By Lisa Sansom
By Lisa Sansom -
Last night I had a horrible nightmare. I woke up next to someone who was not my husband who somehow got into my house and my bedroom thinking he was somewhere else. Though I was extremely fearful, he did leave and left his backpack behind. When I went to return it, I ended up in an office space which used to be my workplace, and I couldn’t get out. “Oh yes,” said the receptionist, “you used to be able to get out that way, but they’ve moved all the furniture around now and you can’t.” She couldn’t point me to the exit.Then things morphed, as they do in dreams, and I was running around my kitchen trying to make dinner. The garlic bread would not lie flat on the baking sheet and kept drifting to the side, and then the pot was boiling over and then the oven got stuck on a self-cleaning cycle and the garlic bread burned to an inflamed crisp. I kept calling my husband’s name as I lurched from culinary crisis to culinary crisis, and although I knew he was home and I could hear him, no one came. I shouted until I was hoarse. Making no noise except sobbing, I collapsed on the floor while my kitchen burned. I woke up with real tears, gasping for breath.
In the light of day, this does not look as horrendous as it felt at 5:30am. There is some odd humor perhaps in there, but it felt real and today I am exhausted, which is also my default setting for just about everything. I’m exhausted.
More Self Care?
There is no doubt that we’ve had a lot going on: a big move, getting my teens settled into new schools, trying to reboot my coaching and speaking business after three years of dormancy while I was fully employed elsewhere. A lot of solid reasons to be exhausted. So I went to a therapist to see what I could do.
After about 45 minutes spilling out a very shortened version of my life and current tales of woe, all I took away from the therapist is that I needed more self-care. I felt like telling her that self-care these days is taking two Advil at night so my back doesn’t hurt and hoping I will get a solid 8 hours of sleep. I made a resolution back in January to make 2017 my “year of sleep” and I’ve mostly been able to do it, but the emotional exhaustion remains, even as I’ve been less physically exhausted.
That evening, I took my teenagers out to see Dr. Brené Brown talk about her new book Braving the Wilderness. I hadn’t seen her speak live before, though I had seen her TED talk about vulnerability, of course. With over 30 million views, it’s one of the top viewed talks ever. She was fantastic. Even when a medical crisis in the audience stalled the proceedings, she kept calm and resourceful, asking for doctors to come forward and asking everyone else to remain seated so that the paramedics could enter and look after the individual. She was composed, thoughtful, witty, and wise.I took two things away from her talk as well: one is that it doesn’t matter which side of politics you are on, but it does matter which side of humanity you are on. The other, her final piece of advice for the audience, is to talk to yourself the way you would talk kindly to someone else inside your circle of moral inclusion, and we should make that circle as wide and encompassing as possible. There were other tidbits of wisdom as well, but those resonated.
Then I had my nightmare.
Something a Little Different for Thanksgiving
We are coming up to Thanksgiving in the United States, and although I’m from Canada, we’re in the US this year and we will celebrate Thanksgiving with some nearby relatives. I’m fortunate not only to have them nearby, but also that they have been so kind and welcoming to us.
It seems that every year around Thanksgiving, people like to quote Dr. Robert Emmons’ work on gratitude. It becomes de rigeur to count your blessings and enumerate what you are grateful for. But I’d like to propose something a little different this year.
Everyone I know is stressed. Every mother I know is in crisis. All of my close friends, close emotionally though far away geographically, are suffering, and there is real physical or mental illness in their families. Some cases are truly life or death situations, which makes my struggles with my 13-year-old and his highly problematic integration into a new school pale in comparison. I truly should not be complaining. Yet, even when I put my own oven on self-cleaning, it gets stuck, and I get burnt.I’d like to propose that we reach out to others, to put more people in our circles of moral inclusion and to speak kindly to them.
I don’t have it in me to do any more self-care. I can’t think of anything else for me when strangers are creeping into the most intimate spaces that I have. Family needs me, and I just can’t “put myself first” even though people say I should. But somehow, I can still summon the courage and energy to reach out to my friends and be there for them. I can act and be in such a way that maybe, they would be grateful for me.
Reach out to others. Broaden your circle of moral inclusion. Speak kindly to those who need it, even if they’re not asking. Help them find their way out through your relationship with them and compassion. Create community. Be on the side of humanity.
Brown, B. (2017). Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone. New York: Random House.
Emmons, R. (2013). Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Lisa Sansom, MAPP '10, is the owner of LVS Consulting, an independent consulting firm that helps to build positive organizations. Lisa provide services such as individual and leadership coaching, team facilitation, effective communications training, Appreciative Inquiry and change management consulting. Full Bio.
Articles by Lisa are here.
By Senia Maymin and Kathryn Britton
By Senia Maymin and Kathryn Britton -
Welcome to the FIRST Positive Psychology News webinar featuring Louisa Jewell on building confidence.
Rarely do we have news that we are this excited about.
On Wednesday November 29, we are launching our very first webinar.
Yes, a Positive Psychology News webinar!
We are so excited to have the esteemed author Louisa Jewell as our guest.PositivePsychologyNews.com started on January 1, 2007. Our first article was What is Positive Psychology? We launched this site because we wanted to get the word out to many people about the research in positive psychology. Since then, we’ve had over 150 volunteer authors who have written around 1,500 articles. Some are how-to articles, some book reviews, some video interviews, some conference reports, and still others summaries of relevant research.
Today, we welcome YOU to come with us as we take the next step: live webinars with guests with important messages.
View all the information on our new Webinars page.
WHEN: November 29 at 3PM EDT
This is a LIVE webinar. You will not have a chance to capture this in any way other than live. This webinar may be recorded, but for internal purposes only. If you want to be there, sign up to get it live.
For questions, please email email@example.com.
Q: How much does this webinar cost?
Q: What will the format be?
This will be a highly interactive webinar. Be at your keyboard and ready to type in questions and comments and answers to Louisa’s questions!
Topic: “Wire Your Brain for Confidence!”
Kathryn Britton, MAPP '06, former software engineer, is a coach working with professionals to increase well-being, energy, and meaning in their work lives(Theano Coaching LLC). She is a member of the Silicon Valley Change coaching network. She is also a writing coach and facilitator of writing workshops. Her own books include Smarts and Stamina onusing positive psychology principles to build strong health habits and Character Strengths Matter: How to Live a Full Life. Full bio.Kathryn's articles are here.
By Elaine O'Brien
By Elaine O'Brien -
On Thursday September 21, Louisa Jewell launched her new book, Wire Your Brain for Confidence: The Science of Conquering Self-Doubt. She has delivered a brilliant tour de force.
“Once you rewire your brain, it feels like the canoe you have been paddling upstream with so much effort has been turned around to float freely with the direction of the river. When you wire your brain for confidence, there is little resistance toward big, scary goals.” – Louisa Jewell
Louisa Jewell is articulate, down to earth, generous, and funny. She is also the founder of the Canadian Positive Psychology Association (CPPA), a scholar, a successful organizational consultant, a businesswoman, a speaker, a loving mother, a cherished friend, and a great storyteller.
In her abundant, practical, and well-researched book about confidence, Louisa weaves together the science of positive psychology, self-efficacy, self-determination theory, and neuropsychology in an engaging, easy to understand manner.Louisa describes surmounting personal tragedy with assurance. She exposes her own vulnerability as she chronicles her trajectory overcoming her own self-doubts to rise as a flourishing international leader in the science of applied positive psychology.
Louisa cites leading-edge research. She has interviewed positive psychology thought leaders in both research and practice, including Dr. Kate Hefferon and Dr. Carol Dweck. Louisa explains Dweck’s The Power of “Yet” (page 203), shares helpful “Confidence Habits” (pages 208, 224), and gives the reader a handy, compelling exercise titled, “How to Eliminate ‘Should’ From Your Life.”
Disclosure: I had the pleasure of meeting Louisa in 2009 when she entered the University of Pennsylvania MAPP program, and I was a new MAPP graduate. Over the years since then, I have been honored to call Louisa, my colleague and friend. I have seen the confidence that she describes grow and blossom in her life. She lives what she describes.
Self-Determination Theory: Relatedness, Autonomy, Competence
Louisa presents theories and research around building confidence in a masterful manner. I study motivation. I found Louisa’s illuminating descriptions around Richard Ryan and Edward Deci’s Self-Determination Theory (SDT), perfectly on target. Louisa describes SDT about how “humans are driven by three psychological needs that contribute to intrinsic motivation, a heliotropic effect, and are essential for growth and well-being, just like sun, water, and soil are essential for plants to function optimally.” The descriptions below are her section headers:
Louisa explains that people often identify fear of failure as a strong demotivator, but if you dig a little deeper, it’s failing in plain sight of other people that is the real fear. Initially researchers believed self-doubt was internally driven. She shares current research suggesting self-doubt is inherently a social phenomenon, emerging from our concerns about social disapproval and the potential of being evaluated negatively by our peers and family. Fear of social evaluation and disapproval may discourage us from engaging in behaviors that will allow us to fulfill our dreams.
What’s in the Mix: Louisa’s Formula for Confidence
Louisa shares a powerful formula for confidence based on the science of applied positive psychology and her lived experiences. Louisa urges us to conquer doubt and to honor our worth. Further, she promotes a legacy of goodness, practicality, and wisdom, which is encouraging, especially for women. Louisa cares about us, her readers, and is cheering us on throughout the book. She is also raising the barre by giving exercises on how to live with greater confidence, intuition, wisdom, and creativity. She reminds us not to fear shining brightly, nor dim our own lights. She also offers a bit of tough love around receiving feedback, explaining “when you don’t take things personally, you are more likely to just get back up and keep trying.”Confidence to Lift Up Women and Our Humanity
Louisa addresses the bias, degradation, inequality, and lack of safety that affect women’s lives today. Her book can be a valuable tool in education, therapy, business, and personal help. Louisa offers the “juice:” research and resources that can take us on a journey toward creating a better understanding of ourselves and thus embodying self-assurance.
The research, skills, and tools in Louisa Jewell’s book will go a long way toward helping her readers shine.
Jewell, L. (2017). Wire Your Brain for Confidence: The Science of Conquering Self-Doubt. Famous Warrior Press.
Dweck, C. (2007). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Ballantine Books.
Hefferon, K. (2013). Positive Psychology and the Body: The Somato-Psychic Side to Flourishing. Open University Press.
Ryan, R. M. & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68-78.
Photo credits: Photos provided by the author and by Louisa Jewell (signing photo).
Elaine O'Brien, PhD, MAPP '08, CAPP, is Executive Director of Lifestyle Medicine: Body, Brain and Movement Science, a consultancy, training, and design company. She earned a PhD in Psychology of Human Movement at Temple University. Elaine provides services for corporations, government, health, medicine, education, sports, and in the entertainment industry, inspiring people to move toward positive energy, vibrancy, and excellence. Full bio. LinkedIn. Elaine's articles are here.
By Positive Psychology News