Books Articles

5 Helpful Practices for Families

Friday, January 16th, 2015

5 Helpful Practices for FamiliesIn his book The Secrets of Happy Families author and New York Times family columnist Bruce Feiler turns to various fields and individuals — the military, Silicon Valley, sports coaches and Green Berets — for insights into creating stronger, more connected families. He also tries out these tips at home with his own family, which includes his wife and twin daughters.

In the book, Feiler shares all kinds of tools for teaching kids values, creating a more peaceful household and having more fun as a family.

Here are five tips and tools from The Secrets of Happy Families, which you might want to adopt for your family.

9 Ideas for Creating Serene and Satisfying Days

Friday, January 9th, 2015

9 Ideas for Creating Serene and Satisfying DaysOur circumstances don’t necessarily have to change in order for us to experience serenity and satisfaction. Because sometimes we can’t change a situation. Most things are not within our control.

This is a hard realization but tends to feel liberating when you can accept it. And it certainly takes practice to keep accepting it. But we can always look within ourselves. We can change our beliefs, thoughts and actions.*

In her book The Wholehearted Life: Big Changes and Greater Happiness Week by Week author Susyn Reeve shares a slew of exercises for contentment and community. Below are nine ideas and activities to help you cultivate calm, kindness and connection throughout your days.

6 Things I Learned While Recording an Audiobook

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

6 Things I Learned While Recording an AudiobookThis week, I’ve been recording the audiobook for Better Than Before. I did this once before, for The Happiness Project.

And once again, it was an interesting, unsettling process.

Here’s what I learned about myself and my book:

1. I can’t stand the sound of my own voice. Whenever they replayed aloud something I’d read, I had to leave the room.

The Power of Maybe

Friday, December 26th, 2014

The Power of MaybeMany of us view uncertainty as the enemy. It makes us uncomfortable and fearful — especially if our expectations have painted only one picture. That is, we dread uncertainty when we’ve convinced ourselves that only one result will do. Only one thing will make us happy or feel fulfilled. Only one thing, one path will lead to our dream life.

This one thing may be a relationship, a home, a business venture, a big move. Or, as in Allison Carmen’s case, a specific law school.

Questions for Writing Down Your Soul

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Questions for Writing Down Your SoulIn the last few months I’ve been sharing lists of prompts to help us discover ourselves and our needs, because self-reflection is key for taking compassionate care of ourselves and crafting a meaningful life. (Here’s one list of 30 prompts; and the second list.)

As Margaret Atwood wrote in her poem “Spelling,” “A word after a word after a word is power.” The more words we write about ourselves, the more we explore and discover, and the more good information we have to make conscious, nourishing decisions — and ultimately the more we use our voice, which deserves to speak and be heard.

3 Tips for Staying Present with Your Kids

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

3 Tips for Staying Present with Your Kids Being present with your kids is fundamental to connecting with …

ADHD Tip: A Simple System for Managing Paperwork

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

ADHD Tip: A Simple System for Managing PaperworkFor people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), paperwork can become a big problem. ADHD impairs executive functioning, making it difficult to make decisions, sort and prioritize. Clients commonly come to psychotherapist and ADHD coach Terry Matlen needing help with paperwork — everything from bills to receipts to school papers to taxes.

She explains exactly why in her valuable book The Queen of Distraction: How Women with ADHD Can Conquer Chaos, Find Focus and Get More Done:

“Your brain’s circuitry finds it difficult to prioritize (Do I pay the bill first or send the wedding RSVP?), stick with ‘boring’ tasks (Paperwork is so boring. I think I’ll play a video game instead) or sort (Do I file under ‘Car’ or stick it in bills paid?).”

Psychology Around the Net: December 20, 2014

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

woman armfull books bigst

From holiday gift ideas to dealing with our bosses’ bad moods, today’s Psychology Around the Net is sure to keep you on the edge of your seats!

The Best Psychology Books of 2014: The Guardian writer Lisa Appignanesi provides a list of six of the best psychology books over the past year. (HINT: You might even get one or two holiday gift ideas from this one!)

The Best Christmas Gift Ever: Finding Blessings in Challenges: Speaking of holiday gifts, oftentimes some of our greatest blessings come from our greatest challenges. When have you faced a challenge that turned around and offered you a gift?

Leaving a Written Legacy

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

Leaving a Written Legacy There are photos and videos that capture certain moments. Birthdays. Anniversaries. The everyday. There are stories that get retold to every generation. But largely when a family member dies, their stories die with them.

This holiday season a beautiful gift you can give to a loved one is a glimpse into your personal history. Because that history also is a history of them. Because photos rarely capture the thoughts we were thinking, the emotions we were feeling.

When Things Don’t Turn Out How You’d Hoped, Expected or Planned

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

When Things Don’t Turn Out How You’d Hoped, Expected or PlannedMaybe you took a job that was supposed to be fulfilling, but you dread going to work. Maybe you studied intensely for many months but still didn’t pass the bar. Maybe you thought you’d be married by now, but you aren’t even dating anyone. Maybe you poured your heart into a project or relationship only to get fired or break up. Maybe you and your kids aren’t as close as you were before.

When life doesn’t turn out the way we’d hoped, planned or expected, we feel tremendous disappointment and start doubting everything, including ourselves, writes Christine Hassler, a life coach and speaker, in her book Expectation Hangover: Overcoming Disappointment in Work, Love and Life.

5 Playful Prompts for Creating a Meaningful Life

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

5 Playful Prompts for Creating a Meaningful LifePlay is powerful. I’ve written before about the importance of play for adults. Many of us dismiss play because we assume that once we become adults, it’s time to get serious, get to work and chip away at our to-do lists.

But play actually makes us more productive (in addition to providing us with more joy). That’s because play moves us.

According to Marney K. Makridakis in her excellent book Hop, Skip, Jump: 75 Ways to Playfully Manifest a Meaningful Life, “When it comes to the intersection of play and productivity, the secret is quite simple: what moves us is what moves us, which simply means what moves us emotionally is what moves us to action.”

Play is never “still, stuck or stagnant; it somehow always moves. So when it comes to manifesting a meaningful life, play works.”

Play is a creative and fun way to discover what a meaningful life looks for us. What does a meaningful life encompass? How can we create it?

Powers of Two: The Creative and Healing Energy of a Pair

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

powers of twoOne autumn morning in 2005, I dropped my kids off at preschool and immediately broke down in tears.

Pushing an empty double stroller down a few houses to avoid the other preschool moms, I dialed up the number of my writing (and life) mentor and dear friend, Mike Leach.

I stayed there, on the sidewalk, as he talked me through this panic attack as he had so many others.

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