Habits Articles

Before and After: An Obliger Figures Out How To Exercise Regularly

Monday, March 2nd, 2015


Occasionally, I post an interesting before-and-after story submitted by a reader, about how he or she successfully …

5 Steps to Increase Motivation

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

runningI hear it all the time: “I’m not motivated.” For many of my clients, they are referring to not having the motivation to perform basic life responsibilities such as paying bills, cleaning the house, making calls, and taking care of their health.

When do they get motivated? When they are in the danger zone. A late fee motivates them to pay bills. When friends come over, or when the house is so disgusting they can’t take it, is when they get motivated to clean. They get motivated to make a call just minutes before a negative consequence, and motivated to take care of their health in times of sickness.

5 Mistakes So Many of Us Make When Navigating Anxiety

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

Don't Panic! 7 Ways To Overcome AnxietyEvery one of us experiences anxiety. And we can experience anxiety about anything in our lives. Anxiety expert Marni Goldberg’s clients struggle with everything from worrying about the future to feeling like they’re not good enough to being overwhelmed by daily demands.

Many of psychotherapist Tracy Tucker’s clients struggle with a fear of the unknown. Much of the anxiety couples therapist Christine Holding, LMFT, sees in her office has to do with abandonment, rejection and failure.

Maybe you can relate to experiencing the above fears. Or maybe your anxiety is of a different flavor.

Whatever your worries, you may be unwittingly approaching your anxiety in ways that actually increase it. Many of us do. Below are five unhelpful approaches and what can help instead.

3 Stress-Busting Tips to Free Your Mind

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Stress Pill

Need to pull yourself back together super QUICK? Here are 3 fixes to ease your mind in no time.

Are you like me? Whenever I read the paper or watch the news and see stories about war, starvation, killing rampages, rape, and other atrocities, I feel anxious and worried. In addition to worrying about the fate of the world, on a personal level, I also sometimes feel frustrated by annoying work or family relationship issues.

Although I try my best to meditate every day to quiet my stress and remember my inner happiness, after 24 hours, I seem to collect a new array of fears or angers.

5 Reasons You May Not Be Happy and What to Do about It

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Mindfully Sitting with ShameTake a breath. Sit quietly for a moment. Close your eyes, and ask yourself if you are happy. Take your time.

For many of us, something inside of us is asking for more. Something is asking us to pay attention.

Here are five reasons you may not be happy, and five things to do about it.

1. Acceptance.

Acceptance, while necessary, may be used as an excuse. How do you know if acceptance has gone wrong? Look at what’s happening in your life right now. If it’s not what you say you want, then your life is trying to tell you something.

The Perfect Office Design: Does Your Office Measure Up?

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Businesswoman in office pointing at monitor with notes on itI’m a huge fan of the work of Christopher Alexander, and yesterday, for the hundredth time, I found myself urging someone to read his book, A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction. This strange, brilliant, fascinating book uses architecture, sociology, psychology, and anthropology to describe the most satisfying environments.

Instead of talking about familiar architectural styles and elements, it focuses on “patterns,” such as the Sitting Wall, the Front Door Bench, Child Caves, the Sequence of Sitting Spaces, Sleeping to the East. I love these! I want them for my own apartment!

How to Multiply Your Time

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

green hourglass bigstLately whenever you ask someone how they’re doing, they likely mention how busy they are. That’s what I say. I’m guessing that’s what you say, too.

“I’m busy” just rolls off our tongues. And you probably are busy. All of us have long to-do lists, which only seem to swell and swell.

In his book Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time, Rory Vaden, bestselling author and co-founder of Southwestern Consulting, encourages us to stop talking about how busy we are. He used to do it all the time.

As he writes, “Your problem is not that you are too busy; your problem is that you don’t own your situation.”

Are You Good at Making Excuses?

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

ExcusesdrawerI was laughing as I read this piece from the satire magazine, The Onion: “Personal Trainer Impressed by Man’s Improved Excuses.” It purports to be an interview with a personal trainer who’s impressed by one of his clients — a guy who has made amazing improvements in the sophistication of the excuses he’s giving for not working out.

I love that the Onion article highlights the point that even if a person’s workouts aren’t improving, he might be improving his loophole-seeking.

How to Practice Self-Compassion When You Think You Can’t

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

dancing-happy-woman-fieldSelf-compassion is powerful. It promotes inner peace. Self-criticism, the opposite of self-compassion and what most of us are used to practicing, “is an experience of inner conflict,” according to Ali Miller, MFT, a therapist in private practice in Berkeley and San Francisco, Calif. Miller specializes in helping adults live more authentic, empowered and connected lives.

When we criticize ourselves, we’re essentially at war with ourselves, she said. “This inner violence is similar to outer violence, in that it hurts, divides, destroys and takes up a lot of energy.” Self-compassion, however, frees up our energy, so we can care for ourselves and others.

Self-compassion also soothes our pain. “When we relate to our pain with self-compassion, we suffer less. And we feel more connected to others who suffer [and] less isolated,” Miller said.

The Key to Being Productive at Work

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Businesswoman in office pointing at monitor with notes on itThere’s lots of advice on managing our time, getting organized and creating efficient to-do lists for becoming more productive. I explore these topics regularly on Psych Central.

However, according to psychiatrist and ADHD expert Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., these suggestions only scratch the surface. What we really need to do to be more productive is to retrain our attention. We need to delve into the deeper reasons we get distracted at work.

In his newest book Driven to Distraction At Work: How to Focus and Be More Productive, Dr. Hallowell identifies the six most common distractions: electronic devices, multitasking, idea hopping, worry, trying to fix everyone’s problems and underachieving. He presents these distractions in the first half of the book and shares practical solutions for each type of distraction.

One Way to Break a Bad Habit & Uncover Happiness

Friday, February 13th, 2015

One Way to Break a Bad Habit & Uncover HappinessBelow is an excerpt from Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.’s new book, Uncovering Happiness.

Start by picking one of the undesirable habits that you’ve identified as fueling your depression loop. Take a moment to picture in your mind the routine as vividly as possible. What time does it occur? Where are you? Who are you with? The more real you can make it and the more detail you can imagine it with, the better.

Next, pause before engaging with whatever the routine is.

The Benefits of Detaching from Technology

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

iPhoneEven though I’m a member of Generation Y, I will cling to non-smartphones until they become obsolete. But my cell phone is automatically encompassed in my daily routine.

Has a day gone by where I haven’t composed a text message? Not really. And the Internet is an integral part of my life, an undeniable dependency for work, recreation or contact.

“The Internet buzzes in the background of my life, comforting —  always there to entertain me, to feed me information, to connect me to my grid of friends and family and to writers I follow,” Lisa Shanahan wrote in her personal narrative about an ‘unplugged’ vacation with her husband.

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