Mindfulness – This word and practice has the power to change your life completely. Meditation gurus will tout the benefits of mindfulness, and teach the importance of being in the present moment. You do not have to spend hours in a meditation center to learn mindfulness. You can practice it in your everyday life, because it is simply the art and act of paying attention.
Sounds easy, right? In theory yes, but what do you do when the kids are crying for dinner, your boss needs that work project yesterday, and now your mom is calling you? How mindful can you be when life gets busy? Add in an extra 75 emails you have yet to respond to, because your internet has been down for the last three days.
Have you ever heard of people writing their own personal obituaries even while they are still alive? Sounds morbid I know, but it has a point.
It’s easy to think your life has no meaning, or you haven’t done anything noteworthy, but is this really true? Writing your own obituary gives you a chance to reflect on your life and remember the highlights. How do you want to be remembered?
Maybe obituary is not the right word. Let’s call it a Celebration of Life writing exercise. Now is the time to write your own personal triumph story. Highlight the good stuff! Here are a few guidelines to get you started:
In 1977, Rick Hoyt, who was born with cerebral palsy and is quadriplegic told his dad he wanted to participate in a 5 mile charity run to honor a schoolmate who had been paralyzed in an accident. Rick really wanted to do something for him, and what he wanted to do was run. Obviously, he couldn’t run, but his dad could – and he could do it pushing Rick along the way. Rick wanted his schoolmate to know, life goes on, even if you’re paralyzed. Rick and his dad have gone on to participate in 1,108 endurance events, as of April 2014.
Rick’s schoolmate inspired Rick to action, and Rick inspired his dad to action. At age 36, Rick’s dad, Dick took up running and hasn’t looked back. This is the small, yet enormous effect we can all have on each other. One story – One person – Can change your whole life.
Kayla Montgomery is one of the fastest young distance runners in the country. She also has Multiple Sclerosis. Because of this disease, she can’t feel the pain in her legs while she runs long distances. She’s unable to control the finish when she breaks the motion. Her legs become numb, and as she crosses the finish line, she needs someone to catch her fall. That someone is her coach.
Coach Patrick Cromwell waits for her at the finish to literally catch her in his arms. Then, they begin an ice treatment, so she can regain sensation in her legs.
While the internal benefits, and yes aesthetic benefits of losing weight can be worth their weight in gold, establishing a reward system can also be beneficial to reinforce positive behavior change. Studies show rewards that are personal in nature help you to stay motivated and create long-term habits. Other studies have shown a link between financial incentives and weight loss. Whatever it is that inspires you, utilizing incentives can make the path to weight loss a little more rewarding.
In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in April of 2013, Kullgren and his colleagues utilized a group-based and individual financial incentive system for weight loss. In a group of 105 obese participants, each participant’s weight loss goal was 4 pounds every 4 weeks for a total of 24 weeks. The difference between groups came in the distribution of financial resources. Incentives included $100 for each participant who met or exceeded his/her weight loss goals. However, while those in the individual group would receive the $100 for meeting or exceeding goals, those in the group structure would receive $500 if any of the 5 members met or exceeded weight loss goals – to be divided equally among all members who met or exceeded his/her goals.
“Birds of a feather flock together.” Ever noticed how life is easier when you’re around people who share common interests or are working toward similar goals? There is a reason for this. Utilizing social support is one of the best ways to deal with and cope with stress. That is if you have access to the right people. Sometimes we all just need a little help from our friends.
The good news is research even backs this up as it relates to weight loss. In a study exploring the benefits of utilizing friends and social support during the weight loss process, Wing and Jeffrey (1999) recruited participants either alone or with three friends or family members and assigned them to a standard behavioral treatment with social support strategies.
Participants who were recruited with friends had greater weight losses at the end of the four month treatment and ten month follow-up.