Social Connection

We are social beings. In today’s era of social media and cell phones, we are losing the ability to connect with others face-to-face. Studies on people who live to or beyond the age of one hundred show that face-to-face..

Social Connection

A trick I explored recently is looking at negative or stressful events in a new way, called reframing. Before you say, “I don’t want to read about dread, worry, anxiety, and bad habits. Just teach me how to get unstuck!” consider this: what if we look at them as coping strategies that are simply trying to help us?

Every habit is there to serve a purpose. If we reframe our view of “bad habits” into something that is trying to help us, we can find substitutions and lessen their power over us.

When you have a bad experience, try asking yourself open-ended questions to find the “silver lining.” Perhaps you learned something new about yourself. Or you met someone kind and helpful you might not have otherwise met. Maybe you learned how imperative it is to never have that same experience again.

An “open-ended question” is one that cannot be answered with simple one-word responses such as “yes, no, or maybe.” Such questions require deliberate thought, usually phrased with words like who, what, where, when, and how. Some examples might include, “How might you view that experience in a way that doesn’t increase anxiety?” or “What takeaway lesson did you learn about yourself or others that might help you in the future?”



After I broke my wrist on February 22, 2022, during our vacation in Moab, I found it difficult to feel anything close to joy. At times I struggled to do everything left-handed while enduring the pain. But once I got over the initial discomfort and overwhelm, I began hunting for what makes me feel light and content.

As a family, we listened to Ingrid Fetell Lee’s book on CD, Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness.  In it, she introduces ten aesthetics of joy. What makes you say “Yay” or “Wow”? Can you hold your own joy treasure hunt?


In her book Rising StrongBrene Brown uses a powerful phrase that resonates as much for me as advice from the Gap and the Gain. Brown, a shame researcher, talks about falling down and finding the courage to reset ourselves so we can get back up again.

Anytime we feel exceedingly vulnerable when asking for what we need, she suggests using the phrase: The story I’m telling myself… Read on to find out more about how to use her line to move forward.

Brene Brown’s Lake Travis Story

As an example of how this line works, Brown shares a story about swimming in Lake Travis with her husband Steve. In it, she tries several times to connect with him on a deep, spiritual level, without getting the desired (i.e. expected) response.

The fiction she creates in her mind is that she’s too slow. Or that her husband doesn’t like how she looks in her swimsuit. Perhaps he no longer felt connected to her after years of marriage.

Meanwhile, his own story involves dwelling on a recent nightmare about losing the kids in a boating accident. While he is preoccupied with trying to remain the strong, capable, heroic man he thinks she wants him to be, she’s trying to connect.

When they finally talk about it later, she uses the phrase, “The story I’m telling myself…” It signals that she feels vulnerable, tentative, and aware that she may have created a false narrative.

They both share their own interpretation of the moment. As a result, they weather the rough spot with greater understanding and appreciation for each other.




Sometimes I come up with an overwhelming range of blog topics. Smoky Seattle skies, even approaching November. Our company’s upcoming launch of a reimagined website. A return to training in-person clients. And discovering that dropping our daughter off at college the fourth time hurt more than the first. Wanting to keep a positive vibe in my blog, I decided to share a fun discovery from a recent hike to Melakwa Lake: the power of asking good questions.

Where Is the Clean Air?

If you have been following my blog, you may recall questions I asked myself on a recent autumn hike to Granite Mountain. This time, one of my most important questions came to me the night before: where can I find clean air? It was hard to do this month, as the Pacific Northwest has been hit hard by some of the worst smoke yet, thanks to wildfires in the mountains and zero rain. I’d perused the website for possible shifts in the winds, and we decided to go east of Snoqualmie.

As I approached milepost 35 on I-90, I could hardly make out the mountain ridge above. No way can we hike in this! However, once we pulled into the Denny Creek campground twelve miles beyond, my mood improved. Blue skies. No haze. No smoky stench. Mission accomplished. My soul sang. We’d finally get to hike again!








Recently, my husband and I were discussing how ubiquitous complaining has become. It dawned on me how often I grouse in my journal. Frequently unconsciously. My husband whipped out one of his gems. “The quality of the language we use dictates the quality of the communication we have with ourselves and others.” I vowed to improve communication by trying to stop — or reduce — my complaining. Easier said than done.

What Is Complaining?

In simplest terms, complaining is a way to express pain, dissatisfaction, or resentment. Sometimes I complain in my journal in order to process something that is not going well. That way nobody ever hears it. According to Dr. Travis Bradberry, complaining — in any form — is awful for our health. He says that the more we complain, the more negative we become.

Complaining can result from comparison. I often hear people say they don’t have enough (time, money, fame, beauty, etc.) or too much (weight, work, pain, stress, people relying on them, etc.) You may recall that Dan Sullivan (in The Gap and The Gain) says that comparison is a sure way to get stuck in the GAP.

“Repeated complaining rewires your brain to make future complaining more likely,” Bradberry points out. “Over time, you find it’s easier to be negative than to be positive, regardless of what’s happening around you. Complaining becomes your default behavior, which changes how people perceive you.” Once we start a complaining habit, it becomes hard to change.


A great way to stay on track with your wellness goals is to enlist help from accountability partners. Such people can provide much-needed support, encouragement, and motivation when you’re feeling stuck or unsure how to move forward. While a workout partner might meet you at the gym or trailhead to exercise with you, an accountability partner helps keep you on track by discussing how you’re doing, where you’re struggling, and what you want to accomplish. If you’ve been pursuing a goal and you feel your enthusiasm waning, partner up!

Who to Ask

First and foremost, look for someone you trust. The last thing you need is to reveal your dreams to someone who laughs about them or tries to discourage you. You may enlist a friend, family member, or significant other as your partner, or you may feel more comfortable buddying with someone from the same gym or club who has reached a similar goal to yours and could provide advice. You might also find a partner through online resources such as Meetup, Reddit, or Facebook groups, forums, or focus groups. Participating in Mountaineers trips can be a great way to meet potential accountability partners.