Tuesday, June 17, 2014

How do you see the world? Glass full or empty?

We all have heard the saying - do you see glass half full or glass half empty?  It is so common that I think sometimes it has lost it's meaning for many.  It is more than just full or empty.  It is actually what you see... Many people can view the exact same event or concept and interpret it two totally different ways.  What you chose to see had a huge affect on how you feel. 
For example - earlier today I was watching the today show and they were interviewing a 19 year old woman who had posted a picture of herself with her friend.  She was smiling and having fun  - until she looked at the picture.  When she first saw the picture she identified her friend as the "pretty blond" and her self as the other one with all the cellulite.   She saw all of her flaws and became sad and frustrated with herself and her body image.  That is the time she made a decision to change how she looked at the picture. She realized she had a choice.  She then chose to see the picture as a representation of friendship and of a happy day in her life.  When she focused on the smiles and the positive memories she felt happy.  The picture is exactly the same - her way of interpreting it has changed and that led to a change in how she feels.
We do this every day - we see something or do something and then they way we interpret it can be negative and lead to frustration and roadblocks in our day.  What if we were to stop each time we found ourselves feeling negative or frustrated and we asked ourselves - "How can I see this differently?"  Can we focus on the "fullness" and not "emptiness" as in the glass analogy?  Do we feel differently?
It isn't easy - but with practice it will make a big difference in how you feel each and every day!
If you would like more information or would like to connect with me for couching or counseling or just to learn more about my approach - please check out my website.
I would love to opportunity to connect with you!
Cara Maksimow, LCSW, CPC

Monday, June 2, 2014

Acts of Kindness

Happy Monday! 
Mark Twain said "The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up." 
The idea that helping others actually makes you feel better is not a new one, it is something that is part of just about every religious teaching since the beginning of time.  What is new is the fact that researchers are actually studying it and showing clinical results that doing acts of kindness results in sustained increase in well-being - Lyubomirsky, S. Sheldon, K.M. & Schkade, D (2005). Pursuing Happiness:  The architecture of sustainable change.  Review of General Psychology, 9, 111-131.
This leads me to a news story that I have been hearing about over the last few days.  A wealthy person has been anonymously leaving money in places and tweeting about it.  People have been searching beaches and parks for envelopes with $1,000 each.  The person who is leaving the money said that he had made a lot of money and wants to give back to others.  I bet that the act of leaving this money has not only impacted those that have received it but also made a measurable difference to the wealthy philanthropist.  It is so wonderful to hear those types of stories since most of the time our news is negative and depressing.  I hope that by having that story out there people will take that as a cue to do something nice for someone else.  We may not be able to so something as grand as leaving thousands of dollars but we can absolutely hold the door for someone or let another car in go in front of you at an intersection.  Acts of kindness do not need be bold or expensive.  They need to be thoughtful and helpful.  Little things like paying for someone's coffee or picking up milk for a neighbor can bring a smile to all those involved.  Hearing about the wealthy person leaving cash made me think about what more I can do in my day to help other people not only for them but for my self.  What can you do to help someone else today?

If you want more information on Maximize Wellness Counseling and Coaching services such as individual coaching or optimism workshops please check out my website.
I would love connect with you! 
Cara Maksimow, LCSW, CPC