Children and Teens

What to Do When You Feel Unmotivated in Your Career (And 3 Ways to Do Your Best Work)

We’ve all faced days at the office where we’re just not feeling motivated. Off days happen to everyone and it’s tough -- if not unrealistic -- to constantly do your best work. There are bound to be times when you procrastinate too much, lack focus, or struggle to start important projects.

You may react by getting down on yourself, wondering where your determination has gone. It can be disappointing to feel like you’re not living up to your aspirations, especially when there’s important work to be done, which there almost always is. Speed, efficiency, and productivity are what drive results, and when our energy doesn’t match our ambition, it can be frustrating.
Continue Reading

Aging

How Failure Breeds Success

Our weaknesses are the source of our strengths; our failures are the roots of our successes.

This is not another motivational cliché, this is a fact of history and science. Evolutionary theorists long ago concluded that the power of the human species lay in its weaknesses. Aware of their bodies' fragility compared to that of other animals, human beings had to compensate for their powerlessness in order to survive. Individuals were too weak to hunt by themselves, so they collaborated and hunted in groups. Collective activity emerged, communication evolved, tools were built, and the human species ruled all others.

Continue Reading

Books

A Cancer Survivor’s Healing Plan

When I last saw my oncologist, he referred me to a counselor about some anxiety and flashbacks. It's one of the free services available to me as an ongoing patient being monitored post-cancer.

I had one appointment, and we had a good talk. He gave me perspective and helped me understand that I already do have a lot of life skills and ways to cope with anxiety as memory flashbacks happen. I just need to breathe through it and wait a few minutes for it to pass. It seems like a grief response, he said, and will get less frequent with time. But it's normal. It's intrusive but not disabling.
Continue Reading

Addiction

How ‘Mad Men’ Taught Us about Trauma, Shame & Healing

Don Draper, a character on the TV series "Mad Men," was a survivor of childhood trauma.

But when we first met Don, we met a man who had it all. He was at the pinnacle of his career, happily married to his gorgeous wife, Betty, and father of two adorable children. His haughty, arrogant and aloof facade was easily mistaken for genuine confidence.

We soon found out, however, that Don was a man with flaws. An alcoholic, a womanizer and an adulterer, he lied about things, not the least of which was his fake identity. These flaws, or what a therapist would consider symptoms, were an indication that Don was unwell. Symptoms are often brilliant clues that let an individual know they have underlying yet blocked emotions, often from the past, that need attention and release.
Continue Reading

Aging

The Luggage Set

I needed luggage. Specifically, I needed matching luggage. At 53, I’d never owned a complete set of coordinated baggage. I figured it was time.

I was at the local thrift store one day, and I saw a beautiful, brand new, four-piece luggage set. The color of the suitcases was black and beige; I would later learn that the pattern was called “English Garden.” The manufacturer was American Tourister. “You can’t go wrong with that,” I thought. And to top it off, it was priced to sell -- $100.00 for the whole set.

Continue Reading

Addiction

The Physical and Emotional Parallels of Hoarding

In the newly-released indie film "Hello, My Name Is Doris," sweet and eccentric Doris (played by Sally Field) is an older woman who lives in her deceased mother’s immensely cluttered house. Needless to say, Doris grapples with hoarding issues, tightly clinging to all kinds of items from her past. Her home’s disarray is a barrier of sorts, physically creating entrapment to what was - and not what could be.

Doris blossoms through a new relationship with a younger man (played by Max Greenfield). Though the outcome of their relationship may not be the one she unequivocally pines for, their time together symbolizes hope for what is very well possible in her next life chapter. She’s merely grateful for the friendship they share -- for its impact.

Continue Reading

Bipolar

Genes and Mental Illness: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

During my long and narrow-eyed search to find information online regarding having a schizophrenic mother, I have often been faced with information which is a complete and utter downer. Something like this:

Hey, you know how your mother is schizophrenic? Well, guess what? That means you have more chance than other people of being schizophrenic yourself! You also have more of a chance of being depressed! And of living in poverty!

I’ve read statistics about how likely the child of a schizophrenic is to develop the same illness. It’s like Death knocking at your door.
Continue Reading

General

10 Lessons Failure Teaches

No one likes to fail. In fact, most people would do almost anything to avoid failure. They consider the lengths they have to resort to a fair price to pay -- just so they don’t have to go through the experience of failing. But they’re missing something incredibly valuable: They’re losing out on the lessons failure teaches.

You don’t always have to be right.
It may come as a bit of a shock to realize that you don’t always have to be right. In fact, if you think you always have to be right, you’re likely going to experience more than a few disappointments. The beauty of having failed is that it takes away some of the pressure of having to be right. You can forgive yourself for the failure and move on.

Continue Reading

Depression

3 Myths about Postpartum Depression that Too Many People Believe

There are many myths about postpartum depression -- everything from it’s not real to it’ll go away on its own to it affects only certain women. The reality is that postpartum depression is a serious illness that does not discriminate, said Elizabeth Gillette, LCSW, a therapist specializing in preventing and treating perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and supporting couples in their relationship as their family grows.

The reality is that you can experience PPD after a traumatic or an ideal birth experience. The reality is that having PPD doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby or aren’t grateful to give birth to a healthy child, Gillette said. “It means that right now [you are] challenged by a serious illness that requires treatment.”
Continue Reading

Bipolar

With Depression, Nothing Is Permanent

Robert J. Wicks, psychologist and bestselling author of Riding the Dragon, recently told me a story about impermanence.
A psychiatrist (Epstein) went to Thailand with some colleagues to meet a well-known Buddhist sage. As they were about to leave they asked if he had a final message for them.

He was drinking a glass of water at the time so he held it up and said, "You see this glass. I love this glass. It holds water so I can drink from it."

He then held it up to the light and said, "When the sun shines through it you can see colors."

"It also plays music." He set it down and pinged it with his finger to make a noise.

"Then when I set it down, the wind blows through the window, knocks it over, and breaks it," he said. "And because I know this possibility to be true, I love this glass even more."
Continue Reading

Anger

4 Steps to Surviving Infidelity

Of all the things someone can do to ruin a relationship, cheating is usually considered to be the most unforgivable. But if statistics are true, then nearly half of us will encounter infidelity at some point in our lives -- either our partner’s or our own.

Reactions to infidelity depend on many factors. Evidence suggests that, in the context of heterosexual relationships, men find it more difficult to forgive a sexual affair while women take emotional infidelity much harder. It is also much easier to move beyond an affair that’s voluntarily disclosed by the cheating partner than one that’s unexpectedly discovered.

Continue Reading

Anger

How to Handle Rejection Gracefully

I've been there. I’ve asked girls out on dates and they said no. I've asked for raises or applied for new jobs and have been shut down.

In each instance it’s important to remember to be graceful about how you handle the situation.

I realize it can be extremely hard to hear that something you had hoped for is not going to happen. But how you conduct yourself when you're faced with an ending that didn't go as you'd hoped shows what kind of character you have. Your behavior can set the stage for future encounters with employers or love interests.
Continue Reading