Behavior Is Contagious – Especially With Fibromyalgia

People with fibromyalgia face many obstacles.

We live with fatigue, brain fog, chronic pain and other symptoms. We work to find ways to manage this syndrome. We seek coping mechanisms. Many fibro patients have overlook the importance of who and what we surround ourselves with.

  • This can have a dramatic affect on how we cope.

Conserving energy is an important part to coping with “Fibro Fatigue”. It takes far more energy to deal with negative people. Energy when you don’t have any left to expend.

Let’s look at who we surround ourselves with and the effects on our lives.

People You Should Remove from Your Life

  1. You have to cut the “downers” the negative people
  2. You have to cut out the “distractors”
  3. You have to get rid of “people who play the victim”
  4. You have to stay away from “know-it-alls”
  5. You have to dump the “drama queens/kings”

Neuroscience 101
Good and Bad Behavior Is Contagious

One study found that emotions circulate through interpersonal relationships just like the flu virus.

These patterns can actually be tracked statistically just like the flu virus.

  • Each positive person you surround yourself with increases your chances of being positive by eleven percent.
  • Each negative person you let into your life more than doubles your chances of being negative.

Understanding Why This Happens

A mirror neuron is a cell in your brain that fires both when you act and when you observe another person acting.  Interacting with other people engages your mirror neuron system. 

This brain mechanism causes you to copy other people whether you want to or not. If you spend enough time with anyone, no matter who it is, you will start to mimic their behavior.

This means you need to start cutting negative people out of your life right now.

Here is a short 2 minute video
explaining mirror neurons

Here are five types of people
to start avoiding now!

# 1 The “Downer”

Some people can walk into a room and light it up. Other people walk into a room and kill it.

  • Downers Are Those That Kill Positive Energy

They are those people who seem to have a dark cloud following them wherever they go. These people are unlucky, negative and always depressed.

Don’t feel bad for these people. Odds are:

They like being miserable
WHY?
They like the attention it gives them

You must drop unhappy people from your life. Why?

Because your happiness and your physical health depends on it. Research shows that being exposed to negative people pulls away neurons in your hippocampus. This is the part of your brain that is responsible for problem solving. This means that negative people literally rot your brain

Stop hanging out with people who suck away your energy

#2 Avoid Distracting People

Distractors come in a variety of flavors

  • There are those annoying people who drive you nuts.
  • People who make you focus on them instead of focusing on yourself and your mission.

Distractors are also those people that are truly amazing or really hot or incredibly brilliant.]

  • Those people who catch your eye for one reason or another.
  • Distractors make you forget about your goals and everything that you’ve set out to do in life.

A lot of promising futures
have been sacrificed to these distractors.

Some people drop out of school or quit a job they love, just to be closer to a distracting person. This allows them stay in that distracting relationship.

Others get hooked on celebrity gossip or get rich quick schemes

  • Everything that glitters is not always gold.
  • Most shiny things are just distractions and this can include people.

Don’t let any person make you forget that you are amazing – and that you have something amazing to offer the world.

#3 Stay Away from People Who Play the Victim

Don’t know how to identify a victim?

Here’s what you look for:

  • Look for people who preach self-sacrifice
  • Look for people who try to make you feel guilty for your strengths
  • Look for people who try to make you feel guilty for your accomplishments
  • Look for people who try to make you feel bad just because they are feeling bad

Victims are:

  • Masters of positioning themselves on the moral high ground
  • Using obligation to manipulate you into doing what they want you to do.
  • People who like to make you feel responsible for their happiness.

No one is responsible for someone else’s happiness

#4 Stay away from know-it-alls

Know-it-alls are those people who will never let you live down past mistakes. They bring you down by using  the psychological phenomenons of “Imposter Syndrome” and “Negativity Bias.”

Imposter Syndrome is describe as the inability to internalize your own accomplishments. It’s that voice in your head that creeps up every now and then telling you that you’re a phony and it’s only a matter of time until people find out.

Negativity Bias on the other hand refers to your brains preference for negative information over positive information.

  • Never allow anyone to make you feel bad about yourself.
  • Don’t let some” Know-it-All” use these techniques against you.
  • Focus on where you are now. Not on your past mistakes.

#5 Refuse to be around drama queens.

Drama queens/kings are those people who love conflict. They are addicted to drama and to winning arguments no matter the cost. Even if there’s nothing to be won. Drama queens love drama for the sake of drama.

  • They don’t want to win or find a solution they just want the drama.
  • Their minds are simple and their lives are boring.
  • The only way they can fill a sense of purpose in life is by creating drama.
  • Don’t let these people suck you into their drama.

Any time you spend trying to correct or even understand a drama queen is a waste of time. You are better off ignoring these people period.

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Addiction Will Affect Your Relationship

EDITORS NOTE:

CITB focuses on chronic illness. I have personally experienced and live with the chronic illness of substance abuse. This is a guest post by Caleb Anderson of RecoveryHope.org. RecoveryHope.org was started by Caleb and Molly Anderson after Caleb received treatment for opiate addiction. Molly has made it her mission to learn how to help Caleb fight his battles and support him in his recovery. Together they now help others by providing research and resources about the many challenges of overcoming drug and alcohol addictions.

We thank Caleb and Molly for their contribution to  CITB. We know you will enjoy their insights. Please visit their website RecoveryHope.org for more information on substance  abuse and recovery.


There are plenty of ways relationships can become strained. It’s possible to have a strong, healthy relationship, but it’s not easy. It takes work.

When you add an addiction to the relationship, things get much harder. Substance abuse can challenge even the strongest relationship, and many couples break up over it. Thankfully, there are actions you can take to both help your partner and save your relationship. But before you can help, you need to know whether your partner has a problem.

Substance Abuse Leads To Unhealthy Relationships

How do you know if your partner is struggling with addiction? Medical News Today lists a number of signs and symptoms of addiction to watch for, including: bouts of moodiness, bad temper, poor focus, a feeling of being depressed and empty, frustration, anger, bitterness, obsession, denial, etc.

The Mayo Clinic has an exhaustive list of signs related to specific addictions, including marijuana, opiates, and cocaine.

Having a relationship with an addict can lead to pain and stress. It can also lead to heartbreak because addiction can lead to infidelity. Swift River explains this is due to several factors, including a higher chance of risky behavior such as sex with others. Some even use sex as payment for whatever they need.

How You Might Be Enabling

Whether it’s secrecy, anger, or infidelity, the addict is responsible for their own behavior. However, there are ways you might be enabling your partner’s addiction. Enabling is when you help your partner to continue abusing substances even if you don’t realize it. Here are a few ways you might be contributing to the addiction:

  • Ignoring evidence that they have a substance abuse problem.
  • Helping them avoid the consequences of addiction.
  • Buying or using the same drugs and alcohol along with them.
  • Failing to hold them responsible when you’ve set boundaries or rules that are not met.

Even if you mean well, you can enable addiction because your partner has no reason to change. Addicts often need to get treatment or hit “rock bottom” before they realize how bad things have become due to their addiction. Protecting your partner makes it harder for them to get help.

Helping Your Loved One

Then how can you help your partner get better? Many people think about staging an intervention, but as Psychology Today notes, these should be last-ditch efforts as there’s no evidence they help an addict in the long-run. Instead, you need to politely and gently convince your partner to go to a doctor or therapist. Focus on how it’s hurting the relationship and ask, not tell, if they would consider getting help.

Once they have entered addiction recovery treatment, you need to be loving and accepting of your partner. Work with your loved one to find healthy habits and activities. This can mean social activities with friends who don’t use as well as healthy ones like yoga, exercising, or just taking a nice walk. Not only will this help your partner get better, but it can heal the relationship as well.

Don’t Let Addiction Ruin Your Relationship

The worst thing you can do when facing your partner’s addiction is to ignore it. This actually enables substance abuse. Instead, understand how addiction impacts your relationship. Then you can focus on getting your loved one the help they need to get sober. By helping your partner, you are also helping your relationship.

 

Please visit RecoveryHope.org for more information on substance  abuse and recovery

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Everything in Your Life, Is Your Life!

I’m sick, very sick. Sick enough that after twenty years my team of doctors still have little idea what’s wrong with me. I am unable to work and unable to properly function at home. This is a challenging scenario for me. But, there are benefits here. There’s purpose in experiencing life in these ways. I am convinced of this because of a learned awareness of spirituality.

I grew up seeing spirits, astral traveling, feeling other people’s emotions, and hearing their thoughts. These experiences were so normal for me that I had to be taught how to “properly” interact with others. I learned that very few people could do the things I could, and that there were things I shouldn’t say to others. I had to curb my comments, very often just sharing knowing smiles.

These days it seems fewer people take responsibility for their life.
It seems less and less people master their emotions.

They don’t run their lives, they allow life to run them. Their problems are blamed on everyone and everything. Most never take responsibility for their own life. More importantly, they never take responsibility for how they feel.

Does life happen to you, or does life happen for you?

Think very carefully before you answer. The answer you give will shape your life.

Do you believe everything happens for a reason? I believe that life is hard. That we all are going to go through things that are hard and challenging. But, what if every painful experience in your life was actually sent to benefit you?

  • To make you stronger.
  • To make you wiser.
  • To make you better.

What if the challenge you are facing was sent to make you grow? What if the difficult person was actually sent to teach you things?

Things like:

  • Compassion
  • Patience
  • A reminder of how not to treat people

What if the loss you experienced was sent to make you appreciate the way we feel.

Everything in your life is your life!

Every human being decides how they are going to live their life.

It’s not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.

We all decide what meaning we give to each and every moment in our lives. We do not decide what shows, but we do decide how we show it. We do not decide the circumstances that arrive each day, but, we absolutely decide how we are going to react to each circumstance.

There is no such thing as actual reality, there’s only our perception of reality.

Think about any event in your own life.

Your version of it, is only your opinion of it and will be completely different to many other people.

Two people could attend the same event, see the same things, speak to the same people, and leave with absolutely opposite thoughts about that event. How could this be it was the same event? That is because it’s an interpretation. The meaning both people gave the event is different. That meaning is based on the life of conditioning and personal experiences. A life of absorbing other’s opinions and therefore making our own.

The point is:

  • We decide that meaning.
  • We decide our perspective.
  • We decide our reality.
  • We decide OUR TRUTH!

The experiences I’ve had, force the point for me. I don’t ‘believe’ there’s more out there. I KNOW! I’ve had contact with various attuned and enlightened people who guided me through things.

They explained the subtle realms:

  • How energy in life flows
  • Why we are here on earth
  • The various and multiple layers of existence
  • The true nature of the soul and how we are connected
  • That there is no one formal religion that is right for everyone.

I’ve seen and experienced things that many people so readily disregard. People say ‘spirits aren’t real’ because they can’t know anything else. But, I know they are there, not just because I’ve seen them. I know they are there because the universe gave me teachers. Mentors that have been there with me. Coaching me through life’s interactions.

The universe guided me by:

  • Explaining that I should try things and see what happens
  • In learning to protect myself
  • To help them when they needed it
  • Most importantly, teaching me how to identify who they are and what they want.

There’s a great degree of science behind spirituality. Much more than you could think possible. That science, the understanding of connections and interactions between things, being able to control and shape them means I don’t have a choice. I don’t ‘believe’ anymore, I know!

Bob Marley said…

“Some people dance in the rain,
others just get wet.”

This is true for everything in life. Some people hate life. Some people just get by. But, some people live life to the fullest. Those people appreciate the little things, which in turn, make a huge difference in their lives. Don’t worry about what other people do!

What do you do?

  • Do you appreciate all the good in your life?
  • Do you look for the good every day?
  • Do you wake up expecting great things?
  • Do you believe every tough moment in your life is it to make you stronger and in some way improve your life?

Every meaning, you give to everything in your life, makes your life!

I know that my sickness is a part of my spiritual journey. It serves a purpose by improving me and those who interact with me. Every life and death, no matter how beautiful or tragic is a wonderful experience for the soul.

Don’t feel sorry for yourself or try to blame others for your misfortune. This is your doing and it’s an amazing thing that you’ve chosen for yourself.

There is no fault!

You need this experience in your life to evolve mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. You’ve got people around you who also chose to be there and experience a different reality to the situation with you. They’re also benefiting from you, learning and evolving as a result of your situation.

Choose empowering meanings, because the better your meanings, the better your life. The stronger your meanings, the stronger your life.

Between stimulus and response,
there is a space where we choose our response.

In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
It’s our decisions, not our conditions,
that control life and fulfill destiny.

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5 Steps to an Effective Apology UPDATED

The Japanese have a word “Gomenasai” that is roughly equivalent to the English word “sorry”. It’s used to apologize when you harm or offend someone. The word implies humility (Sorry to disturb you…Sorry for coming into your house), but it’s also used as a way to avoid guilt. Someone will say sorry just seconds before they ram the back of your legs with a shopping trolley. Another will mouth the word as they rudely cut you off with their car. This is how people use apologies every day, except perhaps more blatant.

How can apologies be so valuable but so misused?

Genuine apology is an unfashionable concept. With humility and one way service it’s among the least popular traits in our advanced culture. Nonetheless, it’s a vital part of life that’s indispensable in building strong relationships.

What then, is an apology? In its simplest form, an apology is taking responsibility for a disturbance in a relationship. These insincere apologies imply nothing about your attitude towards the disturbance you are taking responsibility for. A useful apology always acknowledges that you regret your part in the disturbance and are trying to stop or reverse its occurrence.

An apology is not just a tool to make peace. It’s not another way of saying “Get off my back”. It’s not a way of introducing harm, “sorry but I am going to have to divorce you”. It’s not a tool to manipulate others.

When should you apologize? Whenever there is a break in a relationship. No matter what the issue, there will usually be a part, even a small part, that was your responsibility. For this you should apologize. Realizing that a disturbance is your responsibility is a giant step towards emotional maturity.

But WHEN should you apologize? As soon as possible. Depending on the relationship this may be immediately or when you’ve cooled off after a few days

It is our responsibility to take the initiative to apologize. If you wait for the other party to come to you, you may be waiting forever. It takes boldness and integrity to make the first step. Never let an apology swing on timidness or lack of confidence.

A genuine apology is not a habitual apologetic mannerism. It is a deliberate effort to solve a relational problem that you have contributed to. This requires of discipline. Believe me because I know from experience.

I struggle with apologies as much as the next person. I find it’s usually the hardest when the relationship is particularly important to me, like my direct family. When I’m in the wrong, I will try anything I can think of, short of apologizing, to try and solve the problem.

Sooner or later, though, I have to swallow my pride and apologize. It should be no surprise but usually my apology contributes to healing a damaged relationship. Often the relationship ends up stronger than ever. Apology is one of the toughest but most productive habits that I am trying to adopt. We all need to sharpen up our apology sense.

There was, and still is, an Australian Prime Minister who refused to say sorry to the Australian Aboriginal people for crimes against them in the past. This isn’t a political article so I won’t go into details, but it seems the main reason that he wouldn’t publicly apologize was that he was afraid of the backlash. He feared an apology would mean admitting guilt and that this would fuel the disturbance and not remedy it.

This sort of attitude is all too prevalent in our society. We no longer trust each other. We realize that if we apologize, we’re admitting guilt. If we admit guilt it can be used against us. This may be true in a legal sense — I have held car insurance policies that are void if I admit guilt or apologize at the scene of a potential accident — but it is totally wrong in a relational sense.

We have to get past the paranoia that makes us believe that everyone will try to use an apology against us. There will be times when an apology is abused, but more often than not, a genuine apology will be well received and will go a long way towards solving a disturbance between two people.

How to apologize:

  1. Make it genuine – Anyone can spot a false apology and it will do more harm than good. A genuine apology is aimed solely at taking responsibility and overcoming a disturbance. There are no hidden obligations or expectations attached.
  2. Don’t justify your actions – If you are busy explaining why you did what you did, it will start to sound like you aren’t apologizing at all, that you aren’t ready to take responsibility. A brief explanation may help understanding, while a justification may just fuel the disturbance.
  3. Make a commitment to change – If you can’t confirm that you mean to improve, then you aren’t committed to an apology. If you aren’t committed to changing your habit of getting home late, don’t say “Sorry I am home late”. This will be a hollow and ineffective apology. You are better off thanking the other person, “Thanks for putting up with me coming home so late. I appreciate it” and taking it from there.
  4. Phrased you apology carefully – Make sure the other person knows why you are apologizing. “I was passing by so I thought I’d drop in and say sorry” is a lot different to “I wanted to come and apologize because I really do care about this relationship”. Don’t fake it. If you have a good reason to keep the relationship alive the other person will want to hear it.
  5. Be ready for an awkward conclusion – While sometimes an apology is followed straight away by a counter apology and peace and flowers and little birds carrying banners of love through the air, not everyone reacts this way. Some people will behave indifferently, some will behave coldly, and some will react in a downright hostile way. This is out of your control. You have made the step to apologize. Doing it in a productive way is the best you can do. Maybe the other person will appreciate it now, later, or never. No matter what, you have done your bit and you can relax. The rest is up to them.

Who do you need to apologize to today?

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9 Natural Pain Relievers

Here’s an excuse to stay in bed this weekend with no guilt:

Man listening music in headphone and sleeping in embrace with laptop on the sofa

Logging extra hours of sleep can reduce pain sensitivity and increase daytime alertness, according to a study published in the journal SLEEP. The small study included 18 healthy—but mildly sleepy—adults between the ages of 21-35. Their level of sleepiness and pain sensitivity (how quickly they moved their fingers off a hot source) were measured before and after the study. Half the participants stayed in bed for 10 hours per night for four nights, while the other half continued their normal sleep habits. Not surprisingly, the group who stayed in bed longer slept an average of 1.8 hours more than the other group, which led to increased alertness. But the group who slept in also showed a 25% decrease in pain sensitivity by the fourth day!

How does it work? When you take healthy people and you deprive them of sleep, you increase the amount of pain receptors in the blood system,. This suggests that extra sleep potentially has an analgesic effect, particularly if you can do it in anticipation of the pain. Essentially, being well rested reduces that sensitivity.

So the next time you’re training for a marathon—or just planning for a week of awful cramps—sleep in for a few days. Here, 8 more ways to reduce pain without meds:

waterGet a massage

Treat sore muscles or back pain with a trip to the spa. A once-a-week massage treatment was found to be more effective at treating pain than regular medication, according to a 2011 study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Stay hydrated

When your head is pounding, reach for water. Often headaches are brought on by dehydration. You may just need to gulp down a glass or two of water to fight off the throbbing (especially if it’s post-hangover pain).

Do a little yoga

7-Steps-to-a-Life-Long-Yoga-Practice-Youll-LoveMany people are in pain because their muscles are tight and contracted. So one of the most successful strategies is stretching. Sometimes it takes heat to relax the muscles. So hopping in a hot shower or bath before you get your om on can be even more effective.

Distract yourself

Focusing your attention on a difficult task—like reciting the ABCs backwards—can actually inhibit pain signals to the brain, according to a study published in the journal Current Biology. So the next time you’re getting a flu shot, try doing long division in your head for instant relief.

gingerAdd ginger to your meals

Ginger has been found to help with menstrual cramps, In fact, it’s as effective as an OTC pain reliever, according to a 2009 study in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Mix it into your meals or add it to hot tea to fight PMS pain.

Focus on your breathing

Meditation can help relieve belly pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome. Take a few moments to bring your breathing rate down to six breaths per minute. That helps your body produce a relaxation response, your blood pressure comes down, and many people find their pain levels to be much more manageable.”

Turn up your music

Listening to your favorite tunes can actually reduce your pain, especially if you’re particularly anxious about it, according to a study published in The Journal of Pain. Freaking out while getting your blood drawn? Pop in your headphones and crank up the music, stat.

acupressureTry acupressure

Think of it as the less terrifying (and zero needles) approach to acupuncture. “In the last 10 years, a lot of people have been turning to acupressure,” says Bauer. “And many studies show that it’s nearly as effective as acupuncture.” Try one of the most basic pain-relieving moves by squeezing the fleshy area between your thumb and forefinger for one minute.

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20 Things People With Chronic Pain Can Relate To…

stevepb / Pixabay
Millions of people live with chronic pain every day in the US, and they struggle to do basic day-to-day things like getting dressed and going to the shop. Despite their constant pain, their voices are rarely heard by the media because they look ‘normal’ and it is difficult to see the cause of their pain.

Here are 20 things that people in chronic pain can relate to:

  1. We try very hard to look ‘normal’

    People often say to us that we don’t look sick, but it takes a lot of effort to look normal. We often have to nap before going out to deal with the exhaustion, and we normally take pain meds before meeting up with people.

  2. The pain won’t pass in a few days or weeks

    This isn’t a cold or the flu, and it won’t go away in a few weeks – we may live with the pain for our whole lifetime.

  3. It’s not all in our heads

    [Tweet “We are not hypochondriac’s; just because you can’t see the cause of our pain doesn’t mean it isn’t there.”]

  4. We have dreams and goals

    Just like anyone else, we have passions and dreams that we would like to achieve in our lives. We are not defined by our illness.

  5.  We are not making a big deal for no reason

    We are probably in more pain that you think we are in. It can be pretty difficult to understand chronic pain, and we don’t need your sympathy – we just want to know that you understand our situation.

  6. Sometimes it is impossible to get out of bed in the morning

    Some days the pain is too bad to get out of bed, but we don’t let that get us down. In fact, we will probably Skype our friends or partners so we can have a giggle to take our mind off the pain.

  7. We hate being called lazy

    Every job is twice as hard if you’re experiencing chronic pain, so we don’t feel lazy – we feel super accomplished for getting dressed and going to the shops. Everyone experiences different challenges in life.

  8. Chronic pain doesn’t become less painful with time

    Pain doesn’t become less painful over time, but you become better at dealing with the pain. I am still in pain; I’m just not letting it rule my whole life.We don’t always have enough spoons
    Christine Miserandino, a woman with lupus, created the ‘spoons’ analogy to describe living with invisible pain.

  9. When you have chronic pain, you start each day with a certain amount of spoons.

    Every task, like making a sandwich, takes a spoon away from you. Once you have run out of spoons for the day, you cannot complete any more activities – your pain is too much. This analogy helps us to complete our tasks without exerting ourselves too much.
    [Tweet “PLEASE take the time to read  “The Spoon Theory” by Christine Miserandino this is probably the BEST essay to help you understand chronic pain!”]

  10. If we don’t work, it is because we can’t

    We don’t shy away from work; in fact, we would do anything to be healthy and able to work full-time. Sadly for some chronic pain sufferers, this just isn’t an option.

  11. Just standing in queues is uncomfortable and painful

    Having to hold your body in a certain place for even a few minutes can be extremely tiring and painful, and sometimes we have to ask our friends and families for help.

  12. Good days do happen

    Some days we wake up feeling better than normal, and we get super excited! Normally we will try to be productive and social on these days, because we don’t know when the next good day will be.

  13. So do bad days

    Some days are very painful, and on these days even going to the bathroom is a difficult task. On a day like this, brushing your teeth is a huge accomplishment!

  14. We feel guilty about not always replying to our friends

    Pain can be mentally exhausting, and sometimes it means we feel too tired and ill to reply to our friends. This makes us feel bad – we love our friends and we hate not replying, but thankfully our friends don’t take it personally when this happens.

  15. We are so thankful for the friends and family who are there for us

    Often we have to ask our loved ones for help with tasks like cooking and shopping, and we are so grateful for the help. Our friends are more than just friends; they are lifelines and saviours.

  16. Medical help can be frustrating

    It can take years to diagnose chronic pain due to a lack of training, and when we find an understanding doctor, we try to keep them in our lives for as long as possible.

  17.  We don’t seek drugs – we seek pain relief

    Sometimes chronic pain is treated with medical marijuana and opioids, but that doesn’t mean we seek drugs. We seek anything that will help us to control and manage our pain.

  18. We don’t need advice (unless you have chronic pain yourself)

    We really appreciate people who are trying to be helpful, but it can be mentally draining to repeatedly discuss the same pain-management methods. We always look out for ways to help manage the pain, so the likelihood is that we have already tried most suggestions.

  19. We hope to heal one day

    We don’t want to live our whole lives in pain – we want to heal and get better. We will always look out for answers and cures that could change our lives

  20. Love and support helps us to keep going

    From strangers and co-workers, the little gestures like offering to help with our bags can really help to make our lives easier.

Medical searches on Google

When you do a Google search for certain medical conditions, you can learn about their symptoms and treatments. This includes information from medical doctors about how common a condition is, whether it’s critical or contagious, the ages it usually affects, and more.

Get info about chronic pain

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7 Steps to Happiness with Fibromyalgia

Here is my interpretation of what this means:

Think Less: You procrastinate less and this eases the stress that hinders our positive view of life.
Feel More: Our instincts tend to lead us in the right direction. We go in the wrong direction typically because we defy those instincts.

Frown Less: Hopefully we frown less because we are happier but if not, then frown less so you don’t admit emotional defeat knowing that you can turn that frown upside down (there is hope).
Smile More: When we smile more because of the positives we experience, we focus on and as a result magnify those positives.

Talk Less and Listen More: We learn more when we listen because either we change or reinforce our positions. If there is a reason to change, then be open to it and if our ideals are reinforced, then we must be thankful for the wisdom we have.

Judge Less: We do not know a person’s heart nor “their” perspective on their situation. People do not know ours so we shouldn’t judge.
Accept More: Don’t fixate on what you cannot fix; accept it and move on.

Watch Less and Do More: Again, don’t fixate. If you can fix it, then do! The opportunity to “do” may pass you by if you don’t.

Complain Less and Appreciate More: Much like “frowning less and smiling more”, we must focus on the positives.

Fear Less and Love More: In this context, fearing less and loving more is about focusing on the positive “what ifs?” as opposed to the negative ones. There is always a possible downside to things but that should not keep us from exploring with a view to the potential positives. We should look at the situation, weigh the two, and then make an informed decision. If the negative results, remember, “Accept More”!

 

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8 Moves to Make When You Want to Give Up

Taking the easy road is nice for a while, but for talented, motivated people it isn’t enough. To find satisfaction you’ll need to set ambitious goals, solve challenging problems, and develop strengths you may not know you have.

Although the hard road is more fulfilling, it isn’t all champagne and victory laps. There will be times when you feel beaten and depressed — times when quitting looks like the best option. There is no formula for dealing with hard times, but these 8 steps will help you understand your predicament and determine the best course of action.

1. Take A  Break

One reason we get down on ourselves is fatigue. When you’re tired everything is harder. You’ll also get bored. Fatigue and boredom combine to cause burnout — one of the biggest reasons people quit. When faced with burnout, the best thing to do is take a break. Cut yourself off completely. Do absolutely nothing for a day or two. What’s the worst that could happen? By allowing yourself to recover you’ll be more productive in the long run.

2. Step Back

Sometimes we get so absorbed in our own sphere that we develop a distorted picture of reality. When you feel like giving up, there’s a good chance that things aren’t nearly as bad as they seem, and there’s a simple solution that you’re overlooking. When things seem bleak, distance yourself from the situation to gain an accurate perspective. What would someone without any emotional involvement do? Asking this question will help you make optimal decisions.

3. Do Your Research

The only constant in the universe is change, but when you’re plugging away with your head down it’s easy not to notice. People often make decisions based on outdated assumptions made months, or even years earlier. To develop a course of action, you’ll need to know where you stand. Stop to evaluate your position.

  • What do you have?
  • What do you want?
  • What opportunities still exist?
  • What new opportunities have arisen?

By taking stock of the current situation, you’ll discover if your urge to quit is a passing whim or the correct decision.

4. Consult an Expert

When your knowledge base is insufficient you should seek an expert opinion. This doesn’t mean you have to make contact with a world class expert, anyone who knows more than you will be able to help. Think of friends, family, and business associates. Have any of them been in your position before? The web can also be a great resource, just be careful who you trust. Check out relevant forums or email a reputable blogger. I’m consistently impressed with the effort people expend to help total strangers.

5. Re-evaluate Your Strategy

Once you’re well informed, apply that knowledge to revamping your strategy. If you feel like giving up, you might be doing something wrong. This is the time to pour over your efforts and determine what works.

  • What actions have lead to the greatest benefit?
  • What mistakes have been made?
  • What can be improved?

By answering these questions you’ll fine tune your strategy. The urge to give up is a blessing when it leads to analysis and constructive adjustments.

6. Change Course

Knowing what’s wrong and how you can fix it is a relief. Unlike an invisible monster hovering over you, an exposed problem can be directly assaulted. Once you’ve determined a change needs to be made, implement it full force. Don’t hesitate or dwell on past mistakes. Trust your own judgment and deal with new issues as they arise.

7. Push Through the Dip

In some cases you might feel like giving up even though you’re doing all the right things. This is called “the dip” — the plateau that separates the average from the best in the world. Knowing what to do when you hit the dip is so important. In you’ve hit the dip and you can honestly say that going forward is the best decision, lower your shoulder and plow ahead until you reach the other side. It might not be pleasant but the rewards are tremendous. If you make it.

8. Quit

We don’t have thoughts and emotions for nothing. Sometimes quitting is the best decision. Maybe you didn’t know what you were getting into. Maybe your priorities have changed. Maybe you’d be better doing something else. If you know deep down that quitting is the right move, do it. Don’t hesitate because of previously invested effort. That’s a sunk cost. If you ignore your better judgment and continue you’ll waste more time and energy.

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How To Change A Habit

Have you ever been sitting at work, wondering to yourself, “is there a flowchart that can tell me how to change a habit?”

Now there is! Please feel free to download, email, post on your wall, send to friends or make paper airplanes out of this handy guide to changing a habit.

Click here to download! (Right click on link to save to your desktop.)

How-to-Change-a-Habit

 

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Improve the Impact of Your Email

Want to know how to get your email answered? 

Need more impact in what you do?

Want more time? 

 WHAT EMAIL HAS BECOME

Depending on your work situation, email has become much more than its original intent. Email has become:

  • Your not-in-person meeting tool.
  • Your ass-covering tool.
  • Your chat window.
  • Your filing system.
  • Your database of information.
  • Your to-do list.
  • Your private social network.

None of these are especially “wrong” uses, but what happens is that by using this technology for all these purposes, it blunts our ability to be effective and to get quality responses from others. We’ve all had that situation arise where we try to get a response from someone and we either get a lame/vague response that requires another 8 messages to get everything nailed down, or the dreaded “no reply at all.”

Here are some thoughts on improving your email response and quality rates. Your mileage may vary, plus I’d love to hear YOUR tips in the comments below.

MAKE SUBJECT LINES ACTIONABLE

One reason people don’t respond is that you don’t prompt them to do your bidding. Here are a few sample subject lines to help:

  • YES OR NO: _______
  • 2 MINUTES TO READ: __(and the subject, briefly)
  • NEED YOUR DECISION
  • DINNER PLAN PROPOSAL
  • PLEASE FORWARD SUKHJIT’S LETTER

See how in every case, the subject prompts the reader for a next action? Now run to your inbox, check your sent items, and look at YOUR titles. I’ll do it, too. Because I get behind on this, too. (Well, that backfired. Here are some of the “choice” subject lines I’ve used lately:)

“Dude.”
“Happy Birthday” <– well that’s okay.
“You call me, right?” <– winner!
“Is there a way to have ONE product page for all these offers?” <– very accurate.

MAKE THE ASK AT THE BEGINNING, NOT THE END

This is a super secret great tip. Make the MOST IMPORTANT request at the beginning of the email. Lots of people try to fill the message with backstory. If you want, here’s a format for this kind of thing:

Subject: Would You Speak at a Special Event?

Body: Hi ________ ,

I’m writing because I want you to speak at a conference on ____ 12th, 20___ in Detroit. I’m prepared to pay your speaking fee of $____, and provide you air, hotel, and ground transportation as part of the deal. If you’re interested, please reply with YES, and the contact for your event coordinator/assistant and I’ll get the project started. Backstory is below.

—-

Backstory and Details:

…blah blah blah…

See how this works?

REMINDING SOMEONE TO REPLY

There are right ways and wrong ways to remind someone to reply. Here’s the least useful/good way: Email followed by immediate text/tweet.

Just don’t do that one, unless it was otherwise asked for in some way. Okay? Our inbox throws out a big red circle with a “1″ in it for a reason.

Now, what’s different than this is when you send an email and two or three days have passed (note that I said 2 or 3 days, and not 2 or 3 hours). Then, it’s perfectly reasonable to send a brief message via another channel to confirm whether that person got the message. Around that same time, you can always re-send the message, and tack on a “I’m not trying to be pushy, but just wanted to be sure you saw this” kind of message on top of the original.

Some people will be bothered/offended. Others will be okay with this. Related to that, don’t ever bother someone more than once for the same email. If they haven’t responded after the reminder, they’re either too busy, not interested, or whatever. You can’t guess on that, but you know the answer is “not going to respond.”

HOW TO GET SOME ATTENTION

Here are some quick ways to get someone to respond to your email so that you won’t need reminders like the one above:

  • Give more than you ask. Thus, your name won’t be synonymous with “needs something from me” when it pops up in the inbox.
  • Write less-than-300 words when you send an email.
  • Be the person who brings people business. Not introductions. Deals.
  • Respond when others mail you. (This should make sense, but it’s where some people fall down – me, sometimes!)
  • Stay connected via the various social channels, as well. It’s more likely people will feel connected with you if you’re commenting on their photos, or their tweets, or whatever.

Those are some ways to get attention. We’re nearing the home stretch.

8 WAYS TO IMPROVE THE IMPACT OF YOUR EMAIL

  1. 1 subject per email. Ask only 1 question.
  2. Brevity. Short sentences. Less than 300 words.
  3. Use plain text, or the simplest possible HTML. Flashy and fancy or stationary never help.
  4. Pick unique times of day to send, instead of during work hours.
  5. Use bullets or numbers to make your emails even faster to answer.
  6. Remove the “biography” or “liner notes” from your email and just ask what needs asking.
  7. Ask all the pertinent questions in the first email, instead of stringing them out. (Conflicts with #1, I know!)
  8. Make every reply either clear in the follow-up question or definitive in the ending of the correspondence. Work towards ONLY those two responses.

Those are the ways I know. I’m curious to know what works for YOU! Answer below in the comments section?

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