I just finished reading “The Power of TED, The Empowerment Dynamic.”  I found this short, easy-to-read parable quite fascinating.  It was so enlightening that I have been talking to everyone about it.

The funny thing is that as soon as they hear the title they think it has something to do with TED Talks.  In fact, it has nothing to do with TED talks (although I do think it would be a very good one). It is about the role that you decide to take on in your life.

This book as truly opened my eyes to the way I moved through a good portion of my life, in fact the default way that most people do.  My intention in writing this is to share “The Empowerment Dynamic” with you so that, like me, you can learn how to stop letting life happen to you and start choosing to live the life that you want.

The Dreaded Dynamic Triangle (DDT)

There are three roles in the DDT: the Victim, the Rescuer and the Persecutor.

Our Victim feels powerless in the world.  Everything happens to him and his self-identity is “poor me.”

The Rescuer protects the Victim and in one way or another helps the Victim to “numb out.”  Although convinced that he is well-intentioned, he enables the “poor me” attitude by responding with “poor you” perspective.

The Persecutor is, in the Victim’s perspective, the reason that he feels powerless.

Which of these roles do you identify with most?

Keep in mind that the roles in this triangle may change at any point.  The Victim may become the Rescuer or the Rescuer may become the Persecutor, sometimes even in the same day!

An example of this changeable dynamic is when you had a bad day at work, you had a car accident or something just mildly distressing. (You are the Victim)  You get home and feel that you deserve a reward for suffering through the situation so you head to the freezer to eat some of that Ben and Jerry’s ice cream that is calling to you.  (It is the Rescuer).  A few days later you get on the scale and are devastated that it shows that you have gained a couple of pounds (in this case the rescuer has become the Persecutor).  I see these roles play out in my clients all the time.

When you are in the Victim orientation, your focus is solely on the problem at hand. The problem creates an “inner state” of anxiety, and then the you react in fight, flight or freeze. (React being the key word)

What if there was a better way?

The Empowerment Dynamic (TED)

In Victim mode not much gets done, because you don’t feel like you have control over the situation.  The Victim is stuck. Even if he begins to feel better and begins moving forward, he often ends up going back to being a Victim as soon as another hurdle arises.  But, what if the Victim was to have a shift and became a Creator?

In fact, the opposite of Victim is Creator.

In this role, the focus is on the vision or the outcome…on what you want rather than what you don’t want.  That isn’t to say that problems don’t come up, they do. But the Creator solves them and moves on; he responds to them with passion and focus taking baby steps.  (Respond being the key word)

In The Empowerment Dynamic, the Persecutor becomes the Challenger, and as the opposite of the Persecutor he looks at what happens as “a call to action, learning or growth.”  And, the Rescuer becomes a Coach.  For the Coach there is no such thing as a Victim.  He sees everyone as a Creator, and in doing so he mentors and guides the Creator asking questions and offering baby steps to assist the Creator in achieving his dream or his outcome.

All of a sudden, the same situation takes on a completely different feeling!

This little book has sparked in me a whole new awareness of how I used to move through life, and how I want to move through the rest of my life.  To live life to the fullest, it is necessary to become a Creator. No matter what obstacles are put in front of me, and there will be many, I get to choose how I respond to them.

What do you choose to be… a Victim or a Creator?  To be challenged or persecuted?  To be rescued or coached?

Every choice in life either moves you forward or keeps you stuck.  -Oprah Winfrey

Did you ever notice that after you spend a day out in the woods you come home happier, and more refreshed and sleep better than usual?

In the 1980s the Japanese developed a term “Shinrin-yoku” to mean “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing” that has become the foundation of Japanese medicine and preventive health care.  The Japanese are not the only ones who recognize the cleansing and health benefits of walking in a forest, studies are now also being done in the United States and in Finland with similar results.

The scientifically-proven benefits of forest bathing:

  • Improved sleep
  • Boost in immune system functioning. The “Natural Killer” cells (a type of white cells) in the body increase in number.  This was determined thanks to blood and urine tests before after a 3 day/ 2-night stay in the forest.
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved mood
  • Increased ability to focus, even in children with ADHD
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Increased energy level

The proof of health benefits using forest bathing modalities is so concrete that in Japan and Korea forest bathing is actually covered by insurance.

It is important to note that forest bathing is different than going on a “nature walk” or specifically going hiking.  While the nature walk may be focused on information regarding the flora and fauna and the hike is usually with a specific destination in mind, Shinrin-yoku is about walking leisurely and experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of the forest, only those things that can be experienced when the focus is on moving very slowly and deliberately appreciating what is there.  There are organized groups starting in California now that take people on guided tours in the forests using group activities, mindful meditation and discussions among the participants of what they are experiencing.

Although there is not a substitute for going to the forest and taking a walk studies are now being done to look at the efficacy of house plants, flowers and essential oils, as well as, the healing power of merely looking at the woods through a hospital room window.

What has your experience been after spending a day in the woods?  Is forest bathing something that you feel that you have experienced even though you didn’t know that it was a formal practice?

Before we know it, Thanksgiving will be upon us and we will again be reminded that it is time to give thanks for many things. It seems that being thankful has become seasonal. But, in reality, gratitude for all the wonderful things that it does for us (and for others) is something that warrants being practiced and cultivated so that it becomes a daily activity. Although for most of us it will be something that we need to work on consistently to make it a habit, it is well worth the effort. And, the wonderful thing about it is that the more that you do it and reap the benefits, the more you will want to do it. Studies have been done on gratitude and it has been found that it is associated with greater joy, optimism and happiness, improving health, savoring good experiences, experiencing fewer symptoms from stress, better ability to deal with adversity, creating stronger and closer relationships and much more.

So here are some ideas of how you can begin to enjoy the benefits of gratitude:

  • Keep a gratitude journal. Write down 5 things each day that you are grateful for.
  • Take a gratitude walk. Take 20 minutes to walk in your favorite place taking in everything around you while you think of  things you can be grateful for.
  • Keep a gratitude jar. Write something you are grateful for on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. On New Year’s Eve review them all.
  • Write a gratitude letter to someone who had an impact on you whom you’ve never properly thanked.

Do you have a gratitude practice? I would love to hear what you do and learn new ways to add more gratitude to my life. Please share your comments below.

If you would like to read more on gratitude read: 31 Benefits of Gratitude You Didn’t Know About: How Gratitude Can Change Your Life http://happierhuman.com/benefits-of-gratitude/