• Fresh Views

    GRATITUDE: Today’s word to jump-start a solution-focused practice

    Andrea Bocelli performing Amazing Grace during Music For Hope – Live From Duomo di Milano on YouTube

    Through many dangers, toils and snares We have already come. T’was grace that brought us safe thus far And grace will lead us home – lyrics from “Amazing Grace”

    As April and this most stressful National Stress Awareness Month come to a close, it seems fitting to try to maintain mindfulness of the people, feelings and things big and small that we are grateful for. 

    Today’s word is GRATITUDE

    In solution-focused practice, emphasis is on the present and the future (rather than dwelling on past problems). We know there is a direct link between thoughts one thinks and the feelings they feel. Several studies suggest that expressing gratitude can decrease stress and anxiety by activating the areas in the brain that release the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine. When practiced over time, healthy and productive thoughts can produce effective long-term benefit. A few months back we published a blog on developing gratitude practices, including keeping a gratitude journal. Read more about it here.

    On April 12, one entry in both of our gratitude journals was renowned Italian singer, Andrea Bocelli’s, live stream solo performance on YouTube of Amazing Grace (pictured above). Another gratitude entry this month is that our article, A Paradigm Shift: Taking a Solution-Focused Approach to Practice  was published in the journal ADCES In Practice! While it’s exciting to be published, we are most thrilled for the opportunity to share with other diabetes care and education specialists how to embrace a solution-focused approach in practice, shifting from focusing on trying to “fix problems”.

    Another thing we are both grateful for are friendships, far and near, and the video conferencing platforms that allow us to gather together on Friday nights for a “virtual happy hour”. We have fun catching up and sharing our weekly challenges and successes. Here we are hanging out last week! 

    Tami & Mike, Deb & Mark, Joan & David and Terry & Karen

    Through these “stay at home” orders, even though we live in four different states, we’ve had the epiphany, “Why didn’t we think about doing this before?” We can still connect and spend time with each other! We plan to keep doing this even after we no longer have to social distance. 

    How to get started with gratitude practices?

    In addition to the ideas shared in our previous blog on gratitude, here are 2 more strategies to help develop daily gratitude habits:

    1. Start a gratitude jar. A colleague of Deb’s shared this daily gratitude practice her family (children included) is using. When something is going well and they realize they are happy and excited, they write down what’s happening on a small piece of paper and drop it in a gratitude jar. Then during times when they are not feeling as happy and feel struggles, they go to the gratitude jar and read one of those slips of paper, bringing back those happy feelings. 
    2. Say a kind word. The quickest, simplest and easiest way to demonstrate gratitude is to say thanks to another. Let someone know exactly why you are grateful to have them in your life, sharing specific things they have done or said on your behalf.

    THIS WEEK’S SOLUTION-FOCUSED CHALLENGE

    We often close with inviting readers to participate in a solution-focused challenge. This week we challenge you to incorporate at least one gratitude practice into your conversations with clients. Encourage finding a daily time to practice gratitude and try to be consistent. Maybe it’s when they get up in the morning. Maybe it’s before they go to bed at night. Maybe it’s when they’re exercising. 

    We @AFreshPOVforYou are grateful for pets and the smiles they bring! These last few weeks we’ve been spending so much extra time on screens big and small, that our cats are even joining in!

    Tami’s “grand-kitty” Starry (Who knew she loved Andrea Bocelli and classical music??)

    We are grateful for you all and appreciate the opportunity to share our passion for expanding the use of solution-focused principles into diabetes care and education.  We thank you for reading!

    Deb’s “office cat” Puma watching Hulu!

    We welcome anyone interested in our approach to Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou

  • Fresh Views

    What are you grateful for today? 5 strategies to develop daily gratitude habits

    We are grateful that we are taking some time off and seeing some fresh views! We’ll be back next week with some new perspectives to share! Enjoy this re-posting of an earlier blog that seemed to resonate with many!

    Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow – Melody Beattie

    Do you think about gratitude during your daily routine? Is it a habit you practice? Deb was recently on vacation and needed some self-care so decided to get a massage.  When she was checking into the spa they showed her three smooth stones, each with one of these words on it: Hope, Love and Gratitude.When asked to choose one emotion that she wanted to focus on during the massage, she chose Gratitude. While laying face down during the massage, a smaller stone was placed below her face so she could see and reflect on the word “Gratitude” during the massage, and to help her think about being grateful. (You see that stone in the photo above) This fresh view and experience created a new desire to be more thoughtful and intentional about being grateful for what is and what she has.

    What do you think about when you see or hear the word ‘gratitude”? The simple definition is “a feeling of thankful appreciation for favors or benefits received; thankfulness.”  But the practice of gratitude means so much more.

    According to the American Heart Association several clinical trials show that engaging in a practice of gratitude can lower blood pressure and help the immune system. “Grateful people engage in more exercise, have better dietary behaviors, are less likely to smoke and abuse alcohol, and have higher rates of medication (taking)”. Several studies suggest that gratitude can decrease stress and anxiety by activating the areas in the brain that the release feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine.

    Research discussed in the Jan/Feb, 2019 issue of Diabetes Self-Management also shows that positive psychological states such as gratitude are associated with improved physical health in people with diabetes, improved sleep, and increased self esteem. While the relationship is not fully understood, positive emotions such as expressing gratitude, are linked to healthier lifestyle choices. And healthy lifestyle choices including healthy eating and being active are in turn linked to overall health.

    How can you get started with gratitude?

    Here are 5 strategies to help develop daily gratitude habits:

    1. Have gratitude reminders. These are simple cues to remind you to focus on gratitude daily. Maybe it’s an alarm on your phone, a bracelet or wristband, a photo, a magnet even a post it note. And with that reminder, pause, take a breath and focus on being grateful in that moment.
    2. Keep a gratitude journal. We both have found this to be a good personal practice to express gratitude more readily and find things to be more grateful for. Some log entries in their journal weekly, and others daily. Our personal goal is to identify at least 3 things daily for which we’re grateful. Tami numbers her entries and is working toward 1000 things for which she’s grateful. Some things are big (Entry #622 – Protection through a tornadic storm). Some things are small (Entry #1- Sun and warmth on my shoulders). While the goal is to write in the journal daily, sometimes life happens and weeks may go by without an entry, but we pick right back up with our entries.
    3. Start a gratitude box. Keeping a box (jar, album, folder, or whatever works for you) filled with notes, pictures, and moments you are grateful for can bring a boost when needed. Tami keeps a folder on her desk and a file on her computer filled with nice notes and photos, as well as  an album on her phone of messages and moments she’s grateful for to refer back to when she needs a reminder. Deb has a bulletin board in her office that displays happy memories in photos, ticket stubs, quotes, flyers etc. that she can look at during working at any time.
    4. Voice or write down one (two, or three) good things that happened in your day. On the homefront, this is a gratitude practice Tami has used with her son over the years. In the days when she would take and pick him up from school, she found that the drive time was a good time to learn about his day. That conversation always began with these words, “Tell me something good that happened today.” He knew he needed to answer that, acknowledging something good, before talking about the challenges of the day.
    5. Use gratitude apps. There are a number of apps with a range of capabilities including sending reminders, sharing uplifting thoughts, and organizing memories for which you are grateful. Deb has been struggling with back pain from a chronic disc problem and was at a place where no position brought relief, not sitting, standing or lying down. It was getting challenging to think clearly and work. She began using the Calm app, decided to take the Calm masterclass in gratitude, and use their 7 days of gratitude meditation. The process has helped her to find daily items to be grateful for during a time when it was challenging to not be engrossed in the pain.

    Here are 3 other things Deb has learned  through this experience:

    Learning #1 – When you have a chronic condition that is challenging you, think about ways to appreciate and focus on what you do have and what is working for you.

    Learning #2 – Try not to compare yourself and what you may be dealing with to others. While the grass might look greener on the other side of the fence, we never truly know what others are going through.  

    Learning #3 – Trying to simply look at what is right in front of you and be present in the moment.

    Maybe you employ one of these strategies. Or several.

    Here are 3 tips to help maintain your gratitude practice once you get started:

    • Find a daily time to practice gratitude and try to be consistent. Maybe it’s when you get up in the morning. Maybe it’s before you go to bed at night. Maybe it’s when you’re exercising.
    • Write what you feel. Don’t censor it.  
    • Refrain from making the list repetitive. Be specific finding new ways to approach gratitude.

    Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou.


  • Fresh Views

    What are you grateful for today? 5 strategies to develop daily gratitude habits

    Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow – Melody Beattie


    Do you think about gratitude during your daily routine? Is it a habit you practice? Deb was recently on vacation and needed some self-care so decided to get a massage.  When she was checking into the spa they showed her three smooth stones, each with one of these words on it: Hope, Love and Gratitude.When asked to choose one emotion that she wanted to focus on during the massage, she chose Gratitude. While laying face down during the massage, a smaller stone was placed below her face so she could see and reflect on the word “Gratitude” during the massage, and to help her think about being grateful. (You see that stone in the photo above) This fresh view and experience created a new desire to be more thoughtful and intentional about being grateful for what is and what she has.

    What do you think about when you see or hear the word ‘gratitude”? The simple definition is “a feeling of thankful appreciation for favors or benefits received; thankfulness.”  But the practice of gratitude means so much more.

    According to the American Heart Association several clinical trials show that engaging in a practice of gratitude can lower blood pressure and help the immune system. “Grateful people engage in more exercise, have better dietary behaviors, are less likely to smoke and abuse alcohol, and have higher rates of medication (taking)”. Several studies suggest that gratitude can decrease stress and anxiety by activating the areas in the brain that the release feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine.

    Research discussed in the Jan/Feb, 2019 issue of Diabetes Self-Management also shows that positive psychological states such as gratitude are associated with improved physical health in people with diabetes, improved sleep, and increased self esteem. While the relationship is not fully understood, positive emotions such as expressing gratitude, are linked to healthier lifestyle choices. And healthy lifestyle choices including healthy eating and being active are in turn linked to overall health.

    How can you get started with gratitude?

    Here are 5 strategies to help develop daily gratitude habits:

    1. Have gratitude reminders. These are simple cues to remind you to focus on gratitude daily. Maybe it’s an alarm on your phone, a bracelet or wristband, a photo, a magnet even a post it note. And with that reminder, pause, take a breath and focus on being grateful in that moment.
    2. Keep a gratitude journal. We both have found this to be a good personal practice to express gratitude more readily and find things to be more grateful for. Some log entries in their journal weekly, and others daily. Our personal goal is to identify at least 3 things daily for which we’re grateful. Tami numbers her entries and is working toward 1000 things for which she’s grateful. Some things are big (Entry #622 – Protection through a tornadic storm). Some things are small (Entry #1- Sun and warmth on my shoulders). While the goal is to write in the journal daily, sometimes life happens and weeks may go by without an entry, but we pick right back up with our entries.
    3. Start a gratitude box. Keeping a box (jar, album, folder, or whatever works for you) filled with notes, pictures, and moments you are grateful for can bring a boost when needed. Tami keeps a folder on her desk and a file on her computer filled with nice notes and photos, as well as  an album on her phone of messages and moments she’s grateful for to refer back to when she needs a reminder. Deb has a bulletin board in her office that displays happy memories in photos, ticket stubs, quotes, flyers etc. that she can look at during working at any time.
    4. Voice or write down one (two, or three) good things that happened in your day. On the homefront, this is a gratitude practice Tami has used with her son over the years. In the days when she would take and pick him up from school, she found that the drive time was a good time to learn about his day. That conversation always began with these words, “Tell me something good that happened today.” He knew he needed to answer that, acknowledging something good, before talking about the challenges of the day.
    5. Use gratitude apps. There are a number of apps with a range of capabilities including sending reminders, sharing uplifting thoughts, and organizing memories for which you are grateful. Deb has been struggling with back pain from a chronic disc problem and was at a place where no position brought relief, not sitting, standing or lying down. It was getting challenging to think clearly and work. She began using the Calm app, decided to take the Calm masterclass in gratitude, and use their 7 days of gratitude meditation. The process has helped her to find daily items to be grateful for during a time when it was challenging to not be engrossed in the pain.

    Here are 3 other things Deb has learned  through this experience:

    Learning #1 – When you have a chronic condition that is challenging you, think about ways to appreciate and focus on what you do have and what is working for you.

    Learning #2 – Try not to compare yourself and what you may be dealing with to others. While the grass might look greener on the other side of the fence, we never truly know what others are going through.  

    Learning #3 – Trying to simply look at what is right in front of you and be present in the moment.

    Maybe you employ one of these strategies. Or several.

    Here are 3 tips to help maintain your gratitude practice once you get started:

    • Find a daily time to practice gratitude and try to be consistent. Maybe it’s when you get up in the morning. Maybe it’s before you go to bed at night. Maybe it’s when you’re exercising.
    • Write what you feel. Don’t censor it.  
    • Refrain from making the list repetitive. Be specific finding new ways to approach gratitude.

    We’ll continue our discussion on gratitude next week from a slightly different view……. when things turn upside down! Read our post next week and find out!

  • Fresh Views

    YOU CAN BE HEALTHY: Today’s words to jump-start solution-focused practice

    A view of the Mediterranean Sea from Eze sur mer, France

    Make one healthy choice. Then make another. – sparkpeople.com

    In the midst of the pandemic affecting our world, we have found ourselves intermittently feeling like we’re in the twilight zone, stuck in a time warp, with the hours and days running together. How did it get to be May?? During these “healthy at home” days, we’ve spent a lot of time reflecting…and what a difference a year makes! This time last year we were packing our bags preparing to hop on flights to the magical Mediterranean Sea. We are superfans of the Mediterranean culture and eating style, and to think that we weren’t even aware back then that May is National Mediterranean Diet Month! With that in mind, throughout this month of May as we continue our series focused on words to jump-start solution-focused practice, we’ll share a few favorite tips and swaps to eat “more Mediterranean-style”. We hope they’re helpful to you and your clients in the effort to make one healthy choice, and then another, during these stressful and challenging times.

    Today’s word is actually a few words: YOU CAN BE HEALTHY

    Words are powerful. Read more about ACCEPTANCE, STRENGTHS, POSSIBILITIES, MINDSET, SUPPORT, and GRATITUDE in solution-focused practice. “YOU CAN BE HEALTHY”  were words used frequently during Diabetes Social Media Advocacy (#DSMA) Twitter chats we hosted in 2018. Participants engaged in a solution-focused exercise (you can read about it here), and identified their desired future state, their strengths, and their resilient capacity. Many expressed their focus on the future was about living a healthy life and being healthy despite living with a chronic condition. They expressed they did not feel that diabetes made them “sick” or a “sick person”, and desired to focus on the fact that “you can be healthy” while living with a chronic condition. These words really resonated with us because in a solution-focused practice the goal for diabetes care and education specialists is to step alongside as a think partner to focus on what CAN happen, what one’s “best hopes” for their future are, to envision possibilities, and build upon strengths..

    One can BE healthy by making healthy food choices. While a variety of eating approaches have been proven helpful in managing blood glucose, in the spirit of National Mediterranean Diet month, we’re focusing on the Mediterranean eating pattern and sharing 8 tips toward a healthy Mediterranean-style eating plan. You can read more about Mediterranean-style eating in an earlier blog here. 

    Tomato and greens salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a dash of Parmesan cheese

    8 Tips to Eat More Mediterranean-Style

    1. Fit in fish at least twice a week. Fish and seafood are primary protein sources in the Mediterranean diet with limited use of red meat. Fresh, foil-packed, or water-packed tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, and herring are healthy options.Choose tuna or salmon to top a salad at least once a week (we’re fans of foil-pack varieties for simplicity) and make fish your “go-to” order when ordering out. There’s your two servings!
    2. Fill at least half of your plate with Mediterranean style non-starchy vegetables. Vegetables are a staple of the Mediterranean eating pattern. Mediterranean-style non-starchy options include artichokes, arugula, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, celeriac, chicory, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, greens, leeks, mushrooms, nettles, okra, onions, peas, peppers, radishes, rutabaga, scallions, shallots, tomatoes, turnip, and zucchini. 
    3. Choose whole fresh fruit as the “sweet treat”. When the desire for something sweet arises, opt for Mediterranean-style fruits including apples, apricots, avocados, cherries, clementines, dates, figs, grapefruit, grapes, melons, nectarines, oranges, peaches, pears, pomegranates, strawberries and tangerines.
    4. Replace butter and margarine with healthful oils, such as olive or canola oil. Olive oil is the main dietary fat in the Mediterranean eating style.  Use these oils for cooking, dip bread in flavored olive oil, or lightly spread olive oil on whole-grain breads.
    5. Season meals with herbs and spices rather than salt. If you don’t have fresh herbs, 1 teaspoon of dried gives the same flavor boost ast 1 tablespoon fresh.
    6. Choose whole-grains. This includes whole-grain breads and cereals, as well as whole-grain pasta and brown rice. Other Mediterranean-style whole grains include barley bulgur, whole grain couscous, and farro.
    7. Crunch more nuts or seeds. Keep almonds, peanuts, pistachios, and walnuts on hand for a quick snack We keep small zip-top bags of pistachios at our desks at work.
    8. Make water the go-to beverage, with wine in low to moderate amounts if you choose to drink alcohol (cheers!).

    THIS WEEK’S SOLUTION-FOCUSED CHALLENGE

    Each week we’re including a solution-focused challenge that can help evolve care and education in a solution-focused manner. Here’s this week’s challenge around YOU CAN BE HEALTHY!

    1. Help clients identify at least one thing they’re already doing to be healthy by asking a question such as “What have you already tried that is helping you, even if only a little bit?”. 
    2. Explore how they are able to accomplish doing that by asking a question such as “What gave you the strength to …..” (fill in the blank….make that choice, make that change etc.).
    3. Then ask what additional healthy choice they desire to make. How can they build upon past success to do that? You may ask, “What will you be doing differently after this visit?”

    We welcome anyone interested in our approach to Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou

  • Fresh Views

    MINDSET: Today’s word to jump-start solution-focused practice

    Deb’s “office kitty” has a mindset that is always focused on envisioning how to get outside and climb those trees!

    Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create.― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

    Given the chaos, worry, hurry, and stress that COVID-19 has rained upon the world, it’s timely that April is national Stress Awareness month. And who could have guessed several months ago when we slotted the word “Mindset”  as the focus for today’s blog that it would in fact be so relevant. We know you’re all busy and have many things on your mind, so we’re hoping this blog can help everyone take a short stress break and identify opportunities to reduce stress today.

    Today’s word is MINDSET: So what exactly is a Solution-Focused Mindset? 

    In a general sense, “mindset” is the way you think about your world, what you focus on, and how you relate to the world day-to-day. Change, like we’re all  experiencing now, means the emergence of new and challenging problems requiring new solutions. In matters big and small, diabetes-related or not, by embracing a mindset that focuses on solutions, and channeling energy into leveraging strengths and possibilities, you can cultivate a solution-focused mindset. One that envisions success. One which helps manage stress. Focusing on solutions and getting a plan in place helps reduce stress.

    Mindset has a more positive connotation than does stress, and implies that one has some control over the way they interpret and interact with their world during times of increased stress. Today we share with you 7 strategies you can use to help you as you function in your new environment, and also can help you step alongside your clients and support them in embracing a solution-focused mindset and managing stress:

    1. Create a morning mindset routine. We find that starting the day by making a list of each thing you’re looking forward to in that day (or even in the future) creates a feeling of anticipation and excitement that creates momentum for the entire day. Aim for at least 3 things. While you can note them mentally, in your phone’s Notes sections, or in a journal, if you write it them on a post-it note, you can easily post it somewhere that you’ll see it throughout the day (such as on your blood glucose monitoring supplies, on the car dash, on the refrigerator, you get the idea…) By focusing on the positive at the beginning of the day, it’s much easier to be happy, be focused, get work done more quickly. And often,  getting work done seems easier too.
    2. Live your Miracle Day. You may be familiar with the book by Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. In his book, Habit 2 is called Begin with the end in mind. In thinking about this process, the solution-focused tool The Miracle Question can be employed to change mindset. It guides in envisioning how life would be different tomorrow if a miracle occurred tonight and your challenges were gone. It helps know what you want.You can read more about it and how to use it here. 
    3. Build on your past success(es). While we  might not have any specific past successes that directly relate to our world today, we can apply successes in similar areas. What has worked well for you in the past when you’ve been under stress? Or maybe you can learn from others and what has worked for them. On social media we saw a post about how people are outside taking walks more often while staying and working at home. In one neighborhood someone started writing messages in chalk to give people passing by some hope and strength. We thought this was a great idea and so started doing this too. We now have neighbors writing back to us!
    4. Move your body. It might be simply taking a walk. Physical activity lowers stress hormones and triggers the brain to release chemicals that make you feel better. (We’re finding that taking short walks to clear our minds is helping us to feel less stress and think more clearly). During this time of crisis, many physical activity outlets are offering free online opportunities for those staying at home.
    5. Use positive affirmations. We wrote about using positive affirmations in a blog last December on Healthy Coping here. When life is feeling especially challenging, we’ve found that practicing “daily affirmations” greatly helps us. An affirmation is a short, positive statement that you say to yourself to build yourself up: I can do this. I am strong. Each moment brings choice. I will not hold onto bitterness.I can live an overflowing life. Have you ever tried affirmations? The reality is that we believe what we tell ourselves and what we hear others say about us. Using affirmations can help to “rebuild” negative thinking and strengthen positive thoughts. When working with clients in a solution-focused way, we can  help them to create their own affirmations as one Healthy Coping mechanism.
    6. Surround yourself with positive mindset people. Stress can cause some to turn inward and isolate themselves.Talking to others about your stressors and seeking their support is one way to de-stress. A positive social circle can act as an echo chamber for positive ideas, focusing on a great future and supporting your dreams. Maybe it’s taking a walk outside with a friend (practicing social distancing, of course) or chatting via Google Hangout or Facetime. Whenever the two of us are together we have lots of fun and laughter. That is one way we cope with stress. Find your tribe.
    7. Close out the day with a “wins”checklist. These may be linked to some of the things you were looking forward to, or different things. They don’t have to be monumental. The point is to keep your focus on your day’s best experiences and recognizing how you were able to leverage strengths and doing more of what’s worked well in the past. Finding ways to practice gratitude may be helpful.  You can read more on gratitude here.

    Each week we’ve been inviting readers to participate in a solution-focused challenge. Given all of the real world challenges we are all facing…..we didn’t think you needed another this week! So, we encourage you to try out one or more of the strategies we shared today, and please reach out and let us know how you’re doing! We’d love to help you de-stress and focus on a positive mindset.

    We welcome anyone interested in our approach to Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou

  • Fresh Views

    Happy Holidays from Deb and Tami @ AFreshPOVforYou!

    Taken at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, WV

    Happy Holidays from @AFreshPOVforYou (Tami and Deb)!

    We are taking a holiday break to enjoy time with family and friends and put self-care into practice. We hope you too can take a break, enjoy some downtime, relax and renew!

    Keeping pics of happy times at our fingertips on our phones is one way we practice gratitude! We hope you enjoy this pic from a couple years back. 

    We’ll be back in the new year……can’t believe it will be 2020….. with new posts and fresh views on taking a solution-focused approach to managing diabetes!

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou

  • Fresh Views

    In All Things We Give Thanks

    Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow – Melody Beattie

    We are always grateful for the sunshine and beautiful outdoors

    On this Thanksgiving eve, we are reminded of ALL that we are grateful for…including YOU, our readers and followers!

    Gratitude is good for health

    According to the American Heart Association several clinical trials show that engaging in a practice of gratitude can lower blood pressure and help the immune system. “Grateful people engage in more exercise, have better dietary behaviors, are less likely to smoke and abuse alcohol, and have higher rates of medication (taking)”. Several studies suggest that gratitude can decrease stress and anxiety by activating the areas in the brain that the release feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine. 

    Research discussed in the Jan/Feb, 2019 issue of Diabetes Self-Management also shows that positive psychological states such as gratitude are associated with improved physical health in people with diabetes, improved sleep, and increased self esteem. While the relationship is not fully understood, positive emotions such as expressing gratitude, are linked to healthier lifestyle choices. And healthy lifestyle choices including healthy eating and being active are in turn linked to overall health.

    How to get started with gratitude in this season of Thanksgiving? 

    Here are 5 strategies to help develop daily gratitude habits: 

    1. Have gratitude reminders. These are simple cues to remind you to focus on gratitude daily. Maybe it’s an alarm on your phone, a bracelet or wristband, a photo, a magnet, or a post it note. And with that reminder, pause, take a breath and focus on being grateful in that moment.
    2. Keep a gratitude journal. We both have found this to be a good personal practice to express gratitude more readily and maintain focus on finding things to be grateful for. Some log entries in their journal weekly, and others daily. Our personal goal is to identify at least 3 things daily for which we’re grateful.While the goal is to write in the journal daily, sometimes life happens and weeks may go by without an entry, but we pick right back up with our entries. 
    3. Start a gratitude box. Keeping a box (jar, album, folder, or whatever works for you) filled with notes, pictures, and moments you are grateful for can bring a boost when needed. 
    4. Voice or write down one (two, or three) good things that happened in your day. On the homefront, this is a gratitude practice Tami has used with her son over the years. In the days when she would take and pick him up from school, she found that the drive time was a good time to learn about his day. That conversation always began with these words, “Tell me something good that happened today.” He knew he needed to answer that, acknowledging something good, before talking about the challenges of the day. 
    5. Use gratitude apps. There are a number of apps with a range of capabilities including sending reminders, sharing uplifting thoughts, and organizing memories for which you are grateful. 

    You can glean other insight in this post we wrote on Gratitude here.  

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou

  • Fresh Views

    Flipping the Paradigm: Applying a Solution-Focused Approach to Healthy Coping

    In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers. ~ Fred Rogers

    Getting some “beach therapy”

    Today we greet you from our first @AFreshPOVforYou writing retreat! “Writing Retreat”…those are BIG words that have been more than a year in our minds, and are now a reality as we sit across the table from each other drafting the content for our first book!  No small feat, but one we are excited about! We are passionate about taking a solution-focused approach to life with diabetes…so let your mind imagine just what this book may be about. We’ll share some sneak peeks as things move along.  

    Now back to our to our blog…

    Welcome to week 3 of our 7-week series on applying a solution-focused approach to the AADE7 Self-Care Behaviors for managing diabetes. This series is focusing on “flipping” the conversation from a “problem focused” (traditional medical) approach to a solution-focused conversation. Have you tried any “flips” in the past 2 weeks? Please let us know if you have, and what your experience was. 

    Last week we shared about taking a solution-focused approach to Being Active – you can read it here. And the week prior we focused on Healthy Eating here. Today we’re concentrating on Healthy Coping

    AADE7 Self Care Behavior #3: Healthy Coping

    It goes without saying that stress is a part of life…family stressors, work stressors, financial stressors, health-related stressors…at times it might seem like stress is all there is. Add to that the relentless demands of diabetes. The combination can bring a variety of coping challenges and ultimately impact self-care. On the flip side, there are many positive ways to deal with stress and cope with life with diabetes in a healthy manner. It’s all about having a tool-box of resources or tactics to pull out or call upon needed. Here are 6 ways that resonate with us to give you ideas:

    1. Move your body. It might be simply taking a walk. Physical activity lowers stress hormones and triggers the brain to release chemicals that make you feel better. (We’re finding that taking short walks to clear our minds is helping us to feel less stress and think more clearly during our writing effort).
    2. Take a break. It might be taking a walk on the beach or simply having a cup of coffee and listening to the waves hit the sand (as we were in the photo above…wishing we were there now!). Or you might enjoy curling up in a comfy chair and reading a book. Or standing and stretching, taking deep breaths inhaling and exhaling slowly.
    3. Use positive affirmations. When life is feeling especially challenging, we’ve found that practicing “daily affirmations” greatly helps us: I can do this. I am strong. Each moment brings choice. I will not hold onto bitterness.I can live an overflowing life. An affirmation is a short, positive statement that you say to yourself to build yourself up. Have you ever tried affirmations? The reality is that we believe what we tell ourselves and what we hear others say about us. Using affirmations can help to “rebuild” negative thinking and strengthen positive thoughts.When working with clients in a solution-focused way, we can  help them to create their own affirmations as one Healthy Coping mechanism.
    4. Get enough sleep. In our experience, many people discount the value of sleep. When chronically sleep deprived the stress response can be even greater. (yep, we’re getting our zzz’s this week!)
    5. Spend time with people that make you happy. Stress can cause some to turn inward and isolate themselves. Talking to others about your stressors and seeking their support is one way to de-stress. Maybe it’s getting together with a friend for lunch. Whenever we are together we have lots of fun and laughter. That is one way we cope with stress.  
    6. Practice gratitude. You can read more about this in a blog we wrote on gratitude here.  

    When working with clients instead of focusing on what is not working well or what is “wrong”, here are 3 illustrations of how to flip the conversation:

    Try this: How do you manage on the most challenging days with diabetes to keep moving forward?

    Instead of this:  Managing diabetes requires a lot of time and effort. It’s something you just have to do.

    Try this: On the nights you’ve been able to get to bed earlier and get more sleep, how were you able to do that? How did you feel the following morning?

     Instead of this: You mentioned you’re only getting 5 hours of sleep each night. You need to get to bed earlier. 

    Try this: Where is your stress level around ____ on a scale of 1-10? What would it take to reduce it 1 point? What do you need to accomplish that? How can I support you?

    Instead of this: You just need to stop thinking about this issue and move forward.

    Focus most of the time and energy on thinking about and discussing what is already good, effective, and successful then leverage that to identify solutions.

    When you meet again, here is a 3-step follow-up approach to try:

    Try to incorporate this approach with clients to reframe conversations and see if you can help them to focus on the exceptions (those times when the “problem” could have occurred but somehow did not) and their desired future state, rather than ruminating on what is not working.

    • Step 1 – Have you seen any improvements since we last met? (if yes, ask about it. If not, go to step 2)
    • Step 2 – Have you noticed times when the problem (defined using the clients own words) did not occur or happened less? (here you are identifying exceptions. If yes, ask about it. If no, go to step 3)
    • Step 3 – Describe for me what would be different if the problem had been solved? (this is the Miracle Question approach we’ve written about many times. Here and here are two of them)

    The solution-focused decision tree is adapted from Fredrike Bannik’s 1001 Solution-Focused Questions.

    We challenge you each week to try incorporating some flips into your conversations and let us know what impact they have.

    Join us next week as we discuss a solution focused-approach to Monitoring

    We welcome anyone interested in our approach to Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, when you subscribe to our blog, we’ll send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou

    Disclaimer: A Fresh POV for You is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. 

  • Fresh Views

    Fresh Start in the Fall

    All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time. – Mitch Albom

    Autumn on the Saint Lawrence river in Quebec

    Monday September 23rd heralded in the official start to Fall! For many, Fall signals an ending…the end of carefree summer break for kids, and depending on where you live, the end of warm weather, the end of long sunny days, and the end of leisurely weekend afternoons on the lake or by the pool. 

    But with that “ending” comes striking new “beginnings”. The air takes on a crispness. The trees magnificently change colors and leaves begin to fall. And we enter a season of waiting. All necessary to make way for the new. 

    With the start of Fall, today we share 3 solution-focused fresh starts for Fall: 

    1 – Spend time in reflection. Fall is a great opportunity to take a look back at the past months and summarize your accomplishments in all aspects of life. And to remind yourself what’s gone well. This can help bring fresh perspectives, set priorities and inspire you to consider new possibilities. Life in general brings constant challenges, not even to mention life with diabetes. We encourage you to focus on what has worked. How can you make that happen more often?

    2 – Practice gratitude. Fall is a time of gratitude with Thanksgiving around the corner. Reflect on what you are grateful for and what brings  you joy, especially if life is seeming challenging and burdensome. Feeling thankful for the experiences and emotions they brought you. Read our gratitude blog to get some ideas on some gratitude practices

    3 – Sum up the results and start something new. Building on fresh starts 1 and 2, that “something new” may be self-improvement activities, setting new goals, or devoting more time to the things in life that bring you joy and contentment. Read our past blog on finding joy in life and diabetes education services.  Many programs, workshops and events start in September and October, so it’s the perfect time to enroll. Or it maybe time to take up reading a new book to nourish your soul and help you know yourself better. If you live with diabetes and have not read Adam Brown’s book, Bright Spots and Land Mines, we encourage you to put this on your reading list. The bright spots discussed in his book are very similar to “exceptions” in a solution focused approach. You can read our interview with Adam here.

    Rather than think of Fall as ending, think of it as a beginning of something fresh and new.

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, we invite you to subscribe to our blog, and we will send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

    Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou

    Disclaimer: A Fresh POV for You is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. 

  • Fresh Views

    Relatable Individualized Solution-focused Education: A Sneak Peek from the @AFreshPOVforYou Retreat

    Relax. Refresh. Renew. Play. Sing. Laugh. Enjoy. Forgive. Dance. Love. Hug. Share. Kiss. Create. Explore. Hope. Listen. Dare. Trust. Dream. Learn. TODAY! ― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience


    A view of the gardens at the West Baden Springs Resort in French Lick, Indiana

    We posted this blog back in April during our Fresh POV for You retreat. There continues to be much interest in our work! Since we are traveling this week to present some of our research at the European Association for the Study for Diabetes (EASD) conference in Barcelona, Spain, we thought it timely to revisit this post with a few updates!

    In the spirit of travel, this week’s blog is a re-post from French Lick Indiana, home of Larry Bird of Celtics fame, and also the French Lick and West Baden Springs resorts. Working together, but on opposite ends of the country, (Tami in Kentucky and Deb in California) means we have to be creative finding opportunities for in-person meetings. Luckily, things came together……. a spouse work meeting in Ohio, and a visit with a son the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University, created the opportunity for our first formal @AFreshPOVforYou board meeting.

    Over the past several months we have been exploring ideas around creating innovative diabetes education programs and services that are co-designed by people living with diabetes or prediabetes. Basically that means, we are attempting to actively involve people with or at risk for diabetes in the design process to ensure the end result meets their needs.

    If you’ve been reading our blog, then you know that we love “fresh views” and spending time together enjoying beautiful scenery and experiences.  We feel energized and are more creative thinkers when we take a break, are relaxed, seeing things from a new perspective, laughing together, and often with a nice glass of wine!


    Enjoying a horse and carriage ride through the Indiana countryside

    Over the past year we’ve been planning, thinking, strategizing, writing and sharing our ideas with others in the diabetes community to make sure we are on the right track. Incorporating our practice of using solutions focused coaching, we’ve been asking ourselves, “What’s working well for us and what do we want to do more of?”  On a personal note, a few of those replies include the following:

    • Do hard work in the morning when our minds are most creative
    • Take activity breaks
    • Embrace humor
    • Incorporate things that make us happy and that we find joy in
    • Express gratitude for what we see and experience
    • Plan for future retreats to keep us on track and advancing our vision

    We’ve taken a set of possibilities and turned them into opportunities and are excited to see our vision for the future starting to become a reality! Our March 20, 2019 blog shared learnings from a Twitter chat that we co-hosted with the diabetes online community focused around what would bring joy when engaging in diabetes education services. We had some insightful and amazing feedback. We decided that we really needed to dig deeper, and find more opportunities for people living with or at risk for diabetes to guide us as we design programs and services. So following the Twitter chat we released a survey and had a fantastic response. We followed up the survey with some focus groups.

    We have learned that many are not happy with the diabetes education services they have received in the past and there’s great opportunity to innovate and evolve. We had similar responses from both the Twitter chat, survey and focus groups.  People are interested in community and learning from others living with diabetes; they want individualized education and not a “canned program”; and they want to be an equal team member whose experience and knowledge is valued and appreciated.

    For our focus groups, we employed MDR Consulting, a national business research firm to conduct and summarize the data for us so we can learn more and identify how we might design programs and services that will provide relatable, individualized, solution-focused education (and actually bring people joy)! Our goal is that the voice of the person living with diabetes will be clear and lead the way.

    As a thank you for our focus group participants, we’ve been engaging in complimentary solution-focused coaching sessions with them. These interactions have truly brought to light the value and benefits of a solution-focused coaching approach (rather than focusing on trying to “fix problems”).

    We are excited for the future and our next steps! We’ve been writing and have submitted papers to a couple of journals that we are hopeful will be published soon. We’re excited to be presenting some of our research Friday at the EASD conference. And, we’re in the planning stages to conduct a research study incorporating solution-focused coaching. Exciting times!

    Thanks for being on this journey with us. We look forward to sharing our goals and dreams with you and are eager for your feedback.

    If you are a health care professional and interested in learning more about our solution-focused practice and approach, we invite you to subscribe to our blog, and we will send you in return a FREE resource of 10 Solution-Focused Questions to start a solution-focused discussion with your clients. 

    Subscribe to our blog and we’ll email you when a new post is published!

    Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @AFreshPOVforYou.

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