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Dangers of Positive Thinking

womans reflection in mirrorI have written a lot about the power of our thoughts and positive thinking, so it came as a surprise to me to come across this article. New research suggests that the common prescriptive of positive self-talk may not be positive for all people, after all; in fact, it might even be dangerous to some. The people most in need of encouragement and self-coaching are those with low self-esteem; however, such positive affirmations may be outside the realm of what they find to be believable. Thus, these ideas can be immediately dismissed or the individual may immediately internally contradict such statements. If you found Stuart Smalley to be ridiculous, you will have a hard time believing yourself saying such things.
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The Power of Sweet and Sour Thoughts

lemonsImagine that you are in the produce department of your local grocery store. In the citrus section, I want you to pick up and examine several lemons until you find the freshest, juiciest one to take home with you. At home, find a clean knife and cutting board and cut a large wedge into your lemon, while the juice runs down your fingers. Now imagine yourself biting into the juicy flesh of your lemon, catching the juice in your mouth and tasting its citric sourness. I can nearly guarantee that you are salivating more now then before you started reading this blog.
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Stress: The Good

Stress is what gets you out of bed in the morning, reading this blog, and Christmas morning. Stress is an often misunderstood term. Stress is any stimulus or change in your life that creates or requires a change or reaction. According to the classic stress inventory, marriage is more stressful than being fired, the death of a close friend, or foreclosure. Even positive events create Eustress, a feeling of fulfillment, while less desirable events can create Distress.

The stoic philosopher Epictetus reminded us that “what upsets people is not things themselves but their judgments about the things.” Every person has a somewhat different reaction to the same event. Some will find family gatherings to cause distress, while others will find that the effort required to prepare and travel for such events are well worth the renewal received. I have a very dear friend who in one week experienced her husband leaving her, being fired from her job, and being diagnosed with breast cancer; she considered it an opportunity for a new start and to refocus on herself.
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What are You Thinking When You Eat?

Last week on Oprah, Roger Schultz shared his pre-Biggest Loser ranch daily diet, including the snack of an entire sleeve of store-bought cookies which he said he ate while watching the Biggest Loser. Other Biggest Loser contestants have made similar revelations and I’m sure several of you snack while watching television. In graduate school, I often kept my mind engaged on my studies through continuous motion of hand to bowl to mouth. I was lucky to be young and active to balance such mindless habits.

How many times have you watched The Biggest Loser or Dr. Phil’s Ultimate Weight Loss Race or even Oprah’s Biggest Loser episode while eating? We eat more when we are focused on something else, not paying attention to what we are doing, and not paying attention to our bodies. Why do you choose to watch these shows in the first place? Do you relate to the contestants? Are you on a similar journey? Are you looking for new ideas to help you along the path? Do you consider these shows to be more family-oriented entertainment than other shows on during prime time and want to communicate a healthy lifestyle to your children? What are you thinking when you make the choice to watch these shows?
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Healing Feelings from Dr. Phil’s Keys to Weight Loss

As we continue to work through Dr. Phil’s Keys to Weight Loss and keep track of his Ultimate Weight Loss Race, we dig a bit more deeply into the second key. Dr. Phil’s website directs focus using the second key with the following mandate, “Overcome emotional overeating by managing inappropriate reactions to stress; solving problems rather than dwelling on them; changing self-defeating thoughts, since more often than not, feelings follow thoughts; gaining closure on unfinished emotional business; and learning new ways to cope without resorting to food”. Just that statement could be overwhelming with all the difficult things that are included. One issue many have with Dr. Phil is that telling you what to do doesn’t necessarily lead to life change because it leaves you without knowing how to do what he told you to do. So let’s break it down.
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