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Tell them what you want them to do rather than what you don't want them to do. It's a far more positive message. Rather than saying, for example, Don't throw the ball inside!' SayPlease take the ball outside.' When it comes to motivating yourself, research shows that in a variety of situations, if you address yourself by your own name, your chances of doing well can increase significantly. It might seem weird, but it can focus your thinking and motivate you. Rather than telling yourself, for example, This is what I'm going to do next', address yourself using your name,James, this is what you're going to do next.' By using your own name you're distancing yourself from your self. It would appear that this psychological distance encourages self-control, allowing you to think clearly and perform more competently. The state tax department wrote saying that I owed three months of gross receipts tax (another New Mexico aberration?). I was frustrated! I spent an hour digging up records. Each time I make a monthly tax payment I make a record of it - mostly; I haven't really been very diligent about it and sometimes I forget. In general, these payments are also recorded in my checkbook, but sometimes I neglect to record what a check is for (did I mention that I have ADD?). There are substantial penalties for late taxes and I was afraid that this could cost me. I also feared that I'd have to go to the tax office to get it sorted out. Fortunately, I found the records and cancelled checks more or less in appropriate places, a feat somewhat spectacular for an ADDer. I had paid the June tax twice and July not at all. I spent an hour on the phone with a nice lady in Albuquerque. It turns out that they'd misrecorded May, but I'd put the wrong date on one of the two June forms. I hadn't paid July, and it was more than the extra I'd paid for June. Here comes the penalty! However, when she sorted it all out, somehow they owed me $17.98.

Wow! So what's the bottom line? I need to make new habits. Inquiry with a contemplative focus is an attentive and meditative expression of mindfulness, representing foundational principles and attitudinal qualities that reinforce the ability of both teacher and participant(s) to stay present to what is occurring at any time (Woods, 2010; Santorelli, 2016; Woods et al., 2016). This includes a present-moment orientation, embodying the attitudinal foundations and communicating (in a contemporary manner) the three characteristics or marks of existence as described in previous chapters: suffering (resistance to what is), impermanence (nothing lasts), and not-self (events and experience as impersonal, dependent upon context, and universal). Renee has been living with depression for quite a few years now. She thinks about her husband--who passed away five years ago--quite often, and she feels lonely without him. Renee tries not to bother people by talking about her pain, but sometimes it's all she can think about. No one really knows how much the pain affects her. There are a lot of things Renee would like to do, but doubts and self-criticism keep getting in the way. Renee feels stuck. Have you ever spent time thinking about thinking? It may sound funny, but when you take a moment to examine what is going on inside your mind you may discover that there are many thoughts present at any given time. It is estimated that the average person has about 60,000 thoughts each day! Thoughts are the images, ideas, memories and plans that constantly flow through the mind. Some thoughts are easy to notice, and others are more subtle. Here is an experiment that you can try if you want to explore what thoughts may be in your mind right now. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, take a few slow breaths, and relax. Imagine that you are sitting by a stream, watching the water as it flows by. Notice that there are all sorts of objects being carried along with the water; these objects represent the thoughts in your mind.

Just observe the objects float by, noticing what is here without getting carried away by the current. What is going on in your mind, right now, as you read this page? Do you notice that your mind wanders from time to time? Perhaps you are reading this sentence, and yet you are also thinking of what you are going to have for dinner tonight, when you are going to see your friend next, or some pain in your neck. This is perfectly normal. It is what all human minds do. Some thoughts can influence how you feel and behave, and they can influence how you cope with the daily stresses of life, including pain. I thought about the shooting pain in my leg, whether I should go for a walk or just stay home and read, and wondering what time I have to pick up my grandson from daycare. The intention of these conversations with participants is to support reflection on their experience of mindfulness practices, cognitive exercises, home practice, and the application of mindfulness to everyday life. This interactive process uses a series of open-ended questions, observations, wonderings, and reflections. The objects of investigation are the actual noticing of experience (and one's relationship to it); its components, qualities, and temporal nature; and the integration of what is learned through this exploration into daily life. Through this process of honing the participant's skill of describing direct experience and reflecting on what has just occurred versus narrating (following a storyline), decreased identification with experience is cultivated. Does lack of research about the blood type diet mean that it is a bad idea? I don't think so at all. There are many things that are not researched--particularly in Western medicine--because of biases. For years, acupuncture, organic food, massage, and nutritional supplements were considered outside the mainstream. The medical community did not legitimize them. That is no longer true. Additionally, medical research, particularly around food, is constantly being reevaluated. Remember when we were scared of eggs because we were told they directly caused high cholesterol?

For decades, doctors recommended avoiding high-fat food. Now studies are suggesting that high fat can enhance memory, improve physical strength, and extend your life span. The point is that medical research is not always right. My view is that the blood type diet makes a tremendous amount of sense. If you chose this path, you would essentially be eating cleaner, and that is vital to good health. Several of my clients noticed the significant positive changes in my body, health, and spirit as I grew older. They asked me to duplicate the actions I took that changed my quality of life. As such they were testing out the blood type diet. Be more aware of the words you use. It's perfectly okay to pause and organize your thoughts so that you can phrase your thoughts - and what you say out loud - in a positive way. And if you catch yourself using a negative word or phrase, stop and rephrase what you want to say in more positive terms. Writing letters, emails and texts provides the perfect opportunity to work on positive language, as you can think about and edit your words before sending. Remember, your self-talk can be positive: kind, encouraging and empowering. At the end of each day, identify three small positive things that happened. You'll soon find yourself actively looking for things to appreciate and, after a while, it will become a habit. A positive habit. Doing this not only helps train your mind to think positively, but if you've not had a good day, you are learning how to identify the positive despite difficulties and disappointments. When you make an effort to be kind, you have to actively look for opportunities to be kind; to think in positive ways. Volunteering allows you to connect with others in your community and make it a better place. See yourself making a positive difference.

Making habits takes time and effort, but can pay off big in the long run. Start by identifying the problem as a problem and decide if it's enough of a problem to justify working on it. Our life is simpler if we're using habits rather than having to make a lot of decisions. Habits can be changed with commitment and effort. The first step is to clearly define what you want to change. Then a major tool is `spotting', simply noticing every time you do the habit; this increases awareness. There are a number of other tools to help make the change. Relying on willpower and trying harder are two of the least effective approaches. We need strategies. Second, if you decide you want to work on something, remember the principle of small steps. In this instance, this means pick just one or two things that you want to work on. That's enough at one time. You may have noticed more than two or three areas that looked appealing, but you can only do so much. Changing a habit is difficult and so is making a new one, and they both take time. If you just pick one problem and get one strategy working for you, it will make a big difference in your life. Then you can go to the next. I have had ADD for over seventy years, although I've only known it for seven, and I've been working on these things all that time. So I'm not suggesting that you adopt all of these ideas at once and get them all done today. Now, let's review. Here are the things that I've found most important, most helpful to me: Dealing with Difficult Thoughts: What's in It for Me?