The people in one group were asked to sit or stand in `power poses'. Some were seated at desks, asked to put their feet up on the table, look straight ahead and interlock their hands behind the back of their heads. Others stood straight, feet apart, head up and hands on hips. Another group of people were asked to sit or stand in closed postures; curled and hunched and looking at the ground. When he returned, he was still feeling overwhelmed, but less so. He showed me his to-do lists. He'd done a pretty good job. Instead of making one list of five he had made lists for each day, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday--. So it could still look somewhat overwhelming, but it was organized, and he didn't have to keep it all in his head. He hadn't crossed anything off. I asked him what he'd gotten done, and it turned out he had done almost all of the things on his lists. I explained the positive reinforcement, the good feeling, the reward each time you cross off something. But when he looked at his lists, with nothing crossed off even though he had done almost everything, it would add to his sense of being overwhelmed. I explained that I thought having a list for each day might be a good approach, but it didn't mean you had to get all of those things done that day. If you didn't finish your list of five today, you started the next day's list with the things that were left over. So it might work better if he just made a list of five for one day at a time. If carrying over some of today's five to tomorrow creates a long list, then you need to prioritize again and whittle that list down to five. If you get those done, you can always add more. I asked to see his long list. Mr.

B said he hadn't made one because he feared it would be so long that he would feel more overwhelmed looking at it. He said that was OK, because he knew all of the things he had to do; he was carrying them in his head! I explained that that was much of the problem; if he was carrying all that in his head, he was going to feel overwhelmed. I told him that if he would make the long list, prioritize it, and then make his list of five from that, then he could forget about the long list until he had crossed something off the list of five and created a space. Then I asked Mr B how many things he had to do. He said, "A lot!" and I said, "No, you only have one." Then we looked at his list of five for the day and picked the one he could be working on. I suggested that after he made a list of five, then he needed to go a step further and make a list of one, to literally write it down. The researchers then took blood samples from the volunteers. Those people whose poses were open had significantly higher levels of testosterone - the hormone associated with feelings of power - and lower levels of cortisol - the stress hormone. Elisa was told to work through the pain during physiotherapy. She tries to do that as best she can, but she always struggles with how much it hurts afterwards. Sometimes it gets to the point where she can't do much activity for days after a workout. She feels scared that moving always leads to more pain, but still has to do it because she wants to get stronger and to get back to playing sports. Elisa goes back and forth between exercising a lot and having pain flare-ups. During the pain flare-ups, she struggles with feeling discouraged, guilty and embarrassed that she is not doing her "homework." Sometimes she wants to quit therapy altogether. What Is Physical Activity? If you struggle with exercise, you are not alone. Research shows that physical activity is one of the best things you can do to manage persistent pain and improve your health; however, it can be especially hard to exercise when you are living with pain. People who have lived with pain for a long time can sometimes find themselves moving less than they would like because it's so difficult to find the right way to exercise. Physical activity is any movement of the body that burns calories (energy).

This can include activities such as household chores, dancing, playing sports or walking. Exercise is a type of physical activity that is planned, structured and repetitive. This can include strengthening, stretching and aerobic types of exercise. Physical fitness is what you can achieve for your body by exercising at a particular frequency, intensity and length of time. Physical Activity: What's in It for Me? Life is more satisfying when you move towards the things and people that you value the most. Some people may value physical activity for its own sake as part of a balanced self-care routine, others may value health overall and see exercise as a way to move towards health. Some people may value activities that exercise would help them to achieve, for example having the stamina to play with children or go shopping. Although developing a strong sense of self is important for psychological development and function, clinging to a fixed image of self is fraught. Though a stable sense of self is necessary for us to function, we place an overreliance on things outside ourselves as a crutch that props up a fixed and permanent sense of who we are, forgetting that adaptability is required to meet the varied and changing conditions of our lives. This overreliance on being defined by what other people think about us, how well we are doing compared to others, the accumulation of possessions, how much money we make, and so forth will ultimately fail us. The dependence on external conditions for feelings of self-worth can be easily dented the minute the situation, event, or person offers some communication that is negative. We are constantly in process, responding to our internal and external environments--and by understanding that our identity is not fixed, we can be responsive, flexible, and adaptive. We loosen up on the often harsh and unkind criticisms we direct at ourselves and others and have the tendency to personalize. By becoming less attached to our ideas about ourselves, we become less self-centered and more sensitive to the perspectives and needs of others. This is not to say that a sense of who we are should be eliminated but rather that if we hold it lightly, we will experience more ease. A small digression here will be useful to discuss how the doing and being modes of mind contribute to a fixed and flexible sense of self, respectively. The doing mode, like a fixed sense of self, is necessary for us to function in the world. It provides stability and an enduring and consistent narrative, so we are able to plan, organize, and meet the demands of life. It is responsible for our ability to engage in many activities automatically, which is useful, although it can lead to rigidity and habitual reactivity, which are common.

Alternatively, being mode of mind establishes an intentional and attentional emphasis on noticing the range of experiences in the present moment. It is based on an experiential exploration of sensations staying close to the immediacy of an experience that is helpful in counteracting tendencies to get lost in thought or be overwhelmed by challenging emotional moments. This supports adaptation and resilience. As Dr Mark Williams explains, Eventually the body reaches a critical point, usually in very advanced age, when minor problems cannot be overcome and result in the person's death in a relatively short time. For example, a urinary tract infection is usually just a nuisance to a college student but may be the harbinger of serious decline in an 85-year-old person. Consequently, a healthy person who is aging normally will often experience serious illness and weakening only in the last period of life. Exceptions to this ideal aging process are typically the result of diseases such as heart disease or cancer.2 One of the things that people often notice as they age is loss of muscle and weaker bones. That's one reason why even the best athletes who studiously practice self-care often need to retire before they are mentally ready. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the majority of people will lose a substantial amount of muscle as they age. Additionally, bones start to thin, become more porous, and grow slower. These changes occur differently in each individual, but they will affect everyone. And some ethnic groups can be particularly vulnerable. For example, studies show that Asian American women are at the highest risk of developing bone loss osteoporosis.3 For many people, one of the scariest things about aging is changes in their memory and ability to learn new things. You may be getting wiser, I hope, but some brain functions do change. For example, research indicates that learning new things and memorizing new information takes longer and can be more difficult. Multitasking is harder because your brain processes information slower. Remembering names and numbers actually starts declining at age twenty. Fortunately, there are exercises to keep your brain working better and many technological tools to help you when your own storage of information is not accessible.4 The volunteers were asked how they felt, too. In contrast to the volunteers who had adopted closed poses, those who had adopted the open, expansive postures felt more confident and positive. So, how you sit or stand can change how you think or feel.

In fact, if you adopt just a couple of positive body language poses or gestures, you can make a big difference to how you think and feel. In her fascinating TED Talk ( amy_cuddy), Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy explains how, by focusing on just one or two aspects of your body language, you can directly influence the message your brain will receive. You don't have to learn a whole new repertoire of poses, gestures and expressions that feel unnatural or uncomfortable. If you can hold just a couple of poses or gestures consistently, the rest of your body and mind will catch up and you will feel more confident and come across as more confident and capable. So Mr B had quickly picked up the general idea, and he was doing a good job making his lists of five, but it needed some fine tuning to truly become a helpful system for him. If you don't finish all five today, put the leftovers on the next day's list. If that list grows to more than five, reprioritize and shorten it. Although Mr B and I are working on a number of issues in his therapy, what I have just described would be an illustration of coaching as it would be for ADD. We need to learn to focus on one thing at a time. One-to do. One guitar lesson. One song. If we make a long to-do list, then we don't have to carry a bunch of stuff in our head and feel overloaded. The long list has all the stuff on it and it's not going to go away; we can focus on the short list, and then on one thing off the short list. One thing at a time. One of the most useful tools for me is a slogan, which I discovered years before I knew I had ADD -"Do it now, do it right, do the hard part first." This slogan has become a habit. It pops into my head whenever I'm deciding whether or not I am actually going to go ahead and do something, or what to do next. It pops in automatically now, without having to think about it, or remember it. Then my rule is, when I think it, do it. Don't dismiss it or argue myself out of it, just do it.