Thursday, March 31, 2011

Energy and encouragement and the art of the high five

Hi All, In this season of the NCAA tournaments, I'm delighted to share with you a recent interview that I did with Agnus Berenato, head coach of the University of Pittsburgh women's basketball team. In this brief podcast, Coach Berenato shares her thoughts on positivity, energizing others, and the meaning of the high five.

Cheering you all on in your work!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Turn around a bad day - stress management tip

I recently had a day that, relatively speaking (meaning nobody in my life was sick or injured), got off to a stressful start: I received a text first thing in the morning indicating a significant problem with a project I was working on, and in my morning email was a note indicating a major shift in another project. Both issues would require quite a bit of time to resolve/get back on track. I could feel the momentum of stress.

Then I thought about Barbara Fredrickson's concept of positivity and spirals. Determined not to let this spiral into an even worse day, I decided to plan an evening that I could look forward to. I emailed my partner and suggested that we go out to dinner that night (to one of my favorite restaurants) and then watch a movie (I had a good dvd waiting). So, all day, as I made my way through the stress, I also looked forward to the evening. The positive anticipation of the evening balanced out the stress of the day, and I maintained my focus rather than getting caught up in a spiral of stress or negativity.

The day was a good reminder for me about how to manage stress. We can't always plan a fun evening to balance a difficult day (sometimes time, money, or other commitments won't allow it). However we can try to plan something for later in the day or week, that will give us something positive on the horizon -- maybe it's just a walk with a friend, or a phone call to a distant friend, or an ice cream cone, or putting the head phones on and listening to a few favorite songs -- something that we do for ourselves, because we know it makes us feel good.

This strategy doesn't make the stress go away, doesn't cancel the pain of a loss, etc... but it can provide a touch of something positive, a sense that we can bring in some positivity even when things are hard. The point isn't to try to ignore or remove the stress (it's real), but rather to keep something positive in there and avoid negative or downward spiral.

Cheering you on in your work!

photo by HLS

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why do you visit The Encouragement Lounge?

Hi Friends... As you know, this blog is a mix of tips and strategies (time mgmt, stress mgmt, writing, APA, and group work), as well as humor, general encouragement, and occasional technology tool suggestions.

I am eager to know what YOU are seeking when you visit this blog? Please either respond in the comment section below or drop me an email at

Many thanks

Photo by Billy Alexander via stock.xchng

Friday, March 18, 2011

Saturday morning video -- most complicated pool trick ever!

Well, I don't know about "ever" but this is fun. Here is a quick, fun video to bring you a smile before you begin your work for the weekend!

Cheering you on in your work!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Collaboration and writing: The Humpty Dumpty Method

Melanie Booth, another educator/blogger who I have mentioned here before, and I are collaborating on a book chapter. Melanie describes the process with humor and accuracy:

On a more serious note... finding good collaborators is truly a gift -- thanks Melanie!

Cheering you all on in your work,

Photo by Ivan Prole, via stock.xchng

Monday, March 7, 2011

How's your confidence?

This is a good time to do a mid-semester confidence check.

1. Are you confident in your ability to finish your current course(s) and program? If not, what has you concerned? And who is a good person to talk with about this -- your advisor perhaps? I encourage you to set an appointment and have a conversation, your worry and lack of confidence can slow you down and give you stress -- try to work on this with someone.

2. Are you confident when you participate in class? If not, again, I encourage you to explore this with your advisor, another trusted teacher, or even a trusted classmate.

3. Are you confident that your program is helping you head in a desired direction career-wise (if that is why you entered the program)? If not, again, I encourage you to meet with your advisor, or other trusted faculty member, or someone in your career center.

Other thoughts, questions about confidence? I'd love to hear from you!

Cheering you on,

photo by HLS

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Busy, but saying hello!

Hi All, I continue to be swamped with work, but I value the blog and the feedback that I get from you (that the blog is helpful), so wanted to touch base. I hope your week is going well. Keep at it!


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