7 Questions to Get in a Positive State of Mind

I was watching a DVD of Tony Robbins and love the following set of questions he introduced, to condition our mind and elicit a positive state.

  1. What am I happy about in my life right now? What about that makes me happy? How does that make me feel?
  2. What am I excited about in my life right now? What about that makes me excited? How does that make me feel?
  3. What am I proud of in my life right now? What about that makes me proud? How does that make me feel?
  4. What am I grateful for in my life right now? What about that makes me grateful? How does that make me feel?
  5. What am I enjoying most in my life right now? What about that do I enjoy? How does that make me feel?
  6. What am I committed to in my life right now? What about that makes me committed? How does that make me feel?
  7. Who do I love? Who loves me? What about them makes me loving? How does that make me feel?

How do you feel now? How is it different from few minutes ago? What do these questions do for you?

Julia Chung, Ph.D.

Four Agreements & Love Yourself

“Four agreement” by Don Miguel Ruiz is one of my favorite “wisdom” books. It was a New York Time Bestseller for over 8 eight years. The four powerful guiding principles are:

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally: Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions: Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
  4. Always Do Your Best: Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

The most powerful part of the book to me is the following:

“Imagine that the human mind is the same as your skin. You can touch healthy skin and it feels wonderful. Your skin is made for perception and the sensation of touch is wonderful. Now imagine you have an injury and the skin gets cut and infected. If you touch the infected skin, it is going to hurt, so you try to cover and protect the skin. You will not enjoy being touched because it hurts.”

It was an ah-ha moment for me. It’s not someone else’s fault if their hugs are hurting me. It’s the wounds on me. If it is on me, then I can choose to heal the wounds with forgiveness and love. “Loving myself” was a foreign concept to me. This single awareness has changed my life. I am no longer afraid of opening my heart to people, because now I know they won’t hurt me, only myself has the power of hurt me.

Julia Chung, Ph.D.

Clean Sweep 100: Housekeeping of Your Life

I love prompts and checklists. I don’t like to make them myself, while I appreciate very much having a system to leave no stones unturned.

Clean Sweep is one of these checklists, to investigate what’s consuming your natural energy in different areas of your life and clear them up, such as environment, health, emotional balance, money and relationships.

As you are going through the list, check the box only when it’s virtually always true to you. Some items may not apply to you, e.g. “my car is in excellent condition” (I don’t have a car!), then check the box. Some items you may not agree they have anything to do with your energy, e.g. “my bed is made daily”. How about experimenting with it and see if that makes a difference to  your energy?

You may want to pick 2-3 items on the list and take care of them. I just went through the list myself one more time today, and what caught my eyes was “I have told my parents, in the last 3 months, that I love them.” I guess I am calling home tonight.


Julia Chung, Ph.D.

Value Based Motivation: Strengthening Your Core Values

What’s important to you? Love, Loyalty, Creativity, Adventure, Health, Family, Learning, Courage?

How do you strengthen them and design your life around what’s important to you? The “values audit” process uses verbal prompts and key words to define and establish key beliefs related to what’s important and desirable to you, to affirm your commitment, to ignite your motivation, and to propel you into action.

This exercise was created by Robert Dilts (“Sleight of Mouth”). It helps you to define elements of a pathway for expressing your values, provides motivation, and even addresses possible objections. Because the group of statements identify a multiplicity of reasons (or causes) and puts them into words, it becomes a powerful source of positive affirmations. It provides an overall explanation justifying commitment to the value. It also provides a rich source of ideas for addressing doubts.

Value-Based Motivation.pdf

Julia Chung, Ph.D. http://bambooinsights.com julia@juliachung.com

Lost Horse: a Blessing in Disguise

Near China’s northern borders lived a man well versed in the practices of Taoism. His horse, for no reason at all, got into the territory of the northern tribes. Everyone commiserated with him.

“Perhaps this will soon turn out to be a blessing,” said his father.

After a few months, his animal came back, leading a fine horse from the north. Everyone congratulated him.

“Perhaps this will soon turn out to be a cause of misfortune,” said his father.

Since he was well-off and kept good horses his son became fond of riding and eventually broke his thigh bone falling from a horse. Everyone commiserated with him.

“Perhaps this will soon turn out to be a blessing,” said his father.

One year later, the northern tribes started a big invasion of the border regions. All able-bodied young men took up arms and fought against the invaders, and as a result, around the border nine out of ten men died. This man’s son did not join in the fighting because he was crippled and so both the boy and his father survived.

The moral of the story: a setback may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

Julia Chung, Ph.D. http://bambooinsights.com julia@juliachung.com

The Inner Smile: Smile into Your Body and Your Life

“When you smile, your organs release a honey-like secretion which nourishes the whole body. When you are angry, fearful or under stress, they produce a poisonous secretion which blocks up the energy channels”. Inner smile is a Taoist practice, in which we smile inwardly to each of the major organs of our body and activating within us the energy of loving-kindness.

Born and raised in a Taoist family in Taiwan, for some reasons I’ve never heard about this concept of “inner smile”, until read about it in Paul McKenna’s book “Change Your Life in 7 Days”. The first time I did the exercise, it came full circle for me. It reminded me of my grandma’s smiles (coincidentally she practiced Taoism religiously for most of her life). I was overwhelmed with the positive energy and gratitude created by the inner smile.

Thanks Paul, Thanks Grandma, for reminding me to love myself and taking a good care of my body.

Inner Smile.pdf

Julia Chung, Ph.D.

The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey

One of my favorite Aesop’s Fables, which invites people to let go of the desire to please everyone:

A MAN and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: “You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?”

So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: “See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.”

So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.”

Well, the Man didn’t know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor Donkey of yours—you and your hulking son?”

The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the Donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the Donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.

“That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them: “PLEASE ALL, AND YOU WILL PLEASE NONE.”

Julia Chung, Ph.D.

10 Daily Habits: rituals to keep you focused, clear, motivated and moving forward

“Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.” -Shaquille O’Neal

“10 Daily Habits” is a routine of things you do each day, which support the positive changes in your behavior and are foundational to the fundamental shifts that will dramatically improve your life.

Tips of selecting daily habits:

  • Only choose habits you want to do.
  • Choose habits that give you energy.
  • Habits can be things you start doing (e.g. bike ride) or stop doing (e.g. no television)
  • Have fun with your habits.
  • Modify your habits as you wish.
  • Never select things that you “should” do.
  • Keep your habits simple.

Examples of daily habits:

  • Thank one person a day
  • Read something you really want to read
  • Spend an hour with your children
  • Offer to help someone
  • Go the extra mile for a client or customer
  • Drink decaf instead of caffeine
  • Be in bed by 10pm
  • Walk three miles each morning
  • Say “No” most of the day
  • Make your bed
  • Go with your intuition at least once each day
  • Meditate for 20 minutes
  • Write in your journal
  • Take a bath with special minerals
  • Take your vitamins
  • Handle one unresolved matter


  1. Make a list of the 20 daily habits that you could do.
  2. Scale it down to 10.
  3. Create a visual reminder (see the attached table below) to support you in doing these each day.
  4. Record the results for one week.
  5. Modify the list as needed. If you find yourself not doing one or two of your habits, change or replace them with ones that come naturally.

10 Daily Habits.pdf

Source: The Coach U Personal Development Workbook and Guide (2005)

Julia Chung, Ph.D.

Marianne Williamson: A Return to Love

We are the most powerful when we are able to connect to our best selves and recognize our unlimited energy and power that’s always there for us, to embrace and celebrate how brilliant, creative and resourceful we are. Everytime I meet someone who has difficulty tooting their own horn, accepting acknowledgements or owning their successes, this passage from “A Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson often comes to my mind:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

A Return to Love.pdf

Julia Chung, Ph.D.

Slight of Mouth: 14 Language Patterns for Belief Change and Persuasion

Sleight of Mouth is a persuasion skill, a vehicle for conversationally changing beliefs. It is a system of 14 different patterns of response to a stated belief. A system that, once mastered, can allow you to always have a response that will effectively elucidate your position and help you to persuade rather than be persuaded. Simply put, it will help you win any argument, be verbally powerful and powerfully verbal.

Sleight of Mouth was devised by Robert Dilts who modeled the argument and persuasion skills of Richard Bandler (the co-founder of Neuro-linguistic programming). The name “Sleight of Mouth” builds off the phrase “Sleight of Hand” which refers to a magician’s skills in making things happen which appear impossible.

Through reframing, Sleight of mouth patterns help people overcome limiting beliefs, open up to new ideas and be able to find a new “spin” or “point of view.” In persuasion, whether in therapy, sales or personal interaction it’s vital to help people open up to what you are saying.

Here is the handout I used for a Chicago NLP Meetup meeting.

Sleight of Mouth Patterns.pdf


Julia Chung, Ph.D.