Tag Archive: motivation

It’s Coming! 2011 Women of Faith Conference:  Over the Top

I will be there for the Oklahoma City Event, November 11-12, 2001 as a guest of Women of Faith through their blogger network program.  I hope that you will consider attending this event when it comes near you.  It is an incredible weekend of music, testimonies, stories, tears, laughter, and rejoicing.  If you’ve never been, you can’t even imagine how “over the top” this experience will be.  I was not able to attend last year and I really missed that time of renewal and refreshment with my sisters in Christ.  The conference has changed over the years and the entire “core group” of Porch Pals are no longer at each event.  I look forward to laughing with Patsy Clairmont and learning from Marilyn Meberg; being overwhelmed by the incredible music of Sandi Patty, Amy Grant, and Mandisa.  I hope that you will consider attending; it is an experience you will not soon forget.


I love mnemonics and acronyms; they make it easy to remember useful information.  We tend to use them frequently in medicine (ie, RICE: rest, ice, compression, elevation) and in mental health (ie, screening for alcohol dependence, CAGE: cut down, annoyed, guilty, eye opener).  I was reminded of a particularly useful one this week: HALT.  While HALT is primarily used for individuals in recovery for substance abuse issues, I find it useful to apply to any automatic, problematic behaviors in which people engage (including emotional eating).

HALT refers to the possible responses to the question “Why am I doing this? How am I really feeling? Am I really…?”

  • H- Hungry
  • A- Angry
  • L- Lonely
  • T- Tired

By asking oneself these questions, it enables the individual to be more mindful of the situation and more accurately meet his or her needs at that moment instead of engaging in emotion-led, automatic behaviors.  So the next time you find yourself grabbing for a cookie or glass of wine, try asking yourself if you need to HALT and be certain of your motivations at that moment.

Happy New Year! If you’re like most, you embrace the New Year by resolving to improve your life. I am no exception. This year I am focusing on making SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) instead of making vague resolutions. I have enlisted my trusted iPhone to assist me in my endevors.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” –Aristotle.

By this logic, it is necessary to create and maintain useful habits. The Habit Factor ($3.95) is nice in that it allows you to set both Goals as well as Habits to achieve your goals. It tracks your daily progress and gives some accountability as well as serves to organize your goals/habits based on certain areas: Body, Mind, Spirituality, and Social. Another goal setting app is 43 Things (free) which allows you to set goals and track progress made.

Following the Body, Mind, Spirit model, I have set specific goals for each of the areas. In Body: to lose weight/exercise more. As noted in the New York Times article on 12/31/09 a multitude of apps exist to aid in the pursuit of better physical health. Some that I have used include: Weightbot, Lose It, iPump Lean, and Yoga Stretch.

In the area of improving the Mind, I look to read more in the New Year. This is easily done on the iPhone with Apps for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and book readers such as the Kindle. I also intend to be more regular with my postings.  I welcome any ideas you may have for topics.

For Spiritual growth, I plan to continue reading the Bible daily using YouVersion’s The Bible which has multiple translations, allows bookmarking of verses and sharing through Twitter and email, and is free. I also will get back to meditating, using guided mediations from iTunes or the Mayo Clinic Meditation app.

I was pleased to see that the Habit Factor included a category of Social growth. This year I aim to improve my relationship with my family in several ways: I will be doing The Love Dare and playing more games with my boys including UNO and LIFE. I continue to enjoy the socialization available through Twitter and Facebook; I’ve made some great connections and look forward to the insights and entertainment. However the biggest resolution that I am making this year may require only one button on my “trusty iPhone”: the power switch. The most meaningful thing that I will work on this year is being present….and that requires the removal of distractions and banishment of partial attention. Wish me luck!

Why do I do what I do?

At the simplest level, it is because I love what I do.  A colleague/ mentor encouraged me a few years ago, to imagine what my practice would be like if I were free to practice medicine the way I wanted to.  So I did…then I made it happen…and it has made all the difference.


I was originally drawn to medicine through my love of science… and the observation that nothing “grossed me out”.  In junior high, I contemplated psychiatry…as I enjoyed helping my friends work out their problems.  In med school I was drawn to OB and ER, but quickly realized that I do not function well in the middle of the night.  After a few weeks on my psychiatry rotation, the decision was clear.  I signed a residency contract before the start of my fourth year of medical school. 


Psychiatry embodies several aspects that I loved from ER and OB/Gyn rotations:  an ongoing relationship with patients, the opportunity to really listen and hear people, and the fact that it is never boring.  I have always loved stories… I may not be the greatest with names, but I generally remember all of the stories.


I often discuss with my patients the concept of basic human needs:  obviously food and shelter… but also intimacy, joy, and a sense of “purpose”.   My medical practice fills many of those needs in myself.  I sometimes question why being a wife and mother isn’t “good enough”, although I do believe that they are most noble and important roles… it seems to come back to the thought, “…because I know I’m supposed to be doing something more.”


A therapist who offices with me, has a verse from Galatians 6:2 on his business cards… “Bear each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”.  I do consider my practice as my ministry.  I am blessed and honored by these people who trust me with their wounded souls and chaotic lives.  I do not take my responsibility lightly; I continually look for ways that I can facilitate relief from their suffering.


My patients sometimes remark, “How can you do this?  How can you listen to these stories all day?” I guess it comes to down to my steadfast and stubborn belief that things can get better.  I was once afraid to share this optimism with patients. Now I realize that giving someone hope and the assurance that they don’t have to go down the path alone, can be very powerful medicine.