Linda Gorchels blogs

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Everyday Mindfulness

I felt eyes boring into my back as I walked along the wooded bike trail near my home.

bike trail bridge

It was early morning, the air crisp and clean. There was no noise other than the sound of my steps and the gurgle of a creek. I was alone, but yet I wasn’t. Stopping, I did a 360° turn, scanning all directions.

Who—or what—was watching me?

The crack of a twig drew my eyes upward and I saw a large white owl. Its head swiveled slowly as I walked. I had found my watcher.

Eerie though it might have been, it was also an epiphany of sorts. I had been paying attention to the present moment.

I had been mindful.

But that wasn’t always the case.… Read the rest

The Long and Winding Road to Normal

Most of us are anxiously looking forward to the end of the COVID pandemic. We are hoping for answers to a host of questions. When will it be over? What will the new normal look like? Will there be a second wave? Can someone who has recovered get it another time?

All unanswerable questions.

That means we have to learn to live with ambiguity. We have to find ways to focus on what we can control rather than what we can’t.

Here are a few suggestions for coping with the ambiguity of the coronavirus.

Follow concrete guidelines for well-being

Every month I’ve written on a variety of well-being topics. All of the concepts still apply. Here are links to refresh your thinking.… Read the rest

Introspection: Finding your creative passion

(Introspecrion is the 7th of a 9-part series on creativity traits.)

Curious: passionate for fresh knowledge; desiring to learn new things
Resilient: capable of overcoming setbacks; able to take risks; ambitious
Evaluative: willing to experiment and evolve your creativity beyond the idea stage
Autonomous: independent; norm-doubting
Tuned in: open and alert to the world around you; highly perceptive
Introspective: driven by innate (intrinsic) rewards; self-accepting
Visionary: having dreams and aspirations; original thinking
Energetic: adept at managing and recharging your energy

Introspection and self-reflectionIn prior posts I discussed curiosity and the freedom to explore and evolve creative ideas.

But none of that matters if you don’t care. If you don’t have passion. Finding your passion requires introspection into what makes you enthusiastic.… Read the rest

How to Unstick Your Negative Emotions

Have you ever gotten pine pitch on your hands while putting up a Christmas tree? Or blobbed adhesive on your fingers while gluing two things together? Or stepped on a piece of gum? Not only is the gooey residue hard to get off, everything you touch sticks to it.

That’s the way it is with negative emotions. They’re sticky, attracting more gloomy thoughts. And they keep you from moving, similar to spinning your wheels in the muck.

There is no complete list of negative emotions, but the chart at the left lists some most cited. Any of them can have dramatic impacts on your physical health.

Anger, for example, heightens the risk of high blood pressure and heart problems. In the words of Dr.Read the rest

Are You on the Road to Burnout?

Credit: Pixabay

Are you snippy and irritable? Do you procrastinate on things that are important? Has complete exhaustion and disillusionment overtaken your life? Is every day a bad day, with seemingly insurmountable problems?

Then you may be on the road to burnout, a serious obstacle to well-being. Burnout is caused by excessive and prolonged stress—it’s stress multiplied. As the following table shows, stress produces a sense of overload, whereas burnout produces a sense of emptiness.

Stress vs. Burnout
Stress Burnout
Characterized by over-engagement Characterized by disengagement
Emotions are over-reactive Emotions are blunted
Produces urgency and hyperactivity Produces helplessness and hopelessness
Loss of energy Loss of motivation, ideals, and hope
Leads to anxiety disorders Leads to detachment and depression
Primary damage is physical Primary damage is emotional
May kill you prematurely May make life seem not worth living
Source: Stress and Burnout in Ministry

Burnout can emerge gradually from insufficient sleep and relaxation, or from drowning in stress.… Read the rest

Well-being is a Way of Life

According to a recent Gallup poll, Americans are among the most stressed people in the world. That’s why we need to turn well-being into a way of life. It’s a puzzle with physical, mental, and emotional-spiritual components.

Everyone has a different well-being puzzle. And it may need to change over time. What works when you are twenty-something may be different from when you are eighty-something.

I am a “plenty-something” woman—old enough to know I’m not as smart as I used to think I was, but young enough to do something about it. I was late figuring this out. But now I am infusing well-being into the core of my life. Here’s how.

Integrated exercise framework

My exercise framework is a mix of cardio, strength, and flexibility each week.… Read the rest

Creativity Killers and Defenders

We’re faced with a slew of creativity killers every day—many of our own making. Here are some of the most common ones.

Procrastination as a Creativity Killer

How often do you have great ideas you’ll get to “someday”—the infamous “tomorrow?” But then tomorrow never comes.

The hardest part of creativity is getting started. You will never get to all those books you’ve stacked, all those articles you intend to read, all those half-started projects—yet they provide a frequent excuse for procrastination. Creative people often feel they are pulled in many directions, with little chance of finishing anything. Sometimes it’s due to perfectionism. Other times it’s simply a defense mechanism. But nothing is going to change unless you change the way you think.… Read the rest

What is Pronoia?

Pronoia? What’s that?

I heard the term for the first time in a yoga class. It was introduced as an antonym to paranoia. Here is Wikipedia’s definition:

Pronoia is a neologism coined to describe a state of mind that is the opposite of paranoia. Whereas a person suffering from paranoia feels that persons or entities are conspiring against them, a person experiencing pronoia feels that the world around them conspires to do them good.

Pro and Con of Pronoia

This sounds good until it later references a paper by Dr. Fred H. Goldner in which he describes pronoia as a “delusion that others think well of [you] … politeness and the exchange of pleasantries are taken as expressions of deep attachment and the promise of future support.”… Read the rest