Dr. Mary Expert Advice now in Martha Steward Magazine

Click on link to article and learn about your relationship.


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March is Optimism Month

March is OPTIMISM Month.  Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Do you often expect bad things to happen? “Pessimists are like the fairy tale about Chicken Little. In the fairy tale, Chicken Little kept shouting, ‘Help, help the sky is falling.’ In contrast, optimistic people expect the best,” explains Drs. Mary Ann + Michael Mercer, co-authors of the book + audio-book SPONTANEOUS OPTIMISM: Proven Strategies for Health, Prosperity & Happiness. Drs. Mercer are founders of OPTIMISM MONTH, which runs from March 1–31. “If you’re a pessimist don’t worry. Optimism is not a disposition you are born with or without. It’s a learned skill, and a very important ingredient determining your level of happiness,” clarifies Drs. Mary Ann + Michael Mercer.

The Optimism Doctors suggest practicing these tips each week of Optimism Month:

Week 1: De-tox Your Mind

To get rid of negative or intruding bad thoughts remember this “Rule of Optimism”: You can only keep one thought in your mind at a time. You can focus your thoughts on either pessimistic or optimistic thoughts. It’s your choice. Pessimistic people focus on gloomy thoughts of how they could fall down and not get up. They expect the worst to happen. Optimistic people expect the best. So, houseclean your head. This week, when setbacks or problems pop-up, immediately focus on finding a solution. Pessimistic people focus on complaining, but happy and optimistic people focus on solutions.

Week 2: Optimism and Happiness by the Numbers

Are you obsessed with negative thoughts? A simple way to become optimistic is to count your way to more positive thoughts. It’s easy to become an expert at switching your negative and bad thoughts to more positive and upbeat thoughts and feelings. So, this week your assignment is to focus on counting and switching your bad thoughts to upbeat and uplifting thoughts. Each time you have a negative thought, immediately switch to a positive thought or solutions to your woes. Write a tally mark on a pad of paper each time you switch like this each day. Your goal is to decrease the number of times you need to switch. For example, at first you may need to switch 50 times. In time, you will decrease it to 30, 20 or 10 times a day. If you are obsessively negative, you will become obsessively positive using this technique.

Week 3: Avoid Emotional Vampires

Are you a loser magnet? Do you attract emotional vampires or losers into your life? To become more optimistic — avoid emotional vampires. Pessimistic people allow “emotional vampires” to suck their positive feelings right out of their skulls. Emotional vampires include people who put you down, criticize you or mock or sabotage your dreams and aspirations. This week, take survey of your life by making a list of people and situations you are exposing yourself to. Then, discard or limit people, habits or situations that keep you from feeling optimistic and happy. In other words, “burn your bridges” if needed. Remember: Happy and optimistic people hang around with personal cheerleaders. Unhappy people surround themselves with emotional vampires.

Week 4: Act Like An Optimist

To begin acting like an optimist yourself, you need to learn what they do. Optimistic people act and carry themselves in certain ways. First, they use certain words. The words people use can effect their mood. Changing your words can actually change your attitude and feelings. The Optimism Doctors recommend using “upbeat” words instead of “upset” words. For example, you can say, “I feel overwhelmed.” Or, “I feel challenged … nevertheless I can do it”. Second, optimists and happy individuals take big steps, walk faster and stand taller. In sharp contrast, pessimistic and unhappy people shuffle their feet, take tiny steps, walk slowly and slouch. This week, use upbeat words and watch how you carry your body. Use the word choices and body posture of optimistic people.

“Using each of these techniques during Optimism Month will help you become happy and optimistic. They are easy to carry out and will create a positive domino effect with people in your life,” encourages Dr. Mary Ann Mercer, co-author of SPONTANEOUS OPTIMISM.

Note: Optimism Month is listed in Chase’s Calendar of Events.
Please contact Drs. Mercer if you wish to post or use their materials.

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Relationship New Year Resolutions

I’m quoted in Redbook regarding Relationships + Ways to Improve them. Please read and set them into action.



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New Year’s Resolutions: Mistakes To Avoid + Be Successful

Most people look at the beginning of the year as a chance to change their lives,
However, I have seen that at least 50% of those who establish New Year’s Resolutions or Big Goals for the New Year fail.

Reasons are that people are putting so much pressure on themselves to make New Year’s Resolutions or believe their lives will change at the stroke of midnight.  Such extreme pressure sets your up for failing. Most people are in a fog from the holidays on January 1st that they don’t even think about starting because they are tired or stressed.

For example, I had a client who for a couple years in a row said he was going to stop smoking for the New Year. He never did because he really felt pressure and in his heart really did not want to stop.
This is so common to make such grand choices because people feel they are expected to make choices such as losing weight, stop smoking or other habits that they really don’t think about much the rest of the year.

How you can increase the likelihood of keeping a resolution or a new habit?

Whether is a New Year’s Resolution or setting goals, people are more likely to success if they just take the time at the end of the year or when they are goal-setting to reflect. 

People should reflect on the past year or recent months to get a baseline or reference point on what they have been doing with their life and where they are at right now.

Asking ‘heart-felt” questions are the key!

You must reflect before you make your choices.
1.  Write down what you have done this last year. 
Do these for different areas of your life such as work, relationships and self (self-care).

2.  Ask yourself:  What is missing in my life? 
What have I not done yet?

3. Ask Yourself:  What would I most like to have in my life right now? 
Image or picture what you most want in your life.
How would I feel in the next few years if I have not pursued my dreams and goals?

Don’t be upset if you have negative thoughts or reactions, let ‘inspirational dissatisfaction’ motivate you.

The likelihood of making goals and developing a new habit are based on the questions what must be asked before goal setting. If you do not take the time to ask yourself these questions you are just shooting arrows in the dark at a target.

4.  Goals:
After these questions than you are ready to make 2 to 4 goals.

Keep these tips in mind when you make your goals. To begin building new habits that support your goals or just wanting to make a change inhabits I suggest:

1.  Start with small gradual moves or steps.

For example. if you want a new career or skills don’t quit your job to go back full-time to school, take one course for a start and see if you like it.  Break the goal down to tangible parts.

2. Break free of excuses

What may sound as valid reason for not working on your goals and new habits are really ‘agony anchors’ that hold you back. These are feelings of fear of change.

I hear from clients that they are ‘too busy’, ‘I had no time this week’ and other self-pity statements.  This is never empowering. I have clients get a calendar or put in the cell phone calendar the day or evening they will work on their new goals and habits.

Example:  If it is to go to the gym, schedule it in your calendar.  Pre-plan and make this appointment with yourself. I am amazed how crowded my gym is in January and have many people stop going by Feb, because they have allowed many ‘distractions” in their lives.  Yes, things pop-up.  If and when they do, immediately re-schedule your calendar when you will attend.

3.  Don’t share your goals or some of them with people who will act critical. Only tell those who will encourage and support you.

To become happier and more confident — avoid emotional vampires.

Unhappy people allow “emotional vampires” to suck their positive feelings right out of their skulls.  Emotional vampires include people who put you down, criticize or mock you, or sabotage your dreams and aspirations. Never let snipers or negative people shoot holes in your boat. These types of people drain the life out of you.

Take survey of your life by making a list of people and situations you expose yourself to.  Then, discard or limit people, habits or situations that keep you from feeling optimistic and happy.  In other words, ‘burn your bridges’ if needed.

Example:  I had a young client in her early 30’s who wanted to train to run a half-marathon.  She was very excited. She told her mother what she was planning to do and her mother looked at her and said, “you can’t do that…”  She was upset and learned very quickly this principal of enlisting those who are only positive and supportive.

Follow these tips and you will not only be successful in the New Year, you will feel happier and optimistic.
#newyear #newyearsresolutions #goalsetting #changinghabits

PLEASE remember to join us in our Chat Room  or email us your questions and talk about your experience this week using this tip.

For more information on happiness + optimism, please see our book, SPONTANEOUS OPTIMISM: Proven Strategies for Health, Prosperity & Happiness.

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