s circle.  Rather than trying to motivate yourself from outside, you are inspired by your inner being.  Your winning instinct is engaged.

Confidence and optimism

In one major study, the researchers found that the most mentally tough athletes were also the most confident. They were optimistic and hopeful when facing uncertain outcomes, a major factor in determining which of two types of behavior were adopted: continued striving or giving up and turning away.  Optimistic individuals are more likely to increase their efforts to attain goals, whereas pessimistic people are likely to withdraw from situations and disengage from attempts to reach their desired outcomes.  To be more mentally tough, learn to replace negative thoughts (“I made a mistake”) with positive thoughts (“I can win if I stick to my game plan”).  If you fall into a spiral of uncertain thoughts, don’t dwell on the voice that tells you you’re not good enough.  Instead, do something that builds your self-esteem, such as recounting past successes.  And remember, when you make an error, refocus on what’s ahead of you.  A mistake is already history, so learn from the situation and move forward.

Control your emotions

The difference between winning and losing often comes down to the ability to control your emotional responses when facing difficulties or disappointments.  One emotion that often leads to a poor outcome is anxiety.  This can take the physical form of butterflies in your stomach or the mental version of confusion and lack of concentration.  To counter anxiety, try breathing deeply, stretching, or muscle relaxation.  Remember that anxiety and excitement are flip sides of the same coin.  They share the same feeling state of nervous energy.  Change your anxiety into excitement by anticipating a successful outcome and accepting that nervousness is a result of stepping out of your comfort zone and up to the next level.

View a stressful situation as a Challenge

Champions have the ability to cope with stressful situations because they exert control over the stress they experience.  Here are three strategies they use.  First, break down any stressful situation into smaller, more manageable pieces and determine what you can and cannot control.  Now you are ready to direct your energies towards the elements you can control, which sets the conditions for a successful outcome.  Another strategy is mental imagery.  Create images in your mind’s eye were you see yourself performing a specific task successfully and feel the resulting sense of satisfaction and competency.  A third tactic is logical analysis.  By evaluating past successes and failures, you can think of solutions to any possible problems before they arise.  In this way, you are lowering the intensity of the stress you may experience.

Are you ready to put yourself in the winner’s circle by improving your mental toughness?  Athletes know that if they want to succeed they need to practice.  The same is true for you.  Repetition is the key to developing the mental acumen you need to unlock your potential and perform at your best.  “Just Do It!”

2 Responses to “Learn To Be A Winner”

  1. On Sport info Says:

    wonderful articles..i really like this blog and will come back again..

  2. Ramon Says:

    I see a lot of interesting content on your page.
    You have to spend a lot of time writing, and I appreciate it. Looking forward to reading more.

Leave a Reply