Your Resilient Buddy

We’ve just come back from Tucson, AZ where we spent a fantastic week with family celebrating the wedding of my niece Caity and her new husband Andrew. I’ve been to the Sonoran Desert many times and if there is one place that represents the importance of resilience, it must be that unforgiving desert. I’ve always been intrigued by the special relationship between the Palo Verde Tree and the Saguaro Cactus. Most people immediately recognize the Saguaro by its tall upright presence and striking arms that grow out of it over its century long life span. During its early years, the young Saguaro would not survive the heat of the Arizona summer and needs a symbiotic partner to help protect it Read More

Are You Late to the Party?

A story in this week’s New York Time Magazine discussed the history of mindfulness education in America and points out that it has its origins from the 1880s where a British judge translated the term from the Buddhist concept of sati into our word for attention. Mindfulness, as a brand, took root during the 1960s and under the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn has reached all the way into hospitals, executive c-suites, professional sports teams, and even into public education. Prospect Hill Academy Charter School in Somerville, MA is providing all of its 300 elementary school children mindfulness classes throughout the week as a way of helping them bring more focus and attention to their lives both inside and outside of Read More

Managers as Motivators

One of my former bosses use to ask us during times of high stress, “why do you think they call it work?” He believed that by asking that question it would give us a perspective that our work is hard, but what it mostly did was to demoralize people to expect that nothing better could be expected from our work. Instead of motivating us to excel, his efforts pushed us towards mediocrity. In a recent research piece, the Gallup Organization identified some more effective ways that managers can support their employees so that workplace stress can be handled more effectively and employees can be more energized to get the work done efficiently. Their highlights included: Manager leadership is the primary Read More

The Nutty Way To Resilience

Keeping our immune system strong is great for being resilient so that we have “energy reserves” when we have to face the next stressor of the day. This makes sense because if our bodies are not battling inside they can better handle what is happening outside. This internal battle can create inflammation at the cellular level. Inflammation is an autoimmune response that our bodies put into play when they have to respond to some crisis. While some inflammation situations are good such as when we cut our finger, other types of inflammation such as when we get into reacting to that idiot on the road are not so good. Foods rich in Omega–3 oils (fish like tuna and salmon) veggies Read More

Fail Good

It was a Monday morning 6 years ago when I walked into my boss’s office at the UPMC Health Plan for my weekly meeting with him. I knew the company was planning layoffs for that week but was shocked when I saw our HR partner in the room and immediately knew what that meant. I was being let go. Laid off. Position eliminated. Not needed any more. Kaput! It took me awhile to overcome my shame about that event and to be able to talk about it with others. It’s was hard for me to talk about what seemed like a failure. Embarrassment, humiliation, fear, self-loathing, concerns about how others will think of me all contributed to my unwillingness to Read More