Habits Articles

What 2 Little Words Can Have a BIG Impact on Your Relationship?

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

What 2 Little Words Can Have a BIG Impact on Your Relationship?

No one — including your partner — has to do anything for you. Remember that.

“Thank you.” Two simple words that feel SO good to hear.

So, why do so many couples use them so infrequently?

William James, the great American psychologist, said, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”

Addicted to Affluence

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Shoe shoppingMany people mistake affluence for self-worth. You can buy what you want to buy. Live where you want to live. Own what you want to own. You’ve made it! What a worthy, wonderful person you are!

So how come you’re still feeling that it’s not enough? You bought what you wanted to buy. You feel great. Yet, a day later, rather than feeling pleased, you’re bored.

So, you rack up additional purchases on your favorite digital device. It’s so easy to shop these days. Or, tired of shopping, you plan another trip. You create another social event. And still it satisfies only for the moment.

The Psychology of Rewarding Yourself with Treats

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

The Psychology of Rewarding Yourself with TreatsIn my book Better Than Before, I describe the many strategies that we can use to change our habits. We all have our favorites — but I think most of us would agree that the Strategy of Treats is the most fun strategy.

“Treats” may sound like a self-indulgent, frivolous strategy, but it’s not. Because forming good habits can be draining, treats can play an important role.

When we give ourselves treats, we feel energized, cared for, and contented, which boosts our self-command — and self-command helps us maintain our healthy habits.

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.

Carefully Choose Your Actions with These 3 Mindfulness Tools

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Using Your Senses to Gain a Richer Life

“Your task is not to seek for love, but to seek and find the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” — Rumi

As humans, we are creatures of habit. We not only stick to the same brand of shampoo, but we also have many mental, emotional, and behavioral patterns that we fall back on day to day.

This isn’t always a bad thing: mindlessly getting the same brand of shampoo every time saves us probably twenty minutes of careful comparison. We can’t be mindful all the time.

Some Surprising Observations about How to Fight Clutter

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

cluttered room bigstOne of the things about happiness that continually surprises me is the degree to which, for most people, outer order contributes to inner calm and inner self-command.

In the context of a happy life, a crowded coat closet or an overflowing inbox is trivial, and yet such things weigh us down more than they should.

Designated Caregiver: Holiday Drinks and Mental Illness

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

holiday stress man bigstAlcohol is a staple at the holiday table despite widespread tales of family dysfunction. The truth is social lubrication makes it a lot easier to deal with some of the more difficult people in our families. But when you add mental illness to the mix, you run bigger risks than a shouting match about politics or someone going home wearing the stuffing.

My older brother Pat was diagnosed with schizophrenia eight years ago this December. Drinking alcohol is not advisable on his medication. It makes him extremely drowsy. A few beers after taking his medication in 2007 and he passed out in the bathroom, slamming into the toilet and sliding it clean off the floor — and he’s not a big guy.

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.

The Power of Music

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Music and EmotionsI’ve known the lows of depression, I’ve known the terror of delusions and paranoia and I’ve known the itchiness of anxiety. In every instance, I know I need to calm down. Most times this means going home pulling the covers up and putting on soft music. I do it so much that it’s become something completely natural. Feeling bad? Put on music. It’s almost automatic and because of that I’ve started to take this simple technique for granted.

Music is something magical. It’s salve for all of life’s emotional wounds and I would be remiss in talking about coping techniques if I didn’t talk about music.

Overcoming Family Assumptions

Saturday, December 6th, 2014

Overcoming Family AssumptionsHave you ever wanted to be in a relationship but felt frustrated because no matter how hard you tried, disappointment or bad results developed?

As an example, let’s follow Joey through a few years of her life, starting from when she first entered college.

Joey was a reflective, serious, and caring young woman. She had a handful of friends whom she dearly appreciated. They had common interests, shared activities, and were available when any of them asked.

As the college years unfolded, Joey wanted to be in a relationship, similar to the ones she observed her friends starting.

ADHD & Adults: Help for Organizing Your Household

Friday, December 5th, 2014

ADHD & Adults: Help for Organizing Your Household Almost every symptom of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) plays out in the household, said Terry Matlen, MSW, ACSW, a psychotherapist and author of the book The Queen of Distraction: How Women with ADHD Can Conquer Chaos, Find Focus and Get More Done.

Disorganization and distractibility lead to lost papers, unpaid bills, piles of laundry and lots of clutter, which can negatively affect relationships and spark blowups, she said.

Lack of planning leads to late dinners, leading to both cranky kids and parents, she said. (Plus, many kids with ADHD also are picky eaters, which complicates meal-planning even more, she added.)

Believe in Yourself: A Surprising Way to Boost Morale

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

Believe in Yourself: A Surprising Way to Boost Morale

Recently, I read Christopher Isherwood’s memoir, My Guru and His Disciple. It’s an account of Isherwood’s relationship with Swami Prabhavananda, the Hindu monk who was his spiritual mentor and friend for more than thirty years. (The photo shows Swami Prabhavananda on the left, Isherwood on the right, and Aldous Huxley between them.)

I was surprised to learn that Christopher Isherwood — who’s perhaps best known for The Berlin Stories, which was the basis for Cabaret – lived for years in Swami Prabhavananda’s monastery in Los Angeles, and considered becoming a monk himself.

Recent Comments
  • Josh: Great article, I could really use active conditioning on learning to control my emotions (I am known as a...
  • brokeandblue: I am someone that prides myself on being non-judgemental. At all. In fact I get complimented on this,...
  • Cathy Taughinbaugh: This is a wonderful list of blogs, which are so helpful to those suffering from anxiety. I wanted...
  • Parsnip: Interesting article, the logic fits in well with what happens. I think that swearing also reduces...
  • MomNxwife: I agree with what you say in this article; however, after living with loved ones who suffer with bi-polar...
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