Tuesday February 4th, 2014 I will be broadcasting the first in a series of SHIFT webinars. It will be a 40 minute discussion of how the SHIFT model can be used to improve life experiences.
http://pulseinstitute.adobe.connect.com/shift is the URL

It will be a live broadcast that will be recorded and made available to you if you cannot attend.  We will be broadcasting each month on the 4th at 10:00 AM MDT.  Here is the list of topics we have created.

February 4th – SHIFT Happens
March 4th – PULSE in review
April 4th – Checklists for every PULSE conversation
May 4th – GHOST a way to speak and listen
June 4th – The POWER of deep listening
July 4th –  The PULSE Enneagram grid
August 4th – Intelligences – Ways of Knowing
September 4th – a Sharp Mind
October 4th – a Happy Heart
November 4th – an Independent Spirit
December 4th – a Fit Body
January 4th, 2015 – a Trusting Soul
The webinars are free to attend just enter the URL or go to the PULSE website events page and click on the calendar of events.  The link will take you to the webinar.

“Sit up straight” How many times have you heard that from parents and teachers? Today it sounds like good advice. It is not just about how you sit which is the physical wellbeing aspect of posture. It can also apply to all the other scales of wellbeing.
“Sit up straight” on the sharpness scale asks you to pay attention and be aware of your surroundings. Sometimes when I am reading my mind wanders. If I were to say to myself “Sit up straight” I know that the physical act of doing that would bring my focus back to the words on the page.
“Sit up straight” on the Happiness scale could be a reminder to choose happiness and not allow yourself to move into that slouchy, depressed state that is often easy to be in and difficult to get out of. When we “sit up straight” from the heart we can feel the lift that we get and it can make you smile.
“Sit up straight” on the relational wellbeing scale of independence is an invitation to take charge of the situation and make the most of the relationship you are working on. Don’t allow others to make decisions for you. Use your back bone to straighten the situation in your favour.
“Sit up straight” on the Fitness scale allows your organs the room they need to work properly and lets your back do the work it was built to do. Using the muscles in your back this way strengthens them and you in many ways.
“Sit up straight” on the Trusting scale is another invitation to pay attention to the “coincidences in your life, the unexplained, the miraculous. Trust that your intentions when shared are powerful and that we are all in the right place, doing the right thing.
The significance of good posture, of sitting up straight is enormous. So it for a day or two and see how much better you feel.
SHIFT will happen.

Five frogs are sitting on a log.  One decides to jump into the pond.  How many frogs are left on the log?

The answer is five.  Although the one frog decided to jump he is still sitting there thinking about it.  I think of this story every time I feel a need to make a commitment to physical activity or physical fitness.  I am FULL of good intentions but the couch potato in me would rather put in a disk from my 13 season set of MASH programs a watch it in my comfy chair than go for a walk.  I have decided to be fit many, many times.

A Fit body is found on your index finger in on the SHIFT hand.

Sharp mind – pinky finger

Happy heart – ring finger

Independent spirit – middle finger

Fit body – index finger and

Trusting soul – thumb

Your index finger is the one you wag at people when you disapprove or are trying to emphasis a point. Like the finger print on that finger measuring levels of fitness is individual.  there are as many ways to get and stay fit as there are people in the world.  There are people who never really have to think about being fit.  They just are.  There are others who have tried every program and have never quite succeeded in reaching the level of fitness they are looking for and are never really satisfied with how they look and feel in their body.

Physical intelligence is one we sometimes ignore.  Our bodies have wisdom.  They KNOW things.  They know when we have had too much food or drink.  They send us messages to indicate any kind of over indulgence… and they send us warning messages too but most of us have learned to ignore those in favour of a good time.  They know when we have over exerted ourselves and when we should stop our extreme workouts and take a rest.

The best advice I have ever heard for Physical fitness is found in the RENEW.  Rest is essential.  We all need a daily dose of sleep.  Our needs vary but we all experience exhaustion when they are not met.  Energy is essential.  We all need a source of motivation and energy, a feeling of euphoria we get from participating in a game or a sport. Nutrition is essential.  This is another area where if we listen to our body we can learn what it needs as far as nutrition goes.  We have a wonderful system that can take what is needed from what is provided and eliminate the rest. Exercise is essential.  We need to move everyday or our muscles atrophy and we become weak. Walking or curling or swimming or shoveling or dancing.  It doesn’t matter.  You just need to move.  Water is essential.  It is the first medicine.  It is life-giving.  It is what keeps us alive.  We are made of water. Rest, Energy, Nutrition, Exercise and Water = RENEW.

Listen to your body.  Where are you on the fitness finger today?  Closer to the tip of the finger is feeling fit and powerful and in control.  Closer to the palm of the hand indicates a need to depend on other intelligences to get you through the day and back to where you can DECIDE and then act on the decision to move.  Bodies are like that.  Use it or lose it.

Trust your body to be there for you if you need it.  When you feel threatened it will respond with Fight Flight or Freeze to give you what you need to survive.  Treat it with the respect that it deserves.  It is your home.  It is wise and by listening to it and answering its requests of you, you will be able to improve your physical intelligence, your FIT body score.

SHIFT is often what we need when things are not working.  A SHIFT in perspective can change everything and really there are many ways for that to happen.  With one measure of intelligence on each of your five fingers you can quickly access where you are today and evaluate what might work to SHIFT you to a new perhaps healthier perspective. The measures of well-being are a Sharp Mind, a Happy Heart, an Independent Spirit, a Fit Body and a Trusting Soul.  They describe your level of mental, emotional, relational, physical and spiritual well-being and you can put them on your fingers so you remember to assess them daily.

In the last blog I talked about shifting your score on the Sharp Mind Scale and today I want to explore the Happy Heart measure of emotional well-being, the one I use my ring finger to measure.  Like the mind, the heart has its own intelligence and we know when our scale is close to the palm of our hand when we are feeling low or disconnected from our feelings.  When we are past the second knuckle on our ring finger, we are feeling pretty good and we are in touch with those emotions.  That can range from joy to pain.  The idea is to experience more joy than pain but recognizing that you have emotional pain is definitely the first step.

How can you learn to experience more joy, deeper emotions and improve your emotional well-being?  There are so many books about happiness and how to achieve it.  Every one from the Dali Lama to your next door neighbour has either published a book on happiness or has a suggestion for how you might be better at being happy.  Happiness is characterized by positive or pleasant emotions and the scientific study of it has been prolific in recent years.  You can even earn a degree these days in positive psychology and if you are American you have an inalienable right to pursuit happiness.

Here are some ideas for moving your score from 1, near the palm to 10 near the tip of your finger.  Smile.  Just smiling can change your mood. Find something to smile about.  There is usually a happy place you can go to in your heart when you are feeling blue.  The trick is to learn all of the ways to get there.  Gratitude is important.  The old adage of counting your blessings can bring you back to happy.  Accomplishment and a sense of pride in yourself can improve your happiness score.  Remind yourself of happier times.

Appreciation, affection, attention, approval and allowing given or received can also move the scale toward 10.  Sing, dance, move, call a friend, share, play, connect, organize, plan … do what makes YOU happy.

Happy is an individual state, different for each of us.  I think part of it is learned which means you can get better at experiencing happy just by noticing when you are and what is happening at that moment.  Put that experience in your smile bank for use when needed. Knowing, doing and being happy will take different levels of energy on a given day.  Assessing it daily with the other scales of well-being is an important step of awareness.

For a quick fix go back to the RENEW idea.  Rest: Give yourself an emotional break. Energize:  Read something happy, visit your happy place, watch a happy video. Nurture:  Some forms of nutrition have magical happiness qualities, comfort food, chocolate.  Go easy on the mood enhancers though. Exercise:  Releases endorphin, the natural happiness drug.  Water:  Hydration is good for you and your heart.  Keeping your heart healthy goes hand in hand with keeping your emotional well-being score high. Rest, Energize, Nurture, Exercise and Water.  RENEW.

We sometimes assume that others are in charge of our happiness.  Not true.  It’s up to you.  That will be the topic for the next Blog on relational well-being.

Don’t worry….be happy…..

The first scale for measuring well-being on the SHIFT hand from the last blog, SHIFT Happens, is the scale for mental or intellectual well-being. It can be found on your pinky finger. How sharp are you today? That is the first question. Are you feeling on top of things mentally or are things a little foggy and dull today? On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your mental well-being today?
Scales are personal. Only you can determine what they mean for you. Generally speaking you have an average day that ranks around a 5 on your scale, a day where nothing gets missed and things go well. Nothing too exciting happens.  You answer questions that are asked of you and you accomplish routine tasks in routine ways.
Then there are days where a spark of curiousity illuminates the ideas in your head and you can hardly stand how brilliant you feel. Usually someone notices that you are ON and that lights you up again and away you go. The ignition is usually based in curiousity and the fuel is satisfaction of the curiousity, a new idea or a synthesis of thoughts that create new packaging for old ideas. A 10 day on the scale from 1 to 10, where your ideas are at your fingertips … literally.  You have a sense of feeling encouraged and motivated and in the groove.
And then there are days where you can’t even string a sentence together. On those days you tend to rely on your other modalities or intelligences to get you through. Some days all of the scales are close to the palm of your hand, at a 1 on the scale. On those days it might take the igniting of one intelligence to pull the scales up for all of them. Mentally it is curiousity. If you can find something to be curious about you can improve the scale almost immediately. Sometimes I just get curious about why I am feeling so dull minded. That can be enough of a spark. I write about it because words and language serve our mental wellness. Or I read something that might provide a spark.
Rest is important. We are dullest when we have had little rest. Energy is important and we can take energy from that spark of curiousity. Nutrition is important. There are many studies about brain food. Exercise is important. Sudoku or cross words or brain teasers give us a work out. Water is important. Hydrate you r brain. That three o’clock drop in mental capacity is best served by a tall glass of water. My First Nations friends always remind me that water is the first medicine. To improve on our sharpness scale it is important to keep hydrated.  Rest, Energy, Nutrition, Exercise, Water = RENEW for brain health and wellness.

Keep the mind Sharp so that we can SHIFT our integrated scales toward greater personal well-being.

A Sharp Mind – Pinky

A Happy Heart – Ring

An Independent Spirit – Middle

A Fit Body – Index and

A Trusting Soul – Thumb

Use your fingers to do your own check in now.

Watch for the next blog on ideas for improving your Heart well-being on the Happy Heart Scale.

There are many ways to measure your well-being.  This week I have been thinking about one that is more portable … one you can keep on your finger tips for quick check ins when you are going through a rougher time in your evolution as a person.  I suppose this could become an APP but for now all you need is five fingers to set and remember the scales that will help you assess your state of mind, body and heart.  I have always talked about the three orientations that people.  Past oriented people are more likely to live in the heart and feel things deeply.  Present people are more likely to live in their body and fill the spaces they occupy.  Future oriented people are more likely to live in their minds, thinking deeply.  All of us have head heart and body so there is no escaping the past present future orientations.  Each can be identified as a Type of intelligence.  Many people are writing and study multiply intelligence and they do include head, heart and body kinds of knowing. I thought it would be helpful to have a quick assessment tool to evaluate where you are, how you are doing, by your own determination on these and two others.  Besides physical intelligence, mental or intellectual intelligence and physical intelligence I have added relational or social intelligence and spiritual intelligence to the Check In List.

Beginning with the mind, consider how SHARP your mind is today.  On a scale of one to ten, one being the foggiest day in your mind and ten being the brilliant day when you made great discoveries, how SHARP are you today? Use your preferred hand to slide that scale across your baby finger until you can feel and see how you feel right now.  If you are feeling SHARP you will end up near the tip of your finger.  If you are not feeling especially SHARP today you will be closer to the palm of your hand where the fingers come together to help each other.

Now on your ring finger consider the level of HAPPINESS you feel in your heart.  How joyful and happy are the emotions you are experiencing right now.  Again, slide your preferred hand up and down the ring finger of your other hand to determine a visual and sensational point to indicate that experience.  Closer to the palm is less happy than closer to the tip and truly joyous might be off the end of the finger.

Now for your middle finger.  This is a social intelligence measure and the scale relates to your level of INDEPENDENCE.  How independent of spirit are you feeling today?  I am not sure why I choose independence as the measure except that experiencing a sense of independence and confidence and courage allows you to develop relationships on your terms.  Closer to the palm means you are depending on others for your social well-being while closer to the tip indicates that you are in charge of your own social agenda.

The pointer finger or index finger represents your body and its level of FITNESS.  How FIT are you?  Closer to the palm indicates that work needs to be done to maximize the energy that our bodies can provide. I think of another acronym that I use as a reminder to myself about fitness.  RENEW – Rest, Energy, Nutrition, Exercise and Water.  These are the things that contribute to a healthy and fit body. Are you getting the right combination of these things to keep you fit?

The thumb represents the soul, the spiritual intelligence that connects us with mankind. Here the measure is TRUST.  How trusting a soul are you?  Do you have faith in mankind? Can you trust your fellow human beings or a deity that you have come to know as kind and loving?  Can you move beyond yourself in a way that benefits others and the planet?  This scale is about consciousness which can be raised if we trust each other.

Each time you use your preferred hand to measure the scales on your other hand you will notice that the results are not constant.  Where we are on a given day at a given hour can SHIFT.  Using the scales SHIFT scales can provide immediate feedback on the depth and direction of the SHIFT and can promote corrective action.  Keeping things on an even keel, especially in difficult times is key and working toward the tips of the fingers and beyond on all of scales can improve our attitudes, our perspectives and our lives.

On a scale of 1 to 10 measure your SHIFT.

Sharpness of mind
Happiness of heart
Independence of spirit
Fitness of body
Trust in mankind

Over the next week or so I will write about each of the areas of intelligence and suggest ways to change the results on each of the fingers.  Meanwhile please let me know if you use the scales and how they work for you.

MERPS – Mental, Emotional, Relational, Physical and Spiritual+ Well-being indices.