Category Archives: Beauty & Personal Care

Marriage: is it about you or isn’t it?

roses and rings-marriage

An article going viral on social media lately is: “Marriage isn’t for you” by Seth Adam Smith.  Having got cold feet a year and a half into his own marriage he turned to his father for advice and was told that marriage is about the person you married and about family.  That is:

“Seth, you’re being totally selfish. So I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”

His critics have hit back to say that selfishness has become a dirty word and that marriage should be about you.  It should be about finding someone who makes you feel giddy and brings out the best in you.  After all, what if your other half is demanding and abusive?

Hey ho?  Well, Smith’s blog post does not cover every eventuality and every faucet of every relationship type out there!  It’s about learning to give to each other within an already healthy relationship.  It’s about not turning sour something you should learn to fully appreciate.  And how do you appreciate a good, healthy relationship?  By giving to each other, respectfully and unconditionally.

For those who are generous and giving to a fault, learning to be selfish protects you from the wrong kinds of relationships. 

I feel that those who hit out at Smith feel that relationships are the stuff of romance novels and hold unrealistic expectations of reality.  Much of life involves giving: you reap  what you sow.  Scary as it may seem, many should ask: how much effort have I put into this before they question how much return they are receiving.  I agree though, not all farmers are able to harvest a bumper crop at all times, despite the effort sown.  *Sigh*  That is also a fact of life: you win some and you lose some.  True, just because you give within a relationship does not mean that you will receive.  Unrequited love is not just the stuff of poems and forlorn artists.

I do believe that the wider, bigger picture of marrying for family is indeed a healthy view to hold.  It certainly gives one impetus and purpose of marriage, perhaps even giving meaning to life itself.

With Chinese New Year having just gone (31st January 2014 – Happy Year of the Horse!) it might be quite apt to add that the Chinese believe that happiness is having a family.

But, there is always the overhanging shadow about whether marriage is necessary.  After all, a committed couple is a committed couple and do not require a certificate to seal their love and commitment to each other.  What can be done within marriage can be done just as well outside of marriage, no?

My own belief is that marriage allows a relationship to progress that bit further: stepping up to the plate for the building of a family, perhaps.  There are some that view marriage as the destination i.e. time to kick-back, chill and let the relationship coast along in neutral.  Oh, how scary!  Or is it scarier to say that marriage is just the beginning!  I believe, when you say ‘I Do’ that is just the start of it all.  That is when the mutual giving needs to become second nature and appreciated for what it is: a show of love.

Studies have shown that it is the small, daily details that make or break relationships.  The hugs, the compliments, the doing of things for each other, the remembering of what he/she likes… So, it is not without reason that there are wedding games that test the strength of the newly wedded couple’s mutual knowledge of each others’ likes and dislikes which are believed to signal the future health of the marriage!

However, you can’t please everyone.  It takes wisdom to appreciate the daily details of life and to learn how to nurture relationships.  Have you heard?  It takes only minutes to pick up a bad habit, but a lifetime to learn good ones.  Life can be complicated or it can be simple; it can be difficult or it can be smooth.  It really depends on how you start and how you mean to go on: how will you lay your foundations for a healthy, happy and loving relationship/marriage?

I recently watched Channel 4’s Unreported World’s documentary on “China’s Lonely Hearts”.  By year 2020 there will be an excess of 24 million single men of marriageable age i.e. due to the one-child policy, families opted to have boys instead of girls and have caused a lop-sided gender divide.   The featured bachelor in the documentary stated that to be a pair seemed like a natural state, a happier state and he wanted to be paired up.  If you consider that marriage isn’t for you, then consider those 24 million men: would you rather be one of them?  Or do you believe that a relationship need not reach marriage potential?  That marriage is only for those wanting a family? 

I believe Smith’s father dug deep and gave his son great insight.  However, he didn’t say this: appreciate what you have.  Sometimes, we do take for granted what is under our very noses.  We see our partner day in and day out and forget just how much they mean to us.  They become just like the paint on our walls.  Can you name the colour of every room in your house?  Over time we begin to ignore the daily details and trivialities of life and view them as mundane and even insignificant.  That causes dissatisfaction.  Whoops.

Living the dream is, by definition, everyone’s dream.  But what is your dream?  What is your dream marriage?  Do you focus on the grand gestures or the bear hugs?  Studies have shown that in an unhappy marriage, grand gestures count for a lot less than within a happy marriage.  Learning to appreciate is not about grand gestures, it starts with bonding.  After all, as many a blind dater has told us: fabulous location, shame about the company! 

Quite frankly, it’s all about balance, right?  When you give, also learn to take with gratitude.  When you appreciate, show it.  So, is marriage for you?  I say, it’s got to be a match: you must both create a mutual relationship.  I was once told that I think too much and that when talking about other halves, one should feel head over heels and giddy with feelings.  Wow.  Don’t they know that some people just don’t like to be emotionally over-run?  Emotions can be tricky things and I prefer them to grow rather than hit me in the face.

So, how selfish should we be about marriage?  Tough to say.  If you find that your other half is being too giving/generous with you then do say so.  Don’t feel pressurized into giving just because you have received.  This could lead to emotional blackmail.  Really, the giving should be unconditional and from the heart (in an ideal world!) but if you feel blackmailed into returning ‘favours’ speak up.  Does he/she respect your view?  What if your other half doesn’t give easily?  Could it be that they believe they have given but you see it as something they should be doing anyway?  Take heed, not everyone shows love in the same way.  Is doing the dishes without asking a chore or a show of affection?  Some view sharing housework as a show of love.  Do you?  How do you divide the work within marriage?  With so many boundaries to cover, how on earth do you weigh up and calculate whether marriage is for you or not?  I say, if you both learn to give you can’t go far wrong.  Learning to live for others is tough, but don’t give up on yourself, that is, have an ego too!

How to get happy

Still in the pursuit of happiness?  But it’s eluding you?  Well, sometimes it’s by standing still, being calm and taking note of what is surrounding you and what is inside you that really makes a difference to your stuck-in-a-rut mindset on happiness.

If you rarely take the time to take stock of what you have and to count your blessings, then yes, happiness will elude you.  However, what if you don’t like what you are stocking up on, what you are counting up in your life?  Hmm… then it’s time to stop the rot, pluck out the rubbish and sow the good seeds in life.

Here are nine ways to guide you towards a better way to be happy in life.


Getting Happy: The Nine Things You Need to Know

www.eharmony.com
Barbara Waxman MS/MPA, America’s Favourite Coach for Adults, Midlife and Better



Happiness-Hands1

Pic source: TheMinimalists.com – “Minimalism and happiness through scientific eyes”

What creates authentic happiness?  It may not be what you think!

No 1.

Create your own set of ‘flow’ experiences

According to Mihily Csikszentmihalyi, being in a state of “flow”, the completely focused motivation and attention required for a given activity, is an indicator as important as reporting feelings of happiness.  This, he says, is what “makes for excellence in life”.  Flow activities are those where you are challenged to a level that requires your full attention, where you enjoy the process and where you are likely to lose track of time.  Skiing, cooking, gardening, hiking and singing are just a few examples of flow activities.

No 2.

Wake up!

The surest path to finding your own sense of personal happiness and balance is built upon an awareness of future possibilities and the extreme truth of the present moment.  Many ancient traditions know that the cultivation of mindfulness is an essential element of happiness.  How can you be mindful and present when life demands have you running from one thing to the next?  For one, take delight in the senses.  Wake up in the morning with full, cleansing breaths and welcome the day with gratitude.  Sit and eat.  Really taste your food.  Take a breath and focus for just three seconds before answering your phone.  Try those three things and see what a difference it makes.

No. 3

Learn to forgive

It has been said that hatred is like a poison pill which you ingest… and only cause damage to yourself.  Think of forgiveness as something you do for yourself.  Research shows that forgiving-types of people are less likely to be depressed, anxious or hold hostile feelings and are more likely to be agreeable, serene, healthier – the kind of person who has strong connections with others.

No. 4

Staying happy while coping with problems

There are two ways to remain positive while dealing with life’s curve balls. Engage in problem-focused coping, which involves action strategies and engaging in small steps to actually solve the issue at hand. Feel like you are doing something, even one small thing towards resolving or ameliorating the situation. The other way to cope is focused on emotions. This involves things like accepting rather than denying the situation and keeping yourself balanced through activities which help you including meditation, music and social support.

No. 5

Practice acts of kindness

Being kind to others is not only good for the recipient — but for you as well. According to Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness, kindness is like a natural tonic relieving guilt, distress and stress. And it’s contagious. When you are kind to others it may likely jumpstart a domino effect of positive social consequences as people literally pay that kindness forward to someone else.

No. 6

It’s all about relationships

It has been said that our number one health epidemic is social isolation. More women are living alone now than ever before. Having meaningful social connections is essential. You can actually boost happiness in your life by investing in nurturing, emotionally healthy social relationships. Value your friendships and spend time with the quality people in your life.

No. 7

Happiness Misconceptions

Many of us have been programmed to believe that material things will make us lastingly happy (money, going shopping, etc). The reality is that the ability to purchase things and have the status associated with money falls into the 10% category of life’s circumstances. And 10% isn’t all that much. True, lasting happiness is an “inside-out” experience.

No. 8

The happiness factor

Happiness is not a vague notion but can be understood as being 50% genetic; 10% based on circumstances like a new car, whether we are rich or poor, generally healthy or unhealthy; a full 40% of our sense of happiness is dependent upon our lifestyle and choices. The good news? Only 50% of our happiness is actually genetically predetermined. The other half of the equation is entirely up to us – meaning we can create happiness in our choices and life activities.

No. 9

Know where you are headed

People who strive for something significant to them, who actively set goals and have aspirations, report being happier. They create a roadmap for themselves and therefore avoid feeling lost. What we’ve found is that the process of working towards a goal is as important as that goals’ attainment. Create some short term goals to get started, allowing them to add structure and an anchor to your daily experience — and see how you feel.


About the Author: Barbara Waxman is a life and executive coach and author. The purpose of her work is to help adults at midlife and better to harness their personal and professional goals. Barbara is a regular guest on Leeza Gibbon’s Hollywood Confidential radio program, and has been featured on CNBC.com, Newsday, SmartMoney.com (WSJ) and U.S. News & World Report. She is a gerontologist and certified coach through the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara. She is a member of both the International Coach Federation and GILD (Global Institute for Leadership Development) Coaching Faculty. She is the special editor of How to Love Your Retirement, the most comprehensive collection of real advice from retirees transitioning to, and thriving in, retirement.

Co-habitation and weight gain

Goth

There is a tradition in some cultures that men and women would eat separately.  It appears that there is logic is the madness, but so long as we know where we might be going wrong with co-ed eating, we don’t have to make such staunch resolve to eat separately.  After all, where is the fun?  Where is the spice of life if everything must be done men vs. women?  Below is an article outlining what can be done if you find yourself gaining weight after moving in with your loved one.

 

Food, Love, Happiness

Marie Claire UK magazine
February 2013

weight-gain-2

   The average woman puts on 16lbs when she starts living with her partner.  Dietician Alison Hornby explains how to avoid the loved-up contentment trap.

DON’T snack and share his meals.  Women are more likely to snack, while men tend to eat larger meals.  Most women gain weight when they move in with a man because they carry on snacking and then match his portion sizes at mealtimes.

DON’T eat what he eats.  Women need 2,000 calories a day and should have no more than one unit of alcohol (a 125ml glass of wine), compared to men who can eat 2,500 and consume two units.  your plate should always be two-thirds of his.

DON’T be tempted to cut out dairy.  This can starve you of calcium and put you more at risk of osteoporosis.  It can also make you more susceptible  to sugary snacks.

DON’T assume a diet with less carbohydrate and fat is more nutritious.  Variety and moderation is the  key.

DON’T let your fridge go empty.  Couples who plan meals together tend to have healthier diets overall, especially if they cook quick and easy food, like a stir-fry rather than reaching for takeaways or meals out when the fridge is empty.  

Do you have a Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)?

Goth

 

Do you ever wonder about  your “alternative life”?  The life you could potentially be living?  The one where you really do have it all: your cake and you’re eating it?  How true is all of that?  Once you accept an option and go with it (well done for persevering or following through) you will have to accept that you have given up other options and traded in that time and effort to do something else.  It’s an opportunity cost: something that high-achievers understand thoroughly.

Don’t try to follow the crowd: if Twitter and Facebook aren’t for you, then stand by that.  You can always have an account to keep up-to-date with your friends’ comings and goings, but you don’t have to use it and participate.  We must all learn to live our lives on our own timeframes and with our own levels of satisfaction – that is one of the paths to being happier and more successful when it comes to enjoying what you have and being grateful.

Fear Of Missing Out FOMO-birds on a wire

 

pic source: TheLunchBoxDiaries.com,
FOMO: Fear of Missing Out

 

 

 

Say Goodbye to FOMO*
(*Fear Of Missing Out)

Marie Claire UK,
August 2012, p. 105
Anna Pursglove

Haven’t bought the right Zara trousers?  Didn’t make it to that party?  With every moment of your friends’ lives tweeted within seconds, Anna Pursglove discovers how to curtail the FOMO.

I am curled up on the sofa ready for the Desperate Housewives finale – my guiltiest of guilty pleasures – when my iPhone presents me with a slew of Facebook messages.  A group of girlfriends are also glued to the drama on Wisteria Lane, but they are all together… with wine… just a few miles away.

Before you waste your sympathy on me, the shunned friend, you should know that I was actually invited to this soiree.  I chose not to go.  It was on a perfectly sensible decision given the circumstances (weather – awful; workload – massive).  So why, when presented with uploaded photographs of my mates having fun, did I suddenly feel panicky?  As though I’d missed out on something in infinitely more important than a TV drama and a large glass of Merlot?

FOMO-girls having fun

pic source: www.womenshealthmag.com,
FOMO

I can, at least, take comfort in the knowledge that this form of social anxiety is a common one.  It’s been discussed so often in recent times, it even has its own acronym: FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).  The symptoms?  A nagging suspicion – fuelled by the forensic detail of other people’s lives we are privy to via social media – that our own existences are somehow lacking.  If only we’d made the right decisions, we berate ourselves, we’d have the fascinating careers/ relationships/ opinions/ offspring/ social lives that we perceive others all around us to have.

Canvassing other women on the issue, I discover that many of my friends are wrestling with FOMO.  Holly, a 30-year old TV producer, tells me, ‘I spend far too much time worrying about what others are doing.  Media people do love using Facebook,, Twitter and the like to show off, so I have this constant sense that I’m not in the loop – not doing the cool thing.  I have this ridiculous feeling that if I could just behave a bit more like them, then I’d suddenly become some kind of Bafta-winning director.  It’s as though other people have this magic formula for a successful life which is eluding me.’

Meanwhile, Katy, 34, a nurse, says FOMO has her panicking that she’s missed the opportunity to be a mother.  ‘I’ve risen up the ranks quite fast and I love my job,’ she says.  ‘Consequently, guess I haven’t exactly prioritised my relationships and they’ve all fizzled.  Just recently, however, I’m spending more and more time analysing my friends’ lives – mostly via social networking sites – and questioning decisions I made in my twenties.  If I’d got to know such-and-such a guy better, would I be the one tweeting about which school my kids had got into?’

So many of  us, in fact, proclaim ourselves so plagued by the ghosts of what might have been that renowned psychoanalyst Adam Phillips has devoted his latest book, Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life (£20, Hamish Hamilton), to the subject.  In the opening pages, Phillips sets out the problem as he sees it: ‘As we know more than ever before about the kinds of lives it is possible to live – and affluence has allowed more people than ever before to think of their lives in terms of choices and options – we are always haunted by the myth of our potential… Our lives become an elegy to needs unmet and desires sacrificed, to possibilities refused, to roads not taken.’

Woman and sun in stained glass

pic source: resolutefitness.wordpress.com,
Positive Self Talk

So, are we in danger of defining ourselves not by what we’ve achieved but by what we’ve missed out on.  But as the title of the book suggests, there is another way of thinking about it.  According to Phillips, our unlived lives are crucial to our well-being.  It’s time, he says, to start viewing the concept of ‘missing out’ in a more positive light.  The very act of making choices, he says, is a productive one and when we miss out on one experience, we open ourselves up to the potential of another.  We need to realise that our daydreams give us satisfaction even when we don’t act on them.  ‘Satisfaction,’ he writes, ‘is looked forward to before it happens – we have the experience in our minds before we have the experience.’

So how exactly do we stop wasting precious time fretting about what might have been?  Jessica Chivers, author and life coach, agrees FOMO is a growing problem and that modern women caught up in the the work-versus-social-life-versus-motherhood struggle are particularly prone to it.

supermarket aisle

pic source: gethealthyharlem.org

Part of the problem is the number of choices available to us all, she says.  We are told that plenty of choice is a good thing – and, of course, all of us facing this dilemma are lucky.  But in psychological terms, it isn’t necessarily positive.  ‘This is well studied by psychologists,’ says Chivers.  ‘When presented with lots of choice, we become less efficient at making a decision and are far less happy with the decision we do eventually make. If I put you in a supermarket aisle with nine different types of cornflakes, you would enjoy your breakfast less than if you’d popped into the garage and had to buy the only brand they stocked’  It’s no wonder we can feel confused and anxious about our life decisions.

Yet, says Chivers, far from being a disaster, missing out opens up pathways previously hidden from us.  She uses the example of missing out on a promotion.  ‘You feel it was your time,’ she says.  ‘Your skills were right, you were in the right place mentally – of course you feel aggrieved about not getting the gig.  But it is in just these situations that people often make great career moves.  The act of preparing yourself for the job – even though you didn’t get it – has moved you on  mentally.  You are now more likely to broaden your horizons and stretch yourself.  You’ll begin to see opportunities that you were blind to before.

And finally, say our experts, don’t underestimate the power of the daydream.  As Adam Phillips points out, this is the realm in which we experience satisfaction before we’ve even had an experience, so by that logic it doesn’t matter if you miss out – you can be satisfied in advance whatever the outcome.  Chivers agrees, adding: ‘Daydreaming isn’t a way of opting out of “real life” – it’s a safe place to explore possibilities.  You will reject most of the things you fantasise about in that you won’t actually do them but that editing process is vital to our mental well-being.  When we have explored options and rejected some in favour of others, then we develop what psychologists call an “internal locus of control” – in other words, we feel that we are masters of our own destiny.’

optimistic2

pic source: http://realbalancewellness.wordpress.com 
The Optimistic Advantage in Being Well

So the message is that even if you can’t summon up a throaty ‘je ne regrette rien’ just yet, rejecting the acronym FOMO in favour of the infinitely more proactive MOBO (Missing Out But Optimistic) is a very good place to start.

—————————————–

Ways to beat FOMO

  1. Step away from the keyboard.  Social media fuels FOMO, so if you’re a Facebook and Twitter addict, allow yourself the occasional information detox.
  2. Make active decisions about the things you pass up. If it holds less short-term pleasure or long-term benefit than the alternative, then it’s probably not worth doing.
  3. If you’re going to do one thing well then accept this will mean missing out on the other things.  People who excel miss out all the time – they just don’t worry about it.
  4. Too much choice is not necessarily a good thing.  Cut down on the amount of time you spend researching alternatives.  If an option works for you, stick with it.
  5. Recognise that an opportunity not taken means you get to check out other options.  The first thing to come up may not be the best choice.

Are unconscious, repetitive, internal scripts ruining your chances of achieving your dreams?

GothIs your past holding you back?  Do you keep running into the same brick walls and dead ends as you did 10 years ago?  Is your life moving into a very decisive standstill?  Only you can break these habitual cycles of repetitive negative thoughts.  It’s not the end of the world to have negative thoughts, but then again it doesn’t bring you any closer to fulfilling your dreams. 

If, by going home to visit your parents in your childhood home, you suddenly regress into a bawling kid whose toys have been chucked out of his pram and you can’t seem to break out of it, then you need to read on. 

It is strange, but true, the familiar can be comforting and provide us with a sense of security but it can also hold us to ransom when it comes to moving forwards and upwards.  A sign of madness, it has been said, is to attempt the exact same thing a hundred times and to expect a hundred different outcomes. 

New approaches to the same old problems are your way out: your way to liberation!  Pay attention to what negatively impacts you and work on changing it.  Do something different about it!


Rewrite your Groundhog Life

Red magazine | Life Coach
December 2009
Anna Magee

Many of us fall into the trap of what therapists call Negative Automatic Thoughts (NATs): the (internal) scripts we repeatedly run through our heads in certain situations, which inevitably lead us to the same upsets, rows and frustrations.  According to psychologists, while negative scripts underpin most of the reasons people seek therapy, we can learn to edit, challenge or change them.  The result is more happiness, success and better relationships – like winning the emotional lottery.

‘It’s nice to think that we learn fro past experience,’ says psychotherapist Christine Webber.  ‘But, psychologically, most of us see things in an ingrained way, and that influences the things we tell ourselves – our internal scripts – which inevitably influence our thoughts and behaviour.’  Webber says it’s usually between the ages of 35 and 40 that her female clients notice they repeat certain scripts that have led them to the same feelings, behaviours and outcomes.  ‘By their late thirties, some women have realised they are always going for the unavailable man, trying to please others, shying away from promotion or feeling worthless in certain family situations,’ says Webber.  ‘They come to me wanting to change.  We identify the repetitive internal script that is holding them back and set out to rewrite it.’

What’s the evidence that your script will not change?

The object of asking for evidence says Webber, is to help you identify your internal script and pose questions you can later ask yourself in relevant situations.  This technique can be liberating.  E.g. concerned about leaving the security of her teaching post to write a novel, Sally and her life coach came up with eight different ways to make money while Sally wrote the book.  Sally set up an eBay business selling retro memorabilia (her hobby) within a week of leaving her teaching job.

‘Our script is written as a result of the core beliefs we have about ourselves,’ says Helen Whiten, a psychotherapist and author of Cognitive Behavioural Coaching Techniques For Dummies (John Wiley & Sons, £15.99).  ‘The brain is designed to build habits, so emotional habits and repetitive thought patterns become automatic, meaning your script becomes virtually unconscious.’

So, how can we change our scripts?

First, recognise the situations or people that repeatedly have a negative impact on you.  ‘Then, plan something different,’ advises Whitten.  ‘You can’t just tell yourself you will change – you need to accept the script is there and actively rewrite it.  Changing habitual thinking is like relearning to drive a car.  If it doesn’t feel awkward at first, it’s probably not working.’

Identifying your script patterns with other people can help in situations where the same person keeps winding you up in the same way.  E.g. Heather’s rows with her mother resulted from Heather always springing news on her mum at the last minute.  This usually happened at Christmas when Heather only tells her mother at the last minute she is unable to spend Christmas with her.  So, to change the script Heather sat down with her mother and explained that she’d be unable to spend Christmas Day with her, because she would be spending the day with her new partner’s family and his two daughters; but she’d be with her on Boxing Day.  Heather’s mother was fine with this and it was the first time in years they didn’t have a row about Christmas.

By changing your internal script from “Women like you don’t do that kind of thing” to “What’s the evidence we don’t” you can fulfil your dreams sooner than you might think.

———————————-

How to change your script

by Leonora Brosan, consultant clinical psychologist and author of Overcoming Stress: A Self-Help Guide to Cognitive Behavioural Techniques (Robinson, £10.99)

  1. Recognise it : keep a diary

    Keep a journal and note situations that make you feel bad.  For each one, take these three steps.
    1. Describe the situation
    2. Make a note of how you feel.  For example, are you crippled by nerves or sad about the future?
    3. Ask yourself, ‘What was going through my mind at the point where I was feeling so miserable?’
  2. Challenge it : be your own therapist
    One of the first ways a psychologist will try to help you change your script, once it’s identified, will be by challenging it.
    You can do this for yourself whenever a familiar old script comes up.  For example, if it’s ‘No-one will ever love me’, ask yourself, ‘What’s the evidence for that?’ or quite simply, ‘Why not?’
  3. Edit it
    Changing your internal script takes time, as you replace habitual thought patterns with positive new ones.  In the meantime, use the following tricks to help shift your script:
    1. Long, calm, deep breathing will help – especially if your script involves the way you communicate.  Breathe quietly and calmly, in for four and out for four.
    2. Imagine you had a twin who didn’t have this repetitive way of thinking.  How would she feel in this situation?  How would she react?  Would she react?
    3. Think about the way you behave that keeps getting you the same results.  Then create a plan B.  Write down an alternative way of feeling or behaving next time that situation arises.  For example, if your script is, ‘My sister and I always row’, try saying to yourself, ‘When she does this thing that always winds me up, I will try not to respond in the usual way’.  It can be tough, but it works.
  4. Change it : rewrite the script
    After a few weeks, look back at your emotional diary and identify the situations that lead to repetitive script patterns.  Then rewrite your belief into something succinct, realistic and positive.  Keep that thought on hand and replace the negative script with it when next you’re in that situation.

——————————-

Do you think you would benefit from a mentorship?

Goth

Ever thought of becoming a mentor?  Or even a protégé (male), a protégée (female), an apprentice or, in recent years, a mentee?  What’s involved in this relationship and who comes out top? After all, why become a mentor?

Did you know, studies have proved that employees who are not in receipt of a mentorship are twice as likely to leave compared to those have been assigned a mentor?

Mentorship refers to a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. However, true mentoring is more than just answering occasional questions or providing ad hoc help. It is about an on-going relationship of learning, dialog, and challenge.” – quoted from wikipedia

Read on to understand more about the rewards reaped by both mentor and mentee.


Drawn from:

My Marie Claire
Mentor Changed My Life

Marie Claire UK | Inspire & Mentor
June 2011
Emma Elms

Our campaign, in association with the Prince’s Trust, offers the chance to be mentored by some of Britain’s most influential women.  Here, nine of last year’s winners – and their mentors – reveal what happened next.

—————–

1) Fashion: ‘My mentor taught me to toughen up’

Lola Adeshigbin, 28, from London, is founder of Independent African fashion boutique agnesandlola.com; her day job is as a financial consultant.  Her mentor was Sarah Walter, 45, founder of style-passport.com, an online boutique selling holiday clothes and beauty products.  Sarah was formerly director of fashion communications at River Island.

Things that were covered during the mentorship
  • How to get featured in major fashion magazines.
  • How to appeal to your target market.
  • Developing a clear brand.
  • Improving and focusing the business plan.
  • Ensuring that you market yourself in the right way by sharing your vision.
  • How to reject products that don’t fit with the company ethos.
  • Be clearer and tougher with demands when dealing with staff and suppliers.
Three things learnt
  1. Devising a one-sentence summary pinpointing what your brand is about and only stock things that meet those criteria.
  2. Think long-term.  Realistically, don’t expect to break even for three years and don’t expect to make a profit for five.  In the first three years, focus on investing in the business.
  3. Stay business-minded.  Be firm with staff and suppliers and communicate clearly what you need them to do and by when.
Results

Sales have increased and products have been featured in two major glossy magazines.

The mentor’s story
  • Passion, enthusiasm and ideas are a starting block, but you need to get it all down in a coherent plan that makes business sense.
  • Needed help with clarifying the vision and business strategy.
  • Receiving products sporadically with variable profit margins is not the way to go – receive more regular deliveries.
  • Time management is an issue since she can’t work 14-hour days while she also has a full-time job.
  • Encouragement to build an advisory board of personal contacts: contact other people interested in African fashion for advice and support.
  • Becoming a mentor has realised enjoyment in working with young women who have a passion.
  • Women seem more open than most men about sharing knowledge – ego just doesn’t come into it.

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2) Accessories: ‘My mentor made me determined to make my brand the new must-have name in handbags’

Kate Bostock, 53, is executive director for clothing at Marks & Spencer.  She has been mentoring Claire Watt-Smith, 27, founder and MD of BoBelle accessories.

The mentor’s story
  • Great design ideas are a start, but must also have knowledge of how a supply chain works.
  • The experience has reminded Kate of how important it is to make time for young, talented entrepreneurs.
The winner’s story
  • A mentor who loves your products is a plus.
  • Started to meet with M&S buyers and working on an exclusive range that launces in spring in two London stores and online.
  • Determined to make BoBelle the new must-have name in handbags.

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3) Education: ‘My mentor gave me a big picture view’

Kanya King, 40, is the founder and chief executive of the MOBO Awards.  She had been mentoring Beth Nicholls, 33, founder of educational and creative project Do What You Love, which uses art retreats and online courses to give women the tools and inspiration to do what they really want with their lives.

The mentor’s story
  • Thrilling to watch Beth develop.
  • Continue to be there every step of the way.
The winner’s story
  • Kanya offered a big picture view, fresh ideas and contacts.
  • Most importantly Kanya made me believe in myself and what I’m doing.
    www.dowhatyouloveforlife.com

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4) Theatre: ‘My mentor gave me the courage to quit my job’

Fiona Levey, 22, is a budding theatre director and producer.  She works as a drama assistant at the Uppingham School and Theatre, Rutland.  Her mentor was Sally Greene, 48, owner and chief executive of The Old Vic.

Things covered during the mentorship
  • Thinking big e.g. instead of applying for admin jobs why not try for assistant director or trainee producer.
  • Boosting confidence: relevant experience, although regional still makes it applicable.
  • Taking the plunge: handing in notice to apply for jobs you thought were out of your league.
  • Arranging to shadow staff at The Old Vic.
  • Encouragement leading to becoming more adventurous in own shows.
Three things learnt
  1. Make the most of every networking opportunity.
  2. Aim high.  Apply for jobs that might seem out of reach.  Just sound confident about the experience you already have.
  3. Even if you ultimately want to a job in a big London theatre, regional experience counts for a lot.  If a good role comes up somewhere you hadn’t expected, be open to moving rather than settling for an admin role in a big

    city.

    The mentor’s story
    • Sally has an ethos of nurturing new talent.
    • Always believed in mentoring – the theatre industry relies on people wanting to help the next generation along.
    • Breaking into production is difficult: it is traditionally male dominated.
    • Took the time to connect with Fiona on a personal and professional level.
    • Gave Fiona access to the day-to-day running of her businesses by arranging for her to shadow staff at her companies.
    • Suggested relocation to London because it is where she needs to be to launch her career.
    • Loves Fiona’s drive and the fact she’s a dreamer – allows a mentor to re-access that part of the self that’s uninhibited.

    —————–

    5) Cosmetics: ‘Me mentor helped me to finally pursue my long-established dream’

    Julie McManus, 39, is head of scientific and technical-regulatory affairs at L’Oreal.  She has been mentoring Maria Salichou, 28, who is in the process of setting up her own cosmetics company.

    The mentor’s story
    • Julie never thought how her personal experiences could benefit someone else.
    • Incredibly rewarding to help Maria – it is the beginning for a long friendship.
    The winner’s story

    —————–

    6) Interior design: ‘My mentor made me feel so strong’

    Kelly Hoppen, 50, is an interior designer and owner of Kelly Hoppen Interiors.  She has been mentoring Madeleine Casey, 34, founder of interior consultancy Madeleine Casey Design.

    The mentor’s story
    • After 33 years in business, it is great to share experiences with Madeleine at the beginning for her journey.
    • The road can be tough and it is a wonderful thing to have someone more experienced to turn to for advice.
    • Kelly has felt hugely flattered to take part in this mentoring process.
    The winner’s story
    • I have been taught that self-belief and self-confidence are the most important characteristics of any businesswoman.
    • Also have learnt to be versatile and flexible in order to succeed.
    • Madeleine has never felt so strong.

    —————–

    7) Jewellery: ‘My mentor gave me direction’

    Kat Anderson, 28, from London, is an aspiring jewellery designer.  Her mentor was Marcia Kilgore, 42, founder of Bliss spas and the Soap & Glory bath and beauty line, which sells in Boots nationwide.

    Things covered during the mentorship
    • Even though it is a creative industry, how to engage the business brain too and to approach the bigger picture; otherwise you’re just a hobbyist.
    • Crucially, how to think about yourself as a brand.
    • Moving from conceptual designing to thinking about how you are going to sell the design to someone.
    • How to learn related skills to really help with your work.
    • How to gain a strong direction.
    Three things learnt
    • Work out what it is about you and your brand that makes you unique.
    • Chase people – and if someone says no, keep going back to them.
    • Think about the customer – who are you selling to?  How wearable are your products and how easy are they to reproduce i.e bringing realism to your designs.
    The mentor’s story
    • A lot of people have given Marcia the benefit of their wisdom over the course of her career and it’s a nice feeling to now be in the position to do the same for others.
    • Loves seeing young talent flourish and it’s great to think of knowledge being passed down.  Also interesting to look back over 20 years to remember what she didn’t know back then – it’s a reminder of how far she has come.
    • Marcia could tell Kat was incredibly gifted and could see her work in Harvey Nichols or Net-A-Porter, but like a lot of people starting out, she needed to work out what she wanted her business to be and where she wanted it to go.
    • Marcia gets a lot of young girls going to her to ask for advice and she always asks them the same thing: what are you trying to achieve?  Do you want to make lots of money, or just make beautiful things, or both?  She helped Kat work that out.
    • Kat struck Marcia as a thinker – it’s a great trait to know when to listen rather than just to say something for the sake of it.  No doubt she’ll go far.
    • More than anything, do not be afraid to ask for help.  It took Marcia a long time to work that one out.

    —————–

    8) Film and interactive media: ‘My mentor has been inspirational’

    Dawn Airey, 50, started out as a trainee at Central Independent Television and is currently chairman and chief executive of Five.  She has been mentoring Anna Bertmark, 28, founder of Attic Sound & Music, a company that provides music and sounds for film and interactive media.

    The mentor’s story
    • Dawn has learnt a huge amount from Anna about the challenges of being a woman in sound and would like to think she has given Anna clarity on career direction.
    • Dawn has felt honoured to guide such a wonderful young woman who can always call on her for advice.
    The winner’s story
    • Has been inspired.
    • Been instilled with confidence to contact anyone – no matter how important – to further the career.

    —————–

    9) HR consultancy: ‘My mentor helped me to secure important business contacts’

    Claudine Collins, 42, is head of investment press at media agency network MediaCom.  She has been mentoring Margaret Marsh, 40, founder of HR consultancy service Doverhay Consulting.

    The mentor’s story
    • Mentoring has been so rewarding.
    • Madeleine’s approach to work and its challenges is so inspiring.
    The winner’s story
    • Since being mentored, has secured three important business contacts.
    • Whenever nervous in situations can think, “How would Claudine tackle this?” – it works every time.

    —————–

    Do you have counselling skills you use on your friends?

    Goth

    As we are becoming more and more emotionally literate, it is only natural that we would want to use our new-found intelligent skills on the people close to us: our family and friends.  However, some people confuse matters and start to feel that their ‘free’ therapeutic counselling skills are part and parcel of their role as friend, or even might feel under-rewarded in the friendship for having exerted and given that much more over the long run. 

    A friend is not a therapist and a therapist is not a friend; but the two roles might be embodied within the same person.  The two roles, in fact, do have contradictory qualities which could lead to friction, confusion and tension within the friendship.  But there are ways to subtly change and blend the two roles to avoid this: setting boundaries is also very important. 

    One danger sign of it affecting your relationship is one friend feeling a greater tilt of power, or level of giving, towards one friend rather than it being balanced between the two friends.  A friendship is best when it takes the form of give and take in balanced measures over the long term. 

    Read on to discover more about how to build counselling into your friendship without harming it.


    Should you play shrink to your friends?

    Psychologies | self
    July 2011
    Hannah Borno

    We all like to feel needed, but what happens to a friendship when one person is constantly supporting the other?  What lies behind our compulsion to counsel, and how can you change your role?

     

    Sympathy or therapy?

    In today’s emotionally literate culture, the cosy moan over a cup of tea and biscuits can easily morph into a deeper arrangement.  It’s those who have a little bit of extra insight, either from having been in therapy themselves, or having read about these issues, who are more likely to take their sympathy to the next level.

    However, dabbling as a part-time therapist has its occupational hazards: a therapist isn’t a friend – it’s something else.  The therapist tries first of all to understand the client’s world view, and then, at a certain point in the process, will begin to challenge that and their behaviour.

    It’s this second phase of therapy, the ‘challenging’, that could prove problematic.  ‘What defines a friendship more than anything is loyalty,’ says Dorothy Rowe, author of Friends & Enemies (HarperCollins).  ‘And if you start challenging your friend as a therapist might, your friend might think, “I thought you were on my side and you’re not.”  Indeed, attempting to give your friend therapy might be a good way to ruin a friendship.’

    While Rowe advises against it, Virginia Mallin a psychotherapist (counsellingsoutheast.co.uk) believes a legitimate case can be made for challenging the behaviour of our friends.  ‘We can say something such as, “Hang on – you’re crying again.  It’s awful, but you’ve been here before.  Why do you think you keep ending up like this?”  If this is done in a loving, empathetic way, it can be very effective,’ she says.

    There is no guarantee of success, however.  ‘It’s impossible to change people unless the person has already decided to change,’ says Rowe.  ‘If they’re not ready, then talking about themselves becomes a kind of hobby, which makes them feel better.’  Both parties can find themselves locked in what Rowe calls ‘a continuing soap opera’, without reaching any kind of resolution.

    Feel-good counselling

    Giving our friends ‘free’ therapy fulfils very different needs in us.  We might be the martyr-like, exploited ‘giver’ who puts in the time to assuage our guilt.  ‘Responding to a plea for help brings out our nurturing, giving and rescuing self and makes us feel good,’ says Mallin.

    Another ‘therapist personality’ is the bossy ‘fixer’, such as Rosalyn, who enjoys bringing clarity to a messy situation.  But if we examine ourselves closely, we may discover a less attractive type – the ‘superior’ friend who uses this dynamic to feel powerful.  ‘This happens when we are always measuring ourselves against the other person and building up our personal pride,’ says Rowe.  In the worst- case scenario, the ‘powerful’ friend can feel hurt when the weaker one finally sorts out her problems and moves on.

    Warning signs

    In a healthy friendship, the therapist role is one we should play only occasionally.  ‘The aim of a therapist is that the person changes and stops coming to see you,’ says  Rowe.  ‘If you have a friend who keeps coming to you to talk about her problems, you need to ask yourself, “Is this the kind of relationship I want?” because she is using you, and that’s not a friendship.’

    So, feeling angry or irritated because we feel exploited is an excellent warning sign.  ‘When we don’t get anything back, we may feel anger for feeling used,’ says Mallin.  ‘But we need to think, “Have I put myself in that position so that I’m always the powerful one, or the one who gives so I feel better about myself?”

    Yet when we do get the balance right, counselling our friends can greatly enrich our life.  ‘When you know that your support and your advice have helped a friend through a bad time, it can feel deeply gratifying,’ says Jen.  ‘And I hope one day they’ll be there fore me.’

    Contributors

    Virginia Mallin, psychotherapist (counsellingsoutheast.co.uk)
    Dorothy Rowe, author of Friends & Enemies (HarperCollins)

    ———————————————-

    How to counsel without ruining your friendship

    1. Ask open-ended questions rather than questions that can be answered by ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
    2. Rather than analysing your friend’s behaviour outright, share your own experiences and draw parallels.
    3. Ask them questions such as: ‘What do you really feel inside?’, ‘How do you think you could move forward?’ and ‘What is your real instinct?’.  This will help your friend see the merit of their own counsel.
    4. Set a generous time limit, but stick to it.  Ensure that you speak to your friend when it’s convenient for you, so if she rings you up and you’d rather not talk, set another time.  Then, when you do speak to her, tell her you’ll have to go after 45 minutes.
    5. If you feel you’re stuck in a rut of endless analysis, suggest a different activity to change focus.  Stop meeting for coffee and go to the cinema instead.
    6. Learn  to tolerate other people’s difficult feelings.  It’s hard, but if someone is crying or in deep emotional pain, try not to jolly them out of it and cheer them up.  Instead, stay beside them, allowing them to feel what they are feeling without judging them.
    7. Feeling resentful or angry is a sign that the friendship is out of balance, so make sure that, over time, you are getting back as much as you put in.

    ————————————

    Where does your time go?

    GothWhat would you do if you could have more time on your hands?  Well, maybe you have more time than you know what to do with, if only you really knew where it all goes.  Apparently, the two biggest excuses for not fulfilling dreams is lack of time and money. 

    It is exhausting having to be efficient every day just to keep up with life and what it throws at us, but maybe it needn’t be as difficult as that.  We need to grant time to do chores and run errands and it is best to do these swiftly, but there is nothing wrong with enjoying the process as opposed to the result i.e. savour the time spent queuing at the bank, yet be alert to whether you have joined the slowest queue. 

    We needn’t be multi-tasking all the time to make the most of our time, instead, sometimes that time is wasted by ‘haste makes waste’.  If something is worth doing then it is worth doing properly, and sometimes multi-tasking just isn’t the way.  Perhaps think about areas of time which are slack and where the fat can be culled e.g. inane meeting babble.  Anyway, read on to find out how to get your extra hour in your day…


    How to get an extra hour in your day

    Psychologies | this life
    July 2011
    Rosie Ifould

    Do you ever feel you just don’t have enough time to do everything?  There are some clever ways to reclaim our time, without missing out on a wink of sleep…

    ‘The two biggest excuses people ever give for not doing the things they really want to do are lack of money and lack of time,’ says life coach Fiona Harrold (fionaharrold.com).  That may not come as a surprise to most of us; how often do you use the ‘not enough hours in the day’ excuse yourself?

    At this time of year, when some nostalgic impulse triggers memories of long childhood summers, it’s easy to feel as if our time is no longer our own.  So, how can you reclaim your time, without taking a pay cut or neglecting your friends and family?  Fortunately, there are easy ways to find more free time in your day – without sacrificing an hour of sleep.

    Do a time audit

    Be honest – how much of your day do you spend checking emails, or sitting in front of the television?  We’re very bad judges of how much time we spend on different tasks, and research indicates that spending time on the internet or computer games actually distorts our perception of time even further (even when we’re doing other things).  If you’ve never done a time audit, try using the exercise outlined.

    Avoid ‘presenteeism’

    For many of us, the number one drain on our free time is the extra half hour of overtime we do every day.  Do you leave work at 5:30pm on the dot, or do you linger, because you don’t want to be the first one out?  If your office has a culture of presenteeism, it’s up to you to challenge it.

    ‘Working more doesn’t mean you care more or get more done.  It just means you work more,’ says Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, authors of Rework (Vermilion).  According to them, workaholics ‘don’t look for ways to be more efficient because they actually like working overtime.  They enjoy feeling like heroes.  They create problems (often unwittingly), just so they can get off on working more’.  If this sounds familiar, think about whether your efforts are being duly noted, or whether anyone would really take offence if you did the hours you were paid.  You might even find that your colleagues are relieved you’ve taken a stand on the matter.

    Cancel face-to-face meetings

    Face-to-face meetings are highly prized by many businesses.  We believe that, as technology advances, it’s important to protect our personal contact.  But are all your meetings valuable?

    ‘Face-to-face meetings are one of the things you want to reduce to a minimum,’ says Harrold.  ‘People have a tendency to talk, just so it looks as if they’ve got something to say.’

    Again, audit your time – when you have a meeting scheduled, do you work right up to it, or do you waste 15 minutes beforehand making a cup of tea, then waste another 15 minutes afterwards online, as a way of ‘settling back into it’?  If you’ve got time to spare, great – but if you’re constantly having to stay late in order to meet your deadlines, challenge every request for a meeting.

    ‘Ask yourself, do you actually need to schedule a meeting, or can you just make a decision now?’ advises Harrold.

    Stop procrastinating

    You know you procrastinate, but understanding why you do it can help you beat it once and for all.  For many of us, the root of our procrastination is our desire to get things right – the more perfectionist we are, the more we procrastinate, because we’re fearful of making the wrong decision or messing things up before we even start.

    ‘Putting a task off results in two things,’ says Harrold.  ‘First, the task takes on a life of its own.  Second, its importance becomes elevated in our mind, so we feel we have to put even more time and energy into it.’  If you have a tendency to waste time before staring important projects, remember that making a start, even if it’s only for 10 minutes, will help make things seem more possible.  And get used to the idea of things being ‘good enough’ rather than perfect – if you start now,  you’ll have time to refine later on.

    Value your free time

    So, you’ve got a free afternoon for the first time in months.  What are you going to do with it?  This is a crucial question.  For many of us, our lack of time is a problem with perception, not the reality of how many hours there are in the day.

    You might feel guilty for spending an hour on the sofa watching TV, but if that’s the only downtime you and your partner have together, what’s wrong with valuing it?  If we can reframe what quality time means to us, we may find that we have enough time to do everything, and stop feeling as if we’re always playing catch-up.

    ————-

    Take our time audit

    You might think all of your time is spent meeting work deadlines or running around after your family, but are you seeing the full picture?  Most of us find it difficult to pinpoint with accuracy where our time really goes.  Try using our time audit for a week – the results might surprise you.

    • Find a timer with an alarm.
    • Start from when you wake up, set the alarm to go off at 30 minute intervals.  Avoid programming it to go off exactly on every hour or half hour, advises Mark Shead of productivity501.com.  The ‘top or bottom of the hour’ times tend to be when we are ‘switching contexts’, he says, such as going to lunch, or to a meeting.  Instead, set the alarm for an odd time such as 11 or 17 minutes past the hour.
    • When the alarm goes off, write down what you are doing at that moment, then set the alarm to go off in another 30 minutes.
    • Continue this throughout the day.
    • Try again for subsequent days, but set the alarm for a different minute every day, so you don’t automatically adjust to try and ‘cheat’.  Alternatively, try auditing your time on alternative days, or seven random days in a three-week period, to give you a more accurate picture of where your time goes.
    • When you’re collected a week’s worth of data, you can go through an analyse it.  Choose how you’d like to evaluate your time – you could do it in terms of importance (‘very important’, ‘useful’, ‘somewhat useful’, ‘pointless’) or purpose (‘family time’, ‘personal admin’, ‘work’, ‘relaxation’, etc.),  You might be surprised to discover you spend a lot of time working on low-priority projects, or that you have seven hours of leisure time a week to do with as you please.
    • What conclusions can you draw from this new information?  Have you discovered a pattern in how productive you are throughout the day, perhaps?  Can you see easy ways to rearrange your priorities, to free up more time?  How could you restructure your day?

    Is your mind filling up with trivial irrelevance?

    GothWho doesn’t need a mental check-in every so often?  Preferably regularly than infrequent and sporadic.  Apparently we do need to service and maintain our grey matter for it to function at peak performance, especially as we age. 

    They have discovered that relaxation allows us to purge our minds of irrelevant clutter.  So, if you don’t do a daily cleanse at the end of the day, may we suggest you get onto an annual service and cleanse? 

    Mind you, a daily cleanse and an annual cleanse are not the same and probably are not substitutes for one another.  It is suggested that is what our vacations are for: a mental workout.


    Time for a mental spring clean

    Psychologies magazine | Upfront ideas | Mind
    June 2011

    If spring is the season to declutter your home, make summer the time to clear out your mind.  Research* suggests that the older we get, the more irrelevant information we store in our heads.  And the more mental clutter, the harder it is to retain memories and find practical solutions to life’s everyday problems.

    ‘Older adults are less able to keep irrelevant information out of their consciousness, which then affects other mental abilities,’ says Mervin Blair, one of the authors of the study.  ‘If you don’t reduce your mental clutter, you may not get anything done.’

    He recommends relaxation exercises to keep your mind clutter-free, whatever your age.  Yoga works well, or a more seasonal way to refresh your mind might be to lie on a beach with a book in one hand and a tall, iced drink in the other.  And if anyone asks, you can tell them you’re just doing your mental workout or a little summer cleansing.

    *Mervin Blair et al, ‘The Role of Age and Inhibitory Efficiency In Working Memory Processing And Storage Components’, The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 2010

    What’s brilliant about strength training?

    Goth

    I love strength training; not to be confused with body-building.  I love getting toned up.  But it is really difficult to find similar in other women.  All too often they have the out-dated idea that once toned up they’ll turn flabby if they don’t keep it up.  Well, it depends how far you go.  It is tremendously difficult to really body train into a hulk.  I hope the article below makes it easier for me to find a gym partner in the future!

    Lose your fear of weight lifting

    Women’s Health Magazine | Fitness
    Adam Campbell

    Lifting weights gives you an edge over belly fat, stress, heart disease and cancer – and it’s also the single more effective way to look hot in a bikini.  Yet somehow women are still hesitant: only about a fifth of females strength train two or more times a week.

    Here are 12 reasons why you shouldn’t live another day without hitting the weights:

    1. You’ll lose 40% more fat: If you think cardio is the key to blasting belly fat, keep reading: when Penn State researchers put dieters into three groups – no exercise, aerobic exercise only or aerobic exercise and weight training – they all lost around 21 pounds but the lifters shed six more pounds of fat than those who didn’t pump iron.  Why?  The lifters’ loss was almost pure fat; the others lost fat and muscle.

      Other research on dieters who don’t lift shows that, on average 75% of their weight loss is from fat, while 25% is from muscle.  Muscle loss may drop your scale weight, but it doesn’t improve your reflection in the mirror and it makes you more likely to gain back the flab you lost.  However, if you weight train as you diet, you’ll protect your hard-earned muscle and burn more fat.

    2. Your clothes will fit better: Research shows that between the ages of 30 and 50, you’ll likely lose 10% of your body’s total muscle.  Worse yet it’s likely to be replaced by fat over time, says a study.  And that increases your waist size, because one pound of fat takes up 18% more space than one pound of muscle.
    3. You’ll burn more calories: Lifting increases the number of calories you burn while your butt is parked on the couch.  That’s because after each strength workout, your muscles need energy to repair their fibres.  In fact, researchers found that when people did a total body workout with just three big-muscle moves, their metabolisms were raised for 39 hours afterward.  They also burned a greater percentage of calories from fat compared with those who didn’t lift.

      Lifting gives you a better burn during exercise too: doing a circuit of eight moves (which takes about eight minutes) can expend 159 to 231 calories.  that’s about what you’d burn if you ran at a 10-mile-per-hour pace for the same duration.

    4. Your diet will improve: Exercise helps your brain to stick to a diet plan.  University of Pittsburgh researchers studied 169 overweight adults and found that those who didn’t follow a three-hours-a-week training regimen ate more than their allotted 1,500 calories a day.  The reverse was also true – sneaking snacks sabotage their workouts.  The study authors say both diet and exercise likely remind you to stay on track, aiding your weight-loss goals.
    5. You’ll handle stress better: Break a sweat in the weights room and you’ll stay cool under pressure.  Scientists determined that the fittest people exhibited lower levels of stress hormones than those who were the least fit.  Another study found that after a stressful situation, the blood pressure levels of people with the most muscle returned to normal faster than the levels of those with the least muscle.
    6. You’ll be happier: Yoga isn’t the only Zen-inducing kind of exercise.  Researchers found that people who performed three weight workouts a week for six months significantly improved their scores on measures of anger and overall  mood.
    7. You’ll build stronger bones: As you age, bone mass goes to pot, which increases your likelihood of one day suffering a debilitating fracture.  The good news: a study found that 16 weeks of resistance training increased hip bone density and elevated blood levels of osteocalcin – a marker of bone growth – by 19%.
    8. You’ll get into shape faster: The term cardio shouldn’t describe only aerobic exercise.  A study found that circuit training with weights raises your heart rate 15 beats per minute higher than if you ran at 60 to 70% of your max heart rate.  This approach strengthens muscles and provides cardiovascular benefits similar to those of aerobic exercise – so you save time without sacrificing results.
    9. Your heart will be healthier: Researchers at the University of Michigan found that people who did three total-body weight workouts a week for two months decreased their diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by an average of eight points.  That’s enough to reduce the risk of a stroke by 40% and the chance of a heart attack by 15%.
    10. You’ll be way more productive: lifting could result in a raise (or at least a pat on the back from your boss).  Researchers found that workers were 15% more productive on days they exercised compared with days they didn’t.  So on days you work out, you can (theoretically) finish in eight hours what would normally take nine hours and 12 minutes.  Or you’d still work for nine hours but get more done, leaving you feeling less stressed and happier with your job – another perk reported on days workers exercised.
    11. You’ll live longer: University of South Carolina researchers determined that total-body strength is linked to lower risks of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.  Similarly, other scientists found that being strong during middle age is associated with “exceptional survival”, defined as living to the age of 85 without developing a major disease.
    12. You’ll be even smarter: Muscles strengthen your body and mind.  Brazilian researchers found that six months of resistance training enhanced lifters’ cognitive function.  In fact, the sweat sessions resulted in better short- and long-term memory, improved verbal reasoning and a longer attention span.

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