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Look on the Bright Side - You Can Do It Even If You're a Natural Pessimist

Monday, June 19, 2017


Arrow and sign saying positive thinkingDoesn’t it seem like most people fall into one of two groups? There are the upbeat optimists who see the good in situations and then there are negative pessimists who tend to expect the worst. Which group are you in? If you tend toward the negative, then this article is for you!
 
There are certainly times and situations that bring negative emotions. Processing those negative feelings is a necessary part of the healing process. What I’m talking about here, doesn’t apply to a fairly short-lived sad, angry, or negative period in your life. I’m referring to overall perspective on life – the way you view your life, your future, even the people in your life.
 
Chronic pessimism inhibits your ability to bounce back from disappointments and life’s inevitable stresses. It can also strain relationships at home and at the workplace. But your perspective on life affects more than just how other people relate to you – it actually influences your health.
 
Recent studies are finding that optimistic people have better heart health than their pessimistic counterparts. (Read more about these studies in this NY Times article.) Optimists are more likely to eat a healthy diet, avoid smoking and overdrinking, and prioritize regular exercise than pessimists. As a result, they maintain healthier blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. Optimism helps patients heal faster from illness or injury and boosts the immune system to prevent colds and flu.
 
The good news is that, with a little practice, you can become more positive. This isn’t a fake optimism. “Putting on a show” to look like you are feeling upbeat about life isn’t going to help. But you really can train yourself to feel optimistic from the inside out.
 
This is done by re-training your brain to think positively. There are neural pathways in your brain that control emotion. If you tend toward negative thinking, the neural pathways for negativity become stronger, kind of like a beaten down path through the forest. A lifetime of pessimistic thinking can produce some beaten down negative pathways! Negativity becomes your brain’s go-to emotion.
 
On the up side, your brain is capable of generating new pathways, and it’s possible to train the circuitry in your brain to promote positive responses. When you look for the good, you activate different neural circuits in your brain. Dopamine and serotonin production is increased, soothing and calming you. The more you stimulate these circuits in your brain, the stronger they become. Positivity will become a more automatic response.
 
It’s not a matter of making one, huge change. There are small things you can do every day to progressively strengthen your positive neural pathways. Here are four suggestions:
 
  1. Begin each day with a positive thought. It will help you set the tone for how you will choose to think for the day.
  2. Live one moment at a time. Stop worrying about the past and the future. Focus on the present and making that day the best it can be. The practice of mindfulness helps many of my clients to focus and see the good in their day.
  3. Practice gratitude. Having a grateful attitude is linked to everything from better mental and physical health to greater satisfaction in life and relationships. Look for the moments, big and small, that you are thankful for.
  4. Do good for others. If you focus on thinking about other people and working to make their life better, you think about your own problems and worries less. This, in turn, keeps you from dwelling on the negative and moves you to focus on the positive.

If your negative feelings run too deep, there may be something else in your life that needs attention. Stress comes when the different aspects of your life fall out alignment. I can help you identify where you are out of balance and guide you back into a healthy, productive alignment. Please contact my office to set up an appointment.  I have an office in Jantzen Beach where we can meet in person or I offer online therapy if that’s a better fit for you.

Find Time to Be Kind – You and Your Business Will Benefit

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Volunteers looking through boxesShowing kindness to others directly affects your own happiness. You’ve probably already noticed that when you help other people, it makes you feel good. But do you know why?

 
By focusing on other people and working to make their life better, you think less about your own problems and worries. This keeps you from dwelling on the negative and moves you to focus on the positive.
 
This is good news for your health! Positive thinking can boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, and lessen your risk of heart disease. Since there is an inseparable connection between the mind and the body, feelings of joy, sadness, anger, hope, and apathy directly affect your body. So, by replacing negativity and pessimism in favor of kindness and joy, you can improve your physical health.
 
Showing kindness is also a great way to create and enhance social connections with people, which can foster a sense of purpose and meaning in life. Think about a time that you volunteered in your community or took a moment to say or do something for a stranger. Didn't you feel more connected with others and possibly made new friends in the process?
 
One small act of kindness can trigger a chain reaction. A small thing to you can mean everything to another person. It can move them to do something nice for someone else. When you show kindness to others, they are more likely to show kindness in return. Your one act can spread out into the community and come back full circle to where you are on the receiving end of someone else’s kindness.
 
But how can kindness benefit your business?
 
You might think that entrepreneurs need to be tough and aggressive but actually kindness does help you run a successful business. For one thing, as we already discussed acts of kindness fosters optimism. What business owner doesn’t need an abundance of that quality?
 
You’ll notice that showing kindness keeps you in touch with your community. Involving yourself and your employees in community events or fundraisers promotes a team spirit. It also helps your company’s reputation as a business that cares, which helps you stand out in a competitive marketplace.
 
The advent of social media is a great tool to offer memorable customer service. People are quick to lament a faulty product or terrible service on social media. When that happens, without being asked, reach out with a friendly note, send a free product, offer a sincere apology… Basically do something kind. These are interactions that people will remember and tell their friends about.
 
Kindness in the workplace also contributes to employee retention. Good, loyal employees can be hard to find. Once you find them, you have to work to keep them. A happy workforce is a good workforce. So encourage laughter, teamwork, and bonding. Express appreciation and offer commendation. Small acts of kindness, like buying lunch for the office, can make a big difference.
 
Are you convinced that being kind is worth the effort? Sometimes it can be challenging to be kind if you’re dealing with a lot of internal or external stress. If you could use some help please contact my office to set up an appointment.  I have an office in Jantzen Beach where we can meet in person or I offer online therapy if that’s a better fit for you.

6 Things Parents Should Do to Build Resiliency in Their Kids

Monday, June 12, 2017


Mom and daughter looking at computer togetherWhile we tend to remember our childhood as being fairly carefree, being a kid isn’t always a play date in the park. Our children take tests, change schools, compete in sports, move, suffer loss, make friends, and sometimes get hurt by those friends.
 
To deal with these situations successfully kids need to learn to be resilient. It’s a quality that helps us overcome obstacles, persevere when problems arise, and bounce back from adversity.

Resilient kids are good problem-solvers. Instead of viewing unfamiliar or tough situations as obstacles, they view them as opportunities to find solutions. They’re confident that they can figure out what needs to be done and handle whatever is thrown at them.
 
But resilience goes beyond the simple act of overcoming adversity. A truly resilient child has a whole different mindset than their peers who get hung up on failures. They believe that their mistakes do not define them. They know they have the ability to try again and that eventually things will get better. Interestingly, optimism is positively correlated to resilience.
 
Children who develop resilience are also flexible. They can handle surprises and adapt to new situations. They’re also less competitive. A resilient child’s self-esteem comes from within, so they are more likely to appreciate other people’s talents and work well with their peers. Instead of doing things quickly, they work efficiently and with quality. They’ve learned that taking the time to do things right and learning from others pays off.
 
The bottom line is resilient children tend to be happier, healthier, and more successful. We all want that for our children! The good news is that we aren’t born with some finite amount of resilience. It is a quality that can be taught and developed, and like a muscle built and strengthened over time.
 
So what can you do to build a more resilient child? Here are six tips for more resilient children:

1.     Avoid being overprotective. Overprotecting children fuels their anxiety over trying new things or facing a problem. As a culture, we try to make sure our kids are comfortable, but it often goes too far and starts to get in the way of children developing their own problem-solving skills. Let your children feel a little uncomfortable sometimes, and allow them to take appropriate risks. Teach them essential skills and give them age-appropriate freedom to help them learn their own limits.

2.     Teach your kids to problem-solve. Engage your child in figuring out how they can handle challenges. Give them the opportunity, over and over again, to figure out what works for them and what doesn’t. When they make a mistake, instead of asking them why they did it, ask them how they will fix it.

3.     Let your kids make mistakes. Failure is not the end of the world, and kids need to see that firsthand. Letting kids mess up tends to be more painful to parents, but it helps kids learn how to fix their mistakes and make better decisions next time. Let your kids experience the consequences of their actions.

4.     Focus on effort rather than results. You don’t want your children’s self-confidence to be dependent on accomplishments or praise from others. Teach them that failing at something doesn’t make them a failure. Praise the effort they put into something, even if the results are not ideal. This will teach them to endure disappointment, not be devastated by it.

5.     Help them manage their emotions. A key part of developing resilience is emotional management. Teach your kids that emotions are ok! It’s ok to feel. Then teach them that after they feel their feelings, they need to think and figure out what they’re going to do next.

6.     Show your kids that they matter. Like all people, children need to know they are loved and cared for. It is also important for them to believe that someone needs and relies on them. They want to know their existence and presence makes a difference to other people. Listen to your children and support them. As kids navigate new situations and inevitable disappointments, they need to know that they’re not alone. Communicate openly with them. Cultivate a warm, strong relationship. Even when they make a mistake, they should feel they can talk to you about it.

There are times when parents need some help and support. If you feel like you child is overly stressed and you could use some help them be more resilient please contact my office to set up an appointment.  I have an office in Jantzen Beach where we can meet in person or I offer online therapy if that’s a better fit for you.

Your Gut Bacteria is Changing Your Brain More Than You Think

Wednesday, June 07, 2017


Our gut bacteria affect our digestion, allergies and metabolism, now scientist are finding more links between gut bacteria, our moods and thinking ability.It’s become common knowledge that our gut bacteria affect our digestion, allergies, metabolism and mental health. Now scientist are finding more links between gut bacteria and our moods and thinking ability.

A recent article in The Atlantic lists a number of studies conducted on mice and humans that tested gut bacteria and it’s affect on anxiety, depression, and autism. Their results are fascinating.

“A growing group of researchers around the world are investigating how the microbiome, as this bacterial ecosystem is known, regulates how people think and feel. Scientists have found evidence that this assemblage—about a thousand different species of bacteria, trillions of cells that together weigh between one and three pounds—could play a crucial role in autism, anxiety, depression, and other disorders.”

Did you know that about three-quarters of people with autism also have some gastrointestinal abnormality, like food allergies or gluten sensitivity? Because of this, scientists are examining the potential connections between gut microbes and autism. Here are the highlights from just one of the studies this article mentions:

Microbiologist Sarkis Mazmanian of The California Institute of Technology saw that some autistic children had less Bacteroides fragilis. He and his colleagues fed Bacteroides fragilis from humans to mice with symptoms similar to autism. The treatment changed the animals’ microbiome, and improved their behavior. “They became less anxious, communicated more with other mice, and showed less repetitive behavior.”

They also discovered that when a chemical called 4-ethylphenylsulphate (4EPS) which seems to be produced by gut bacteria was injected into mice, they developed autism-like symptoms. Mazmanian says, “We may be able to reverse these ailments. If you turn off the faucet that produces this compound, then the symptoms disappear.”

Another study showed that eating yogurt containing live bacteria (bifidobacterium,streptococcus, lactococcus, and lactobacillus) twice a day created a significant increase in calmness. He speculates that, “the bacteria in the yogurt changed the makeup of the subjects’ gut microbes, and that this led to the production of compounds that modified brain chemistry.”

For years, I’ve advocated a holistic approach toward health and well-being. Our physical, mental and spiritual health is so interconnected that we must obtain a balance. Healthful nutrition is obviously one of the key components to wellness.

Make sure to sign-up for my newsletter, Enriching Your Life, to stay up-to-date on new findings that impact your health and wellness. Simply enter your information in the box on the left to start receiving your copy.

Read more on my website: Holistic Health.

Read The Atlantic article in its entirety.

Does Contempt Signal the End of a Marriage or Committed Relationship?

Monday, June 05, 2017


Does Contempt Signal the End of a Marriage or Committed Relationship Do you agree with John Gottman, Ph.D. and author of "Seven Principles that Make Marriage Work"? He tells us that once a couple has descended to the level of contempt for each other, the marriage is irretrievable. I don’t totally agree with his assessment, especially since I’ve been working with so many couples who are dealing with Asperger’s in their marriage or committed relationships.

Contempt is a very strong emotion – the feeling that a person is beneath consideration, worthless, or deserving scorn. Generally, one doesn’t get to that emotion over night. It usually takes a gradually erosion of respect. (Unless there has been one particularly horrific act that destroys all respect and love. Certainly when the love is gone it probably makes no sense to try anymore.) Yet, there are ways to reverse the erosion and rebuild your relationship.

As awful as is contempt, it actually comes fairly quickly in ASD/NT relationships. Why is that? My theory is that the Aspie doesn’t have empathy, so they may resort to saying pretty awful things to their partner, but contempt is not on their mind. NTs on the other hand take these unkind comments as contemptuous. Sometimes we build up resentment, too, and then our Aspies are puzzled by our anger. Such a crazy, painful, mixed up situation.

If you’re feeling contempt, or you believe your Aspie does, we need to talk. This is no way to live. Contempt, like passive-aggressive behavior is a counter-productive solution. We need ways to be open about our feelings, respectful of our differences, forgiving of others, and expecting forgiveness from our loved ones.

This last one is important isn't it? I sure would like forgiveness if I get frustrated with my Aspie loved ones, or really lose my cool and yell or withdraw. We’re only human and contemptuous comments are hurtful.

If you’re a member of the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup, I invite you to please join us for our free teleconference: Cleaning Up Contempt on Thursday, June 15th at 3:00 PM PT. Let’s get these feelings out in the open and figure out how our words and actions can help us cope.

Also, if you haven’t read my book, “Out of Mind – Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome (ASD)”, you can get your first chapter free by clicking here. This book has become an important resource for those who want to understand their Aspie partners better.

Four Easy Ways to Give Your Mood and Your Health a Boost

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


Woman reading bookHave you ever physically felt an emotion? When you’re nervous, have you noticed that your stomach feels funny? When you’re excited you may feel your nerves tingling and your heart beating faster. When you’re sad, you feel sore and fatigued.
 
The reason for this is that there is an inseparable connection between the mind and the body. There are complicated interactions that take place between your mind, body, and the outside world. Feelings of joy, sadness, anger, hope, and apathy directly affect your body. You feel emotions in a physical way.
 
So if you suffer from depression you aren’t just affected emotionally. Many physical ailments can be linked to depression. The physical symptoms include digestive problems, pain, trouble sleeping, and dizziness. If you’re dealing with anger you can experience high blood pressure and headaches. Negative thoughts put stress on the mind and body, and science has extensively documented the physical risks of high stress levels.
 
On the flip side, dwelling on positive thoughts can improve your health from the inside out! Actively employing positive thinking can boost your immune system. Think about that. You may already eat right, exercise, get enough sleep and take supplements, but positive thinking can fill in the gaps and strengthen your immune system too!
 
Studies have shown a link between a positive outlook and a variety of health benefits. Lower blood pressure, less heart disease, maintaining a healthy weight, and lower blood sugar levels are all attributed to optimistic thinking. An optimistic attitude can also help you recover and heal faster after injury or surgery.
 
But what if you aren’t a naturally optimistic person? Don’t despair! Here are four small things you can do every day to see the world in a better light and improve your health:
  1. Start off each day with a positive thought. It will help you set the tone for how you will choose to think for the day.
  2. Smile, smile, smile. There is something to the adage, “Fake it ‘til you make it.” When you make the effort to smile, your emotions will follow. Smiling will also draw others toward you creating a positive exchange that can lift your mood.
  3. Live one moment at a time. Stop worrying about the past and the future. Focus on the present and making that day the best it can be. Repeated brief moments of positive thinking can foster mental and physical health. Some of my clients find it helpful to practice mindfulness to help them focus and see the good in their day.
  4. Practice gratitude. Having a grateful attitude is linked to less stress and anxiety, sleeping more soundly, better physical health, greater satisfaction in life and relationships. Look for the moments, big and small, that you are thankful for. Some people keep a gratitude journal.

Positive thinking takes practice, but you can remake yourself into a positive person by re-training your brain to think positively! If you’re looking for the negative, the neural pathways for negative thinking become stronger. Your brain will lean toward the negative automatically. When you practice gratitude, and look for the good, you are activating different neural circuits in your brain. Dopamine and serotonin production is increased, producing calming results. The more you stimulate these circuits in your brain, the stronger and more automatic they become.
 
If you find yourself still overwhelmed by negative thoughts, and you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment. I also offer online therapy to those residing in Oregon or Washington states so you can get the help you need from the comfort of your own home. We’ll work to put your negative thoughts into perspective and cultivate the positive attitude that will improve your health and well-being.

How Spirituality Can Help You Survive the Autism Disconnect

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Discover how to survive spiritually with an Aspergers partner who wants to know who you are…but just doesn't get your whole body-mind-spirit connection.Spirituality defines us and connects us with others. It’s an essential third element of the body/mind/spirit connection that makes us truly balanced. It involves a self-awareness and internal dialog that, over time, identifies who we are as individuals, where we fit into the world, why we’re here, what gives purposeful meaning to life. These are deeply introspective questions we all must struggle with at some point in our lives.

Spirit is that singular life force that directs and shapes our attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. At the best of times, a person may take a lifetime to come to grips with their spirituality. However, concepts such as these are difficult for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder to grasp.

The author of "Spirituality and the Autism Spectrum," Abe Isanon presents us with a dilemma when it comes to sharing our inner life with a loved one on the Autism Spectrum. He discusses how difficult it is for our Aspies to come to terms with their humanity and their spiritual nature, when they can neither reflect upon, nor express their own life experiences. (To get a glimpse into the Autistic mind, Mary Hynes, on CBC Radio Tapestry, delivers an interesting interview about spirituality with Temple Grandin and Anthony Easton who are both on the spectrum. It’s entitled: “Through a Different Lens: Autism and the Divine.”)

Because of this disconnect, Aspies lack insight and empathy into who we are, which can leave their caregivers and loved ones bereft. Just because someone in your family isn’t spiritual, doesn’t mean you can’t survive spiritually. In fact, we must never give up on love, faith and hope. It’s what keeps us going.

At our next free teleconference we’ll talk about how to survive spiritually with a partner who may want to know who we are. . .but they just don't get the whole picture. And the missing piece isn't small is it? One Aspie husband said of his wife, that she had dreams for her life, "But I don't have dreams; I am not sure what dreams really are."

If you’re a member of the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup, please join us for our free teleconference Aspergers and Spiritual Survival on Thursday, June 1, 2017 at 9:00 AM PT. The focus of this call will explore this difficult subject and how to survive the loss.

Also, if you haven’t read my book, “Out of Mind – Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome (ASD)”, you can get your first chapter free by clicking here. This book has become an important resource for those who want to understand their Aspie partners better.

Is Online Therapy Right for You? Examine the Pros and Cons

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Have you been wishing you could take advantage of therapy but your circumstances make it challenging? Perhaps you live in a rural area, or you’re nervous to drive in downtown traffic, or you’ve moved to another country. With the use of new technology, there really isn’t any reason why you can’t work with a qualified psychologist. Why? Because you can now meet with your therapist online – some call this web counseling, e-therapy or e-counseling.

Online therapy is a relatively new method for providing psychological support. Your mental health professional will use secure sources for providing video conferencing, online chats, emails or Internet phone calls. Is online therapy for you? Well, let’s consider some of the pro and cons…

Pros for Online Therapy

Online therapy is very accessible.
Online therapy is only the click of a mouse away. As I mentioned earlier, this can be especially helpful for those who live in rural areas, are living out of the country, or have physical disabilities, social phobias, or anxiety disorders that makes it difficult to travel to a physical office. Parents – it’s also a good way for making your teens feel comfortable with therapy because they’re so comfortable with the Internet.

Online therapy is convenient. Online therapy gives you more flexibility in scheduling your appointment. It can also save you time since there’s no commute time involved. Checking in by email can give you more access to accountability and support.

Online therapy may be more affordable. Online therapy may be more economical for both the therapist and the client. For example, your therapist may be able to avoid costly office expenses (rent, overhead costs, commute, etc) and you save on commute expenses.

Online therapy allows you to safeguard your privacy. When you do online therapy, you don’t have to worry about someone seeing you walk into a therapist’s office. For some, it might even be easier to open up when you aren’t having an in-person session.

Cons of Online Therapy

Online therapy may lack verbal and nonverbal cues.
Traditional therapy relies heavily on these cues to gauge what the client is feeling and for identifying incongruence between verbal and nonverbal behaviors. Video conferencing does facilitate communication, but it still may not be possible to read voice tone, facial expression, body language and eye contact quite as well as you could in-person. (My online therapy incorporates a HIPAA compliant software for video conferencing in our sessions.)

Online therapy may compromise your confidentiality and security. If you’re working with a conscientious and reputable therapist, they will openly reveal the ways they protect your confidentiality. So it’s good to question them about their security measures and how often they update their software. However, you also need to take responsibility to ensure that you’re protecting privacy on your end.

Online therapy isn’t for everyone
. If you’re a person who needs in-person therapy, this may not be the best fit for you. And because it’s harder to diagnose certain disorders, online therapy is currently deemed inappropriate for diagnosing some mental health issues.

Online therapy crashes when your Internet connection crashes. Some software may require a faster Internet speed than you have access to. Or if you’re not computer savvy, it may create anxiety for you. (The software I use is secure and easy to use. My assistant is proficient at walking new clients through the process.)

Also be aware that just because someone offers online therapy doesn’t mean they have the necessary credentials. The educational and training requirements to become an online therapist are exactly the same as they are for a therapist or counselor practicing in a traditional face-to-face setting. So do your homework and make sure your online therapist is qualified and licensed to practice where you live. (You can review my credentials here.)

I am now offering online therapy to clients who live in the states of Oregon or Washington, as well as expats living outside the United States. Please contact my office and schedule an appointment. If you live in one of the other 48 states, you may be able to schedule online education. (Due to licensing restrictions online counseling is unavailable to you.)

Entrepreneurs - Stop Complaining! Try Honest Self-Assessment Instead

Monday, May 15, 2017


Stop complaining signStop complaining? But it feels so good to complain! It helps you get things off your chest, feel heard, and start working towards a solution. Your business moves forward when you identify problems and communicate about them. Or does it?
 
The reality is that complaining has become a knee-jerk reaction to anything we don’t like. We complain about the weeds in our yard, our pants that have become too tight (as we sit there eating a cookie), the high cost of living, and the trials of running a business. As a society, we have become quick to complain and slow to change.
 
There are times, of course, when “complaining” or notifying someone of a problem or injustice is a good thing. Discussing a problem with a team of people can help solve it faster and more effectively. However, most of the time our expressions of pain, dissatisfaction, or resentment are simply reactions to a perceived issue.
 
What’s wrong with complaining? Simply put: it doesn’t do anybody any good. It won’t solve your problem. It won’t make you feel better. It will waste your time, time you could have spent working on a solution. Complaining also fosters a negative attitude in you and the person listening to you.
 
Another problem with complaining is it relegates you to perpetually being a victim. The more you complain, the less you feel in control of your life and your business. As an entrepreneur, you have worked hard to be in control and lead your company to greatness. Complaining takes away some of that power you have.
 
The most common response to obstacles involves a mental process where we solely consider possible external or technical reasons for the problem. What kind of obstacles do you encounter in your business path? Is your first reaction to find an outside source for the problem? The product isn’t good enough. My competition has better advertising. The economy isn’t doing well. The more you think like that, the less control and power you have over your problems.
 
Let’s look at these problems a different way. Rather than being quick to look to eternal forces that are holding you back, could you look internally? When working through obstacles in life, I encourage you to question every aspect of your approach to your business, including your methods, biases, and assumptions. This kind of rigorous self-examination requires that you honestly challenge your beliefs and goals, and work up the courage to act and make a change.
 
Look deep and determine your personal definition of real success. What exactly are you looking for in life? Do your goals for your business truly align with your definition of success? Honestly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Everybody has both! Realizing who you really are will help you determine the best path to take and changes to make. And in the end, look for the positive. Don’t let challenges stop you. Instead, view them as incentives to change and move in a positive, new direction.
 
When you look inside yourself you take back your power as a successful entrepreneur. Other people and things did not make your business great – you did! So only you can take back your life by taking a deep look at yourself instead of complaining.
 
I encourage you to look at and complete the Self-Assessment Exercises in my book Entrepreneurial Couples – Making It Work at Work and at Home. They will help you dig deep on a number of topics from your working relationship with your spouse, to your views on family and money, to how you view yourself. These are great tools to begin your journey inside yourself.
 
Sometimes we need the help of a trained professional to get past barriers and assess ourselves honestly. If you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment.

Can Entrepreneurs Get Away with Sleeping Less?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


Man laying in bed looking at computerAs an entrepreneur, you likely pride yourself on your resilience and tenacity. You push yourself beyond your limits, often sacrificing physical needs for the benefit of your business. Perhaps one of the first things to go after starting your business was a good night’s sleep.
 
How much sleep do you get at night? Eight? Six? Less? Do you find yourself staying up late and waking up early to care for all of your personal and business commitments? 
 
Being sleep deprived has almost become a status symbol in our culture. You must be very important, very in-demand, if you don’t sleep much. It is also viewed as evidence of a strong work ethic. Especially among entrepreneurs, a good night’s sleep is often looked down on, as something only lazy people get to enjoy. The reality is while you need to work hard and even make sacrifices to build your business, sleep should not be one of them! If you want to grow a successful business, a consistent lack of sleep isn’t going to help your cause.
 
What about the people we hear about who thrive on five hours a night? That’s great for them. But know that they are a tiny group, making up only three to five percent of the population. Most likely you are not part of this group. Sleep experts tell us that the majority of healthy adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. That applies to even the busiest entrepreneur!
 
But you may think, “I haven’t slept more than five hours a night for months, even years. And I’m doing just fine.” Is that really enough for your body, though? Try this: the next time you go on vacation, track your sleep. How long do you sleep at night? Do you wake up feeling more refreshed and alert? As the day progresses, do you feel sharper, more even-tempered, and attentive?
 
If you notice that you feel consistently more alert and even-tempered after a solid seven to nine hours of sleep, then take that to heart. You’re an entrepreneur, not a superhero. Good sleep, and enough of it, is non-negotiable!
 
Your body and mind are not “fine” when you skimp on sleep. You may learn to survive on less sleep, but you can’t train yourself to thrive on less sleep. However much sleep you need is fixed, and you need to make the effort to get it.
 
Why is sleep so important? Your body rejuvenates overnight. Your cells, muscles, and organs all perform vital, life-sustaining tasks when you sleep, keeping you healthy. Lack of sleep is linked to everything from depression to heart disease to cancer.
 
Lack of sleep also affects your memory, impulse control, and stress management. It makes you less efficient at running your business. Sleep deprivation impairs your ability to make good decisions, follow through, and communicate effectively. The qualities that led you to entrepreneurial success – innovation and adaptability – are quick to decline.
 
So if you are not getting enough sleep, take action now. Reschedule your routine to leave enough time for sleep. Do you need eight hours to feel good and perform at your best? Then plan accordingly. Take charge of your physical and mental health by getting the right amount of sleep for you!
 
Sleep problems can be deeper than simply not having enough time to sleep. If insomnia has become a problem for you, please consult with your physician. If he or she can’t find a solution to your chronic insomnia, and you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment. I can help you get back on the road to optimal health and wellness.


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