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Lifeskills by Virginia Williams, Ph.D. and Redford Williams, M.D.

This was a very practical book. It was written to give the reader eight simple ways to build stronger relationships, communicate more clearly, and improve my health. There was also a self-assessment test in the beginning that helped me see my levels of emotional and relational support, my level of depression, and my level of hostility and aggression in viewing the world.

My favorite chapter was entitled, "Groundwork." The whole chapter was about identifying your thoughts and feelings, and how extremely important it is to be aware of them in our daily interaction with people. One of the quotes said it all, "In the song of life, thoughts are the words and feelings the music."

The chapter taught me how to continuously build on my foundations, or groundwork, to be a more healthy and effective person overall. I believe becoming aware of my thoughts is a crucial first step. The things I tell myself dictate my feelings, and more importantly, when I am feeling negative, the things I tell myself will help me to regain control of my behavior. Thoughts and feelings are close intertwined; having a sense of awareness about them at any given moment helps me to be more centered in my daily life. And all of this will go a long way to help me eventually become a better person.

Another great exercise the book taught me was the I AM WORTH IT questions. whenever I feel myself triggered or upset, I should remember the I AM WORTH IT acronym.

I = Is this matter IMPORTANT to me?

A = Are my thoughts and feelings APPROPRIATE, given the facts?

M = Is the situation MODIFIABLE?

W = When I balance the needs of myself and others, is taking action WORTH IT?’

If along the course of asking myself these questions and the answer is "No," the authors recommend that I drop the issue. Practicing this lesson will help me to cairn down, find my center, and act effectively. A great tool for me to use.

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