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We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle

 

A few days ago, I was reading an El Paso Times article (online, of course, because who reads the newspaper anymore, right?) where one of their famous writers was telling people to give up on new year resolutions because most of them will fail anyway.  On a gym Facebook page, gym members were complaining that at the beginning of the year, the gym gets packed and it’s hard to exercise.  They were saying such things as, “Stay home, you’ll never lose the pounds” and “Why even bother? We won’t even see you after the Superbowl!”  Actually, a lot of people do give up way before the Superbowl is on the big screen in our living rooms.

Which brings a question to mind.  Should we listen to the naysayers because they are correct in saying that only a few people will succeed?  To me, it’s like telling our kids not to go to college because only a minority of El Pasoans graduate.  Isn’t that setting a glass ceiling there?  Follow the sheep and you’ll be alright.

We are full of old habits such as fighting at home, screaming in anger when we are frustrated, not being able to trust others, not being able to make a lifestyle change, and many others, that it seems impossible to do something different.  Creating a new habit takes a lot of time and effort, it’s not magic.  Yet we look for the magic pill in everything that we do and we put our time and effort into it hoping that we don’t have to do a thing.

Well, the magic pill doesn’t exist, but there is something else for us to choose that will help us even better.  It’s called perseverance.  Every habit can be changed, and most a small step at a time.  Persevering with the right strategy is the way to go because using the wrong strategy over and over will not do.

The time is now, you either follow the sheep like the naysayers say or you make your own path of living a life of happiness and harmony.  It is up to you and no one else.  Nobody can tell you that your marriage or family will fail or that you can’t come out of your shell.  Only you can dictate that.  Yes, the time is now.

Thank you for reading once again,

- Guillermo

 

10 Seconds, Explained

November 12th, 2013 | Posted by Memo in Anger - (0 Comments)

Anger is a killing thing: it kills the man who angers, for each rage leaves him less than he had been before – it takes something from him. – Louis L’Amour

 

When I was young(er), there was a commercial on the Mexican TV.  I’m not sure how many of you are old enough to remember or actually watched Mexican channels, but it was a commercial talking about anger control.

As I remember it, there was some man doing some kind of stressful activity and his careless son or daughter would come in and drop something on his work, whatever that was.  The man became furious!  He would turn around showing a closed fist and anger in his face and then the screen would flash while you could hear a beep and a voice telling you to count to 10.  After that, the dad would realize that his son had not messed his project up on purpose and that it was just accidental.  He explained calmly to his son that he should be more careful. They didn’t talk about consequences, but that’s for another blog entry.  Actually, false memories would be another great topic since I am not exactly sure that’s how the commercial actually was presented.

Behind all the cheesiness that an 80s commercial could give you, the message was correct, but the reasons were not fully explained.  It turns out that this was not a fluke after all.  There is a part of our brain called the frontal lobe which is in charge of our emotions, reasoning, problem solving, planning and some of our speech.  When we’re angry, the frontal lobe shuts down and that’s when some people explode!  The angrier we get, the more our frontal lobe shuts down and then we get even angrier.

Well, it turns out that it takes 10 seconds of further inactivity for our frontal lobe to be useful once again.  Inactivity means that we need to stop feeding that anger with more negative thoughts or even more stimulation.  Breathing is one way to stop feeding that anger.

For beginners, a way to do it could be to physically remove ourselves from a situation and with eyes closed, breath in very deeply while counting to 10 (or 50 in some cases).  The important part is to create a habit of awareness of what we do or say and not doing anything that we might regret.  Once we have created said habit, we could count to 10 right on the spot breathing very deeply with our eyes open or closed, our choice.

The more we are aware of our anger, the less we’ll hurt others and ourselves in a relationship of any kind, and the more we will be able to care for those we love.  So, the next time you begin to feel angry, remember about the cheesy commercial I told you about and count to 10 and enjoy.

- Guillermo

When it comes to anger, either in adults, children or as a couple,  it is easy to ignore any other feeling behind it. Could it be sadness, shame, hurt,depression or any other feeling that might make the angry person feel vulnerable.

When we look behind the smoke screen of anger, we might realize that this is about a lot more than what is being presented at that moment. A feeling so threatening, that is it hard  to reach for

it and express it as it is., and it might leave us confused.

So next time you feel angry, ask yourself- What other feeling can I be experiencing right now? and open the conversation to other venues.

 

 

What Anger Can Tell Us

March 13th, 2013 | Posted by Anastacia Martinez in Anger - (5 Comments)

Do you imagine what it would be like to not feel physical pain at all. Most people would probably say “Yeah!”  However, pain warns us of danger- a broken back, a stomach virus. Without pain, we would not be aware of a problem. By the time we make it to the doctor, or the MRI test- it could be too late to remedy or , at least, address a problem.

Well, I see a similarity between that physical pain and anger- the kind that can be destructive.

Without anger, we would not know when something is not going well in ourselves or in our surroundings- yes, there are other feelings that can express a situation- but anger is that feeling that- if not acknowledged- can turn out to be destructive.

Notice that there are not  “ Depression” classes’ or “Guilt ”classes, but we do have, and Court Judges order people to “Anger Management” classes.  It is about controlling it, not about ignoring it.