Is Social Media Making You Sick?

You know, Victory Chicks, and you guys, ever since our presidential election last November, there has been so much acrimony. I’ve never seen anything like it in my whole life. Have you?
It seems like our country is more divided than ever before. And, with the popularity of social media, everyone has a lot of space to vent their negative feelings without censoring for hate.
All that negativity has me thinking about my health. And yours. What affect will all the rancor you read online have on your body and your mind? If every time you look at Facebook or Twitter and read something that pushes the anger button inside of you, are you damaging your physical and mental health? The experts say you very well could be!
Studies show that positive thinking can do things like increase your life span, lower rates of depression, help you body heal and even boost your resistance to the common cold. However, just as positive thinking can create a placebo effect and help you heal, negative thinking can make you sick. One researcher calls it the “nocebo effect.”

More and more I’m remembering the words of several past guests from my Friday Happy Hour radio Show. They talked about the power of positive and negative thinking. Several guests cited different research that indicates that it takes at least seven positive thoughts to counteract one negative one.
If that’s true – or even half-true – cheezLouise, after reading some of those Facebook posts, you would have to spend the rest of the day in meditation to undo all that negativity!
Are you experiencing “nocebo?”
Have you noticed It? It’s probably something like this: You’re having a good day and feeling good. Then you read some FB post that reminds you that you aren’t happy with what’s going on politically. Or you read something that is contrary to your particular political ideology. You get ticked off. You join in. Maybe you just hit “like” or maybe you add your two cents to the comments. Then you go about your day.
The problem is, whether you realize it or not, that anger you felt when you read that post will stay with you for the rest of the day. That can’t be good, can it? Where’s the victory in that??
If you doubt the “nocebo effect” consider how many people got sick this past winter. People didn’t just get the typical two or three day cold or flu. So many people got colds they couldn’t shake. How many times did you hear someone say it was the worst cold they ever remember having? Could all the negativity and acrimony in cyberspace and on the air waves have anything to do with it? The people at the Mayo Clinic think so. Check this out: Mayo Clinic Stress
So now it’s spring. We’re surrounded by all of nature’s beautiful new beginnings. Maybe it’s a good time to take a few minutes to stop and soak in all the joy of it. And then ask, “are my thoughts and words making me healthy or sick?”
Listen, politicians come and go. Policies change. But you? You have just one life to live. Are you loving it? If you aren’t, do something about it.
If it’s social media, unplug for a while. I recently had lunch with a woman who did exactly that. She’s surprised that (1) she hasn’t missed it and (2) she feels better and more at peace.
Maybe it’s not all your social media. Maybe it’s someone in particular. You can unfriend that person.
If it isn’t politics, what is it?
A couple years ago, my friend, MJ Hitz, was diagnosed with Lymphedema. It shows up in her legs. She wears compression garments all the time and has to wear different size shoes on each foot. There’s nothing she can do about her physical condition – it’ll be like that for the rest of her life.
Instead of letting the horribleness of what is happening to her body destroy her, she went on offense. She got involved in getting the Lymphedema Treatment Act passed through Congress. Passing that will be a huge financial help to those with Lymphedema and their families.
In the process of becoming an advocate, MJ went to DC and talked to members of Congress. She’s connected with others who share the same illness. They’re finding solutions that help make a very bad situation more tolerable.
MJ wouldn’t wish Lymphedema on anyone, but she decided she wasn’t going to become of victim of it. That’s the kind of thing you need to do too.
Twenty years from now, you won’t remember who said what…but your body and mind will still be experiencing the effects of all that negativity. Is it worth it? If you don’t think so, and you probably don’t either.
Here are three things to do right now:

  • Be proactive about your thinking. Pay attention to what words come out of your mouth. In my SKillBuilder and Victorious Woman Workshops, I suggest putting a rubber band on your wrist and, each time something negative pops into your thoughts or out of your mouth, snap the band. If you’re wrist gets red and sore, you’ll know you’re carping way over the healthy limit.
  • Step away from the negativity. Recently, five people have told me that they got off Facebook because of all the toxicity. Unfriending is really easy to do. DO it!
  • If you are feeling like a victim, figure out what you can do to get in control. If it’s politics, stop griping and go to a meeting of your political party. Then volunteer to do something…make phone calls, knock on doors, talk to Congress, get somebody coffee. Doing something allows you to get back into the driver’s seat of your life.

Remember: Nobody can steal your joy without your permission. Don’t give it to them!

And don’t miss the Friday Happy Hour with Annmarie Kelly. Her guests always have something victoriously positive and upbeat to share.

  • In West Chester PA: turn your radio dial to 1520AM
  • Anywhere in the world: listen online from at (click the microphone that says “listen live” – uses Windows Media Player).
  • On your mobile devices at Tune-In Radio.Call-in: 610-701-9243

The Girlfriend Gala

10th Anniversary Cake
Girlfriend Gala 10th Anniversary Cake
The 2016 Girlfriend Gala was yesterday. It was our tenth Victorious Celebration. If you were there, THANK YOU for coming. You are part of the reason it was MAGICAL. If you missed it, mark your calendar now for May 24, 2017. We sold out this year, so you don’t want to miss it again!
Among the highlights were the special presentations by two fabulous women. My special guest speaker was Pat Ciarrocchi, a beloved anchor with the local CBS affiliate who is now writing her next chapter. Pat talked to The Girlfriends about her girlfriends and described how each one impacted her life in a different way. It was so perfect because we all resonated with what she said. We all know how much impact and influence our girlfriends have on our lives. Think about it…think about the feelings you share with them…and it’s different at every age. Remember what you talked about with your grade school friends? It was other things with your high school and college friends. As life changed so did your conversation with old and new girlfriends…at your first real job…the ones who were in your wedding, then the ones you met through your kids…and on and on.
I remember being in 7th and 8th grade and walking to school with my friend, Karol. We talked about the boys we liked, getting our periods for the first time, stuff our parents made us do. You know, young teenage stuff. OK, the talking about boys stuff – I’ve done that at every age…except now they’re men.
Anyway, Karol moved away in high school, but we still talk about once a year and you know how it is with girlfriends, when we talk, and once we catch up on the details of our lives, we talk like we saw each other last week.
My high school alums were at the gala. That was really wonderful because we weren’t friends in high school but we were together during those awkward teenage years. Over class reunion committee meetings, we’ve developed an interesting relationship over the years. How many of your current friends know you as the person you were then AND as the woman you are today? It’s a very special relationship. And I’m so appreciative that they support me and the gala each year.
So that’s what Pat Ciarrocchi helped each of us to remember. And she had The Girlfriends laughing and crying…and it was really just what we all wanted.
That’s not what comedian Theresa Hummel Krallinger did. She just made us laugh…and she was pee in your pants funny. It was Theresa’s third time performing at Girlfriend Gala. I can’t repeat most of her jokes; they weren’t dirty, just a little blue. Like, when she talked about her spouse giving her a cubic zirconia…a fake diamond…so, to thank him, she gave him fake sex. Theresa also talked about growing up going to Catholic school…and how the big sin was chewing gum. If you were a parochial school girl (and so many of The Girlfriends are), you remember.
Our beneficiary this year was Home of the Sparrow. Matrie Johnson is its Program Director and she talked to The Girlfriends about the Shared Housing and Pre-Senior Bridge Program for women over 50. That’s where this year’s gala proceeds are going.
We had wonderful sponsors and donors. The Girlfriends get excited because we have such great silent auction and raffle items and they know they get a good deal. And our SWAG bags this year…they were worth over $50!
However, what makes The Girlfriend Gala so special is all The Girlfriend energy. It feels electric!
I think part of it is because we have history together. Some of it is personal because we’re there with our actual girlfriends. But, also, women make connections at Girlfriend Gala so they have either new girlfriends or new business colleagues from previous galas.
Another part of it is that we have history that is gender-based. That is, we’ve shared a piece of history together, feminist history. It’s different than what women in other times of history shared…and that’s a bond we all have…even if we don’t know each other personally.
I also think it helps that Penn Oaks Golf Club does a wonderful job for us – from the setup to the good food (and the food got great compliments!). Desserts came from the wonderful The Prosperity Sisters, owners of Full-Spirited Flavours, and they brought us their incredibly good liquor cakes for our desserts. Also, this year, The Masters Baker made us the most beautiful and delicious almond-flavored cake (pictured in this blog post).
Thank you for coming!! Hope to see you again at the 2017 gala…and it would be great to connect with you in between at my private group, the Victory Chicks Community!

Victorious Woman Contest 2016

What’s Your Story?
Every woman has one! Have you triumphed over a seemingly overwhelming obstacle? Survived abuse? Broken through a glass ceiling? Beaten cancer, addiction or other disease? Successfully built a small business or navigated a difficult separation and transition? Have you positively changed your life?
May is International Victorious Woman Month. The Victorious Woman Project is celebrating by asking you to share your story with other women. We think YOUR STORY OF VICTORY can encourage other women to believe in themselves and their ability to find their own victory through any difficulty.
Share your experience with others who may be going through a similar difficulty. You’ll inspire and encourage them to victory, make a positive difference in the world and 1st through 3rd place entries will receive prizes!
Visit this link to submit your story!
1. Submit an essay, (500-1250 words) for a chance to win!
2. Make sure you tell your friends to vote!
3. The essays with the most votes will be judged by a non-biased panel of victorious women and we’ll notify winners by email and on the Victorious Woman Project Facebook page.
· First Prize: Kindle + your story featured on the Victorious Woman Contest for 1 year + a personally autographed copy of Victorious Woman: Shaping Life’s Challenges into Personal Victories
· Second Prize: $25 Visa Gift Card + your story featured on the Victorious Woman Contest for 1 year + a personally autographed copy of Victorious Woman: Shaping Life’s Challenges into Personal
· Third Prize: $10 Visa Gift Card + your story featured on the Victorious Woman Contest for 1 year + a personally autographed copy of Victorious Woman: Shaping Life’s Challenges into Personal
Best of luck!
Annmarie Kelly
The Victorious Woman Project
Submit your story now!

Tip#2: Your Holiday Happy Place

December 2013Finding Your Holiday Happy Place:
Your Three Favorite Holiday Memories

You know how sometimes you feel so good that nothing can aggravate you? That’s the idea behind this tip about Holiday Happy Places.
You know you want to be happy and peaceful this holiday season. But what can you do? That guy keeps beeping his horn in the intersection, the kids won’t stop screaming or your boss just asked you to add one more thing to your already packed to-do list. You just want to scream.
In spite of your best intentions, sometime this holiday season you’re going to be in crowds or in a traffic jam and thrown in with people who the epitome are of bah humbug. So get ready for it now. Here’s how:

  • Write down three memories that always put a smile on your face.
  • Write them down.
  • When you are in that bad situation, intentionally move your mind to one of those memories.
    • When you do, really get into it. Paint a picture. Remember…
    • where you were
    • who was with you
    • what you were wearing
    • how it felt (this one is especially important!) and
    • any other thing you can…and stay there until either the event is over or your mind has shifted.
  • Keep the list in your wallet…just in case you could be standing in a line behind somebody who can’t find their happy place!

Your mind can only entertain one set of thoughts at a time. You can’t be miserable with a smile on your face (a sincere smile, that is). Go ahead…try it and be amazed!
Read more: Ten Tips for Happier Holidays.

If you liked this Holiday tip, then you’ll love Victory by Design!

Victorious Woman: Victory by Design Victory by Design gets you out of your boring comfort zone and skyrockets you though your personal glass ceiling so you can experience the personal power that is that greater, even more fabulous expression of the real you.
checkmark-green1 Easy step-by-step instructions to start changing your life RIGHT NOW!
checkmark-green1 Real life examples provide inspiration and motivation!
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+ 3 Bonuses when buy today!

Victory Stretch #9: Get Help

Help.smallerWhile most women like to think they can do it all without asking for help, it just isn’t the case for any of us. Whether it’s moral support, education, mentoring or literal, physical help, you need to get help. Here’s how:

  1. LIST what you need help with
  2. FIND at least 5-10 people you think can help you in those areas.
  3. TALK to each person. Have a respectful conversation about where you are, what you’re doing and what you need.
  4. ASK for their help. This is often the most difficult part of the process. Women often hate asking, often for fear the request will be turned down. When you ask, be specific about what you need and for how long you need it. If you can make the arrangement something short-term, or at least give an end-date, that will make it easier for the other person to accept.
  5. DON”T be discouraged if someone says ‘no’ because ‘no’ a good answer. It’s better to know right now if someone can’t or isn’t willing to help you. Then you can quickly find someone else.
  6. HELP THEM. If the person says ‘yes’ to you, then find out how you can help them. Nobody drives on a one-way street for long. If all you want is someone’s help without a willingness to return the favor, then you are looking for a paid employee. Get one of those – it’s better to pay than to be known as a user or taker.

Getting help, whatever kind it is, will help you get where you want to go faster and more easily.  If you can find someone who will go with you on a two-way street (give and take), it will work for everyone. You get what you need. The other person(s) feel respected for what they are doing. It’s a win-win!

Victory Stretch #7: Ask Powerful Questions

questionDid you ever think that you cheated yourself out of great conversations or important information because you focused on the wrong things? Bet you have – bet you realized it later while replaying the conversation in your head. “Why did I say that?” or “why didn’t I ask about that?” That’s when you realize that you cheated yourself by not asking powerful questions.
If you’re like most people, giving answers and making statements is part of how you interact with others. It’s probably what you think about most when getting ready for a meeting or social event. Specifically, what you’re going to say to the people you’ll see. Sometimes you do it because you want to seem interesting to other people. Other times it’s because you want them to think you’re smart or good at what you do.
If you want better outcomes or make stronger connections, try focusing on asking powerful questions.
What’s a powerful question? It seems a little intimidating, doesn’t it. Well, think of some of the more common and very powerful questions that can change lives:

  • What do I want to do with the rest of my life?
  • Will you marry me?
  • Do you want this job?
  • Should I move?

They aren’t very intelligently worded, just common questions. However, the answers to these are crucial but wouldn’t even come up if there was a questioned asked first. That’s what makes them powerful.
Questioning Crusader Dorothy Leeds says that “if you increase and improve your questions by just 10%, you increase and improve your productivity by over 20%.” She also says that instead of thinking about what you should say, she encourages you to think, “what should I ask” and then listen for the inside answer….and use it. One of Dorothy’s favorite questions, and a perfect Victorious Woman question, is “What would an extraordinary person do in this situation?”
Here are some other examples of powerful questions that you could practice asking today:

  • What will happen to me if I stay in this job?
  • What will happen to me if I stay in the relationship?
  • What will happen to me if I don’t change this behavior?
  • What can I say to change his/her mind?
  • What do you mean by that?
  • I don’t think I understand what you mean. Can you clarify what you just said?
  • How did you come to that conclusion?
  • Can you give me a specific example?
  • What sources did you use to develop that topic?
  • What ideas influenced your choices/your opinons?
  • Did I answer your question?
  • Outline for me the steps I need to take.

Write these questions down and keep them with you. Practice asking two of these questions every day for 30 days. Notice and keep track of what happens personally and professionally!

Victory Stretch#6: WII-FM

FireworksWhy do you want to stretch out of your comfort zone? It’s a lot of effort. What will you get out of it?
Write down every good thing that will result from that victory stretch. Here are some examples:

  • I am glad I can take care of myself/myself and my family.
  • I can stop feeling like I’m less than others.
  • Doing what I love brings me joy.
  • I always wanted to do this, and now I am, so I feel fulfilled.
  • Nothing’s going to stop me now!
  • If I can do this, I can do anything.

Knowing the WII-FM (what’s in it for me) is as important as knowing your challenges. There will be days when you’ll feel like giving up, when it will be easier to quit than to keep going or face your fears or anything else.
That’s when you take out the WII-FM list and read it. The list will remind you of the “MORE” that you want, the desired “BETTER” that got you started at the beginning…and that, if you stop now, you’ll never get.
So start the list with at least five WII-FMs. Then, each time you think of something else, add it to the list. The longer you make the list, the stronger your resolve will be to stick.
Write down all the “good stuff” and keep writing!

Friday Happy Hour

2014_05_tix_ladies_in_bloom_v2  Michele Scott joined us for the Friday Happy Hour to talk about how she took a far-fetched idea and turned it into a business she loves. The next Chester County’s Best Kept Secrets Tour is May 2-14. Tickets $8 each and $1 per ticket is donated to the Chester County Pet Food Pantry. Tickets are available online at and at locations throughout the county (locations can be obtained by calling 484-551-5180 or by email to
Gina Harrison from Safe Harbor for the homeless stopped by for some Chick Chat. Before she left she wanted the Victory Chicks to know about Safe Harbor’s big fundraiser on April 26 at the Whitford Country Club.
Don’t forget: You victory chicks who have a story to tell about overcoming some challenge – like an illness, or abuse or some obstacle that was in the way of your dreams or happiness…don’t forget that this month you have the opportunity to tell your story and get some recognition for it – and maybe win a Kindle or a gift card from Bed, Bath & Beyond. Go to & get started.
And if you have something you want to tell me – about a show you liked or didn’t like or one you want me to bring to you on the air, you can always write to me and let me know at
Here’s today’s quote of the week: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thurman

Happy Hour: Prosperity and Success

LOGOStandingKayFittes9-22-12X13MediumRGB (2)Prosperity, Success, and Bossy were what we talked about at today’s Happy Hour.
Thanks so much to Kay Fittes of High Heeled Success and author Pam Mariani. We had a great time. Kay shared tips for how women can avoid self-sabotage and embrace their feminine power. Pam joined me for Chick Chat and we talked about being bossy – and NOT banning the word.
In my monologue, I was talking about the Prosperity course I’m taking. Here are the links I promised:

Get Kay Fittes newsletter and book at:High-Heeled Success
About Banning Bossy: Here’s my article published in Ban Bossy?
This is the site Pam and I talked about: I AM Bossy

Ban Bossy???

BanBossyWhat have Beyonce, Jennifer Garner, Jane Lynch, Condoleeza Rice &others been doing with FB’s CEO, Sheryl Sandberg?
They’ve been making a commercial or maybe you’d call it a public service announcement. The purpose is to ban the word bossy. Have you seen it?
I think Sandberg’s intention is a good one, and she definitely has a point. In a recent interview, she explained how little girls are called bossy on the playground.  Then, by the time they get into middle school, girls start to hang back and let boys take the lead. I taught middle school and know what she’s saying – I’ve watched it. And she’s right.
Sandberg said, “…if you ask girls why they don’t want to lead, whether it’s the school project [or] all the way on to running for office, they don’t want to be called bossy, and they don’t want to be disliked.” And that’s true. Statistics indicate that being liked is more important to most girls than being leaders. That continues into adulthood. I’ve had those kinds of conversations on my Happy Hour Radio Show talking about things like Queen Bee Syndrome with WomanTalk Live’s Ann Quasman or power women with Great Dame’s Sharon Hake or any one of a handful of other similar conversations.
Sandberg went on to say, “We call them too aggressive or other B-words in the workplace. They’re bossy as little girls, and then they’re aggressive, political, shrill, too ambitious as women.”
So, I agree with the sentiment and the intention of the PSA. However, I think banning the word bossy, or any other word, is just plain dumb. Here’s why:
Words have power, it’s true, but they only have the power you and I give the word. Banning the word only gives it more power. It becomes an even meaner thing to say…because it isn’t just an everyday insult, it’s a more potent arrow.
There was a day when the word feminist was associated with women like Gloria Steinem and Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex & the Single Woman. Back then they and their publications were met with sneers and jeers. But as women got a real handle on what the word meant, respected and well-known women, like Marlo Thomas & Oprah Winfrey, wore the feminist robe. Then men like Alan Alda said they too were feminists. Over time, the word and the attitude became something good.
Consider what one woman did with another “B” word. Instead of being offended, she decided the “B” word was an acronym for the phrase: Boys I’m Taking Charge Here. She give that “B” word a whole new power.
So, instead of banning the word, I’d rather see a PSA that celebrates it. At the end of the Sandberg PSA, Beyonce looks directly into the camera and pronounces, “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss.” And that’s the right direction. Little girls – and some of us big girls too – can wrap our heads around being the boss – and we ARE the boss. We earned the right to be the boss…and bossy. It’s a good thing!
And, realistically, if one little girl or boy (or big girl or boy) wants to hurt another, if we “ban bossy” mean girls and boys will just find another word to hurt. The goal shouldn’t be to ban anything. It should be to raise up what’s good and make it something we admire and want to be. I think that’s how a woman with power like Sheryl Sandberg, Condi Rice and the others – and men in that commercial – would most help not only little girls but some of us good girls who aren’t so little.
Here’s the PSA: Ban Bossy
Here’s the Sandberg interview: Sandberg/ABC