Book of the Month for January 2018

I just finished up a book that was bubbling to the top of my to-read pile as the Holidays passed by me at warp speed. The subject of stress does occupy many minds during the winter months and the up and coming income tax season. But as I began reading the following book I found that this book is a welcome read for any time of the year since stress comes in many forms.

Title: The Upside of Stress

By Kelly McGonigal, PhD

File Size: 1321 KB

Print Length: 301 pages

Publisher: Avery (May 5, 2015)

Publication Date: May 5, 2015

Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

Language: English

ASIN: B00OI5PGWU

ISBN-10: 1101982934

ISBN-13: 978-1101982938

Rating 5/5  

For most of our lives, we have been told that stress is harmful to our health. What if someone were able to prove this to be otherwise? How would you feel if you found that there are more health benefits to stress then health risks? All it takes is a change in your mindset.

Kelly McGonigal argues in her book The Upside of Stress that psychologists have been telling people for years that stress is bad for you but she has discovered through research that this is not indeed the case. With her research, she can prove the benefits of stress can outweigh the harmful effects of stress that revolves around changing the mindset about stress. If one can believe that stress is beneficial than the coping mechanisms associated with stressful events can cause personal growth which will improve the health of that individual.

“Mindsets are beliefs that shape your reality, including objective physical reactions (like the strength of my arm as Crum pushed on it), and even long-term health, happiness, and success. More important, the new field of mindset science shows that a single brief intervention, designed to change how you think about something, can improve your health, happiness, and success, even years into the future.” (McGonigal 2016, 4)

Kelly McGonigal, Phd., is a lecturer and psychologist at Stanford University and an expert on mind-body relationship. She is a senior teacher/consultant at Stanford for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and also teaches for the School of Medicine’s Health Improvement Program. Her work validates the claims of psychological science to personal health and happiness, as well as organizational success and social change.

I understand what McGonigal means when she makes the statement, “When you face difficulties head-on, instead of trying to avoid or deny them, you build your resources for dealing with stressful experiences.” (McGonigal 2016, 18) We all face difficulties over the course of our lives. It is not a matter of what those challenges are but how we handle them that matters most in life. If we don’t manage them well, then we tend to repeat those problems until we can overcome them.

This book explains the reasoning behind why McGonigal believes that stress can be healthy for personal growth. Her research she shares verify why the probability this is correct and she describes this well in the book.

I did not find anything in this book that I would disagree with which is why I have rated this book with five stars.

I highly recommend everyone to read this book, and hopefully, it will change your outlook on stress and help you handle those dreadful times with personal growth and resilience.


Note

McGonigal, Kelly. The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It (p. 4). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

McGonigal, Kelly. The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It (p. 18). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Reference

McGonigal, Kelly. The Upside of Stress. New York: Avery, 2016.

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Friday Write on my #PersonalValues #Challenges

Valued Blog Post of the Week!

I’m giving myself a writing challenge for the next three months. I will pick a personal value as part of a writing exercise as an experiment to see how the topic affects my daily stress level.

Friday write-in

 

Picking a personal value

 

“Pick one value and write about it for ten minutes. Describe why this value is important to you. Write how you express this value in your everyday life, including what you did today.”[1]

 

 

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Image courtesy of creative commons license via Flickr.com by Doe Zantamata and Unsplash

 

 

Challenge – a call to take part in a contest or competition, especially a duel, or calling for special effort.

Contest

Dare

Encounter

Provocation

Summons

Task

Test

Trial

We all have specific values that have become a part of our personality over the years. Those values are not something that I have given much thought to until recently. Another of my values is a that of a challenge.

I love a challenge but within reason. When I say this, I mean a problem that can be met within reason. If I were to stand no chance against the competition, I would give up trying before the competition would even begin. For example, I was never a long-distance runner; a marathon would not be a contest within reason. I know my limitations. But, if I could compete against my self for a better time in a marathon I would accept the personal challenge as a doable test to see if I could beat my best time. If I could beat that time, I would have a sense of accomplishment.

Earning my degree gives me a sense of challenge especially with the online courses since for much of the time, I must answer my questions through research. To top off my challenge, I have dared myself to get the best grades I can get with the hopes of acquiring scholarships to help pay for my education.

Challenges at work are keeping a machine running when the material is being problematic, which was my challenge for the day. Another challenge is meeting a shipping deadline at the last minute.

Setting goals is a great way to create challenges, but if the goal is set too high the challenge will never be met, and self-doubt will kill all effort.

Management professionals should give this some thought when asking employees to take on a new job function. If the initial production goal is at a reasonable level so that the employee can meet the goal, they will begin to develop confidence. Raise the goals slowly but never entirely out of the person’s reach, unless the manager does not want that employee to improve on the job and build on their confidence that leads to higher production and quality. I would hope that manager would not kill the development of a strong work team by making their workers feel inadequate to do the jobs asked of them.

People can be challenges. Understanding the different personalities, cultures, values, and morals. Everyone is raised differently and when there is a mixed culture in the workforce personality challenges can appear. Such a challenge can be overcome as workers begin to learn to accept each other’s differences and identities.

My favorite form of challenges is learning. Education comes in many forms. Learning is not just reading, writing, and arithmetic. There is learning a hobby. I’m a self-taught knitter, crocheter, quilter, sewer, and writer.

Most of all, challenges inspire me to be creative.

 

Reference

McGonigal, Kelly. The Upside of Stress. New York: Avery, 2016.


Notes

[1] (McGonigal 2016, 72)

 

 

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Friday Write on my #PersonalValues

Valued Blog Post of the Week!

I’m giving myself a writing challenge for the next three months. I will pick a personal value as part of a writing exercise as an experiment to see how the topic affects my daily stress level.

All are welcome to join in my weekly writing prompt experiment.

Friday write-in

 

Picking a personal value

 

“Pick one value and write about it for ten minutes. Describe why this value is important to you. Write how you express this value in your everyday life, including what you did today.”[1]

 

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictoquotes/21318580630

Image courtesy of creative commons license via Flickr.com by Unsplash

 

 

 

 

Acceptance – the quality or state of being accepted or acceptable

Recognition

Approval

Tolerance

Acknowledgment

Belief

Credence

Toleration

Favorable reception

 

We all have specific values that have become a part of our personality over the years. Those values are not something that I have given much thought to until recently. One of my values is acceptance. We all like to feel like we belong or accepted by our community, school, or workplace. If not, then questions begin to surface as to why we continue to engage in that setting. But why would I decide that acceptance is a part of who I am?

I have this habit, and I’m sure it bugs the hell out of my co-workers, where I will greet everyone I see no matter how many times we cross paths during the day. I can see the same person ten times within an hour and feel the compulsion to say hi or hello each time. Like I say, this has become more of a habit than a need and developed after working in the retail setting for over five years. The habit has become part of my nature.

Acceptance does matter in other ways. When I enter a room, it is nice to know that those who are there will acknowledge my presence and not completely ignore the fact that I exist. A simple hi or hello suffices.

But I am not without tolerance. I have a high tolerance level for most people, places, and situations which brings me back to acceptance. Accepting something is admitting the situation, person, or location can’t be changed and is beyond control.

So, if you don’t want to say hi, I can tolerate your choice and will accept that this is who you are and we both don’t have the same values.

Acceptance is more than a personal greeting. It is a belief in one’s self and approval for our actions, building on credence that leads to trusting of the self and others.

 

 


Note

[1] (McGonigal 2016, 72)

 

Reference

 

McGonigal, Kelly. The Upside of Stress. New York: Avery, 2016.

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If we were having coffee – I’d tell you…

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I have no complaints.

 

The holidays are here and before we know it, the New Year will be here. I am looking to 2018 to be another great year. 2017 ushers out one of my most significant accomplishments to date. I received notification that I will be attending my first graduation since 1983. May of 2018, I will be given my Business Associates degree. For the past 30 years I have wanted a college degree, and now I am finally getting one. But I’m not stopping at the Associate level. I am continuing on with my education and should have my Bachelor’s degree by 2019.

Last summer, at the direction of my student advisor, I applied for the Business Plus program which will put me in the Master’s program immediately following the Bachelor degree.

My next accomplishment was Stats.

I passed Statistics. That class was hard, like Calculus for Business. It wasn’t my favorite class though toward the end, it became interesting. I will never look at a bar graph the same way ever again.

 

NaNoWriMo – only made 4k words this year.

 

Stalled but not forgotten. I did learn how to use Scrivener. Outlining is easier, and I can now format my books utilizing this program. I have not worked on the work in progress in the past few weeks. I will confess that I took my vacation week of leisure to play World of Warcraft. I now have my demon hunter at level 110 but not yet high enough gear to take part in any raid events.

 

I still have a list of books to read too. This month’s book of the month is still not been read. I’m half-way there only because there never seems to be enough time in a day to do all the things I want to do and now entering the holiday season time becomes even shorter.

In 2018, I would love to finish the first draft of at least one work in progress. It is a doable goal if I can keep myself from being distracted by video games and Netflix.

I would have a major dilemma if GRR Martin published his next book of the Game of Thrones. That would be one more item on my to-do list and to read pile.

 

Keelaa

Out cute fur child misses her big sister. I don’t think she knows where Julie got off to. She may not even know that she has died. Sometimes she sits outside waiting, hoping she will come back home. The plan is to have her leave Santa a letter this year asking for a female kitten as a new companion. She is more partial to cats than other dogs. During her first year, her best friend was a 20-year-old cat named Gracie who has also passed on to that great beyond.

 

This Term Classes are:

 

Accounting 2 –

 

This class is the continuation of the first Accounting class from a year ago. I am stunned to discover how much of the first accounting class I did retain. So far, Accounting 2 is much easier than Accounting 1.

I am getting much handier at putting excel spreadsheets into Microsoft documents.

 

Race and Ethnic Relations

 

Interesting topic –

 

How diverse is your city?

 

Well, my sleepy little town is not very diverse as far as race and ethnicity. I believe the community is about 98% white, maybe even higher, but if you travel across the border into the state of Massachusetts, which is a half an hour drive away, you will find that the city of Fitchburg has quite the mix of race and ethnic diversity.

 

I’m a Grateful Person #gratitude

Every November we take a moment to either express our gratitude or our thankfulness. But like the saying says, Happy people are actually grateful, it is the other way around. Those who are grateful are happy.

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

I am grateful for everything in my life.

Such as:

  • the support of my family
  • the job I have with my employer
  • the feedback from my readers
  • the education provided by my professors
  • for the grades, I have received
  • having a pup like Keelaa for a new writing coach
  • for what I have managed to write this month in NaNoWriMo
  • and most of all for being alive and thriving in this bizarre world we live in.