Sunday, February 27, 2011

Energy Flows Where Attention Goes

By Julie Rahm

Consider that your attention is a very important commodity. When you are using your computer, companies are using Internet programs to track where your attention goes. Businesses pay huge money to learn what you are watching. Media outlets subscribe to ratings services. Grocery stores have membership cards to track your purchases. In addition, your boss, co-workers, spouse, children, friends and pets all compete for your attention. Indeed, attention is one of your most valuable commodities.

So what happens when your attention is undisciplined? Have you ever watched a puppy play? Our puppy Tank sniffs around the backyard randomly from one scent to another. His path resembles a spider web or modern art. By not mastering your attention, you become like meandering Tank. Since energy flows where attention goes, allowing attention to wander drains your energy. Fatigue and overwhelm set in even if you sat behind a desk all day. Your attention must be corralled.

Let’s get into my Mindset Mechanic Tool Kit and tune up your ability to focus attention by choosing your thoughts! First, determine where you spend your attention throughout the day. Use the metaphorical flashlight to illuminate your thoughts. Try this exercise. At the end of each day, review where you spent attention and whether your energy level (alert, focused, awake) was low, medium or high. Draw a chart with time on the horizontal line and energy level on the vertical line. Plot your energy level each hour with a word describing what you were doing. Notice the patterns that develop.

Typically, your attention will flow in three ways: (1) toward the outside world, (2) toward your internal world, (3) toward creativity and other people. Attention grabbers in the outside world are simply anything that distracts you. The attention grabber in the internal world is the insecure ego. It heckles you are not good enough; you messed up again; and you deserve things you do not have. Between the distractions of the external and internal worlds, you have no energy left to expend on creative endeavors and relationships. Instead, you may find yourself in a downward spiral looking to others to replenish your energy. Often, others have the same energy deficits and are seeking a boost from you. The deficits collide and relationships suffer.

Replenish your own energy by reaching into the Mindset Mechanic Tool Kit. Based on the charts you made, use the metaphorical hammer to hammer in the framework for focusing attention on what keeps your energy level high. Trade negative self-talk for a positive vision of your future. Then, develop a daily habit of meditating for 15 minutes. Meditating connects you to God, the infinite energy source.

So manage your attention and keep your energy high. Energy flows where your attention goes. Enjoy your new-found energy in creative expression and relationships!

Learn more about the Mindset Mechanic and her tool kit online at www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com and on the radio at FM107.1 WTKF/AM1240 WJNC and www.TheTalkStation.com.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy Every Day

By Julie Rahm

Are you ready to be happy every day? The key to happiness is the ability to manage negative emotions. How? Let’s get into my Mindset Mechanic Tool Kit for a self-awareness tune-up!

American physicist, Richard Feynman once said “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool.” Before you can handle your emotions, you have to be aware of them. Reach into the Mindset Mechanic Tool Kit. Use the metaphorical level to determine when your mood is out of balance. Then, use the metaphorical flashlight to shed light on your emotions. Identify the emotions you feel by closing your eyes and concentrating on your feelings. Find the original source of the negative emotion. For example, if someone made you angry, did that person remind you of someone else? What specifically happened to trigger your anger? Think back to the first time you can remember feeling the same anger. Once you identify your triggers, use the metaphorical utility knife to cut the cord to the original source. Simply identifying the source brings relief.

Finally, hammer in the framework for responding effectively. When negative emotions build, force yourself not to respond for at least ten seconds. Take five deep breaths. Think about a happy memory. Do whatever it takes to respond, not react.

As a personal example, last week our Yorkie puppy, Tank challenged my ability to respond effectively. We were playing together in the front yard when Tank saw his Labrador friend, Doc. Tank took off running at full speed. By the time I caught up with him, he and Doc were all the way across the neighborhood. I watched the two dogs play for a few minutes and then told Tank to go home. He knew I was not pleased with him, so he stayed just far enough ahead of me that I could not pick him up. At first, I felt angry. By the time we headed home I felt sad. What was that about? Both emotions were triggers to childhood. The anger was about my best friend choosing to play with someone else instead of me. The sadness was about Tank staying ahead of me as we walked home. That reminded me of being six years old and walking to school with older girls who frequently ran ahead of me, laughing while leaving me behind. Once I connected with the memories Tank’s behavior triggered, the anger and sadness subsided. Without self-awareness I would have blamed Tank for making me angry and sad.

Self-awareness makes you aware of emotions and their source. Understanding their source causes negative emotions to subside. Keep your Mindset Mechanic Tool Kit handy so you are ready to handle negative emotions on the spot and be happy every day!

Learn more about the Mindset Mechanic and her tool kit online at www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com and on the radio at FM107.1 WTKF/AM1240 WJNC and www.TheTalkStation.com

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Get Energy with an Energy Tune-Up

By Julie Rahm

Are you holding on to past hurts, resentments or other emotional clutter? If so, your energy is being drained by old pain and anger. Remember, what you focus on grows. So let’s get into the Mindset Mechanic Metaphorical Tool Kit and tune up your energy by tuning out emotional clutter! The first tool you need is the metaphorical level. If the metaphorical level remains off balance due to revengeful thinking and anger, you cannot direct your energy toward the future you desire. Let go of the past by cutting its cord with the next tool - the metaphorical utility knife. By letting go you are free to create a more positive future. Cutting the cord to the past means forgiveness and moving on with your life.

Forgiveness is really about you, not the other person. By forgiving you are not freeing the other person from their offense; you are releasing yourself from it. You do not need to condone their behavior, preserve the relationship with them, or trust them. You do need to free yourself permanently from all of the negative emotions associated with them.

As you practice forgiving, ensure that you complete the cycle. Shine the metaphorical flashlight on your fears, anger and hurt. Then, hammer in responsibility for any part you played in the situation. Think about what you wanted from the other person. Then, change perspectives and view the entire event from the other person’s point of view. Allow yourself to see through their eyes. Imagine what that person was experiencing and what needs he or she was trying to fulfill at the time. Finally, let go and move on by cutting the cord with the metaphorical utility knife. Every trip through the forgiveness process makes you better at avoiding similar situations and better at handling each moment.

Some moments are harder than others. Transgressions by trusted friends, family or co-workers are certainly more emotionally charged than offenses by strangers. However, any negative emotional charge can block your energy. Understanding that prompted my husband Johnny and me to develop a daily forgiveness habit together. Every night before bedtime we review the day and forgive ourselves and others. For instance, we forgive the person who took 20 items through the “10 items or less” cashier’s line ahead of us when we were in a hurry; and the driver who cut us off in traffic; and Tank the Wonder Dog for chewing our reading glasses; and ourselves for leaving reading glasses on the coffee table. You get the idea. We free ourselves from the frustration, anger and hurts of the day so we can sleep peacefully.

A daily forgiveness habit together with your spouse keeps the magic alive in your relationship. The habit provides a positive opportunity to take responsibility for your respective roles in the events of the day. So, you can release both yourself and your mate, and keep your energy flowing! Find our more about tuning up your energy at http://www.americasmindsetmechanic.com/.

Find the Mindset Mechanic online at http://www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com and http://www.MilitaryKidsSpeak.com and on the radio at FM107.1 WTKF/AM1240 WJNC and http://www.TheTalkStation.com.
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