Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Six Attributes of Courage

Good morning everyone!

I hope that you were able to enjoy your Memorial Day yesterday. In honor of those who have served our country, and the courage they have, today's article is about the six attributes of courage. It also includes some thought-provoking quotes. Enjoy!

-Inner Passages 

The Six Attributes of Courage
Quotes and exercises to help you be your best and bravest self
Published on August 23, 2012 by Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. in The Mindful Self-Express

Courage is something that everybody wants — an attribute of good character that makes us worthy of respect. From the Bible to fairy tales; ancient myths to Hollywood movies,our culture is rich with exemplary tales of bravery and self-sacrifice for the greater good. From the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz who finds the courage to face the witch, to David battling Goliath in the Bible, to Star Wars and Harry Potter, children are raised on a diet of heroic and inspirational tales.
Yet courage is not just physical bravery. History books tell colorful tales of social activists, such as Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, who chose to speak out against injustice at great personal risk. Entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs and Walt Disney, who took financial risks to follow their dreams and innovate are like modern-day knights, exemplifying the rewards and public accolades that courage can bring. There are different types of courage, ranging from physical  strength and endurance to mental stamina and innovation. The below quotes demonstrate six different ways in which we define courage.Which are most relevant to you? In the last section, i present an exercise to help you define and harness your own courage.

(1)  Feeling Fear Yet Choosing to Act

“Bran thought about it. 'Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?' 'That is the only time a man can be brave,' his father told him.” ― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Fear and courage are brothers. — Proverb

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear — Nelson Mandela

There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid. — L.Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Being terrified but going ahead and doing what must be done—that's courage. The one who feels no fear is a fool, and the one who lets fear rule him is a coward. ― Piers Anthony

Courage is about doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared. Have the courage to act instead of react." — Oliver Wendell Holmes

(2) Following Your Heart 

“Passion is what drives us crazy, what makes us do extraordinary things, to discover, to challenge ourselves. Passion is and should always be the heart of courage.” ― Midori Komatsu

And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” — Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement speech, June 2005

To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.
 — Soren Kierkegaard

“It takes courage ... to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.” ― Marianne Williamson, "Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of 'A Course in Miracles'"

(3) Persevering in the Face of Adversity

When we are afraid we ought not to occupy ourselves with endeavoring to prove that there is no danger, but in strengthening ourselves to go on in spite of the danger. — Mark Rutherford
A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer. — Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)
Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them — Orison Swett Marden (1850-1924)

Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the   day that says I'll try again tomorrow. — Mary Anne Radmacher

“Go back?" he thought. "No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!" So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

“It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.” — Mark Twain

(4) Standing Up For What Is Right

Sometimes standing against evil is more important than defeating it. The greatest heroes stand because it is right to do so, not because they believe they will walk away with their lives. Such selfless courage is a victory in itself ― N.D. Wilson, Dandelion Fire

Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes — Maggie Kuhn, Social Activist

From caring comes courage. — Lao Tzu

Anger is the prelude to courage. ― Eric Hoffer

(5) Expanding Your Horizons; Letting Go of the Familiar

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. — Lord Chesterfield

“This world demands the qualities of youth; not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease.” ― Robert F. Kennedy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. — Anais Nin

(6) Facing Suffering  With Dignity or Faith...

 “There is no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bear witness that a man has the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.” — Frank

The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances. — Aristotle

Until the day of his death, no man can be sure of his courage. — Jean Anoulh

A man of courage is also full of faith. — Marcus Tullius Cicero

Courage-Building Exercise

For this exercise, you will need a notebook and pen, as well as a quiet, uninterrupted space in which you can reflect.

Beginning with the first definition of courage, "Feeling Afraid Yet Choosing to Act," answer the following questions:

Think of a situation as an adult when you felt afraid, yet chose to face your fear?

(a) What did you observe, think, and feel at the time? (e.g., "I saw the rollercoaster and felt butterflies in my stomach").

(b) What did you or the people around you say, think, and do to help you face your fear? (e.g., "I told myself that if little kids could go on it, so could I").

(c) At what point did your fear start to go down? How did you feel afterwards?

(d) Now think back on a situation in childhood in which you faced your fear. How was it the same or different than the first situation?

(e) Finally, think of a situation you are currently facing that creates fear or anxiety. What are you most afraid of?  (e.g., being fired if I ask my boss for a raise).

(f) Now, is there a way to apply the same skills you used in the two earlier situations to be more  courageous this situation. Remind yourself that you have these skills and have used them successfully in the past. What mental or environmental barriers stand in the way of using these skills? How can you cope with or get rid of these barriers?

Repeat this exercise over the course of a week, using each definition of courage above. On Day 7, come up with your own definition of courage that is most meaningful to you and repeat the whole exercise using this definition.

About the Author
Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist in Mill Valley, California, and expert on Mindfulness, Positive Psychology, and Mind-Body issues , who has published more than 50 scholarly works. Previously a Professor in a Graduate Psychology Program, she is now a practicing psychologist, executive  and life coach, speaker, and media consultant. Dr. Greenberg provides workshops and speaking engagements for organizations,life, weight loss, and career coaching. and psychotherapy for individuals and couples.

Monday, May 12, 2014

When Emotional Trauma Is a Family Affair

When Emotional Trauma Is a Family Affair
Trauma, once experienced, seems to never want to let go

Published on May 5, 2014 by David Sack, M.D. in Where Science Meets the Steps

Trauma, once experienced, seems to never want to let go. It can burrow into our psyche, invading our thoughts, and unleashing mood swings, anger, depression and an exhausting sense of hypervigilance. Now, a recent study adds a disturbing new layer to our understanding: The behavioral changes that can come with emotional trauma are not only difficult to overcome, they can be passed down from generation to generation.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, attempted to pinpoint the processes underlying this “hereditary trauma.” This type of trauma has long been observed by psychologists, who saw that children can sometimes show the same behavioral issues as traumatized parents, even if that trauma occurred far in the parent’s past.

Using mice, the researchers discovered that traumatic stress alters the amount of what are called “microRNAs” in the blood, brain and sperm. This can lead to misregulation of cellular processes controlled by the microRNAs.

The traumatized mice showed markedly different behavior than the non-stressed mice, and these behavioral symptoms were passed on to the next generation via sperm, even though the offspring weren’t exposed to the trauma themselves. The offspring of the stressed mice also had lower insulin and blood sugar levels.

In an analysis of the study, Professor Isabelle Mansuy noted, "We were able to demonstrate for the first time that traumatic experiences affect metabolism in the long-term and that these changes are hereditary.” And these effects on metabolism and behavior went beyond immediate offspring, persisting even into the third generation.

The implications are troubling. Trauma has the power to reach out from the past and claim new victims. That makes it even more urgent that those affected by trauma are helped as soon as possible, before the body can sabotage itself and future generations.

Children of Veterans and PTSD

While the thought that heredity can play a part in trauma is startling, it’s not the only way trauma is shared across generations. Children of a parent struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, for example, can sometimes develop their own PTSD, called secondary PTSD. In a sense, the parent’s trauma becomes the child’s own and their behavioral and emotional issues can mirror those of the parent.

Christal Presley remembers the stress of growing up with her Vietnam vet father – his constant talk of suicide, erratic moods and despair. It was years before she realized that his trauma had made her a PTSD victim as well. “That’s crazy,” she said in an interview. “How can I have symptoms of a war I never fought in?” The experience led her to write Thirty Days with My Father: Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD and to establish United Children of Veterans, a website that offers support for children of veterans with PTSD.

According to some estimates, about 30 percent of kids with a parent who served in Iraq or Afghanistan – about 1.5 million – are struggling due to their parent’s struggles with PTSD. And of course, trauma does not grow only from wartime; it can spring from any event – a personal tragedy, a crime, an act of terrorism, anything that has the power to disturb our emotional equilibrium. Trauma travels throughout society, as well as generationally.

Silver Linings?

Diagnosing trauma can be tricky, but there are a couple of faint silver linings for those whose problems warrant treatment. One is that several techniques have proven to be helpful, including talk therapy, which studies show not only helps diminish symptoms of PTSD but can actually reverse some of the stress-related alterations that can affect the brain and body.  Cognitive therapy and innovative virtual reality exposure therapy can also help. Another study found that trauma victims had less severe PTSD if they took a common blood pressure drug. Even more promising, research is ongoing that seeks to stop the effect of trauma before it starts. In one study, trauma victims were 40 percent less likely to develop PTSD if given beta-blockers with six hours of the incident.

Another silver lining is that the effect of a parent’s trauma on a child may not be universally negative. A 2013 study of individuals with Holocaust-survivor parents indicated they were less likely to suffer PTSD in the wake of a traumatic incident of their own. Researchers believe that’s because children of trauma survivors may acquire coping mechanisms that can help protect them in their own lives.

Preventing Trauma from Taking Hold

So what can be done to keep trauma from trickling down to future generations?

Help victims of trauma. Whether on the battlefield, in the community, in the court system or in the workplace, we need to have the mental health resources and commitment to quickly help those who have experienced trauma. And we must press on with research into ways to halt the effects of trauma before lives spiral out of control.
Don’t forget the family when treating the veteran. Military service comes with unique and often extreme stress, so it’s crucial that veterans and their families not be forgotten. What services are available tend to focus primarily on the veteran, but a University of Missouri study noted that treating “secondary traumatization” of spouses and children not only gives them needed help but can led to a better outcome for the veteran as well.

Be proactive in helping kids cope. Children of a traumatized parent should be helped to understand that the parent’s behavior is something that is neither their fault nor within their control. They should also have access to mental health resources and treatment. Perhaps most important, they should be encouraged to talk about what they are feeling. Trauma in the home can be confusing and frightening to a child, but it should not be ignored or viewed as a source of shame. Honest acknowledgement that problems exist coupled with positive action can help minimize the damage to young and old alike.
David Sack, M.D. is board certified in Addiction Medicine and Addiction Psychiatry. As CEO of Elements Behavioral Health he oversees a number of programs that specialize in treating emotional trauma including The Ranch in Tennessee, Lucida Treatment Center in Florida, and Malibu Vista women’s mental health center in Malibu, Calif.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Three Types of Intelligence You Need For Success

The Three Types of Intelligence You Need For Success
IQ is only one-third of the equation. Which do you possess?

Published on October 7, 2013 by Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D. in Cutting-Edge Leadership

Looking at work groups and organizations, we can ask the question, “Is the leader the smartest person in the room?” What is the relationship between intelligence (IQ) and effective leadership? While academic, or “verbal,” intelligence (IQ) matters, there are other forms of intelligence that are equally important for success in the workplace.

Being smart—having a high IQ—is related to success both on the job and in leadership positions, but the relationship is not all that strong. Smart people can usually figure out how to do a job, and they are good at the more “academic” parts of the position. But to be truly successful requires other forms of intelligence

Emotional intelligence has become quite a popular construct, and it involves knowledge of emotions in oneself and others. It is related to ability to build relationships at work, to monitor and control emotional displays, and to display appropriate feelings. It is a lack of emotional intelligence that often derails leaders who act out and throw tantrums or alienate loyal and dedicated workers.

The third important form of intelligence is social intelligence, and it involves understanding social situations, relationships, and knowing what to do in a given situation. Although social intelligence doesn’t get as much attention as the other intelligences, our research shows that it is most important for leadership success.

While it is commonly believed that intelligence is innate and can’t be increased, research on emotional and social intelligence suggests that there are underlying emotional and social skills that can be developed. Just as you can increase your vocabulary and general knowledge through education (your IQ), you can also work to improve emotional skills (EQ) and social skills/abilities (SQ).


Goleman, D. (1998). Working With Emotional Intelligence. New York: Bantam.

Riggio, R.E., Murphy, S.E., & Pirozzolo, F.J. (Eds.), (2002). Multiple Intelligences and Leadership. New York: Taylor & Francis.