Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

ID-100119121Turn off your TV and stop watching all the shows about betrayal, revenge and hurting people. And stop listening to all the cultural voices telling you that you aren’t good enough and need to improve.

I’ve got a simple way you can start feeling positive emotions like trust, love and acceptance.

It involves a hormone made in your brain that travels to the base of the brain by being secreted by the pituitary gland. Most of us have heard of it because of child birth and breast feeding.

This hormone called Oxytocin, does more than aid reproduction. When it comes to social bonding, it performs! Oxytocin has an impact on our feelings of relaxation, trust and psychological stability. It can even reduce stress responses. And it is involved in the first stages of romantic love.

So here is an easy way to release it and start feeling better about your fellow man!

Join your church choir or a singing group. When you sing in a group, oxytocin pulses through the brain and those feelings of trust, love and acceptance starts to flow. This is why you hear choir members talk so lovingly about each other and feel bonded to their group. Oxytocin is leading the way. The brain is increasing its production of oxytocin when you are belting out those choir numbers together. And the benefit to you in the positive feelings of trust and love, not to mention the beauty of worship.

So if you want to feel bonded and accepted, join a choir or singing group. Or think about playing music with others–it does the same thing.

Merrill Lynch CEO, John Thain (The picture is not John Thain!) was upset when he didn’t receive a year-end bonus for losing billions of dollars. His reason–yes, the company lost billions, but his leadership probably prevented even more hemorrhaging. HE thought the board should have awarded him a lucrative compensation package! Really? This is just one of many examples of leaders who fail to see their blind spots.

Whether you are leading a Bible study or the CEO of a company, think  about these 10 leadership traps you should avoid:

1) Believing the rules don’t apply to you. When you begin to believe your own press or think your lack of integrity won’t impact those you lead, think again. Leaders who lead by example do best.

2) You don’t delegate. No one likes to work for a micromanager, especially when this is based on the belief that you can only trust yourself to get things done. A micromanager burns out and is usually resented by his/her followers.

3) You define loyalty by having no vision, but your vision. This usually results in surrounding yourself with YES men and women. Dissension is not allowed and complaints mean possible rebellion. In religious settings, phrases like   “Don’t touch God’s anointed ” are used to squash any dissent.

4) You isolate. When leaders have few meaningful relationships, drop out of culture, or work 24-7, they are out of balance. Isolation leads to poor thinking and judgment.

5) You are success or power driven. Self-ambition replaces true servanthood and a desire to do something meaningful for God’s kingdom. It’s all about your accomplishments.

6) You dabble in things that can get you in trouble. Leaders who think they can handle addictions or don’t set boundaries with the opposite sex are asking for  trouble You are playing with fire.

7) You deny real issues and problems. Keeping your head in the sand results in a build-up of problems. Problems don’t go away just because you refuse to face them.

8) You have no real accountability. Leaders who don’t listen to their spouses or operate with a lone ranger mentality find themselves in trouble because there are no checks and balances. A lack of accountability makes it easy to not play by the rules, compromise and move off vision.

9) Your emotional health is negative. People who refuse treatment for depression, anxiety  or live with unresolved conflicts, don’t do well over the long haul. Problems escalate and emotional well-being falls to a dangerous low.

10) You hang on to offense or wounds of the past. The problem is that you can be triggered by even the smallest things because the wounding results in insecurity. Hanging on to unresolved anger and unforgiveness grows bitterness and resentment which can lead to explosive or distancing behavior. Let go of offense or you won’t be spiritually or emotionally well.

2driving and text copyI now live in a fairly small town and have noticed how many people drive and talk on their cell phones. Without fail, when someone is driving erratically, too slow in a lane or crossing over the mid line, I look, and yes, the person is talking on the phone.

Researchers tell us that talking on the phone while driving is like driving drunk. Your brain cannot pay attention to the distraction of the phone. It has to switch tasks back and forth to the driving and the talking.  When it does, it loses concentration.

Here’s what we know happens when you “drive drunk” on phone call talking:

1)   You follow cars in a more wild fashion.

2)   You are a half second slower at hitting your brakes when you need to emergency stop.

3)   It takes longer to return to normal speed after an emergency.

4)   Your risk for an accident increases

5)   You miss more than 50% of the visual cues of driving when on a cell phone.

In fact, all the task switching involved with driving and doing anything puts you more at risk. Just reaching for an object makes you nine times more at risk for a crash.

So next time you decide to put on your mascara, eat that sloppy burger or even check out other drivers, know you are increasing your risk for an accident.

Your brain simply cannot pay attention to more than one thing at a time. Multitasking is a dangerous myth when it comes to cell phone usage and driving.

 

 

ID-10036003Is your closet a window into your mental health? Are you what you wear? 

Does saving your old college sports uniform remind you of the glory days of your life? 

How about those hundreds of books you will never read again, but can’t bring yourself to part with them? 

Maybe closer to home is that bin of children’s clothes that brings tears to your eyes. How could you give those away? 

Maybe you just find it difficult to part with things you MIGHT use or that have some meaning.

But what does all the clutter say about you?

What you save and hold onto may reveal some of your deepest thoughts and feelings. Sometimes clutter can indicate a focus and organizing problem. People with ADHD, OCD or even dementia have trouble organizing.

Maybe you have trouble making decisions because of, What if…You obsess on the possibility of needing it later.

Or maybe, just  maybe, you will lose those 10 pounds and need that dress that is hanging there with the tag still on it.

Perhaps you’ve watched episodes of Storage Wars and saw how many people throw out valuable items but didn’t know it. You don’t want to be one of those people and miss the chance to cash in big!

Stop! Pause! Help yourself by a little self talk like this, “Someone else can use this stuff now.” “The likelihood that I have a real gem in my hoarding is slim.” Or “The item may be so old, I wouldn’t want it even if I could use it again.”

One of the biggest reason we hold on to clutter is that something in the clutter has sentimental meaning. “If I throw away that toy, I lose my daughter’s childhood forever.” “If I clean out the garage, then the divorce feels very final.” Holding on means not letting go! Let’s all sing the theme to “Frozen” right now. “Let it go… Let it go…”

If all the clutter is distressing you, look at the psychology behind holding on to it. What would it mean to give it away and down size the closet or storage bins? Your clutter may be telling you that you are too perfectionistic, obsessive, disorganized, overly sentimental, worried, and/or having trouble closing out the past. You might even be a hoarder, a legitimate psychiatric disorder now.  So if your living quarters are so cluttered it causes you distress, get some help.

Take a look at that closet. What is it saying about you?