No Doubt!

No Doubt

Many of us are beset by self-doubt. It manifests itself in many ways – few of them good.

Do you struggle with giving yourself a compliment? Think of the last time you told yourself something critical or negative. Then think of the last compliment you gave yourself. Which is easier to remember?

Many of us—whether due to genetics, brain chemistry, our experiences or coping skills—tell ourselves way too many negative thoughts. We ruminate, thinking the same negative, unproductive thoughts over and over.

With intent and practice, you can create another path. Psychologists call the technique cognitive reappraisal. The result will be stronger neural networks devoted to positive thoughts, or a happier brain.

People who do this have better mental health and more life satisfaction, and even better-functioning hearts, research shows. This technique is at the heart of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy practiced by many psychologists. The good news is that you can practice it at home.

Try it…what have you got to lose….

You can read the full article here.

Worried?

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Do you worry? I do; in fact, I’d wager most of us do to one extent or the other. Some of us even worry that we worry. Whew!

Turns out I’m not alone. Two out of five Americans say they worry every day, according to a new report. Among the findings in the “Worry Less Report:” Millennials worry about money. Single people worry about housing (and money). Women generally worry more than men do and often about interpersonal relationships. The good news: Everyone worries less as they get older.

If you’re worried about your worrying, the report suggests some coping strategies, including:

Divide and conquer Try to come up with a solution to a worrisome problem by breaking it down into four parts: defining the problem, clarifying your goals, generating solutions and experimenting with solutions. Grab a pen and paper and brainstorm, the report suggests. Studies have shown this approach can help ease depression and anxiety.

Practice mindfulness Choose a routine activity or part of the day and try to experience it fully. Set aside concerns, and try to be “in the moment.”

Schedule a worry session Pick a designated time of day to mull your problems. If a worrying thought enters your mind outside of your scheduled worry session, jot it down so you can think about it during your scheduled worry time. Then get back to your day.

Practice accepting uncertainty Notice your thoughts and label them (as in, “there is the thought that I can’t manage”). Let go of tension in your body; soften your forehead, drop your shoulders and relax your grip.

Read more of this killer-good article here…and you may find you’re worrying less….:)

In the Zone

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Mindfulness meditation is sweeping the country. But more people want to embrace this practice than actually do. Why? It’s simple – time.

Most of us who enjoy what mindfulness brings us look for ways to squeeze it into our already too-busy lives. Therein lies the challenge.

Matthew May offers some killer-good tips regarding how to mainstream this practice without stopping your life. Here’s part of what he shares:

In a recent seminar I gave for over 100 business professionals, I asked the participants to play a simple word association game with me: “I say mindfulness, you say ________.” The word that rang out in unison was, of course, “meditation.”

Mindfulness, it seems, has become a mainstream business practice and a kind of industry in its own right. Meditation instructors are the new management gurus, and companies including Google, General Electric, Ford Motor and American Express are sending their employees to classes that can run up to $50,000 for a large audience. Many mindfulness apps exist, nearly all of which focus on “mindfulness meditation.”

The proliferation of meditation in the name of mindfulness and the combination of the two terms naturally lead people to equate the two. Mistakenly so.

By most definitions, mindfulness is a higher-order attention that involves noticing changes around us and fully experiencing them in real time. This puts us in the present, aware and responsive, making everything fresh and new again.

You can read the full article here

Practice!

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News flash: We’re all aging! While what’s below is aimed primarily at fellow baby-boomers, if you’re not quite in that cohort, give yourself some time. What to do about it? Here’s what Gerald Marzorati has to say about it in his above-the-fold, killer-good piece in a recent New York Times Sunday Review piece:

Sixty is not the new 40. Fifty isn’t either. Your lung capacity in late-middle age is in steady decline, as are the fast-twitch muscle fibers that provide power and speed. Your heart capacity has been ebbing for decades. Your sight has been getting worse, your other senses, too, and this, along with a gradually receding ability to integrate information you are absorbing and to then issue motor commands, means your balance is not what it used to be. (Your flattening arches aren’t helping.) Your prefrontal cortex — where the concentrating and deciding gets done — has been shrinking for some time, perhaps since you graduated from college. More of your career (more of your life) is behind you than in front of you. Do not kid yourself about this. You are milling in the anteroom of the aged.

You can have something done with those sags and creases deepening on the face that greets you in the mirror each morning, but I’m not sure whom you are fooling. You can do the crossword and mind puzzles, stretch, take long walks: There is evidence that these activities correlate with keeping memory loss and, you know, death at bay, for a while longer: two, four, six years. Maybe.

Let me suggest something that might do all of these things — which is to say, might not — but will, as nothing else will, provide you with a deeply satisfying sense of yourself that you did have when you were much, much younger. Find something — something new, something difficult — to immerse yourself in and improve at.

Read more of this absolutely on-point article here:

On Memorial Day, it’s important we remember those who put their lives on the line…

On Memorial Day, it’s important we remember those who put their lives on the line to underwrite the freedoms we hold so dear.

We will only have the last of our World War II veterans with us for a few more short years. This short video shares what it meant to one of these vets to have the privilege of fighting for his country.

Happy Life?

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Want to know the secrets of a happy life? Who doesn’t? Surveys show that most young adults believe that obtaining wealth and fame are keys to a happy life. Oh to be young and naïve again.

The evidence suggests otherwise a long-running study out of Harvard suggests that one of the most important predictors of whether you age well and live a long and happy life is not the amount of money you amass or notoriety you receive. A much more important barometer of long term health and well-being is the strength of your relationships with family, friends and spouses.

Through the years, the study has produced many notable findings. It showed, for example, that to age well physically, the single most important thing you could do was to avoid smoking. It discovered that aging liberals had longer and more active sex lives than conservatives. It found that alcohol was the primary cause of divorce among men in the study, and that alcohol abuse often preceded depression (rather than the other way around).

As the researchers looked at the factors throughout the years that strongly influenced health and well-being, they found that relationships with friends, and especially spouses, were a major one. The people in the strongest relationships were protected against chronic disease, mental illness and memory decline – even if those relationships had many ups and downs.

You can watch the TED talk or read the full article here:

The New World Maps

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The Washington Post recently ran an interesting interview with the author of a new global/future trends book that is probably worth your attention if you follow long-term geo-political-economic-environmental trends (especially the six maps of US, North America, and the World highlighted from the book).

The author of the new book Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization, argues that the arc of global history is undeniably bending toward integration. Instead of the boundaries that separate sovereign nations, the lines that we should put on our maps are the high-speed railways, broadband cables and shipping routes that connect us, he says. And instead of focusing on nation-states, he suggests we should focus on the dozens of mega-cities that house most of the world’s people and economic growth.

This is interesting food for thought in any case and comports with our earlier postings on the Director of National Intelligence’s Global Trends 2030.
Read the entire article here – and enjoy these thought-provoking maps:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/04/29/six-maps-that-will-make-you-rethink-the-world/?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_6-maps-950a%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

Still in Turmoil

Out of the Ashes

What many feared for the Mideast has finally happened. We predicted this turn of events in our first book of the rebooted Tom Clancy: Op-Center series, the book, shown here, Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes. Not many understand what is at the root of the enmity between nations in the Gulf. We wrote the first book of the series in 2012 and had Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the greater Mideast in our sights.
When Dick Couch and I were offered the opportunity to “re-boot” the Tom Clancy Op-Center series we wanted to pick the spot where we knew there would be churn when the book was published – and for some time afterwards. The Middle East was our consensus choice. As we put it in Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes:

The Muslim East and the Christian West have been at war for over a millennium. They are at war today, and that is not likely to change in the near future. As Samuel Huffington would put it, the cultures will continue to clash. In the past, the war has been invasive, as during the time of the Crusades. The Muslims have also been the invaders as the Moors moved north and west into Europe. Regional empires rose and fell through the Middle Ages, and while the Renaissance brought some improvements into the Western world, plagues and corrupt monarchies did more to the detriment of both East and West than they were able to do to each other.

In time, as a century of war engulfed Europe and as those same nations embarked on aggressive colonialism, the East-West struggle was pushed into the background. But it was not extinguished. The rise of nationalism and weapons technology in the nineteenth century gave rise to the modern-day great powers in the West. Yet the East seemed locked in antiquity and internal struggle. The twentieth century and the thirst for oil were to change all that.

The seeds of modern East-West conflict were sown in the nations created by the West as Western nations took it on themselves to draw national boundaries in the Middle East after the First World War. After the Second World War, Pan-Arab nationalism, the establishment of the state of Israel, the Suez crisis, the Lebanese civil war, and the Iranian revolution all kept tensions high between East and West. Then came 9/11. While it was still a Muslim-Christian, East-West issue, the primacy of oil and oil reserves remained a catalyst that never let tensions get too far below the surface.

The events of September 11, 2001, and the invasions that were to follow, redefined and codified this long-running conflict. It was now a global fight, from Afghanistan to Iraq to Yemen to North Africa and into Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, and beyond. It was global, nasty, and ongoing. Nine-eleven was pivotal and defining. For the first time in a long time, the East struck at the West, and it was a telling blow.

Surveys taken just after 9/11 showed that some 15 percent of the world’s over 1.5 billion Muslims supported the attack. It was about time we struck back against those arrogant infidels, they said. A significant percentage felt no sympathy for the Americans killed in the attack. Nearly all applauded the daring and audacity of the attackers. And many Arab youth wanted to be like those who had so boldly struck at the West.

But as the world’s foremost authority on the region, Bernard Lewis, put it, the outcome of the struggle in the Middle East is still far from clear. For this reason, we chose the Greater Levant as the epicenter of our story of Op-Center’s reemergence. As we suggest – this churn will last a long time. Out of the Ashes is tomorrow’s headlines, today!

Read more about Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Out of the Ashes (available in trade paperback, mass market paperback, digital and audio editions) and other books in the series here: http://georgegaldorisi.com/blog/books-blog

Drop Everything!

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One thing is as certain as death and taxes – each year we seem to get better at multi-tasking – or at least we think we do. We so many distractions it’s a skill we must master – or is it?

Wait! Multitasking, that bulwark of anemic résumés everywhere, has come under fire in recent years. And it should, it’s making us all crazy. Some high points from a recent NYT article.

A 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that interruptions as brief as two to three seconds — which is to say, less than the amount of time it would take you to toggle from this article to your email and back again — were enough to double the number of errors participants made in an assigned task.

As much as people would like to believe otherwise, humans have finite neural resources that are depleted every time we switch between tasks, which, especially for those who work online, one researcher said, can happen upward of 400 times a day, according to a 2016 University of California Irvine study. “That’s why you feel tired at the end of the day,” she said. “You’ve used them all up.”

But you can fight back. Read the full article here

Nest Egg – Now What?

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Whether you’re thinking about saving for a nest egg, working on saving for a nest egg, or have finally accumulated that proverbial nest egg, it’s not too early to ask yourself – now what? Whether you’re a baby-boomer or much younger, now is the time to ask yourself – what will I do with that nest egg if and when I have it?

After a career of working, scrimping and saving, many retirees are well prepared financially to stop earning a living. But how do you find meaning, identity and purpose in the remaining years of your life?

Mitch Anthony, author of “The New Retirementality” (Wiley, 2008), says your self-evaluation should start with the question, “What am I wired for?” which involves taking an “inventory of who you are.”

Mr. Anthony’s principles are geared around one’s aptitudes and having active pursuits that involve the mind, body and spirit.

Translating that into concrete actions can be challenging. Retired professionals may be able to continue to do what they were doing, but now as part-timers or consultants. Others may be able to apply their analytic, management or organizational skills in low-stress, time-flexible settings. Still others may want to strike out in entirely new directions.

“It’s never an easy answer,” Mr. Anthony says of self-discernment in retirement. “You need to take stock of things that resound with you — that stir you up.”

Read more here