Stop Obsessing About Yourself

How many times are you in a conversation with somebody and you start thinking these thoughts:

Why are they asking me questions?
Why should I answer their questions?
Are they judging me?
Who are they going to tell when I answer these questions?
I don’t want to answer stuff about myself – let me ask them a question.

When you start on this train of thought, don’t you actually find yourself lost in your own head and not present in the moment? When you do this, as Eckhart Tolle says, you are not being present in “the power of now.” That, by the way, is a great book.

Let’s break it down even further. The reason why someone is asking you questions is not to publish the information on the front page of The New York Times, nor are they going to tell all their friends via a massive email about what you told them while waiting in line in Whole Foods.

The reason why someone is asking you questions is because they are interested in you. The minute you start thinking about what to say next, you’ve lost the power of being present in the moment.

Let’s take this another level deeper. They are not evaluating you. You are evaluating yourself.

Every time you get lost in your head and all your fears and insecurities come up, it’s just you missing another connection with another person. The minute you start thinking your negative thoughts is the minute you stop connecting with that person.

Do you ever wonder why when you are talking to somebody sometimes the conversation has an abrupt end like someone just put a stop sign up or you were driving on the 405 and the traffic stops for no reason? The reason why this happens is that you stopped being present in the moment.

The person who is talking to you sees your body language freeze up. That’s usually the moment where the conversation dies and you hit the eject button. That eject button is basically your fears consuming your mind and allowing you to eject from a conversation that could have gone many directions.

The reason why you eject is because you like to stay in your comfort zone. Your negative thoughts have conditioned you, and they have protected you from connecting with people on a deeper level.

So how do you uncondition yourself from the damage this conditioning has done? For one, you need to master the art of listening . . . not to the idle negative chit chat in your brain, but to the words that the person who is talking to you is saying.

Take an improv class. That is something I tell a lot of my students to do. Improv is staying present in the moment.

If you take an improv class where a person says “white” and you say “palm trees and the rent is so low and the feeling is laid back,” it basically means that you are in your mind listening to Neil Diamond instead of to Neil Leftkowitz in your class.

So by taking an improv class, you learn that when someone says “white” you say “black.” Someone says “Labrador” and you say “seeing eye dog.” Improv will teach you how to be present in the moment.

Another way to learn how to listen and to learn the power of now is to tape record a conversation that you have with a stranger. Walk around with a digital recorder, and the minute you talk to a stranger press play. You can leave the recorder in your pocket or, if you really want to feel like James Bond, you can go to the spy shop and wire yourself for sound.

Go out on a Saturday and record ten conversations, then go home that night and listen to yourself. Where did you eject from the conversation? What caused you to eject from the conversation? How did you feel during the conversation?

Start to recognize where your fears overtake you. If you go out and practice this (which is something I have my clients do) and you evaluate this, you will start to understand how to communicate and relate better with people.

It’s going to be really hard for you to listen to yourself. I know when I hear myself talk into a microphone, I swear I sound like Peter Brady when his voice was changing.

Do you remember that episode of “The Brady Bunch” when the Brady kids entered a singing contest and they called themselves The Silver Platters? There was also that one where they were going to record Greg’s song and they were afraid that Peter’s changing voice would ruin the song, so Greg wrote that song called “When It’s Time To Change:”

“When it’s time to change
You’ve got to rearrange
Who you are and what you’re going to be
Sha Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na . . .”

You know what? It’s time you started listening to the way you communicate instead of listening to the negative voice in your head. Until you do that, you will never connect with people on a higher level.

So as Greg Brady said to Marcia (before he slept with her in his trailer), it’s time to change . . . and you better rearrange those negative thoughts in your head.

Another day we’ll talk about Carol Brady and the power of Wessonality.

Finally today we get to see the final chapter of words of seduction.

Originally published on David Wygant

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The Fine Art of Resurfacing

I was raised to talk first, think second. I was raised to speak from a place of authority, whether or not I know what I’m talking about.

My father was a minister. He was the voice of his community, a booming presence, a font of knowledge. He was my primary model for manhood, and he stood before his congregation and made sweeping pronouncements. This carried over into our household: He claimed expertise on a variety of subjects. My natural intelligence threatened him. More than once, he encouraged me to stay silent so that he could claim the higher ground.

◊♦◊

When I was in high school, my teachers suggested I join the debate team. This was the ultimate grooming for the know-it-all. In debate club, the entire point is the strength of the argument; you don’t need to believe what you’re saying. You might even have to defend the exact opposite of what you believe.

I didn’t join the debate club. Part of it was my introversion and fear of public speaking, but part of it was my refusal to yield from my steadfast realities. I knew what I knew, I believed what I believed, and I would not compromise that for the sake of argument.

As a high school senior, I took a college-level English class. The first major assignment the class had was to write timed argumentative essays. I excelled at that. I was the first one in the class to be finished with the assignment. I had learned the art and the science of writing quickly, eloquently, and with authority. My words dripped truthiness because I held the conviction of my thoughts, even if I had no idea what I was talking about.

◊♦◊

I had learned the art of nonsense. And by “nonsense,” I mean another word that I’m not using because I’m trying not to cuss. I’m trying to be a role model. My students might read this.

paul-hartzer-blue-boxI’m good at pontificating. My Good Men Project articles contain plenty of examples of my truthiness-filled spiels. These are a continuation of years of social media posts, blog entries, and unpublished essays. I can build objective reality like a champ.

I came to see this as what men do. A few months ago, I would have said that this is what men are taught to do as a culture, but I don’t know what other men are taught. It seems to be a common stance among men. In my experience. Which is all I can really speak from.

A few months ago, indeed, my entry for The Good Men Project was a commentary about racism and the movie “Bird Box.” I admitted from the outset that I had neither seen the movie nor read the book (I’ve since done both), and made a winky meta-reference to how that made me perfect for the task.

Then I took a planned break. I wanted to reassess where I was going with my writing. I felt like my articles were strong and consistent, but that most of them were written from the emotional distance of the know-it-all that I had honed over my lifetime.

◊♦◊

The essays I enjoyed myself the most, meanwhile, were about me. They were personal, revealing my vulnerabilities. I wasn’t speaking for all men, I wasn’t handing knowledge down from on high. I was speaking for myself.

Even so, I felt, I feel, like each time I was ready to really pull myself apart and completely bear my soul, I would retreat. It became a regular enough pattern that I was ready to acknowledge it.

I have long struggled with seeing myself as a normal man. I have been raised to believe there was a way that men should be, and that I wasn’t being that way. I came to believe that, if I spoke about this publicly, I would be cast out of some sort of Men’s Club that I was already on the edge of.

I don’t know if any of that is true. If I weren’t right now actively fighting the urge to do it, I’d insist that this struggle is at the heart of the anguish of the American man. But I really don’t know.

What I do know is that there seem to be enough male voices talking in broad-sweeping cultural tones, and too few men speaking for themselves, and only for themselves.

◊♦◊

I’m not going to abandon my pontification entirely. I’m working to make it clearer when it’s something that’s just a personal opinion, and when it’s something I do truly know more about. And I don’t want to let my Imposter Syndrome drown out my own voice. There really are some things I know a lot about.

At the same time, I want to express more introspection. If my personal reflections on how I was raised to hold the world at an emotional distance can help others, that’s more meaningful to me than a hundred pontifications.

Ultimately, there is safety in the objectivity: If I am merely the product of the same toxic masculine programming as every other man of my generation, I don’t need to expose anything of myself.

I am tired of running back to safety. I am who I am, which is an interesting individual. I am working to make this my starting point going forward.

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How to Lose Weight With Hashimoto’s Disease

Please Note: This article is presented for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness. If you have any health concern, see a licensed healthcare professional in person.

Weight loss is hard enough—especially if you feel like your body is working against you.

Those with Hashimoto’s face an especially tough obstacle.

The disease is characterized by an underactive thyroid (hypothyroid), which can wreak havoc on your metabolism and lead to weight gain, fatigue and other nagging health problems.

But there are specific steps you can take to overcome this struggle.

Below, we discuss why it’s so hard to lose weight with Hashimoto’s and how exactly you can change your diet to help you start shedding those extra pounds.

What is Hashimoto’s Disease (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis)?

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system slowly attacks and destroys the thyroid gland.

It’s the most common form of hypothyroidism in the Western world, and is about eight times more common in women than men (1).

Symptoms can often be absent or mild at first, but can become more apparent as hypothyroidism progresses. The most common symptoms of Hashimoto’s include:

  • Weight gain
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Feeling cold
  • Constipation
  • Brain fog
  • Poor memory
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Depression

Why is It So Hard to Lose Weight with Hashimoto’s?

Since the thyroid directly impacts your metabolism, losing weight can be a real struggle with Hashimoto’s.

An underactive thyroid significantly slows down your metabolism, meaning you’ll be burning fewer calories than you typically would. It can also impact your energy levels, leaving you less motivated to exercise or eat well.

Stress may also exacerbate your symptoms and promote weight gain since it also slows down your thyroid function and, inevitably, your metabolism (2).

All of these factors can make weight loss feel practically impossible—but it doesn’t have to be.

Below are 7 ways to help get you on track to boost your metabolism and drop any extra pounds.

Summary: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. Common symptoms include weight gain, fatigue, constipation and joint and muscle pain. Losing weight with Hashimoto’s can be especially difficult given the thyroid’s direct role on metabolism.

1. Check Your Medications

Unfortunately, you can’t cure Hashimoto’s with diet alone, so the type and dosage of thyroid medication you take is especially important.

Your medication should be working to balance your TSH(thyroid-stimulating hormone) and T3 and T4 levels.

The most common medication prescribed for Hashimoto’s is levothyroxine(Synthroid, Levoxyl, Unithroid, Tirosint), which is a synthetic form of T4. Levothyroxine has been shown to be most effective on average, but Armour(made of dried and powdered thyroid glands) may be better tolerated for some.

Others may be unable to convert T4 to T3, so doctors may prescribe a combination of the two. There also may be something to taking levothyroxine along with liothyronine (a form of T3), which one study found led to weight loss in some people (3).

Visit your doctor to discuss the appropriate medication and optimal dose for you.

Make sure that you are taking your thyroid meds at the same time each day on a fasting stomach, and avoid eating any food within one to two hours of taking your meds to make sure they absorb properly.

Summary: Check with your doctor to make sure the type and dosage of your thyroid medication is optimal for you. Take your meds at the same time each day and avoid eating anything for one to two hours after taking them.

2. Reduce Added Sugars and Refined Starches

You don’t need to go to the extreme of going low-carb to lose weight, but you do need to reduce your intake of refined carbs, especially added sugars and sweeteners.

The average American eats over 77 pounds of sugar each year (not including sugar substitutes). This works out to almost 23 teaspoons, or 360 calories, per day in sugar. While this number is actually down from past years, it’s still far too much.

These types of carbs are “empty calories” because they offer no beneficial nutrients. You can find added sugars in most packaged foods, including:

  • Flavored waters, sports drinks and fruit juices
  • Sodas
  • Cereals
  • Granola bars
  • Flavored yogurt
  • Breads
  • Sauces
  • Nut butters
  • Salad dressings

 

Also beware of “gluten-free” or “low-fat” products that add unnecessary sugars.

It’s best to avoid no-calorie artificial sweeteners (like sucralose, aka Splenda) as well. In fact, these types of sugar substitutes were even shown to trigger the development of Hashimoto’s in one 52-year-old female (4).

You don’t need to give up sugar altogether but you should start to limit your intake. Start small. Replace dessert with a piece of fruit, pick natural yogurt over the flavored variety, and opt for a handful of nuts instead of a granola or protein bar.

Summary: While following a low-carb diet is not necessary, cutting out added sugars and refined starches is if you’re looking to lose weight. Start by reducing your intake of packaged foods, flavored waters, fruit juices, sodas, cereals and other sugar-sweetened products.

3. Load Up on Protein and Vegetables

Basing each of your meals around protein and vegetables is one of the keys to losing weight with Hashimoto’s.

Protein is an important component to a well-balanced diet. Several studies have found that meals high in protein are more satiating than those high in carbohydrate or fat (5).

This means you’re less likely to overeat when dedicating a portion of your plate to high-protein foods, like:

  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Legumes
  • Dairy

 

Research has shown that higher protein diets can promote weight loss. In fact, one study found that eating roughly 25-30% of your total daily calories in protein can boost metabolism by up to 80-100 calories per day (67).

With each meal, your portion of protein should be about the size of your fist.

Alongside satiating protein, vegetables should fill up at least half your plate (or about the size of your whole hand).

Some of the most nutrient-dense varieties include green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, and cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.

These types of veggies contain essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

Vegetables are also some of the best sources of fiber, which is especially important for those looking to lose weight. Dietary fiber not only feeds the healthy bacteria in the gut, but can also promote appetite suppression and weight loss and decrease the risk of metabolic syndrome (89).

Summary: Focus your meals around protein and vegetables to help you stay satiated and provide you with the most amount of essential nutrients, including fiber.

4. Get More Selenium, Zinc and Iodine from Food

Selenium, zinc and iodine are essential minerals that work directly with the thyroid.

These are critically important nutrients for anyone with Hashimoto’s, and you want to make sure your diet contains enough of each.

Selenium

The highest selenium content in your body can be found in the thyroid.

Selenium helps recycle iodine and is essential to thyroid function. It’s also a potent antioxidant (10).

Therefore, you want to make sure you’re consuming enough selenium-rich foods in your diet, including:

  • Brazil nuts
  • Tuna
  • Sardines
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Legumes

 

Supplementation is not necessary, unless advised by your doctor. In fact, just one Brazil nut contains roughly 68-91 mcg of selenium, enough to surpass the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of 55 mcg for adults (11).

Zinc

Zinc is essential to the production of thyroid hormones, and thyroid hormones are essential for the absorption of zinc.

This is why zinc deficiency is often linked to hypothyroidism (12).

Zinc deficiency in the developed world mostly comes down to diet or difficulties with absorbing the micronutrient. For example, if you have Crohn’s disease or follow a strict vegetarian diet, you may be at risk of a deficiency (13).

Either way, a diet rich in zinc is recommended for everyone. The RDA for zinc is 8 mg per day for women and 11 mg per day for men. You could easily reach that with just two raw oysters.

These are some of the top sources of zinc:

  • Shellfish
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Legumes
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Yogurt

Iodine

Iodine is also essential to making thyroid hormones, but deficiencies in the U.S. are pretty rare.

That said, people who follow vegetarian or vegan diets are more susceptible to an iodine deficiency.

The best way to make sure you’re getting enough iodine is to first focus on foods that are rich in selenium and zinc—most also contain iodine, especially seafood, seaweed, eggs and yogurt.

The RDA of iodine is 150 mcg for adults. Iodine supplementation is also not recommended, unless advised by your doctor.

Other Possible Nutrient Deficiencies

Other common nutrient deficiencies in Hashimoto’s include:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D
  • Ferritin (iron)

(141516)

These nutrients can also be obtained from eating many of the foods mentioned above, including meat, seafood, eggs and dairy.

Summary: A healthy thyroid depends on a diet naturally rich in selenium and zinc. This includes foods like seafood, beef, chicken, eggs and legumes.

5. Consider Removing Gluten from Your Diet

Gluten sensitivity and celiac disease may play a role in the development of autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s.

Some people have reported significant weight loss simply by switching to a gluten-free diet.

The theory is that, in the presence of gluten, your immune system will mistaken your thyroid tissue for gluten and start to attack the thyroid (hence the term “autoimmune”). Roughly 16% of those with celiac disease have antibodies that go after the thyroid (17).

Several studies support a gluten-free diet in reducing those antibodies (1819).

However, other studies have found that withdrawing from gluten had no effect on those with Hashimoto’s (2021)

If you’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, you should first get tested for celiac disease. Even if the results come back negative, you may still want to consider taking gluten out of your diet for a few weeks to see if you feel any better without it.

If you don’t, then gluten is likely not a problem for you.

Summary: Some people have reported significant weight loss simply by switching to a gluten-free diet. If you’ve been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, you should first get tested for celiac disease.

6. Try Removing Dairy from Your Diet

If you’ve found no improvements after removing gluten from your diet, try eliminating dairy.

One study found that over 75% of patients with Hashimoto’s were lactose intolerant (22).

Another discovered that lactose intolerance significantly increased the need for T4 medication in those with Hashimoto’s (23).

Like gluten, dairy has the potential to increase inflammation and trigger an autoimmune reaction in some people, which could worsen your symptoms.

The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is an elimination diet that involves cutting out potential bothersome food groups, including dairy, grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, nightshade vegetables and more.

The goal of AIP is to eliminate any type of food that may be causing inflammation in the gut and exacerbating autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s.

It’s recommended to cut out these foods for at least 30 days to see if it helps your symptoms.

Summary: Hashimoto’s can often be linked to lactose intolerance. Removing dairy from your diet could help lower inflammation and improve your symptoms.

7. Commit to Regular Physical Activity

Along with focusing on the dietary changes above, committing to regular exercise is essential for jump-starting your weight loss.

Being active helps you burn more calories. It can also boost your mood, energy and metabolism—and it doesn’t even require high-intensity workouts.

In fact, research has found that longer bouts of low-intensity exercise, like walking, can be just as effective for weight loss (24).

Start by aiming to walk 10,000 steps at least every other day.

Also try adding in a few sessions of weightlifting or body weight exercises per week to build lean muscle, which will not only help you build your strength and mobility, but also increase your metabolism (25).

Summary: Regular physical activity is essential for kick-starting weight loss. It helps you burn calories and boosts your mood, energy and metabolism. Try to commit to a longer duration of low-intensity exercise most days of the week, and also include weightlifting or body weight exercises a few days per week.

Additional Tips to Losing Weight with Hashimoto’s

Here are a few more tips to help you lose weight with Hashimoto’s:

  • Get a good night’s sleep: Poor quality sleep is just as bad as a poor diet when it comes to keeping your weight under control. People who get little sleep tend to weigh significantly more than those who get at least 7-8 hours per night (26).
  • Stay hydrated: Water can do far more than quench your thirst. It can also help you eat fewer calories, especially if you drink up to 16 oz (475 mls) before meals (27).
  • Practice portion control: There are many tricks to cutting back on your portion sizes, like simply using smaller plates and cutlery. The bigger your plate, the more you’ll likely consume (28).

 

Following each of these steps above can help you successfully lose weight with Hashimoto’s—even if it seems impossible. Just remember to stay patient as your body starts to gradually respond to these dietary and lifestyle changes.

Previously published on dietvsdisease.org

What’s your take on what you just read? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.

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Sports – Detox – Episode – 101

In this week’s episode, Mike and Wai talk about their favorite March Madness memories and also hash out whether today’s college athletes should be paid. They also talk about the off-season football drama of Coach Kliff Kingsbury giving his players social media phone time during practice, the soap opera that is the Denver Broncos ownership succession battle between two women, and the NFL-first hiring of two woman football coaches by one team. We also touch on Ichiro’s retirement and another Opening Day of the MLB season.

“Sports Detox” is an at times serious and at times humorous weekly podcast that looks at the latest stories from the world of sports—both positive and negative—that are tied into cultural and societal issues. Hosts Wai Sallas and Mike Kasdan are equal parts rabid sports fan and serious social commentator. The Detox is a back-and-forth pop-culture-infused peeling of the onion of sports that gets at its many layers and reverberations.

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7 Strategies That Will Help You Build Self Discipline Once and for All

Entrepreneur, it’s French in origin and sounds evocative. And like the term ‘startup’ it once sounded attractive, even exciting. You’re trying to push this new business forward. But there’s a maddening frustration that you can’t get things done. It seems your “to do list” just keeps growing.

You’re supposed to be your own boss now, but mastering yourself is a lot harder than you thought. This unfulfilled feeling won’t go away. You’ve got to try something different. The good news is you can learn how to build self discipline right now with 7 strategies. Self-Discipline is defined as, “the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses”. It’s your weapon to get things done when inspiration falters. Let’s jump into those 7 strategies.

1. Slay Temptations with Jedi Willpower

Now is your chance to join “the resistance”. Except it’s not Star Wars. The battle is against instant gratification. It’s a war for your attention. To resist impulses. To resist the urge for social media, snacking, checking email, caffeine, online shopping, YouTube and on and on. Recognise and weed out these enemies. Because long term goals are linked to delayed reward.

Vow to stop consuming and start creating. Self-discipline is the vehicle between your worthy goal and your prize. Block out your morning to get that hard work done. Let everyone know you can’t be disturbed. See your whims and desires for what they are. Switch your smartphone off and put it out of sight. Resist those urges to surf the web. You have to be ruthless! Persevere and you will start feeling powerful again.

2. Banish Excuses One Step at a Time

Self-discipline is about growing new habits. Like building muscle, it takes effort. Instead of taking big leaps, focus on small changes. If you’re a night owl, it’s pointless trying to wake up two hours earlier from day one. Set the alarm a half hour earlier. By also changing your evening routine you’ll gradually start improving. Change takes time. Regular progress in one area is better than trying to change everything in one day. Intentional small steps lead to that better habit and excuses start to disappear.

“99% of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” – George Washington Carver

3. Breakdown Smart Goals with Planning

Goals are wonderful dreamlike ambitions, but without a plan, they’ll remain in fairyland. Long term goals need to be brought into better focus. In ”the 12 Week Year” Brian Moran refers to this danger as ”we mistakenly believe that there is a lot of time left in the year, and we lack a sense of urgency”.

Say you want to reignite your reading habits of old. You’re aiming for 12 books this year. To read a 250-page book in 31 days is 8 pages daily. That’s only 30 minutes to an hour of reading. It seems a whole lot more achievable when broken down. Keep on track with SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Planning is a map that helps you stay more disciplined. As James Clear put it, ”You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

4. Organize an Environment to Win

Everyone struggles with keeping on top of things. I’ve seen university professors with offices that could be mistaken for a paper shredding room. So don’t sweat it. Make no mistake, being organized is a part of self-discipline. It has a calming effect by keeping you on track to win.

Being tidy and organised will help you with a mindset for getting things done. Give everything a home. Declutter and get rid of useless junk. At the end of the day, clear your desk and reset for tomorrow. Your workspace, your house, your car; it’s all a reflection of you.

5. Adopt a Positive Attitude for Success

When you’re always chasing something, it’s easy to forget what you have. Feeling gratitude for the untold opportunities at your fingertips helps you stay grounded. Negativity can drag you down and stifle everything else. Don’t waste a millisecond on things you can’t influence or change.

You can choose how you react to temporary failure or life’s dramas. That’s the difference between those disciplined to get up and push on and everyone else. They have more control over their thoughts and attitudes. They have a purpose and a powerful reason. And more often than not, they rise on the side of positivity.

6. Persistence to Victory

Committing your goals to paper and working on them demonstrates faith. So whether its micro changes or bigger leaps, keep momentum on your side with your daily effort. In fact, Earl Nightingale defined success as, ”the progressive realization of a worthy goal”. Sharing your tasks with a partner or accountability group will help you stay persistent. Sacrifice clears the road for persistence. Persistence is having the will to persevere in spite of setbacks, emotions or temporary failures.

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” – Jim Rohn

7. Profit from Balance in Life

Maybe your further down this path. Business is on the up and you already have a lot of these qualities. But there’s a hidden danger lurking. Overly focusing on work and the expense of all.

You’ve let exercise slip or maybe you’re eating too much fast food. Even family time and duties are suffering. Imbalance in life can destroy achievements. It takes self-control to balance everything. It’s one of the hardest things to achieve because of all the demands.

Don’t let imbalance wreck what matters the most. Recharge, get out of the artificial world and into nature to revitalise your wellbeing and make a strict routine for sleep, exercise and family time. Having the discipline to balance life will enrich your work.

Remember that feeling when you let temptations dictate? That unfulfilled sinking feeling? It zaps your energy and spirits to move forward. The scary thing is, when left unchecked you stop believing and lose momentum.

Banish those excuses by focusing self-discipline on one area at a time. From the list above start implement one strategy today. You could see your output soar. Best of all, you’re feeling better and conquering the day.

source https://addicted2success.com/life/7-strategies-that-will-help-you-build-self-discipline-once-and-for-all/

I Experienced Physical Aggression—My Daughter Experiences Relational Aggression

It was a Wednesday. The afternoon was moving along as it typically does. My daughters and I sat down to eat a snack. I asked both of them, “Who did you each lunch with today, sweetie?” My older daughter looked at me and began to cry. Tears and a hug later were followed up by a question I had asked myself growing up. But the context was different and I had no one to answer. I asked the question because I was pushed and tripped. Hers was because she was told nobody likes her.

“Why am I bullied?”

For a few months others children, some of whom she had been friends with since preschool, had been telling her mean things. Her circle of friends had become unstable. One day she would tell me excitedly about the imaginary play they would have on the playground and all the different characters each child was.

Far more often were stories about children saying or doing something mean to my daughter.

About two months ago she began asking to go to a new school. She was saying she had no friends and that everyone was mean. We heard vivid details about what children were saying and doing to dip into her bucket. Bucket dipping and filling is a conversation we have been having since she was in preschool, so she was well versed in the wide range of bucket dipping behaviors. The same child was usually the leader and the other children would follow.

The followers were not as consistent, but there were usual suspects. I knew my daughter was not always innocent, given the fluidity of the social circle, but I’m confident that like most of the other children she was doing anything she could do to feel like she belonged. I am certain that she was not the only child feeling like they didn’t have friends in her class.

◊♦◊

Back to Wednesday

Her tears were pouring down her cheeks. I hugged her and said nothing. After 20 seconds or so, with her eyes looking up but mouth buried in my chest, she said, “Everyone was bullying me today. [One child] told me that no one likes me at school and [other kids] laughed.”

“I don’t want to go back to school,” she said. “Why do I always get bullied?”

With that question, I flashed back to my days on the school bus and children tripping me, pushing me, and touching me in hurtful ways. I feared the bus rides home. I often asked, “why me?” The physical aggression I experienced was having a similar psychological effect on my daughter, except hers was what researchers have termed relational aggression.

As her tears began to subside I responded to her question by saying, “Some children need to fill their buckets and they have learned to try and fill buckets by saying mean and hurtful things. Do you think you can stay away from bucket dippers and surround yourself with bucket fillers like teachers and other children?”

“Dad, I can’t. I get put in groups with them and as soon as I feel like we are friends again they follow [another child] who is a bully that I’m trying to stay away from. I want to go to a different school.”

“Ok, can I do some research and talk with [your principal] and some friends about bullying first?”

She nodded in agreement.

That night, and for weeks after, I read online articles and talked with family and acquaintances.

The most consistent, constructive recommendations I identified were as follows:

1. Talk with school administrators promptly about everything that has been reported including her request to change schools.

2. Request a meeting with the school social worker and any related support staff to occur within the next few days.

3. Begin to diversify her social circles. Have activities that are isolated to specific circles. For example, her neighborhood friends, gymnastics friends, and school friends. There can be overlap, but they serve different purposes.

4. Focus on her skills and talents, committing more to something she really enjoys. This will give her a sense of purpose and confidence.

5. Read social stories and talk about solutions to bullying. Trudy Ludwig has some good books that begin a general conversation.

6. Role play and practice responses to children who are doing the bullying.

7. Let her be a part of some of the conversation you have with the professionals at the school. This will allow her to build more confidence in the consistency and build more trust across environments.

8. Don’t inadvertently give too much attention to bullying. Focus on/praise the positives of social relationships. If she gets more attention for reporting bullying she might use that as a tool if she ever feels like she needs more attention for other reasons.

9. Possibly most important, work on this now because it only gets worse. While the manifestations of relational aggression will be different, the skills a 2nd grader needs will be very helpful later in life.

◊♦◊

We started with number 1. The administrators were very responsive. They consulted with the school social worker and talked with the teachers (who had not witnessed any bullying or relational aggression) about signs to be on the lookout for and some initial strategies to address relational aggression in the class. We exchanged a few emails shortly after the meeting to share observations and reports of bullying.

At home, we followed through on numbers 3 through 5, and we’re being mindful of number 8 and 9. It’s been over a month now and I can thankfully report that we have not needed to exchange emails or schedule a team meeting with other school support staff.

That said, bullying includes behaviors we will always be on the lookout for.

I will never know whether the nine strategies would have helped me when I experienced physical, and in retrospect, relational aggression. Based on the short-term impact the strategies have had on my daughter, I think they would have.

At the least, I know that “boys will be boys” and “that’s what girls do” is not an excuse.

Whether it’s preschool or high school, physical AND relational aggression need immediate adult attention.

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month: How Men Can Be a Part of the Solution

It’s been nearly two years since the #MeToo movement changed the way we talk about sexual assault. At bthere, we see this on the ground floor: on college campuses, which make up the center of gravity in this necessary and ongoing conversation. #MeToo has shifted visibility and awareness regarding the sheer prevalence of the problem; for many men, it’s opened their eyes to how deeply friends, family members, and colleagues have been affected.

In recent years, men on college campuses have earned the stereotype, often well-deserved, as participants in a culture which enables harassment. One of the greatest joys of my job is seeing that stereotype defied on a daily basis.

A question we often hear is, “What can I do to help?” Apart from the commitments we make in our own relationships, there are many ways men can be supportive allies. Here’s a few tips to get started:

#1 Embrace the idea of feminism

My grandfather turns 98 this year. In our small hometown in Texas, friends have affectionately nicknamed him John Wayne. He’s a WWII vet, registered member of the NRA, religious Fox News viewer, and straight-ticket Republican who still rides a tractor and could almost certainly kick my a**. He’s also a feminist.

Many men still attach preconceived notions to feminism, and because of that, create unnecessary battles over semantics and political jockeying. The essence of feminism is the belief that women deserve the same rights, considerations, and peace of mind as men. Embracing a label like this — and understanding the power of it — is a simple step that can go a long way in proving yourself an ally. Do you support gender equality? Then yes, you’re a feminist.

#2 Engage in conversation

From personal experience, the majority of men who aren’t yet engaged in this shift are those who haven’t put effort into understanding how our culture affects the women in their lives. If we recognize that most of us will have very few, if any, personal experiences that will better inform us, we can start having conversations with loved ones that build empathy.

Recently, one of my sisters told a friend how she stopped at a gas station on her drive home because another driver had yelled obscenities at her, then followed her. Her friend was horrified. When he asked if things like that had happened before, she said, “Yes. Of course.” The reality is that many women have become conditioned to norms that most of us have never even had to consider.

We won’t be able to build true empathy unless we engage in conversations in which we listen well and ask thoughtful questions. As a first step, try asking a woman in your life if she would be comfortable describing the last time she felt unsafe or overlooked because of her gender. Her answer might surprise you.

#3 Believe survivors

Every time a man or woman comes forward, it’s an opportunity for us to listen and support them. Whether it’s a personal acquaintance or an allegation on TV, consider the cost of that honesty and respond to their courage with trust.

According to FBI studies, only 2% of reported sexual assault accusations turn out to be false — the exact same rate of false reporting as other types of violent crime. And if you’ve ever stood alongside a loved one during the reporting process, it’s clear why this number is so low — it’s a terrible and often retraumatizing experience, something that requires courage in ways many of us can’t comprehend.

If someone trusts you enough to share their experience with you, there’s no need to offer perfect words. Try to convey 1) how deeply wrong the incident was and 2) your unwavering commitment to supporting them. Remember, simply talking to you is an immense act of faith that you are safe. Prove them right.

#4 Step in

Bystander intervention, simply put, is friends stepping in for friends. That goes beyond the stereotype of superheroes swooping in; it’s often as easy as simply saying something. Consider these numbers: 19.6% of college students have witnessed an act of sexual violence or harassment — and of that group, 54.5% did nothing and 24.5% felt unsure of what to do.  Similar numbers are seen regarding situations when a person is seemingly unable to offer proper consent.

The good news is that stepping in can be quick, easy, and effective. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) breaks it down into a few simple steps:

  • Disrupt the situation
  • Don’t act alone
  • Confront the harasser
  • Set the expectation that intervention is normal

 

The NSVRC offers more in-depth tools and tips for stepping in — but it all starts with choosing to do so.

Just Get Started

The past two years have shown us that talking about harassment and believing victims can go a long way in building understanding. When men become good allies, everyone benefits.  Let’s keep looking inward and making the commitment to be a part of the solution. Asking “how?” is a great first step.

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Quick Thoughts on Academic “Achievement”

I have four girls, age 9–16, and the education of my oldest, now in her first year of college, was a real eye-opener. She has intellectual gifts and was conditioned by her school system to base her value on how many meaningless “achievement” hoops she could jump through, the end goal being the elusive Ivy League admission.

Ok. Admitted.

“Now what?”

She is coming to terms with the fact that the payoff she has been promised for all of these years isn’t forthcoming after all…because it’s not real.

Harvard? Check. Yale? Check. Happiness? Not even close. Meaning? Elusive. Satisfaction? Impossible.

Shocked the hell out of me. I came from working-class stock and we didn’t know about things like competitive preschools and CogAT testing. (Un?)luckily, her district jumped in and pushed her, using her to elevate its own status. “We produced a National Merit Scholar!” Sure. One with crippling anxiety and paralyzing resentment at being bred as a show pony.

She was taught to play a game where even if she “wins”, she loses. Her real gifts — her love for learning and curiosity — were sacrificed to the gods of “merit”, “performance”, and superficial accolades.

She nearly drowned in her perfectionist soup when she fell asleep at the dinner table after countless nights of doing busywork until 3 am.

We are working like hell on resuscitation.

Parents — Teach your kiddos empathy and kindness. Challenge them. Nurture their creativity and curiosity. Let them fail. Let them discover. Let them get dirty and ride their bike around the block without you hovering. Those pursuits will deliver.

Kids get tied up in knots when their “performance” (i.e. how well they can fill out forms and regurgitate rote memorizations) is conflated with their self-worth.

Especially when the cookie they were promised, if they managed to “succeed”, doesn’t actually exist.

My 13-year-old eighth grader was recently given an application by her to the local magnet high school for “high-achieving” students. The literature sent home bragged of its “selectiveness” and a summer reading list four pages long.

Fuck….that.

This kid will learn things besides how to tow a line and chase someone else’s idea of success.

And her “achievements” will not be any less valuable than her sister’s.

Previously published on Medium

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Hellboy Fights More Monsters in ‘Sword of Storms’ and ‘Blood and Iron’

blood and iron, sword of storms, hellboy, animated, action, adventure, 4k ultra hd, review, lionsgate

More things go bump in the night in these Hellboy animated films

The first Hellboy movie was really good. It had a great cast, a strong villain, good special effects and told a gripping story. People have told me good things about the Hellboy animated films, but I hadn’t had a chance to watch them. That changed when I heard ‘Blood and Iron’ and ‘Sword of Storms’ was coming to 4K Ultra HD. I was able to get a review copy and here is what I thought of it.

blood and iron, sword of storms, hellboy, animated, action, adventure, 4k ultra hd, review, lionsgate

(c) Lionsgate

You can read the plot for ‘Blood and Iron’ here:

When Hellboy, Liz Sherman, and Abe Sapien are assigned to investigate the ghost-infested mansion of a publicity-hound billionaire, they uncover a plot to resurrect a beautiful yet monstrous vampire from Professor Bruttenholm’s past. But before they can stop her bloodbath, Hellboy will have to battle harpies, hellhounds, a giant werewolf, and even the ferocious goddess Hecate herself. How much crap does a guy have to take from a Hungarian Blood Countess before he and his surrogate father can avenge the souls of the damned? It’s going to take more than just a horde of very pissed-off demons for our heroes to see the light in this animated adventure from creative producers Guillermo Del Toro and Mike Mignola.

You can read the plot for ‘Sword of Storms’ here:

A folklore professor becomes unwittingly possessed by the ancient Japanese demons of Thunder and Lightning. But when The Bureau of Paranormal Research & Defense dispatches a team of agents to investigate, a cursed samurai sword sends Hellboy to a supernatural dimension of ghosts, monsters, and feudal mayhem. Now, while pyrokinetic Liz Sherman and fishboy Abe Sapien battle one very pissed-off dragon, a lost and cranky Hellboy must find his way home. Even if he can survive the perilous journey, how much crap does a guy have to put up with from the two most vengeful and ferocious spirits of Japanese legend?

sword of storms, blood and iron, hellboy, animated, action, adventure, 4k ultra hd, review, lionsgate

(c) Lionsgate

I really enjoyed watching ‘Blood and Iron’ and Sword of Storms’. Hellboy got take on some powerful monsters, and taking them down was going to be a real challenge. There was plenty of action, some mystery and suspense and tons of surprises. If you liked the live action Hellboy films then you will want to check these movies out.

sword of storms, blood and iron, animated, action, adventure, 4k ultra hd, review, lionsgate

(c) Lionsgate

Hellboy ‘Blood and Iron’ and ‘Sword of Storms’ arrives on 4K Ultra HD combo pack tomorrow. You can pre-order this set at Bestbuy, Walmart and Target.

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