Author Archive for Melanie Hoffner

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What Are You Telling Yourself?

What is your relationship with your thoughts – that voice in your head? If you are thinking, “I don’t have a voice in my head,” or “Do I have a voice in my head?” that is the voice I am referring to today. We all have a running commentary in our minds that runs throughout our waking hours. The question is, have you trained that voice to be a supportive ally in your life, or do you allow it to run unchecked and believe everything it tells you?

Dr. Daniel Amen, a respected neuroscientist, psychiatrist, brain imaging expert, and author, is committed to helping people have healthy brains. In numerous interviews, public television specials and articles, he has discussed the dangers of ANTS-Automatic Negative Thoughts – and your power to create APTS-Automatic Positive Thoughts. The following is from an article by Dr. Daniel Amen:

“The thoughts that go through your mind, moment by moment, have a significant impact on how your brain works. Research by Mark George, MD and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health demonstrated that happy, hopeful thoughts had an overall calming effect on the brain, while negative thoughts inflamed brain areas often involved with depression and anxiety. Your thoughts matter.”

He also notes, “You do not have to believe every thought that goes through your head. It’s important to think about your thoughts to see if they help you or they hurt you. Unfortunately, if you never challenge your thoughts you just “believe them” as if they were true. ANTs can take over and infest your brain. Develop an internal anteater to hunt down and devour the negative thoughts that are ruining your life.

Once you learn about your thoughts, you can choose to think good thoughts and feel good or you can choose to think bad thoughts and feel lousy. You can train your thoughts to be positive and hopeful or you can just allow them to be negative and upset you. That’s right, it’s up to you! You can learn how to change your thoughts and optimize your brain. One way to learn how to change your thoughts is to notice them when they are negative and talk back to them. If you can correct negative thoughts, you take away their power over you. When you think a negative thought without challenging it, your mind believes it and your brain reacts to it.”

You can read Dr. Amen’s article in its entirety at

For over 25 years, I have been teaching and training about choosing a positive mental attitude and using positive language, as well as sharing this strategy with my coaching clients. It’s exciting to see more brain research that supports the impact of both positive and negative thoughts.

The past two weeks, 3/3/10 and 3/10/10, I have focused on this topic during my online talkradio show. I invite you to listen to the recordings for more strategies to challenge those negative thoughts and train your self-talk to be your ally rather than your critic. ( )

I challenge you to take action on something you read so you can create more positive thoughts and self-talk to support you in living the life of your dreams. May you choose to create a great day as you continue to make a positive difference in the lives you touch! ~Melanie Hoffner

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What Have You Done For Your Brain, Lately?

What Have You Done for Your Brain, Lately?

Most of us take better care of our hair and skin than we do of our brains, yet our brains are critical to EVERY aspect of our lives. Since we are not born with instruction manuals for our brains, many of us go through life as best we can by adopting the choices and habits of our parents, families, communities, etc. and we don’t give our brains a second thought. This has potentially harmful and dangerous implications for us as we live, grow and age. The time to start caring for your brain is NOW!

The good news about our brains is that they can heal and change! What can I do for my brain, you may wonder? For the past several weeks on my radio show, I have been sharing strategies from Dr. Daniel Amen’s research and works, including Making a Good Brain Great, and Dr. John Medina’s Brain Rules. These segments are archived at so you can listen or download at your convenience.

Mental exercise is good for brain health. Learned anything new recently? I love helping people get the best from their brains and I have been facilitating an exciting seminar entitled, “Brain Boosters” through several venues the past few weeks, with great response. If you are interested in having your best brain at work and at home, this seminar is filled with resources for you. Contact me to bring this seminar to your business, school, organization, or community.

Physical exercise, according to both Dr. Amen and Dr. Medina, is a great place to start because it provides so many benefits to the brain. What benefits? Since it’s almost time for me to go exercise, I’ll quickly share the following from Dr. Medina’s site, (The words in parentheses are my clarifications):

“Exercise improves cognition (thinking) for two reasons:
Exercise increases oxygen flow into the brain, which reduces brain-bound free radicals. One of the most interesting findings of the past few decades is that an increase in oxygen is always accompanied by an uptick in mental sharpness.
Exercise acts directly on the molecular machinery of the brain itself. It increases neurons` (brain cells) creation, survival, and resistance to damage and stress.”

Consider creating an action plan to support having a healthy brain for life – making one lifestyle change at a time. Do something positive for your brain TODAY because a healthy brain is a wonderful gift to give yourself and your loved ones!!

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Time to Reflect and Project

It’s the end of a year, which is one of the logical times to reflect on the past year’s successes and challenges as well as the lessons we can carry forward. This was the subject of my show on 12/30/09 on , if you’d like to listen.

There are many wonderful resources for this process. I am sharing a few here. If you think that goal-setting or strategic planning don’t fit your style, start with Dr. Lisa Van Allen’s podcasts as she addresses the importance of knowing your style as the starting point of the process so you can adjust or find models to meet your needs.

Next, we can project into 2010 with goals and action steps as well as identifying potential challenges and strategies to overcome them. Among many resources and strategies for this process, in the links below you’ll find lists of thought-provoking questions, a process to gain clarity and direction, approaches to goal-setting and strategic planning that work WITH your natural style, and challenging your negative language and limiting beliefs. If you have a resource or strategy that works well for you, please share it in the comments.

Here are the links: (fr*ee articles on Positive Attitude at Work & coupon code spark to save 15% in online store thru 1/15/09-includes Individual Passion Test Seminar), (20 fr*ee short videos), www.Everything (fre*e audio download from Gary Ryan Blair, Do It Right The First Time), (fr*ee Goal Planning Workbook), Dr. Lisa Van Allen’s series on Strategic Planning ( search for LisaVanAllen), (fre*e ebook Positive Business Manifesto), (a fr*ee copy of Good Vibe Coach Jeannette Maw’s ebook Adventures In Manifesting with coupon code GoodLove thru 12/31/09), and Byron Katie’s site (fre*e calls with trained facilitators).

Here’s to making 2010 the best year yet!

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Words of today: PMA and Gratitude

Welcome to my blog – SPARK. Yes, it is the same title as my online talkradio show. It stands for Strategies, Possibilities, Actions, Resources and Knowledge. I hope you discover SPARKs you can use to ignite your life.

My words of the day are PMA and GRATITUDE. Through my adventures of yesterday – a smoking van when I got to Dubuque, losing a major tooth filling, getting the blue screen of death on my work laptop, and Tom getting a flat tire 15 feet from home, I chose a positive perspective and gratitude. They found a part to fix the van for under $100, I have a dentist appt. Wed., my laptop restarted just fine, and Tom got a ride to work this AM and he has a tire he can use for the repair.

A friend commented that she couldn’t believe how calm and positive I was when each of these things happened. We CAN choose our perspective and our responses.  I chose to focus on the positive side of each event and be grateful for the solutions.  Anyone can learn to do this and with practice, it gets easier. I dare you to give it a try today and let me know what happens.

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