All Posts By

Robin Cordova

Circles of Influence

By | Positive Psychology

Photo credit: David Cordova

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Mother Teresa

We can’t deny the turmoil we see and feel around us every day during these times of great change in our world.  I believe most of us desire to stay hopeful, find ways to impact change in a positive way, and lead a happy thriving life.

Today I wanted to write about circles of influence because many are feeling concern, worry and fear about what the future holds. If we happen to be witnessing areas we have little control over, this understandably makes us feel angry, vulnerable and scared.

Positive psychology teaches us to focus first on the things that we can control, and also that our wellbeing is crucial to all success. Our greatest circle of influence is always going to be within our own selves. I support the idea of connecting first to our own life force energy, balance, vitality and wellbeing, and then look for ways to be an agent of change in our immediate environment.

Don’t minimize the positive impact you can have on someone else with a smile, a warm hug, or a helping hand. I view this as our next considerable circle of influence. This might include family, community, workplace or special cause. What need shows up in front of you that you feel drawn to contribute to? Selecting something that you can directly impact will give you a sense of hopefulness and confidence instead of feeling powerless or fearful.

Look for an opportunity you can stand up for and feel passionate about. When you are contributing from “passion” it is not a sacrifice, but rather a joy. If you are dedicated to operating first from a place of personal wellbeing and self love you never loose sight of the most important circle of influence — yourself. From there you will operate from a strong foundation and you’ll be amazed at the influence you can make towards a better, more peaceful loving world all around you. Watch the magic as it ripples out to your next circle of influence.

The Gift of “Yourself”

By | Positive Psychology

New Year’s Eve has always been one of my favorite days of the year, because I get excited about the idea that we are embarking on a new beginning with bright potentials.  A chance to wipe the slate clean and start fresh with new ideas, energy and possibilities.

As the year draws to a close, did you remember to gift yourself with a little self care this holiday season or are you winding down the year feeling a little depleted?  

Below is my recipe for rejuvenation and ringing in the New Year with the gift of “Yourself.”

Begin by carving out a little un-interrupted time, just for yourself, in a quiet place with pen, paper and your favorite soft music.

Get “heart centered,” which is a simple way to say settle into quieting your mind and speaking to and listening from your heart. This can be done with a few deep breathes, closing your eyes and letting go of the thoughts of the day.  

To make room for new in our lives, we have to first clear out the old and invite the new in. Start by asking your heart these questions and jot down the answer. These don’t have to be external things, they can be internal such as a belief or a self sabotage thinking pattern.

What no longer serves me?

If I let go of ______ it opens the possibility of _______?
What do I need less of?
Where have I been too hard on myself?
What attachments, limitations or fears have held me back this year?

We are more than our stories. We are more than our past and letting go of these attachments frees us to enter into a new year with more potentials and greater expansion than that which we are leaving behind from 2016. It frees up the space for something new to enter. Take a few breathes and decide to let go of the things you wrote down. Sometimes I’ll burn my list or tear it up in itty bitty pieces, like confetti.

Settle back into your “heart centered place” and start a new page titled 2017 and ask your heart these questions:

What would replenish, rejuvenate and nurture me in 2017?
What do I need more of?
What would bring more joy into my life?
Is there a new self care practice I want to put into my daily or weekly routine?
If there was nothing to fear—I would do this ________?

Now ring in the New Year and “gift yourself” those things you wrote down. You deserve them!

Happy New Year,

Robin

Three Nuggets for Thriving

By | Positive Psychology

Learning to thrive in life takes into account nurturing and developing the many aspects of ourselves. Ultimately we can’t leave any behind, but you don’t have to tackle everything at once. Research over the last few decades have shown that authentic happiness, joy and wellbeing comes from cultivating positive relationships, optimism, positivity, self care, health and vitality, meaningful and purposeful work, self expression, spirituality, goal achievement, curiosity and courage to continue growing and learning new things.

Consider the whole of your life yet work on the parts – select one or two areas to focus on at a time and dedicate yourself to making small, consistent changes in those areas until you have mastered and integrated the changes you want. Start with a bite size and when you have success there, then go onto another one or a bigger bite of your initial goal. This will make the greatest impact on your life and the changes you make will be permanent and more easily sustainable. What is one small change you can make in an area of your life to cultivate greater wellbeing? Can you find an accountability partner to share your successes with to help you stick with it?

Hold the vision – Positive psychology teaches us that our brains are hardwired to have a negativity bias which draws our attention to and a focus on what is wrong, what is not working, what we are lacking, where we have doubts and fears. When given one part positive and one part negative, our brain will focus on the negative. This creates a heaviness in our life and drains us of precious energy resources and motivation. Barbara Fredrickson, PhD and author of Positivity says “When we make a conscious effort to pull the majority our attention off the negative and redirect it toward the positive, we are better able to regenerate our energy.” Can you clarify and hold the vision of what you want and remind yourself daily what is going right and well in your life?

Nurture yourself – Find what authentically nourishes your soul, makes your spirit come alive, and give it to yourself regularly. This is not a selfish act, it is ultimately our job to be the steward of our own wellbeing. For me this is dancing, writing, or being out in nature. For my daughter it is working on her art or expressing herself creatively. Our culture doesn’t always teach us to take care of ourselves in this way, we easily forget to put ourselves on the list.   It is unique for everyone, what is it for you? What healthy practice rejuvenates you and makes you come alive? Notice how it makes you feel and build that into your day or week and make it a priority.

One final thought, start each day with a clean slate and a beginner’s mind. “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”, quote by Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki. Strive not to be a perfectionist, but rather let yourself be human, live fully, make mistakes to learn and grow and “begin again” every day!