Two River Times April 2014 - Health & Wellness Column
Planting the first Spring pansies always reminds me of lessons in resiliency. If environmental conditions get unbearable again, will life persist…for the hardiest flat of pansies or for folks that face great challenges? Research shows, for plants and people, that vibrant longevity often hinges on our ability to develop hardiness to endure the toughest seasons of our lives. So how do we manage the unexpected and the unwanted in this age of uncertainty and rapid change?
Experts offer several tips to develop resiliency in order to live in hope to cope. Harvard Business School professor, Joshua Margolis suggests that we frame adversity in terms of its depth and duration to help manage our response. In addition, how we control or create solutions to challenging circumstances is another way to transform adversity into a freeway of opportunity for others. If we can train ourselves to become more skillful in responding to our challenges in this thoughtful way, then hopefully we can spend more time engaged in meaningful momentum and less time in melting down. If you’re interested in learning more about your resiliency quotient, take a look at the challenging self test at PeakLearning.com. While you’re assessing your hardiness, consider a few more options:
- Develop a breathing practice. Ever hear of pranayama? In the world of yogic wellness, prana is known as our essential life force. Nothing happens without the breath and learning how to concentrate on the rhythmic patterns of our breath provides great benefits in calming nerves while crafting a resiliency plan for the next challenge. There are a variety of specific yoga breathing patterns but the first step is simply start becoming aware of the patterns of your breath and when the switch points occur between the inhalations and exhalations. Try to notice when you’re hyperventilating through life versus sustaining a rhythmic and calm tempo conducive to making informed, non -reactionary decisions .
- Learn some effective relaxation techniques that you can do at your desk, during your commute or at home when the lights go down. Autogenic relaxation techniques enlist the use of words to suggest a general unwinding or slowing down. Think along the lines of “your feet are rooting down into the earth” or “your body is floating down a calm river”. If you buy into the suggestion, you will surely experience a calmer way of being.
- Try body scanning by paying attention to successive parts of your body as you slowly unwind feelings of tension and muscle clenching. Start at the top of your head and progressively move throughout your form to induce a quieting of the body and calmer way of being.
- Experiment with progressive muscle-relaxation exercises. Build resiliency by talking yourself off a cliff the next time you’re stressed by systematically bringing different sets of muscles to greater feelings of ease by exhaling longer and more deeply than your initial inhaling. Flood your body with the feel-good hormones correspondent with the parasympathetic nervous system. Enjoy instant relief.
Even the corporate space is catching up on these resiliency boosting techniques. Silicon Valley is sporting napping pods at their corporate headquarters, CEO’s are taking snoozing breaks to recharge and congressmen in Ohio are meditating to keep the pace. Maybe it’s time you considered peeling back the power pace to restore to endure. Good luck staying Spring hardy!
DonnaLyn Giegerich MBA, CIC, RYT, keynotes, consults and coaches on integrated leadership topics in the business, wellness and consumer space to empower others. Her work is viewable at DonnaLyn.org. Locally, you can find Giegerich providing client care as an insurance pro in Red Bank, teaching economics and coaching entrepreneurs at Brookdale Community College or hosting Yoga on the Lake Summer Series for stressed out leaders. Connect on LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter @DonnaLynSpeaks.
Two River Times March 2014 - Health & Wellness Column
Last month we alluded to movement being our medicine. So what can we do to empower our relationships with our wellness and medical professionals when we need them most? Prioritizing patient engagement has been an ongoing initiative in the medical world and will continue to be a dominant trend as advances in personalized medicine occur. But what is personalized medicine? According to Partners Center for Personalized Medicine, it's the opportunity to understand an individual's unique molecular biochemistry to better diagnose disease, suggest treatments for successful outcomes and mitigate the likelihood of adverse repercussions. It's a complex process with a lot of moving parts but at the core of all the science and clinical delivery is our collective ability to bond and communicate well with our team of experts to decide which course of action is best for us. So how do we show up well to maximize great teamwork in an era of openness, exciting emerging genetic discovery, advancing drug development and designer medicine for all? We go back to the basics of advocating well for ourselves from "our center".
Here are a few reminders for cultivating great relationships with your partners in wellness:
- When a course of treatment is recommended, ask for pointed details on the facts around efficacy for your condition. Ask about comparative outcomes for proposed treatments and ask about the underlying evidence for the diagnosis and if there are other interpretations to consider. Gather as much unbiased detail on the proposals at hand and if you can have another party "lean in" on the details, welcome them to your team.
- Ask about the side effects...both short and long term and if the answers aren't readily available, do more research or have your team deliver these results before making any final decisions. No questions is silly. Brilliant people ask for help when they need it. Be vulnerable...its courageous and if you're not sure, consider reading Brene Brown's newest book entitled Daring Greatly. You'll likely never apologize for asking a silly question again.
- Get your skin in the game. A great patient is one that shows up as a partner in the process of developing and delivering a wellness plan. If you need guidance on how to be a great patient, besides doing the committed work to keep yourself fit, informed and strong at any age, read Dr Bernie Siegel's book Love, Medicine & Miracles to learn about his experiences treating exceptional patients. You'll be inspired to then create your own plan for exceptional.
- Consider creating a complementary team of professionals to support your healing on an integrated basis. Many facilities are completely on board with integrated wellness today. If you need more, create your own wellness posse and ask your friends for referrals. Medicine and guided relaxation, as one example, can be a powerful combination and the beginning of a lifelong love affair even after the big decisions and treatments are settled.
- Appreciate your professionals. For years, we've been in touch with our team of lifesavers by dropping them a note, a card or an email sharing an occasional major milestone around more life thanks to their efforts and commitment to patient care. Create a great team and celebrate your collective success and gratitude for quality care through a medical challenge.
- Lastly, surrender the outcomes once you've made your best informed decisions. As we say in yoga, "be detached from the results"...do your best for the sake of doing well. As we age and commit to living more skillfully, we have an ongoing opportunity through medical and wellness challenges to be present for what we're given. Seems often that we think we can control reality but when we get out of our heads and into our hearts, we recognize that control is largely an illusion. So cultivate an ongoing relationship with yourself and your wellness team that celebrates authentic forward momentum so you can struggle less and savor more.
There is no doubt we live in challenging times with all the major shifts occurring in the medical wellness space. Hospitals and doctors are under pressure to provide excellent quality care with diminishing reimbursements while managing readmission rates, procedural complications and rates of infection to name a few recurring themes. Everyone seems to be doing more with less and the rapidity of change will keep us all challenged to keep the pace. But if we, as patients and wellness seekers are going to maximize our opportunity for a long and vibrant life, then we're responsible for contributing purposefully to reversing the global increase in chronic disease through healthy lifestyling, informed choices and empowered communication. We can all do better together as we leap thoughtfully into a long awaited Spring!
DonnaLyn Giegerich MBA CIC RYT is an integrated business/wellness spokesleader that speaks, consults and coaches on leadership resiliency from California to Cornell in the business, wellness, medical and consumer space to empower others. Work in motion is viewable at www.donnalyn.org. Locally, you can find DonnaLyn gratefully teaching macroeconomics at Brookdale, coaching entrepreneurs at the Small Business Development Center or providing client care at Couch Braunsdorf Insurance and Heritage Benefits Group LLC, Red Bank. In her spare time she shares the gift of yoga with her cherished clients and friends. Connect on LinkedIn, Facebook & Twitter @DonnaLynSpeaks.
Two River Times Feb 2014 - Health & Wellness Column
February conjures images of piercing hearts and happy connections so what's your passionate plan this month? Recurrent studies show that humans are social by nature so perhaps this is the month to cast your sights wider to welcome a new circle of friends. Interesting people with large and active social networks are much less likely to suffer cognitive decline than those who are isolated. So here are some ideas on how to ramp up your physical and mental acuity in red hot ways in the chilly months of winter.
Create your own micro adventure and invite a friend to join you. Not sure what a micro adventure is? Neither was I until I had the pleasure of stumbling upon Lauren Rains interesting and thoughtful blog. A masterful micro adventurer is one that makes it his/her mission to create a challenging and creative mini trip when precluded from pursuing true wanderlust. Day job be damned! Check out " A Mad to Live Project" which highlights a variety of 50 mile walks for tomorrow's world changers and learn about the art of possibly crafting your own microadventure this Feb. Don't forget to bring a bonding buddy (if you can find one for a fifty miler..ha!) and if I see the two of you stranded on one of NJ's many highways walking to no where for a great cause, I'll be sure to offer you both a ride...assuming, of course, that you're at the end of your perfectly connecting micro adventure! Read Lauren's blog at MadToLive.com.
So if you're not feeling delightfully daring these days, simply try to change up one of your enjoyable routine activities. If you're a traditional runner, for instance, consider exploring Chi running...Your body and mind will thank you! My friend and colleague Dave Stretanski , certified master instructor of Chi running and walking fame right here in the Two River area, makes movement look easy, graceful and fun. Dave, where have you been all our lives? After earlier years of marathon and half marathon training that nearly made my knees buckle, meeting Dave and learning about "a better way" to improve my groove was a long overdue treat. The benefits to chi running include increased movement efficiency, reduced negative stress on the body, less discomfort and pain, and a much more mindful movement practice. Sounds like yoga in sneakers, Dave!
If you're a yoga enthusiast or want to be in 2014, try an appropriate style of yoga or a new studio to broaden your healthy living horizons. There are numerous engaging yoga studios in Monmouth county to delight your downdog, so vary your vinyasa or expand your knowledge around the vastly different types of yoga available. Need a place to start learning which yoga form is most suitable or next in line for you? Check out www.yogatrail.com for an informative yoga wheel that covers approximately twenty of the most popular types of yoga according to your body's love for movement. Need a beginner's class? Try a restorative or gentle yoga class. Ready to ramp up your power potential on the mat? Try an ashtanga or hot yoga studio that will turn up the heat...literally and figuratively. The important part of the yoga journey, besides inviting a friend to enhance the socially connecting effect this month, is to ensure that the class is appropriately leveled for your expectations. The goal with yoga is to enjoy the entire mind, body and spirit adventure without landing in a class that's misaligned for your level of practice. It's also important to connect with your instructor so let your yoga guide know if you're new or looking for a challenge to start a dialogue around your needs. All the instructors I know enjoy the process of supporting their students on and often off the mat. That's why we're here to help create an encouraging community of wellness for you! Consider calling the studio before arriving to make sure your yoga drop- in is a blissful experience. Dress comfortably, bring a mat if you've got one (most studios will rent you one!) and have yourself a great experience! Feel free to drop me a line for some recommendations on how to find a class best suited for you. Here are just a few of the reasons passionate people pursue great yoga:
- Stress Relief
- Pain Relief
- Better Breathing
- Focus on the Present
- Weight Management
What's not to love, lifeleaders? So, let this February be a month of heart opening adventures for you, your friends and family. Namaste!
DonnaLyn Giegerich MBA CIC RYT is an integrated business/wellness spokesleader that's been in the national convention, corporate and consumer space helping others improve their groove in getting results with the intersection of her business, wellness and leadership initiatives. Learn more at www.donnalyn.org for workshops, events and speaking engagements empowering people and teams from California to Cornell. Facebook and Twitter at DonnaLynSpeaks. Locally, you can find DonnaLyn teaching macro economics at Brookdale, coaching entrepreneurs at the Small Business Development Center or providing client care at Couch Braunsdorf Insurance and Heritage Benefits Group LLC, Red Bank.
Two River Times - Health & Wellness Column Jan 2014
Here are some timely tips to keep you powered up for purposeful action in the new year. Researchers at the Loma Linda University in California recently noted that looking forward to an event boosts immunity. Maxed out on obligatory holiday happenings? Well, now its your time in 2014 to reframe your focus on enlarging events. So what's your creative calendar look like this year? Looking to learn something new, experience something different or try a different travel theme? Studies reveal that biological changes like lowering levels of of stress hormones cortisol & epinephrine(adrenaline) accompany the joy of event anticipation. So if you're susceptible to sad affective disorder or the "winter blues" like I am, consider making an active effort to plan something purposeful to keep you focused on fun. We recently attended a international premier medical/research conference to advocate for and educate others but that didn't stop us from planning fun with our friends while visiting New Orleans. By day we dished academic and by night we embraced Bourbon Street after power yoga at Reyn Studios to embrace the notion of integrated wellness. Bottomline, we make it our mission to plan for fun amidst hard work to keep our immunity humming and our memories coming in full color. But please note, you don't have to leave fabulous Red Bank to craft great events ! Simply boost your mood by looking forward to plans with friends in this cool little town or find interesting ways to make new friends in a new forum. Your detrimental stress hormones will decrease as you dial up delightful plans wherever you land. Consider joining us in Red Bank Feb 8 at the Red Bank Women's Club for the beginning of our next Power Panelist event series. Learn what's possible in business and life from our diverse group of lifeleaders that rarely take no for an answer in the arena of enlarging experiences. Not coincidentally, our first 2014 themed event is entitled "New Year, New You." One of our fabulous panelist presenters went back to law school at fifty to exceed the expectations of her clients and family. So, what are you leaning toward learning new this year?
Here are some stretch assignment possibilities to consider. The world of technology has gifted us with a plethora of learning options. Check out website Duolingo to learn a second language, get your healthy on at Nerd Fitness or grab some video learning at Information is Beautiful. If you prefer in person learning to virtual worlds, feel free to join us for our yoga class at The Atlantic Club on Saturday mornings or come join our macro economic instruction at Brookdale to keep your worldview expanding in the land of commerce and connection. Think you're too old or not quite bold enough to learn something new or daring? I challenge you to recall the teachings of psychology pro, Al Bandura that taught us the importance of small, consecutive stages of progress as the keystone to success. So if you want to "touch the snake" to dispel your fear of learning something new or intimidating this year, remember Bandura's cues to create successive building blocks to break through to new levels of achievement in 2014. You'll be going BIG in no time.
As we craft our new year, new you goals in the spirit of adventure and lifelong curiosity, lets not forget the paramount importance of effective stress management. One of the greatest tools that has enlarged the lives of wellness seekers has been the simple gift of stillness. So if you've ever spent time in the professional or personal wilderness trying to figure out how to restore and endure, give silence a whirl. Some find this exercise through meditation, prayer, gardening, dog walking or simply being truly present in their daily lives with others. When work or life gets too frenetic, try what Rick Hanson suggests in his popular book Buddha's Brain. To paraphrase one of his important messages he suggests that when we know stillness and get comfortable with silence, critical insights come forth. When the insights appear, then and only then can we become more clear around what it is that will enrich or improve our lives. Give the gift of goodbye to the energy vampires and start ushering in new insights and a more rewarding life. The end game in clarity is that we are finally able to work, communicate and share our giftedness in the world in the spirit of greater awareness which is what our wellness community knows as yoga in action. So if you're dealing with long lasting life shifting stressors in the new year or need a refresher on how to deal with the invariable insanity of life sometimes, think about bolstering your immune system with a ten minute mindful meditation to refocus your day, week, month or new year. It will yield mind, body, spirit and relationship dividends like no other, no charge. And if you'd like more integrated leadership learning on point, pick up a copy of book, Yoga as Medicine by Dr Tim McCall or join us for Yoga On the Lake this spring. It will give you something to look forward to!
DonnaLyn Giegerich MBA CIC RYT is an integrated national business/wellness speaker, business consultant and resilience coach that empower leaders, corporate teams and conference attendees with the intersection of her business, wellness and life experience expertise. Ongoing global advocacy and upcoming events, workshops and speaking engagements are viewable at www.donnalyn.org . She is the President of DLG Consulting, co-owner of Heritage Benefits Grp & producer partner at Couch Braunsdorf Insurance all in Red Bank. She is on staff at Brookdale as an economics professor and business consultant for the Small Business Development Center for entrepreneurs. She teaches yoga here and travels widely sharing yoga in her spare time.
Had the distinct pleasure of speaking at a colleague's book signing this weekend on the merits of food, friends and a good cleanse. It was a day of nutritional empowerment to kick off the New Year...the perfect elixir as we all detox delightful holiday treats! When Scott duPont, author of Do These Things or You Will Die...5 Secrets to a Long, Healthy & Energetic Life, invited me to give testimony on the power of alkalinity, cleansing and intelligent nutrition as a survivor/thriver team, we gladly accepted. What I love about Scott is the way he authentically lives and shares his passion for healthy living. We were instructed on the importance of clean nutrition through his powerful presentation and then invited for a green tea visit with his family after a spin in his new electric car! Our supercharged cells were buzzing with knowledge as we preserved the air in our environmentally clean riding machine!
The community clearly craved this key information on how to improve their groove around health and nutrition by packing this lovely community bookstore that had hosted big names like Garrison Keillor in the recent past. I shared what we knew to be true through nutrition, yoga, meaningful work and a positive attitude to elevate quality of life for all regardless of challenge. Our national health trends are alarming but that didn't stop us from disarming the myths that often hold us back from realizing the secrets of how to live a long, healthy and energetic life! Congratulations Scott on your newest book and thanks Rollins College for bringing frat brothers together for a cool post Christmas connection!
Tom Zapcic, Scott duPont, DonnaLyn Giegerich
Wellness & Wild Possibilities Book Signing @ Mendham Books, NJ
Sometimes serendipity exceeds expectation! Such was the case at the 55th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition where we connected with worldclass science, research and physician talent in early December. These leaders were committed to elevating medical innovation through their cutting edge work on display for four days in the heart of Nola.
Over 18,000 attendees merged their time, tenacity, passion and purposeful work to celebrate possibilties at the premier oncology event of the year. Luckily, we were along for the ride as patient advocates and symbols of what's possible for others thru a tumultuous medical journey. Sure, we enjoyed Tom's birthday on Bourbon St, alongside the arts, culture and fun that the city serves up 24-7 but we also dialed up our learning around esoteric terms like flow cytometry, blackswan research, CRAB criteria and cellular/molecular sensitivity testing. The stadium lectures were like rock concerts for a cure and the posters in the exhibition halls reminded me it was time to learn another foreign language stat. At the end of the day, I found zen at a local yoga studio to download the brain opening experience and eeked out a 3K run to support the International Myeloma Foundation where our running mantra was "no patient left behind". We are surely gunning for more time in our deep community of committed stakeholders and are grateful to our new friends around the world that beaded up with us in the French Quarter.
UAMS Dr Barlogie & fans
This October we celebrated our final event in our Fall Power Panelist 2013 season featuring Women in Wellness in the medical, business, fitness and lifeleader space. Our second year of sold out programming and meaningful networking at the Red Bank Woman's Club is yielding great dividends for all in a warm and welcoming venue where history is often crafted. New and returning attendees, clients and friends, meet and greet several times a year to learn and share what they know to be true in business and life. One of our passionate panelists was channelling her inner "actress" as she described with humor and authenticity how she became a wellness professional. The other three panelist doctors concurred that today's patient and practicioner have to team up to be well aligned to design and deliver a wellness plan best suited in a world of rich and variant options. One of my longtime business colleagues queried how we launch & sustain such invigorating programming empowering others. Our response was threefold: emotional energy, a daring plan and collaborative confidence...peppered, of course, with some super "channelling" and lots of fun. See you in 2014!
We now live in a "credibility" economy, where who we are matters more than what we produce. So what's your reputation ranking? Do folks view you as a leader, a lurk, a saint or a j*rk? Maybe somewhere in between, depending on the kind of day you're having??
One of the great honors of coaching and consulting with so many diverse leaders around the country has led me to surmise the following:
1.) Leaders master self efficacy. They truly believe that they can effectively redirect their efforts and overcome challenge with inner fortitude and a supportive inner circle of trusted advisors. Call it self confidence, resiliency or an over the top positive attitude but be sure it yields great results. No matter how one frames their challenges, it usually culminates in an overriding sense of "we can figure this out." Researchers Everly & Flynn(2005) coined the phrase "PFA" for psychological first aid. Turns out the most effective leaders are highly proficient at developing a powerful "inner circle" of advisors that help them manage acute stress & the possible need for ongoing mental health support. The best leaders provide encouragement and support for others but are also equally aware of their imperative need to "refill their wells" to continue to lead by example. There is no band aid brand to great leadership. Invest in the best first aid kit that crafts lasting success for you and your teams at home and at work.
Just returned from DC sharing what I know to be true as a presenting speaker for the Yoga Alliance's national business conference entitled Mind.Body.Business. I was invited to present on How to Build an Abundant Business Plan to encourage emerging yoga studio owners, sole practicioners, on-boarding industry newbies and existing veterans how best to transition their plans in the spirit of passion and profit. Not an easy goal for many, but well worth the "lean in" to properly position one's brand in the marketspace. Had the honor to meet and greet so many conference peopleleaders as a speaker, coach, consultant and colleague to inform each other's purposeful work. Met some interesting vendors, as well, like bodyworker Gina Schatz at ginaschatz.com. We mused on getting over "shiny object syndrome" in midlife and compared notes on crafting our best efforts around formulating "meaning over money" to serve our higher purposes. So many folks I coach with share the challenge of vascillating amidst competing interests, shifting priorities and multiple life lessons here in midsteam.... trying to orchestrate that fluid exit/entry, that deeper down dive into a better way of working... or wandering around what might be possible for them in the context of a larger life.
Celebrating Life at the Yoga Alliance Business Conference, Washington, DC Ag 2013