Saturday, August 1, 2009

Turn Negative Automatic Thoughts Around for a Dolce Vita

Yesterday, as I was trying to carry too many groceries from my car to the house, the carton of eggs fell on the ground and smashed. My first reaction was sadness and disappointment. It was money down the drain in an economy in which few of us can afford to waste; I would not have eggs for my son's breakfast; I would have to clean up that mess on the garage floor and pray that rodents didn't' have at it first, etc. I carefully put the lid back over the smashed eggs and brought the carton into the house. Suddenly I decided to take a deep breath and think of what good might come of this situation. Indeed, as I picked up each egg to check, at least six of them were still intact, and several of the others had cracked inside of the carton--where I was able to pour out their liquid and scramble them up in a pan for my dog's breakfast per non spreccare nulla (so nothing goes to waste).

One of the most common errors in thinking style is the automatic negative thought process; something which creeps up on us suddenly and colors our mood even before we realize it. But when you look at the "evidence", the cold hard facts, things are rarely as awful as they seem to be, or as we expect them to be at first glance.

Today I challenge you to see "beyond" the discouraging surface to what really is---and look for the beauty in what remains. This is the way to a dolce vita , a sweet life.

If you feel this message is useful to someone, feel free to pass it on, as long as you give proper credit (below)
Your Life Coach,
Raeleen Mautner, Ph.D. or

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Make la Domenica Special

When I was a kid, you could always tell it was Sunday (domenica). We would wake up to the smell of un bel caffe', have a special bakery brioche, and head off to Church. We would arrive home to the aroma of rich tomato sauce and meatballs sauteing on the stove--and if we were lucky, we were allowed to dunk a piece of crusty bread into the sauce, as long as we didn't eat so much that it would ruin our appetite for Sunday dinner.

Your Sunday customs might be similar, or entirely different from mine. That is okay. But whatever they are--or were--I urge you to renew them or start a new tradition that will set your Sunday apart from the rest of the week. When you make your Sunday special it becomes a marker--a signal--that a fresh new week (with problems of the week gone by a mere memory)--is about to begin. A week of new hope, joy, possibility.

So enjoy your Sunday. Make it special. Turn on some music. Rest. Worship. Meditate. Whatever you don't get a chance to do during your hectic week. Do it today. Then start Monday as if it were the first day of the rest of your life. Because it is.

a presto!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Passeggiata (Stroll) Therapy to Bust Through Worries

Today I stopped everything to take in a breath of fresh air. A lovely stroll (or what we call la passeggiata) through the city with my shih tzu, Bella, and one of my dearest friends. Great conversation and a coffee break ideal for people watching at an outdoor cafe'.

When I got back, all of my tasks were still waiting for me. Nothing had been so urgent that it wouldn't wait, and life was just a little more "dolce" for having taken time to replenish ME.

I urge you to take an impromptu therapeutic stroll, whenever you are in need of a lift. Life will seem different, easier, more joyful, upon your return.

What are YOU worried about in this economy? Post a comment below, and let me know what works for you to bring you back to well-being.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Change Something, ANYTHING, if you want to Reduce Stress!

Recently I have had the privilege of teaching stress reduction as part of a cardiac study being conducted at Yale. The protocol draws from solid research in the area of cognitive behavioral therapy, which tells us that changing any of the following: the stress-inducing situation (if possible); the automatic stressful thought that pops into our minds; the negative emotion, or our body's response to a stress-------will reduce stress. You don't have to change all of these at once in order to regain a peaceful, healthy state of functioning. One will do nicely, thank you. You can change the way you look at a situation, concentrate on positive emotions, deep breathe to relax the body. All of these tools are wonderful ways to maintain inner serenity in times of turmoil. Then of course, you might want to read my next column for the Italian Tribune--and see why taking time to notice a rainbow works well, too, in improving the quality of life.

How do YOU reduce stress? Or don't you? Let me know by posting your comments below.

Till next time.. a presto!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Word Diet

Parole, parole, parole. Most of us use way too much verbiage; often just to hear ourselves talk. We throw words into a conversation that have no meaning ("well"; "you see", "ehm"), or bad meaning (like gossip, where acid words about others do nothing but sell us out in the long run)

What would happen if you made a decision to cut your verbal output by 1/3 by getting rid of excess and negative talk? You would then learn to rely more on eye contact, observation of others' actions and body language--and above all, you would make sure that whatever you said was productive, encouraging, positive, and kind.

So let's beautify our verbal output from here on it. Use it for Truth, Light, Insight, and Wisdom. You ARE your word, so let all of what you say reflect your goodness.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How to Flirt, Italian-Style

From Rome to Catanzarro, flirting is an effortless and graceful art in the Meridionale, Southern Italy. Or in the North, your Amore might take you to the Eurochocolate festival in Perugia, where he will hold a dark chocolate baci between his lips and invite you to help him melt it with his kiss. Italian men and women are not ashamed to artfully appreciate each other with their eyes. Seduction all’italiana is gentle and enjoyable; not aggressive, or invasive. It is a reciprocal dance of possibility. You may notice a slight gleam to the eye, a barely perceptible smile at the corner of the lips, an appreciative turn of the head to follow a slow saunter down a long corridor. Italians see nothing shameful or unnatural about finding ways to make the heart flutter. Amore, after all, is what makes the world go 'round.

NEW LOVE GROUP FORMING! If you are looking for ways to attract love into your life--- dolce vita style--then sign up for the next group telecoaching series: AMORE! HOW TO FIND, KEEP, OR START ALL OVER IN LOVE. To put your
name on the waiting list for a Thursday evening weekly series, write with the words "love coaching" in the subject line.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Perfect Happiness is a Moment Away

Having studied the dolce vita lifestyle habits for many years, my conclusion is that people who say perfect happiness doesn't exist are just WRONG. To me, happiness is in the worry-free zone of the present moment.

The reason that time seems to stand still in the Bel Paese, is that there is a natural tendency to linger fully immersed in each moment before one lets it pass by. The focus is on the immediate--and nothing behind or ahead of it.

When you ask nothing more of yourself than to focus on what you are doing right now right here, you will finally discover the gift of freedom. Freedom from worry about your past, or about what will happen to you in the future. Each moment, when lived fully IS perfect happiness. Full immersion living will pull you out of emotional pain and into emotional relief. NOW is that wonderful moment in time in which you can just BE.

As you read this blog post you are neither ruminating over your past, nor fearful about your tomorrow. You are simply thinking about what you are reading, right? Nothing more. Nothing less. Happiness is really simple, isn't it? All you need do is consider the moment.