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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Guest Post: Are You Programmed to AM or FM?

   Today I have the honor of having a guest post from JoAnn Kline.  JoAnn M. Kline, MBA, is a lifelong learner, entrepreneur, author, and writer.  She endeavors to motivate and empower others through her life's journey to serve God.  JoAnn stays busy with her Facebook Page, The Business of Home, and she also author's two columns called "Contentment Quest" and "Savvy Cents & Sensibility" through the monthly newspaper publication called "The Valley Newspaper


Are Your Programmed to AM or FM?
by JoAnn M. Kline
            Many of us have a favorite radio station that we enjoy listening to, or a favorite TV channel that we tune into daily.  But, what about “your” channel?  What are “you” programmed to?  Is your personal channel programmed to AM (against me) or FM (for me)?  Before I continue, I guess I should issue a disclaimer that I in no way am insinuating that one type of radio channel is better than the other – AM or FM.  I am simply using the AM and FM letters to get my point across for this month’s article.
            What are you tuned into on a daily basis?  Are you tuned into a lifestyle and life circumstances that are AM (against me), or are you bebop’n to life circumstances on the FM (for me) dial?  Research has concluded that our health can be affected by our self-talk.  The Mayo Clinic determined that our outlook on life and our attitudes toward ourselves can affect our physical health.  Some research studies have shown that our personality traits (such as being positive or negative thinkers) can affect many areas of our health and well-being.  Positive thinking is associated with proper stress management, and effective stress management is associated with health benefits.  On the flip side, negative thinking, pessimistic attitudes, and negative self-talk are all associated with dis-ease in the body and mind.  The dis-ease also known as anxiety, worry, and agitation can result in health deterioration over time.  I know I have said it a million times, but it’s worth repeating again, we all must work hard to rid negative thinking tendencies from our life.  Many times negative thinking is a byproduct of the automatic thoughts we produce as a result of our human “conditioning.”  In other words, negative thinking and self-talk has become a habit.  Habits can be ingrained in us, and often they are ingrained over many years, but habits can be broken or altered.  It is our own personal decision to determine where we want to tune our thinking and doing dial – AM or FM.
            Researchers continue to explore the benefits of positive thinking and optimism on health.  The Mayo Clinic listed several health benefits on their website that are linked to positive thinking.  Below is a short list of some of the benefits:
·         Increased life span
·         Lower rates of depression
·         Lower levels of distress
·         Greater resistance to the common cold
·         Better psychological and physical well-being
·         Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
·         Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
One research theory deems that positive thinkers cope better with stressful situations therefore they experience less harmful effects of stress.
      Do you know how to spot and identify negative self-talk?  Common forms of negative self-talk are:
Filtering – Magnification of the negative aspects while filtering out positive aspects.  For example, you had a relatively productive day at work but you choose to focus on the one thing that you didn’t get accomplished.  Another instance is filtering what you see in other people.  For example, you choose to “see” or discuss lack rather than credit people for accomplishments they attained.  You may see someone who is struggling to find adequate employment or choose to further their education, rather than settle for their current underemployment situation.  But rather than support them for their efforts to better themselves you focus on criticisms – which just creates more stress for the individual.
Personalizing – The act of automatically blaming yourself when something bad occurs.  For example, you were looking forward to an evening out with friends but plans got cancelled.  You believe the plans were cancelled because no one wanted to be around you.
Catastrophing – You always anticipate the worst.  Something goes wrong in you everyday life and you assume the remainder of your day will be a disaster.  For example, you order coffee at the local drive-thru window, you pick-up, pay for the order, and leave.  You sip the coffee to find it is bitter and black when you ordered sugar and cream – entire day ruined!
Polarizing – You see things as either good or bad – no middle ground.  In your mind, if things aren’t perfect, then it’s a total failure.  For example, you work extra hard on a school assignment and receive the grade of a “B” rather than the anticipated “A” for all of the hard work and sacrificing necessary to give the assignment all you got.  You are downtrodden about the “B” because it wasn’t the coveted “A” rather than rejoicing in the fact that it still a good grade.
      Here are some examples of negative self-talk turned positive from the Mayo Clinic’s website http://www.mayoclinic.com:
·         I’ve never done that before – It’s an opportunity to learn something new
·         I don’t have the resources – I’ll tackle it from a different angle
·         I’m too lazy to get this done – I will re-examine my priorities
·         There’s no way that will work! – I can try to make it work
·         No one communicates with me – I will open the channels of communication
·         I’m not good at this – I will give it another (and another, and another) try
We can choose to focus on positive thinking is we so wish.  The process to turn negative thinking and self-talk into positive thinking and self-talk is simple, yet it does require a bit of practice.  If you are ready to change your channel and tune into the FM frequency here are a few ways to behave more positively:
·         Identify areas to change – what must change? What do you think negatively about?
·         Check yourself – periodically stop and think about what you are thinking and feeling at that moment.  Is it good or bad?
·         Welcome humor – Laugh, smile, seek humor and joy in all aspects of your day.
·         Follow a healthy lifestyle – eat healthy, get exercise & rest, and practice deep breathing
·         Surround yourself with positive people – DO NOT give negative people any space in your life.  Only give space to those who support you and your endeavors.
·         Practice positive self-talk – DO NOT say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to someone else.  Give yourself the same respect & honor you offer others.
Set the dial to FM frequency today.  The world needs more optimism and positivity.  The world needs you to be the best you can possibly be.  The world needs you to have the strength and focus to reach your fullest potential.  The world needs you to help spread the light – spread the positivity.  Are you up for it?  Are you up for contributing to what the world needs?  Of course you are!  Get up, get tuned in to FM, give the world your best, and watch the light spread!

“The one who is optimistic is able to spread the rays of happiness all around... He is able to enjoy seeing only this positive aspect, filling himself with positivity, the happiness spreads around and touches the lives of those around.”  ~Brahma Kumaris
                       

JoAnn’s book: An Arduos Ascent: The Climb of a Lifetime available at www.westbowpress.com; www.amazon.com; and www.barnesandnoble.com.".



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