“Impossible is really I'm possible.”
Monday Lisa's Podcast
the audio version of her columns
Failure Makes People Better
by Dr. Terry Martin (a.k.a. Monday Lisa) and Bob Cayne August 3, 2020
A group of researchers performed an experiment by releasing a shark into a holding tank filled with small fish. The shark knew a banquet when he saw one, and ate the fish.
Then the researchers inserted a glass wall that separated the shark from another batch of fish. The shark attacked repeatedly, but kept banging into the glass. The experiment went on for some time until the shark stopped attacking.
Then the glass wall was removed. But the shark had been trained to believe the fish were behind a barrier and it didn’t attack. The fish were free to swim wherever they wanted.
What’s the point, you may ask?
Well, when people encounter continuous setbacks and failures they call it quits…just like the shark. They are emotionally spent, pretty much broke and have no clue how they will support themselves, let alone their families… so they stop trying and give up.
But human beings weren’t just made to survive, we were made to thrive.
If life doesn’t cut you slack, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to overcome your hardship. Failure makes people better, you’ll get through it and come out stronger and happier than ever. Why?
Because many of the most successful people in the world have endured the most failures. They didn’t quit, they kept going, even became entrepreneurs. That’s what it takes to succeed.
By the way, age has nothing to do with opportunity. Many people approach Medicare age when they find success.
Think about all the amazing people you’ve met who have faced difficult setbacks, even life-changers, and not only made it through them, but turned the experience into something positive.
We all have glass walls of some kind or other—self-limiting thoughts and beliefs that hold us back. If you are faced with such obstacles remind yourself that life is filled with experiences, some are peaks and some are valleys. Both are important. Peaks are places where you want to go; valleys are meant to make you come to terms with what has happened and figure out how to proceed.
Forget about wondering, what the heck am I going to do now? It won’t help you get from where you are to where you want to go. Think about what adversity has taught you. What have you learned from the setback? Don’t dwell on the past. Stay in the present and make a plan.
Decide what you want, what you really want to achieve and go forward with a positive attitude. Erase the barrier in your head when no real barrier exists. Bounce back. Convince yourself that anything holding you back is toxic.
Remove the glass wall and swim forward, freely.
See you next Monday
Be Happy…On Purpose
by Dr. Terry Martin (a.k.a. Monday Lisa) and Bob Cayne July 27. 2020
Let’s explore the difference between happiness and joy.
Happiness is an emotion in which we experience feelings that range from contentment and satisfaction to bliss and intense pleasure.
Joy is a stronger, less common feeling than happiness. We experience joy when we achieve self-denial to the point of personal sacrifice.
Chances are you lead a happy life. If not, shift your focus––in other words (pardon the pun) get your shift together. We dream about being happy someday. But being overworked, overstressed and less than happy makes the dream seem impossible.
Take a moment for yourself and hit the reset button. You need to do that once in a while. But don’t be fooled, taking timeout for a moment of respite, relaxation or indulgence is only part of the battle.
Leading a happy life is the best existence. Lead a life that produces positive vibes and feel-good energy––a life that encourages you to look to the future with high hopes.
Happiness, much like love, works in mysterious ways––when you least expect it, it will happen.
Have you ever experienced pure joy––a moment when something seemed perfect? Pure joy is a fleeting emotion but the good news is even if you just felt it for a moment, you can hold onto it forever.
Science and psychology tell us that brain chemistry alters emotion. In order to activate those chemicals, we have to talk about changing our mind and mindset. In other words, unlocking our brain with diet and exercise––but that’s a column for another day.
There is a formula for happiness and it lies in changing thought patterns. Every day patterns—what you do, think and say––are what determine how happy you are. The formula has nothing to do with what’s around you, but everything to do with how your brain works—your inner voice.
Learn to celebrate the little things in life that you don’t normally pay attention to. Your husband brings you coffee in the morning, your wife makes your favorite dessert. Sometimes little things seem commonplace in a culture that celebrates big accomplishments.
Real life is happening all around us while we’re waiting for a big thing that we hope will give us inner peace, contentment or joy.
As Monday Lisa said, “Laughing burns calories.” It also makes you feel good. Have you ever laughed so hard that you cried? That’s an uncontrollable reaction, but it can happen. Chances are, considering today’s world, it may have been some time ago.
In 1922 Margery Williams tackled today’s topic in her beloved children’s book, The Velveteen Rabbit. The Velveteen Rabbit, on its journey to discover what it means to be real, learns that, in the end, it is to have someone love you and to be able to love in return.
“What is Real?’ asks the rabbit.”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” says the Skin Horse, “it’s a thing that happens to you.”
We put money in our 401(k)s, take calcium supplements and exercise hoping the precautions will protect us as we age. But while safeguarding our money, bones and blood pressure, we forget to safeguard the one thing makes a difference in our quality of life as we get older: our happiness...and maybe even joy.
Knowledge Is Power
by Dr. Terry Martin and Bob Cayne July 20, 2020
Our stress systems keep us safe and alive. Even though anxiety symptoms can be uncomfortable, they aren’t dangerous.
An adrenaline rush won’t kill you.
Cities and states across the country are in various stages of reopening, some where Covid-19 cases have been rising, particularly in the South. People are basking on beaches without masks that ruin a tan and scanning menus at restaurants and bars where it’s impossible to dine through a mask.
Others remain fearful so they shelter in place.
We don’t have a vaccine yet and haven’t flattened the curve enough to shed our masks. Yet governments say it’s okay to go out and mingle with crowds of people. Those with generalized or social anxiety can’t figure it out. It’s like watching a traffic light flash green, red, green, red.
For heaven’s sakes, make up your mind.
The world will reopen whether or not you are afraid, so let’s discuss anxiety attacks, just in case.
Panic attacks feel like the end of the world. You are frightened. Your heart races; you can’t breathe. You feel dizzy and lightheaded, have stomach pains and hot flashes, start sweating, shaking and feel tingling sensations throughout your body.
You feel you’re losing control. But you are completely safe.
If you have a panic attack, I want you to understand what’s happening so your body doesn’t bluff you.
Know you won’t suffocate, die or lose sanity. Knowledge is power.
Have you noticed the way cities, states and countries piled on the trauma bandwagon? That includes manipulating statistics. Health officials in states across the country have been improperly reporting so-called new Wuhan coronavirus cases.
Avoid frightened people’s drama, don’t play into it.
Regardless what happens, you are in control of your body and actions––even when stress hormones, like adrenaline, create frightening symptoms. There are simple medical explanations for every fear.
Shakes that feel like jelly-legs are caused by adrenaline and other stress hormones. Fatigued eye muscles can cause strange symptoms like blurred vision.
Through it all, remember, your heart is incredibly strong and can beat at high speeds for long periods of time.
If you have a fear of suffocating, know and take comfort that your body’s built-in reflex system ensures you always get enough air.
If you are afraid of fainting, know fainting is uncommon when you are highly anxious. Fainting is caused by low blood pressure; anxiety tends to raise blood pressure.
If you aren’t convinced talk to your doctor, avoid people with a Google medical degree. Get assurance that everything is OK. There is a medical explanation for every physical symptom you experience.
Now that you know you are safe, evaluate the stress that causes your anxiety and fear. Your adrenaline can be directed to benefit you, not scare you.
I Didn’t Know What Time It Was
by Dr. Terry Martin (a.k.a. Monday Lisa) and Bob Cayne July 13, 2020
We are born. We die. We call the span that separates these events time.
Time’s passage is the most fundamental feature of our human experience. Yet we are incapable of saying exactly what time is. It’s undeniable that time exists, but does the way we experience time make sense?
Physics Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg said, “Time is nature’s way of keeping everything from happening at once.”
To us mortals, time is the passage of the sun and seasons, the progressive way our skin wrinkles as we age. They are irreversible markers of a present that’s moving forward, and a future that soon becomes the past. Time has a natural order. It’s a way to say it’s now and soon it will be later.
There’s a problem. All of this, it’s nonsensical. We see ourselves living in a present that marches down an imaginary timeline at a set pace. The imagery implies the existence of some sort of universal ticking that sets the beat against which all else is measured.
According to neuroscientists, there is no organ or system in our body that’s responsible for timekeeping. Psychologists have identified many factors that affect our sense of time.
We rely on memory rather than knowledge to date events that happen within our lifetime. But as our memory distorts our perception of time, it also affects our sense of when an event took place.
Psychologists say when recalling an event that occurred a long time ago we tend to think it happened more recently than it really did. On the other hand, if the event happened within the past three years, we tend to think that it happened longer ago.
The effect is called telescoping. Think of it as looking backward or forwards through a telescope where images are distorted depending on the orientation.
Here’s a game to play as you wait for the quarantine to lift. See if your family recollects time correctly, or might it be distorted?
Select a dramatic news event that occurred years ago like New York’s World Trade Center tragedy. Ask everybody what they recall about that day. Then ask how that disaster compares to New York’s experience with COVID-19.
Chances are they will have emotional images of September 11th as if it happened yesterday and even remember where they were when it happened. But do they realize that 3,000 people perished in 9/11 and 22,000 New Yorkers have died from COVID-19?
This year will be remembered as the year of the pandemic, but over time we will lose track and misplace exact details of how the event occurred.
Difficult People Are…Well, Difficult
by Dr. Terry Martin (a.k.a. Monday Lisa and Bob Cayne July 6, 2020
Regardless of our age or social status, there are difficult people out there who want to bully and belittle others. They may be colleagues at work, family members, neighbors or mean kids at the playground. In fact, bullying is one of the most unreported problems in schools. Cyber-harassment and cyber-stalking are also types of bullying. Topics often include personal appearance, social status and politics.
It’s not easy to make wise choices in the heat of the moment. But transforming pain into personal growth and strength improves your life as well as the life of the person you are dealing with.
There is a proper way to respond if somebody bullies you. Retain your dignity. Their pain is their pain, don’t let them make it your pain. Handling a person with aggressive behavior isn’t easy. Detach yourself from their abuse and biased opinions. Walk away and contain your emotions even if you’ve reached the boiling point.
When you are confronted by a person taking a hard stance, someone who wants to ‘air their laundry,’ stay calm…just listen. Bullies behave the way they do in hopes of getting a reaction. Don’t interject while they’re revved up. Let them talk until they run out of air. Then, and only then, should you respond.
Always model the behavior you want to see. When someone foists their hostility and drama on you ignore their antics. Decide if you can productively resolve their problem as you listen to what they are saying. Be compassionate. When you talk don’t raise your voice. Speak calmly to demonstrate strength and conviction and de-escalate a challenging situation. Bullies usually have a hard time defending themselves.
If you disagree with a manipulative or difficult person there will be consequences for you to deal with. If at all possible take positive control of negative conversations. It’s okay to change the topic. Steer the conversation away from pity parties, drama, and self-absorbed sagas.
Establish healthy, reasonable boundaries; maintain physical space between you and the other person. Be aware of your own feelings and needs. Think about times and circumstances when you’ve been resentful for fulfilling another person’s needs. If you were bullied did you play into what the bully wanted by confronting them?
People who wallow in problems and fail to focus on solutions are hard to handle. They want you to be sympathetic so they’ll feel better about themselves. Don’t RSVP.
Show bullies that you won’t cave. Let ‘train wrecks’ know you aren’t their station. Ultimately, you will get the results you want.