Sunday, August 29, 2010

Shifting from negative to positive self talk - part 2

So I was reflecting on last week's post about positive and negative self talk. In the post, I mentioned saying to myself "I'm really having trouble writing." I guess that isn't definitively negative... however for me, that kind of statement is often followed with either doubt "what if I've lost my touch as a writer" or put-down "lately, I'm a lousy writer." I believe that either of those kinds of statements begin to put us in the negative self talk category.

I suggested last week, that when you sense that you are getting into a downward spiral, that is the time to redirect yourself. Do you need to reframe? Perhaps an option is to say, "writing has been hard for me lately, and yet I'm almost done with my first draft." Or, writing has been hard, but at least I am persevering. For me at least, that kind of statement gives me a little lift, which I think puts me in a better position to write.

Or perhaps I need to encourage myself... remind myself of times when I have felt good about my writing, when the process has been a little easier (this can also have good information -- for example, when doing this recently, I realized that I wasn't approaching my writing in the same way. I typically need to do something away from the computer ((walk the dog, fold laundry,etc)) , and just play with ideas in my head). Then once I have the first paragraph set, I sit down to write and it usually flows for awhile. I wasn't doing this, I was just sitting down and trying to start in front of the computer.

Later this week, I'll post two more strategies for redirecting negative self talk.

Cheering you on in your work!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday morning video -- State Lottery

This week marks the return of Saturday morning videos and cartoons. This is my attempt to provide a moment of lightness and humor as you begin your work for the weekend. Research has shown (See the work of Barbara Fredrickson), that we are more creative when we approach a situation from a positive state. So check out this very brief video.... enjoy the moment... and then on to the work!

All the best!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Overwhelmed? One thing at a time.

Ok, so you have made your list.... now what? Select one item on your list and get started. That sounds obvious too, but how many times have you continued to sit and think about all you have to get done, instead of doing it.

If you are feeling anxious, pick the easiest thing on the list. If you are feeling a bit more confident, pick something that looks more difficult. Heck -- just pick something that looks fun or interesting! Whatever, pick one thing and get started.

Once you have begun your work, the secret is to focus on that one thing. I know, I have in the past, started working, and then started daydreaming about everything else I have to do -- pretty soon I'm so stressed about my long to-do list, that I'm not working on the one thing in front of me. Working on the one thing, is the secret.

Here's the deal... if you get one thing done, you will have momentum. You will see that you CAN do the work. It gives you energy and confidence to move forward and then pretty soon, you have two things done. And so on.

Ok, one step at a time! You can do this!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Overwhelmed? How to get started.

For many students, particularly new students, the first night of a new class can be overwhelming. Once you get a good glimpse of the syllabus and see all the work that awaits... well, it can be hard to know where to start. For example, in the class that I am teaching right now, we discussed a variety of assignments: journals, a podcast and response assignment online, a group project, a major paper, and of course reading. So, how the heck do you even get started?

This sounds obvious, but sometimes we forget... so here goes:

Make a list -- list the various assignments and note when they are due.

Break it down -- under each assignment, note the various steps that you will need to take.

Timeline -- transfer all of this to your calendar.

As you make the list and break it down, you will be able to focus on the short term and also clarify what you will need to do in coming weeks and months. So for example, my students are working on a group project among their other assignments. They picked a book in class. And really, for this week, all they need to do is order the book... and then they should mentally put this assignment aside and work on the things that are due this coming week.

Cheering you on in your work!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Shifting from negative to positive self talk - part 1

This is my second attempt at this post this morning. I began with a different photo and writing about a different topic and it just wasn't flowing. I've also been working on a journal article and this one is not easy going -- the writing process for the article has been more difficult than usual for me. So this morning, I was working on the first attempt at the blog post and when it wasn't working, I said to myself "I'm really having trouble writing these days." Then I thought, "this has to be the theme of this morning's post."

Here's the thing about self talk.... I suspect that almost all of us have negative self talk. We have those moments when we doubt ourselves, get frustrated or angry, worry about failure, etc. The key is to recognize these moments quickly and then redirect. When we do not recognize that the negative chatter has begun, and instead continue down that road, we are falling into a negative spiral. The goal isn't to never negative self talk, but rather to catch ourselves when we're doing it, and interrupt the process, shifting to something more productive.

I suggest that once we have recognized the negative self talk, the second step is to commit to redirect. The third step is to figure out what we need. Do I need to reframe? Do I need to encourage myself? Do I need to problem-solve? Do I need to take a break from this task or project (if that is possible)? This week's posts will look at these different strategies that we can use to move away from negative self talk and into a positive direction.

Cheering you on in your work!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cool tools! My new fave -- Eyejot!

My new favorite online tool is Eyejot, a video mailing tool. Eyejot has a free version that allows you to record video messages of up to one minute and then send them via email. I'm already using this to send updates to my students -- seems like a nice change of pace from email, and more personal and fun! You can even create groups and do group mailings. So I'm mostly using this to update students... and for the occasional birthday message to friends! I can imagine it might be useful for those of you doing group projects. Thoughts? Let me know if you try it out.

By the way, I have no affiliation with eyejot and only promote it here because there is a free version. Also, the photo above has nothing to do with eyejot, it's just fun.

More soon!

photo by hls

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back and ready to go!

Hi All, I'm back from two weeks away. As intended, I relaxed and also began a new journal article, started a project proposal, and planned for the upcoming semester. I also played some pinball (one of my favorite hobbies!).

Are you ready for the start of the new semester? If you have ideas for the Encouragement Lounge... topics that I can address here.... please post under comments, or email me at

More tomorrow!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Time to write

Hi Folks,

I'm going to walk the talk, in terms of setting priorities. I planned to use these first two weeks of August for a concentrated writing push, one more, before classes start. So I'm going to take a break from the E Lounge to concentrate on the writing (and a little time off).

In the meantime, I completed a July project, which was to create a website that would include links to all of my other work online, info about my research interests, etc. I have just launched the site, and here it is:

So, have a good few weeks, I'll be back via the E Lounge in about two weeks!


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