How to Develop Situational Awareness

Anyone who has seen the Bourne Identity might be interested in the notion of situational awareness. There’s a scene toward the beginning of that film where Jason Bourne is trying to work out his identity. He’s alarmed at the way his own mind has been trained to work and explains that within minutes of walking into a diner, he has assessed the weight and strength of other patrons, memorized the car number plates of the cars parked outside, identified the exits and even noticed that the bartender is left-handed.

Jason Bourne stays aware of his environment.

This kind of training really does exist among intelligence officers and military personnel. It’s called ‘situational awareness’ and it essentially involves being able to quickly and easily identify key facts about your surroundings.

Situational awareness is important for everyone though and certainly for those interested in cultivating a warrior mindset. Situational awareness allows us to identify potential threats faster so that we can avoid or neutralize them. It allows us to move quickly and efficiently when the situation calls for it and ultimately it lets us keep ourselves and others safer.

Problem is, most of us have our mind on other things: things like our office, Angry Birds, debt, relationships and the girl at the office with the short skirt.

How do we get our mind back in the game and start paying attention to the things that matter to us and to those we care about?

Be aware of mind games people play around you and with you.

The OODA Loop

In the excellent Art of Manliness article, writer Brett McKay describes a method used by Air Force fighter pilot/military strategist John Boyd. OODA is a four step process that tells us to:

Observe

Orient

Decide

Act

First then, you must observe. This means that you mustn’t completely relax and kick your feet up. In neuroscience terms, you mustn’t let your ‘default mode network’ kick in (essentially, you must keep your mind on what’s happening). You should be relaxed yes, but also alert.

Position yourself in any room in such a position that you can see the maximum number of people and avoid letting people get the jump on you. A good example would be the corner of a room with your back to the wall. Remain near an exit where possible.

The next step is to orient, which in this context means looking for specific things. Establish a ‘baseline’ by thinking about the normal behaviour and conditions for a certain area. Look out for examples of deviation from this norm. Does someone look uncomfortable? Is someone inappropriately dressed? Is there a noise that shouldn’t be there?

Next decide whether or not to act and how to act. Have a plan of action and do not hesitate. Trust your instinct at this stage and if in doubt, practice caution. Someone acting suspiciously or potentially violently? Try moving away from them, or alerting them to security. Find an area has an unusual vibe? Then get your family out of there.

Practicing these tips could one day save your life and at the very least, they will help you to adopt a warrior mentality that will be felt by those around you.

As a Warrior in life, have an action plan.

Dialysis Isn’t Just Treatment Times

Dialysis is not just going to treatment for a certain set of hours.

It is dealing with doctors and nurses.

It is changing your diet.

It is fluid restriction.

It is aches and pains in your body.

It is getting ready to go to dialysis treatments and getting ready to leave those treatments.

It’s staying for your entire time and not losing your mind.

Dialysis is a mindset.

Dialysis is access surgeries and problems.

.Dialysis is lonely if you do not have a community to relate to or a family who backs you.

Dialysis means lifestyle changes.

Dialysis is a set of six doctors who see you regularly, not including the dialysis center team.

Dialysis is needles, large ones.

Dialysis is having a team that works with you, hounds you, and even yells at you over things.

You can choose to live to dialyze or choose to dialyze to live.

Hallmarks of a True Warrior

In today’s modern world, we don’t tend to think of people as warriors anymore. Most of us are pencil pushers rather than fighters and it is very rare that we ever have to put ourselves in harm’s way or take on a gang of enemies.

This is a good thing for the most part, but it has resulted in many of us becoming soft and weak willed.

And the reality is that we don’t need to give up on being warriors. Just because we don’t need to fight anymore, that doesn’t mean we can’t approach modern challenges as warriors. It doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from adopting a warrior’s mindset.

And it doesn’t mean that there really aren’t any modern warriors left. There are those fighting on our front lines and there are those who simply approach modern challenges and obstacles with the mindset of a warrior from times gone by. In this post, we’ll take a look at what makes a true warrior and at whether you might fit that mold.

If not, then this list will help you to better understand the areas where you should aim to improve your conduct…

Takes the Harder Path

The warrior is someone who has a steadfast mission and who knows what they want to achieve. They have a purpose and a reason for being and as such, they are driven like few others.

Thus, the warrior doesn’t give in and take the easy route. They don’t relax on the couch and eat cake, they don’t blame others for their mistake. The warrior is happy to take the harder path if it takes them closer to their goal and if it helps them to become stronger in the process.

The warrior is happy to take the harder path if it takes them closer to their goal and if it helps them to become stronger in the process.

Sees Obstacles As Challenges

In a similar vein, the warrior does not see challenges as something to be feared or cursed. When things are going wrong, the warrior relishes the opportunity to develop themselves and to test themselves.

Accept challenges. Over come obstacles.

Doesn’t Give In to Fear

The warrior is not without fear, but they have it under control. The warrior knows how to use their fear as a motivator and how to suppress it when appropriate.

Stays Calm in a Stressful Situations

When everyone else is panicking, the warrior stays calm and focussed. They know what they need to accomplish and they know that getting in a flap won’t help anyone.

Looks After Their Body and Mind

While there may be few physical fights left, the warrior knows that they owe it to themselves and to those around them to look after their bodies and to train for a battle that may never come. The warrior doesn’t allow themselves to grow weak in times of plenty, they train, they hone and they respect their bodies and minds.

What are you training for?

Takes Responsibility

The warrior is quick to take action and to make decisions, the main reason being that they are not afraid to take responsibility for their action. They gladly carry a great weight on their shoulders, knowing that they will face whatever comes.

From The Warrior Mindset E-Book $8.00 at

https://katherineesoto-author.com/index.php/product/959/

Kidney Disease Warrior

When I began dialysis, I was in for a fight for my life. I acquired pieces of armor to help me.

Fight of my Life

I earned a helmet by thinking of and using ways to help myself.  Body armor came through my research, reading, and work I do within the dialysis community. The medical team is a sword to fight my kidney disease. Family and friends are a shield of support.  Power ups to my entire armor strengthen me.  I put this armor on to fight kidney disease every day.

Mental Challenges, Staying Positive Helmet

The helmet I wear helps with mental challenges end stage renal disease brings.  ‘I dialyze to live; I don’t live to dialyze’ is my mantra after twenty years of dialysis.  Things that make me happy have become a priority. I throw prayers to the universe. Getting out of the house with family and friends helps when the same four walls close in. Sometimes taking life one second, one minute, one hour at a time is all I can do to fight. 

Learn and Share about Kidney Disease and Dialysis

The armor that protects my body is made up of the things I do to learn and share about renal disease and dialysis. My knowledge comes from research, reading, and talking to people. I enter the RSNhope.org essay contest every year. My blog http://lifeonthelist.com is about being a permanent dialysis patient. I visit websites and Facebook groups to talk about patient experiences. I am an administrator for Ihatedialysis.com. I became a ‘subject matter expert’ this year in my dialysis center working with ESRD Network #18 to disseminate information to patients. 

My Medical Team is my sword

I use my medical team as a sword in the battle against end-stage kidney disease and dialysis.  I attend every dialysis treatment scheduled. I stay for the hours I am on the machine. I tell the center doctor about any problems concerning dialysis. We work together to solve problems. I go to my medical appointments outside the center. There are six doctors on my team. I try to see each one at least every six months. I take my medication as prescribed and pay attention to the side effects.

My family and friends as a shield

The shield I use to protect myself in battle is my family supporting me.  My sisters help whenever I call for a ride to dialysis. My family comes to sit with me when I am in the hospital. I get hospital psychosis sometimes and their visits help me to stay grounded. They bring meals to my house when I am ill. We celebrate holidays by sharing the cooking and cleanup. We take trips that get me out of the house.  They allow me to lean into their strength.

Love is a power-up for me to use.

My husband is my strengthening power, ‘a power-up’, to my armor. He is the biggest and best support in my life.  My husband chauffeurs me around to run errands.  He takes me to dialysis and arranges the nest in my chair at the center before I sit in it.  He helps me believe I am beautiful even on my ugliest days.  He puts up with my mood swings.   When I need someone, he is always there.  This man is the love of my life.

My advice is to put on the armor you use to fight kidney disease every day. Have ideas and plans that help with your disease. Communicate with other people on dialysis to share stories and get information.  Go to your dialysis and doctor appointments. Gather a support network of family and friends.

Put on your armor each day
Be a Kidney Disease Warrior

Armor on! Ready! Set! Fight to Live!  Dialyze to live, don’t live to dialyze!

ABCs of Living a Positive Life

Attempt things that will come your way

Believe in yourself

Carefully choose your path

Depend on your friends

Eagerly find opportunities

Figure things out for yourself

Go as yourself everywhere

Heart needs to be open to love

Imagine your life the way you want it to be

Just go for it

Know you will make something of yourself

Love is going to come your way

Make it work

Nothing can stop you

Only you can become yourself

Purpose will give life meaning

Quality over quantity in all things

Remember you are like no one else

Someone has always loved you

Talents are hidden, find them

Understand that everything happens for reasons

Verify the truth always

Want and need will meet and create love

X-rays do not hurt

You are stronger than you know

Zero tolerance for giving up

A positive Thinking Chart for you to use.

Ways to Increase Positivity in Your Life

It’s not always easy to be positive. Let’s face it, we live in a stressful world. We face plenty of challenges and have numerous obligations. It’s no wonder it can be hard to put on a smile and think optimistically sometimes.

But a positive outlook can do wonders for you. It can relieve stress, ward off illness, help you live longer, and even attract other positive people to you. Positive thinking can generally make your life much better, so making an effort to bring more positivity in your life is worth the effort.

To help you get there, let’s talk about some ways to increase positivity in your life. With a little effort and some practice, you’ll start to feel the benefits of having an optimistic outlook.

Read Motivating Content

One of the biggest things that can influence how you see yourself and the world around you is the content you read. When you read an inspirational book, it can help your mind interpret things more positively. Reading motivational material can inspire you to overcome limitations, make better choices, and take positive actions more often.

Here are some recommendations for motivational books to read:

  • Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis
  • You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero
  • The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
  • Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World, by William H. McRaven
  • Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and Its All Small Stuff, by Richard Carlson
Read new things that will motivate your search for positive things in your life.

Turn Off the News at Night

You may not even think about it, but the time of day you read negative content can affect how well you sleep. Some say it’s best not to watch the news right before bed because it can leave you feeling anxious. And that anxiety can carry over into your dreams. Have you ever fallen asleep after watching a murder show and dreamt about death?

Put a stop to the stress and anxiety by tuning into something light-hearted, funny, or uplifting and watch it with your partner or family. Or better yet, pick up one of those inspirational books. Then look forward to a good night’s sleep.

Banish the Negativity

While eliminating all the negativity in your life is a rather lofty goal, you can certainly identify a few that you can shed. Taking some time to reflect on the things that cause you the most stress and coming up with a plan to solve or get rid of them is a worthwhile exercise.

For example, one thing that causes a great deal of stress for a lot of people is clutter. You can probably relate to this one. Seeing clutter in your home, at work or in your life can distract you from focusing on the positive things around you.

Think about it. Imagine coming home after a challenging day at work and a long commute home to find a house in disarray. Toys strewn about, dirty dishes on the counter, and laundry on the floor. Yikes!

Now, imagine coming home to a house where things are put away in their place and you can walk freely around your house without tripping over a toy or misplaced shoes. Much better, isn’t it?

Have you heard of the Marie Kondo book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? Yes, it’s a decluttering how-to book, but it also lays out a plan for banishing negative clutter and finding joy in your life. The premise is to go through your belongings and identify the ones that spark joy. The things that spark joy, you keep it. The ones that don’t, you get rid of it.

The best way to end your day.

Get into Good Habits

Finally, we get to building good habits. We know breaking bad habits is difficult, so rather than trying to stop them, focus on developing and strengthening the good ones. As you do so, you may find yourself doing less of the bad and more of the good.

The following are some good habits to get into that are fairly easy to start:

  • Exercise more
  • Eat healthier
  • Go outdoors
  • Keep clutter out of your life
  • Smile more
  • See the good in things
  • Spend quality time with your family and friends
  • Practice gratitude
  • Meditate
  • Be kind to yourself and others

Final Thoughts

With these tips in mind, you’ll have an arsenal of ideas to increase positivity in your life and become happier and more focused. But don’t keep it to yourself. Share these ideas with loved ones. Happiness breeds happiness, so why not bring some positivity into someone else’s life?

After reading through them, what’s one way you can add positivity to your life? Share your idea in the comments.

Adding positivity to your life helps with chronic disease management. A good attitude will allow you to face what will come your way as you manage your condition.

Try one or two, or all of these ideas to increase the positive values you have within your life.

References:

1. http://time.com/5125894/is-reading-news-bad-for-you/

2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201705/5-reasons-clear-the-clutter-out-your-life

3. https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/16/03/biology-positive-habits

How Positive Thinking Can Improve Your Life

Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of thinker? The answer you choose can make a difference in the quality and length of your life.

Seeing the glass as half-full means you tend to have a more positive outlook, and positive thinking can enable you to live a better life than average. That’s because a sunny outlook can improve your life in many small ways.

For example, being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and knowing that a difficult period will eventually end can help get you through a rough day, week or year.

Here are some other ways positive thinking can improve your life.

Positive thinking can bring you to see the end of the tunnel you might be in.

It Can Reduce Stress

When you’re in a stressful situation, your gut reaction can be one of either optimism or pessimism. By definition, if you’re optimistic, you have hope and confidence about the successful outcome of the situation, whereas if you’re pessimistic, you have a tendency to believe that the worst will happen.

Worrying is a form of negative thinking. That kind of thinking and lack of hope can lead to unnecessary stress. And the more you worry, the more stress you place on yourself. Switching your attitude and eliminating negative thoughts can keep stress at bay. If you can feel confident that things will be fine and if you can feel more positive about a situation, then you will feel less stress.

“If there is no solution to the problem then don’t waste time worrying about it. If there is a solution to the problem, then don’t waste time worrying about it.” – Dalai Lama

It Can Decrease Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

Similarly, positive thinking can lower signs of anxiety and depression. When you feel anxious, you feel worried, nervous, or uneasy and when you feel depressed, you have feelings of dejection, sadness, or despondency.

Turning off the negative thoughts going through your head and replacing them with positive talk can leave you feeling safe and less worried.

“Don’t worry, be happy.” – Bobby McFerrin

It Can Boost Your Immune System

Thinking positively not only offers you a mental boost it also gives you physical benefits as well. Researchers have shown that happiness can boost your immune system.

If you’re in a stressful situation, thinking optimistically can boost the cell-mediated immune response in your body, whereas thinking pessimistically can weaken your immune system.

“The most powerful force to maintaining a good immune system is the power of positive thinking and not allowing yourself to be unnecessarily drained emotionally by worries and fears.” – Frederick Lenz

Go up and Never Stop!

It Can Prolong Your Life

Negative emotions are natural, but if prolonged, your risk for developing disease can increase.

Looking at the effects of negative thoughts on your immune system again, you can see that a weakened immune system can raise your susceptibility to contracting an infection which can lead to illness.

 Also, a study in the Women’s Health Initiative showed a link between optimism and health. Optimistic people tend to engage in positive health behaviors such as staying active, avoiding smoking and following their medical advice. Living this way can lead to a lower mortality rate.

“I have decided to be happy because it’s good for my health.” – Voltaire

It Can Attract Other Positive Thinkers

No one wants to be around a Debbie Downer for too long. If you’re typically a happy and optimistic person, others with a similar disposition can find that attractive.

And keeping Negative Nellies out of your life can help prevent others from bringing you down.

“Like a magnet, we draw in what we constantly think about. If you’re always thinking positive, happy, joyful thoughts, you’re going to be a positive, happy, joyful person, and you will attract other happy, upbeat, positive people.” – Unknown

Final Positive Thoughts

Now that you know some of the ways positive thinking can improve your life, do you see the glass as half-full or half-empty? Or at least how changing the way you see things could benefit you in multiple ways? Let me know in the comments.

Everything is going to be alright!

What is one thing you could do to change your way of think to a more positive one?  Can you commit to do it for a week? 

I am positive you will enjoy my monthly newsletters. 

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References:

1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950

2. https://www.livescience.com/8158-optimism-boosts-immune-system.html

3. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-power-of-positive-thinking

Accessing the Power of Gratitude

The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has been in the mainstream for years. Long-term studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a higher sense of well-being, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery.

But while we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difficult to sustain. So many of us are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. And for gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word. We have to learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit. And that can take some time.

That’s why practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing.

Remember that gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Pain and injustice exist in this world, but when we focus on the gifts of life, we gain a feeling of well-being. Gratitude balances us and gives us hope.

There are many things to be grateful for: colorful autumn leaves, legs that work, friends who listen and really hear, chocolate, fresh eggs, warm jackets, tomatoes, the ability to read, roses, our health, butterflies. What’s on your list?

Some Ways to Practice Gratitude

•  Keep a gratitude journal in which you list things for which you are thankful. You can make daily, weekly or monthly lists. Greater frequency may be better for creating a new habit, but just keeping that journal where you can see it will remind you to think in a grateful way.

•  Make a gratitude collage by drawing or pasting pictures.

•  Practice gratitude around the dinner table or make it part of your nighttime routine.

•  Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.

•  When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead. You may be amazed by how much better you feel.

•  Notice how gratitude is impacting your life. Write about it, sing about it, express thanks for gratitude.

As you practice, an inner shift begins to occur, and you may be delighted to discover how content and hopeful you are feeling. That sense of fulfillment is gratitude at work.

Author’s content used with permission, © Claire Communications