• Fresh Views

    Take a pause to gain a fresh perspective


    Photo taken on one of Tami’s pauses

    When life gets crazy, as it often does for us, a strategy that we @AFreshPOVforYOU find particularly useful is taking a pause or break to help clear our minds and gain a fresh perspective. It could be a half hour, an afternoon, a day, or a week. Tami has found that when her mind is jumbled or she’s trying to work out a problem, taking a walk allows her to think, her creative juices to flow, and to gain a fresh perspective. (And sometimes even happen upon a stunning sunset view like the one above captured on a recent walk). Deb enjoys sitting outside in her backyard, enjoying the view of the trees, flowers and clear water in the pool.  Even getting away from our desks and out of the office at lunch brings clarity and new thinking. We’ve found when we’re hit with “writer’s block”, just putting the project away for a day or two allows us to return with a clearer mind, new ideas and new perspective. Clients we’ve worked with have shared a variety of things they do to take a pause – from taking a long run, reading a pleasure book, mowing the yard, or simply sitting and being present in the moment, Taking that pause can change your perspective….much like “turning turtle” can. You can read more about “turning turtle” in our January 30, 2019 blog.

    Have you tried stepping away for a bit when you’re in the midst of a challenge? Maybe you’re struggling with insurance benefits and getting your medication prescription filled, or maybe a co-worker questioned the food you were eating at lunch. (we know that never happens!) Taking a pause may sound counterproductive, but actually it’s not. As you step away, spend a moment acknowledging all the hard work you have done. Remind yourself  what you’ve accomplished or what is going well, even though it may feel like the world is swirling around you.

    The practice of using solutions focused brief therapy (SFBT) encourages the exercise of asking questions when trying to identify solutions. A key premise of SFBT is that the individual is the only person who can understand his or her own needs, strengths and capabilities. The practitioner can facilitate by asking questions. One opportunity to incorporate the practice of asking questions is during these moments when you need to pause and step away.

    Here are 3 questions to consider to help guide your thinking and help gain perspective:

    1. Compliment yourself on your current efforts.  What would you say to yourself?
    2. What good intentions did you have when you started out today?
    3. What is the most important quality you have and use when you are under stress or pressure and how can you leverage that now?

    Asking yourself these questions when your mind is calm, and you are not distracted can help remind you of the resources you have within you and re-focus on your strengths.

    We often find that the more challenging the season in life, the more often we need to pause. It’s an important part of self-care. Sometimes just stepping away from a situation for awhile helps to bring a fresh perspective.


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  • Fresh Views

    Reframing: One way to bring a fresh perspective

    Our key to transforming anything lies in our ability to reframe it.  – Marianne Williamson

    Reframe by definition means, “to look at, present, or think of in a new or different way or from a different perspective.”  We can change the way we look at something and consequently change how we experience it. Reframing is not simply “positive thinking” – it is different. It is a technique to help view a behavior or situation in a more positive context that allows recognizing and appreciating positive aspects of the situation. The facts remain the same, but a deliberate shift is made in how we see it. Reframing helps us to use whatever life hands us as opportunities to be taken advantage of and live life more fully, rather than problems to be avoided.

    Reframing a situation, idea, or belief can bring a fresh perspective. In illustration, this week Tami found herself at a dead standstill in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic. All she wanted was to just get home. Ever been there? The stress started to rise, until she intentionally made the decision to reframe the situation. Rather than focusing on the sea of red brake lights, and viewing the traffic jam as a stressful “problem,” she reframed it as an “opportunity.” An opportunity to pause after a stressful day. An opportunity to catch the dramatic sunset you see in the picture below. And an opportunity to gain a fresh perspective on her situation. “Problem” has a heavy quality to it, while “challenging” is energizing. Our energy can be affected by a simple change of word.


    By the way, what do you see in the clouds? Many have shared that they see a Phoenix, the mythical, magical bird that lives for several hundred years before it dies and is reborn from the ashes, to start a new, long life. Such powerful symbolism. Could reframing help you to start a new life, so to speak, with a fresh perspective?

    Reframing can even enable you to implement the ancient wisdom that says – you can’t always control what happens to you, but you can certainly control how you react to it. Beyond reframing a “problem” as an “opportunity” for change, here are a few other examples of reframing:

    • A “weakness” as a “strength”
    • A “demanding” person as an “assertive” person
    • “Unkindness” as “lack of understanding”
    • An “impossibility” as a “possibility”

    In reflecting on clients we’ve worked with over the years, a multitude of times we’ve heard them reframe a diabetes diagnosis from a “problem” to an “opportunity.” An opportunity to  eat healthy, be more active, or lose a few pounds. Some clients have new, close friends or even new jobs, because they have diabetes. Living with diabetes encouraged them to change their focus in life.  Looking at life through a positive reframe certainly doesn’t mean ignoring the stress and pain that life may bring, but it does help deal with the challenges by seeing them in a different light and from a fresh perspective. It transforms a less than desirable situation into a worthy purpose. Reframing gives you an opportunity to neutralize negative feelings and be more action-oriented.

    Reframing is a tool you already have in your tool belt. By implementing the powerful tool of reframing, we can find resources we didn’t realize we had, and continue to move forward becoming more resilient. We can be inspired to keep our attitude strong and hopeful. In closing, here are some characteristics of resilient people:

    • Awareness
    • Perseverance
    • Internal locus of control
    • Optimism
    • Support
    • Sense of humor
    • Perspective

    We’ll revisit reframing in January, and how to use this tool to make New Year’s Solutions (rather than New Year’s Resolutions).

  • Fresh Views

    Relax and renew

    Happy Holidays from @AFreshPOVforYou (Tami and Deb)!

    We are taking a holiday break to enjoy time with family and friends.  We’ll be doing some traveling too and looking for some fresh views to share with you in the New Year.

    We hope you too can take a break, enjoy some downtime, relax and renew (like Nike here under the tree).


    Nike relaxing under the tree

    We’ll be back with a new blog post on January 2, 2019!

  • Fresh Views

    Seeing with new eyes!

    The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes. – Marcel Proust

    Have you ever felt “at anchor in the harbor,” floating in a particular place,  prevented from moving anywhere by the proverbial boat anchor and obstacles surrounding you?  Patients and clients living with diabetes that we’ve worked with over the years have frequently shared that managing diabetes leaves them weighted down by the challenges they face moment to moment, hour to hour, day to day. These challenges in turn may lead to feeling stagnant, immovable, with no obvious way to move forward. With that said, the harbor photo taken this week during a pause in the Thanksgiving holiday travels, brought us @AFreshPOVforYou to take a moment and reflect on the above words of Marcel Proust, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes.”

    What if rather than focusing on the obstacles and what’s immediately around you, instead you look up. You look about. You see with new eyes. You see the bigger picture (and maybe even a stunning sunset!). When we @AFreshPOVforYou incorporate solution focused brief therapy into life with diabetes, we guide clients to focus on the “desired future,” rather than on past or current problems.  We help people take small steps to move in the direction of that desired future – much like pulling up the anchor and setting sail to see what might be possible with new eyes. As Ann Bodmer Lutz, the author of Learning Solution-Focused Therapy notes, “Solutions for patients are not scientific puzzles to be solved by practitioners, but rather changes in perceptions.”  

    Think about a time when you’ve had success and recall:

     

    • What was different then?
    • How did you feel?
    • What were you doing or seeing in yourself?
    • What were your perceptions of things then?
    • How can you change your perception today so you can move forward again?

     

    Stay tuned to future blog posts as we share stories of success.

    Wherever holiday travels take you, we encourage you to take a pause and look around you with new eyes. Then acknowledge and be thankful for any fresh views, beautiful views, or uplifting moments. We call this “imprinting.”  We’ll share more about imprinting in our next blog post.

    Those of us @AFreshPOVforYou wish you and your family a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

     

  • Fresh Views

    Sometimes it’s Challenging to find a Fresh POV!

    Day time orange sun with thick smoke in the sky

    While our focus is “fresh views”, today there is nothing “fresh” about the air in northern California or the views in the sky. The devastating Camp Fire in Paradise, CA is beyond words. We felt compelled to share our thoughts since this fire is so close to home for @DebGreenwood.

    How can survivors of this fire living with diabetes or other chronic conditions even think about their next steps (never mind taking medication or counting carbohydrates)?  The Apple Watch is a reminder every day that the air quality is unhealthy for all, and certainly not suitable for outdoor exercise. So we began to ponder, how can solutions focused brief therapy (SFBT) help those who find themselves in this situation and devastation to move one small step forward, and create hope and possibilities? Admittedly, this is really challenging and we’re struggling to find a way to think through this problem.

    SFBT is all about asking questions and helping a person recognize their strengths. A recent blog post by Dr. Anne Bodmer Lutz, A Language of Hope: Top 10 Solution Focused Translations, helps us think about opportunities to support individuals to be future-focused when faced with challenges.

    So, one question might be “Who are the most important people in your life and what do you most appreciate about them?” The answer may help one recognize that he or she has a support system around them, and that these important individuals can be a source of strength.

    A second question may be “What do you know?” This question focuses on competence. For instance, for a parent of a child with diabetes living under a stressful situation, one might ask, “What do you know about your child that tells you he is going to be okay?”

    Another question is the “indirect compliment” where one asks “How did you do it? Or “How did you manage to remember to take your insulin?”  By recognizing what has been accomplished and past success, one can feel a sense of empowerment.

    One thing learned from Dr. Anne Bodmer Lutz is that “cope” is just one letter away from “hope”.

    Those of us at A Fresh POV for You are wishing everyone impacted by these California wildfires all of the possibilities and opportunities for your future.

  • Fresh Views

    Thoughts on time and perspective

    Sometimes you just need a little bit of time for yourself to clear up your mind and see things from a new perspective. – Anonymous (Jar of Quotes)

     

    It’s National Diabetes Month and we’re on the go raising awareness about diabetes, gaining new perspectives, and challenging those impacted by diabetes to embrace possibilities, opportunities and a fresh vision for the future!

    As you may be catching on, we are all about the “view”…from striking “views” on life’s travels to embracing a positive perspective in viewing life itself, day-in and day-out. So on that note, we want to share this “view” from one stop in the November travels  – looking out over Baltimore’s Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland.

    The top photo was snapped in the morning on the way out the door. Then below you see that same view, taken before settling in for the night. What a difference the passage of time and associated changes in lighting makes. The lighting changes what is perceived, and how. Twilight brings a whole new and beautiful perspective…the ability to see the harbor in a different way and see things that aren’t visible during the day.

    Taking that thought a step further…What could be possible if you took a little time to clear your mind, and shifted your focus from the problems you’re facing living with diabetes, to instead focus on those times when things are going as desired? What if you viewed things in a different light? How can you build upon your successes?

    Here’s an example for those using continuous glucose monitors (CGM) to stay in touch with blood glucose levels. When looking at trends and patterns, rather than focusing on the time blood glucose is out of range and trying to “fix” that, how about turning your focus to times you are in range, what  was going on then, and trying to do more of that. What small steps can you begin to take in that direction?

    Without a doubt diabetes is complex and burdensome. No one wants or needs anything NEW to do. But what if you focus on the things that are already working for you and try to do those more often?

    That’s the challenge we leave you with today. Time may bring a new perspective.

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