November 25 2014 Editor Assistance Newsletter
This discussion came up at a writer's group I belong to, and with us heading into the stressful holiday season, I thought I'd share it with our group. Your health is all-important, and only you can care for your own health. Take steps each day to treasure that health!
Doubt, challenges, and lack of support are completely normal parts of life. They are present in every life. To overcome any hurdle in life, one key mantra to remember is to fake it until you make it - or to act as if.
It might be that you're too depressed to take action. That you're worn down by the nay-sayers in your life. That a third-grade teacher told you you're no good and somehow you latched onto this one hare-brained adult's statement to guide your entire life. Maybe it was something more serious with a trusted parent. Heck, maybe it's something right now, in your current life, involving someone who should care for you.
It doesn't matter.
Fake it until you make it.
Here's an interesting study.
Researchers at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts had people simply make a face. They weren't told why. They were told to do specific things like raise their eyebrows or open their mouth. The result was, their body naturally sent signals through their system to be happy, sad, angry, afraid, or whatever else that facial expression tends to represent. The body is smart - perhaps TOO smart. It was trying to help. But it means if we go around with a frown on our face we're literally making our body unhappy.
Conversely, if we force a smile on our face, we actually make our body feel better. We are providing free, easy medicine to make things better.
Other research, promoted in part by Harvard professor Amy Cuddy, finds that simply standing in a "power pose" (like hands up over your head, shoulders back, and big smile) have an amazing impact on how you feel and how others perceive you. It creates measurable chemical changes in your body.
Fake it until you make it.
This isn't about being false. It's about using known research about human body chemistry in your favor. Take advantage of free, easy actions to impact what your body is currently doing. And - perhaps more importantly - its about STOPPING doing sabotaging activities to actively make things worse for yourself. If you are sitting with frowns and angry looks, you are second-by-second damaging your health. With everything else in our world to watch out for, there's no reason to harm yourself like that.
I've heard from some people that there's a Chinese proverb to "wear a mask until it becomes your face." I've looked and looked but not found that. Still, the concept is sound. Mahatma Gandhi said:
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
What you focus on, that is where you will head. If you focus on negativity, you will drive yourself in that direction. If you focus on progress, even if you're unsure, then that is where you will end up. Focus on overcoming challenges. On finding solutions. On making progress toward your goals. That is how you will get there.
So, whatever it is you have as your goal, smile. Take a power pose. And then take one step toward it. It can be a small step. That's ok! The main thing is not to wallow in the past. Don't sulk in the why-nots. Embrace the what-I-haves. And take that step toward the what-I-Dream-of.
Lisa Shea, owner
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