As many of you already know, I recently launched my Daily Gummy of Wisdom email program and it has been met with so much interest, encouragement and compelling conversations. I wanted to take this time today to highlight a few of the gummies that have really landed with people and the stories they have shared with me. This is exactly what I had hoped would come from the creation of my Daily Gummy of Wisdom. Together, we are all getting better at self awareness and “each other” awareness; we are finding new approaches to old, familiar problems; becoming more skillful in our own emotional regulation and in turn, we are supporting others with their own emotional health — especially children.
I launched the Daily Gummy email program to help those who were dialing back their social media consumption. The Gummy gets popped into your inbox at 6:45 a.m. each day. You can start your morning with this engaging food for thought and find that you just might tap into it for an interaction at home or work. Some are using the Daily Gummy as a mindful break mid-morning or mid-afternoon. A little pick me up and that “refresh” that music producer Rick Rubin says is so invaluable to keep us attentive and engaged with our daily life. Others find it a great way to wind down at day’s end. That’s the beauty of the Daily Gummy — you can use it when it best works for you. Our emotional health can benefit from a supplement morning, noon or night.
Think of the Daily Gummy that lands in your inbox as the physical health supplements you store in your bathroom or kitchen cabinet. It’s on the shelf, readily available, and you can take it when it best works for you. No need to wade through a barrage of social media content.
What has so pleasantly surprised me is how the Daily Gummy is being shared with others. Some of my subscribers have created their own expanded email list of family and friends — and they forward the day’s gummy with some thoughts of their own. A few like to print them out and discuss them with the family at dinner or over coffee with friends. Sometimes they get printed out, tucked in an envelope with a personal note and placed in a teen’s backpack or sent to a family member across the country. They are used to seal a yoga practice, as a prompt for writing classes, to open discussions in support groups, and even incorporated into a pastor’s Sunday sermons.
Sometimes I am the recipient of a Daily Gummy.
A subscriber will write to me and share how a certain gummy landed at just the right time to help them reflect on something that is weighing heavy on their heart. My friend, Diane Brandt, has often said that when we support others, the blessings go both ways and this is exactly how I feel when I hear the stories and learn more about what people are navigating. A mother reached out to me when one gummy was particularly helpful for her in supporting her 10 year old son and his emotional triggers. My photo really spoke to his heart; the image has become a touchstone for him.
When I was in my twenties, the starfish story really resonated with me; that image of a little boy walking on the beach tossing stranded, parched starfish back into the sea. An old man passed by him and questioned why he bothered. There was no way that he could possibly save them all. “Why does it matter?” he asked. The little boy responded, “It matters to this one.”
And that is exactly how I feel about my Daily Gummy of Wisdom. If just one person’s life is touched in a meaningful way by a photo and some insight, it matters. If, in turn, that person can reach out and support someone they love in a tender, compassionate and more skillful way, just imagine the impact it will — the ripple effect.
Not every Daily Gummy land at just the right time, but some will.
We are most definitely at the tipping point of remarkable breakthroughs for our emotional health. Quite a few of us are those proverbial stranded, dehydrating starfish on the beach. The more we know, the more we notice. This is how attending to our own emotional health not only helps us improve our quality of life, it raises our awareness of how we can support others in truly beneficial, impactful positive ways.
Here are a few of the Daily Gummies that have landed in recent weeks:
Asking “what the matter” limits our ability to gain real understanding of what another person is feeling — and it often ignites a strong desire in us to fix things right away.
Let’s be honest, how often do we utter “What’s the matter?” with a tone of voice that feels judgmental? Yes — a lot.
Think of asking “what matters to you?” as a much more skillful diagnostic tool. A way to probe a little deeper into discovery and be truly helpful in a meaningful way.
So often, we stay on the surface level of an issue, stating frustration or disappointment, but the real problem causing those emotions is tangled up in misunderstandings, miscommunication, differing opinions or scales of importance. Real problem solving is only possible when we drill down into core issues.
If you want to discover how powerful this diagnostic skill really is, try it for yourself. Next time you are feeling frustrated or annoyed – ask yourself “What matters to me?” Your honest answer will reveal a lot.
One of my close friends reached out to me about this Daily Gummy. She is very active in her community as a leader, a volunteer and a musician. Like me, she is a born helper. She confessed that she often rushes in to fix things, clean up a mess or solve a problem — and quite often without even asking out loud “what’s the matter.” She can see what’s the matter very clearly. (She just described me to a “T”). It dawned on her that quite often she was jumping in before she really understood what was really going on. She often found herself overcommitted, slightly resentful and puzzled why nothing was really changing.
My friend shared that re-arranging words and asking an important question differently, shifted everything. When she enters a situation now, she asks “What matters to you” and listens to learn. As a result, she is accomplishing a few things on her personal growth to do list. She is catching herself before she rescues others; she is becoming a good story steward and listening without judgment and pre-conceived ideas; she is able to set healthy boundaries for her time, energy and interests. And most importantly, those people she loves to help are feeling a deeper and more supported connection with her. Just look at how much positive emotional and relational change occurred by one dynamic question: “What matters most to you?”
Have you noticed how your mood changes throughout the day? It is truly astonishing how much our mood swings around and how little we pay attention to it. Why does it matter? Because our mood influences everything.
When we are in a good mood, we tap into our best natural resources. We are resilient, flexible, creative problem solvers. It’s like sporting a Teflon jacket — nothing negative sticks — not the traffic jam, the spilled milk or someone’s snarky comments. In fact, most events seem less like “problems” and more like “opportunities”.
But a bad mood — yikes! We trade the Teflon jacket for a magnetic catcher’s mitt. Our brain’s default negativity bias looks for — and finds — everything that’s going wrong. That same traffic jam was created just to make us late; the spilled milk is evidence we are doomed for a bad day; the snarky comment sets off a chain reaction critical self talk.
Mood swings can take us on a wild ride. And our mood impacts others. We rarely get the response and support we want when we are surly.
A new subscriber sent me an email with some adorable emojis to thank me for this image and the gummy which she is using in her conversations with her kids. She is helping them to see how a bad mood in one child can take the joy out of something her other child is having in the moment. Evidently they have had some hilarious discussions about being on the “mood swing”. She is so grateful for this image which really resonated for her young children; and how it gave them a way to openly express what they are feeling in the moment with both levity and honesty.
We are in a continuous flow of emotions throughout the day. Just like a whitewater rafting adventure, we never know what lies ahead in our emotional river.
As if it isn’t enough to navigate our own emotional flow, we are often in the same boat with others — each having their own unique experience. It’s a miracle that we can stay afloat!
That is why it’s so important to not “rock the boat” with unnecessary drama and out of control emotions. Every person’s experience is unique. Someone may be lamenting the adventure is coming to an end; and another relieved that it is over. One may be in awe of the expansive view; and another is reading a troubling text. One is tense, another is so relaxed.
The guide plays a key role. He is grounded, calm and has a deep rudder (i.e. skillful emotional navigation). Can you be that guide for others when emotions run high? Staying calm, being skillful with your own emotional flow and helping others with theirs — now that’s earning your emotional fitness badge.
This Daily Gummy reminded me of my life in my mid-40’s, when I was juggling a career change, two teenagers and a five year old, health issues and life in general. Bills to pay, meals to make, vacations to plan, holidays, boo-boos and the many overlapping needs of family members. I used to tell my friends that I was in the white water rapids of life without a paddle. I didn’t know much about emotional health at that time, so I would push through a lot of hard stuff without processing it. I made everyone else my priority firmly believing that if I took care of them, I too would be just fine. But I began to notice a pattern. I could push through for about three months and then I would be in a state of exhaustion that would land me in bed for a few days trying to recover from bronchitis or the flu. I’d recover and jump right back into the white water rapids, powering through and making up for that lost time by overcommitting. A few months later, I’d be tossed out of the raft into the level 5 white water rapids and I’d be sick again. My own version of rinse, repeat.
Besser van der Kolk tells us that the “body keeps the score” – and that is just one of the big lessons I learned the hard way. My body was trying to tell me that I could not stay afloat if I did not attend to myself. A big pivot for me was taking this to heart — both physically and emotionally. Busy parents can struggle a lot with self-care, emotional regulation and work-life balance.
The metaphor for me is that we cannot be skillful guides if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. We are not only better for our partners and children when we take care of our own needs, we are role modeling for our children and grandchildren the importance of physical, cognitive and emotional health for their own.
The white water rapids of life will be ever present. The change occurs when we become skillful life guides, with a bouyant flexible raft and a deep rudder.
I hope you have enjoyed discovering a few new things about my Daily Gummy of Wisdom and that you will sign up for the email program. Click this link to be added to the growing group of folks who are making their emotional fitness an integral part of their well being: