Habits

Can You Cheat at Mindfulness and Self Compassion?

I have a client who laughingly says she loves to "cheat the system" -- find a short cut, an easier way, a faster route and get “more bang for her buck."

She remembers doing it as a child at school. When she was supposed to be learning how to touch type she got so frustrated with how slow it was she peeked under the hand-guard and typed faster by looking at the keys.

When she was studying and working in the corporate world she became addicted to multi-tasking -- if she could possibly get two or more things done at once she would definitely feel like she was “cheating the system”, saving time and getting more done.
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Family

How Far Can Our Empathy Go?

I read this quote today and I had three thoughts almost simultaneously:
“Now, with regard to the people who have done things we call "terrorism," I'm confident they have been expressing their pain in many different ways for thirty years or more. Instead of our empathically receiving it when they expressed it in much gentler ways -- they were trying to tell us how hurt they felt that some...
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Habits

Moving Out of Fear and into Your Life

What is stopping you from achieving your goals in life? There are lots of things that may hinder you from taking the action required to make changes in your life, grow and reach certain goals. Fear can be one of those hurdles that continues to limit people from scaling greater heights. Fortunately, fear is a normal occurrence and it depends on your ability to move out of it in order to become what you have always wanted to be.

Fear is the sign of a window of opportunity. When you move closer to your dreams, you can rest assured that you will encounter fear. It is because of fear that you stop telling your truth and expressing yourself authentically. It then becomes challenging to move forward. However, did you know that you can move out of fear and into your life?
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Anger

What a Real Apology Looks Like

To be human is to hurt people sometimes. Yet it’s not always easy to offer a genuine apology when we’ve injured or offended someone.

We need robust inner resources and an open heart to keep from descending into denial -- or slipping into a shame-freeze -- when we realize that we’ve violated someone’s sensibilities. It takes courage to downsize our ego and accept our human limitations with humility and grace.
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Alcoholism

Are You Using Alcohol as a Crutch?

One of my friends hasn’t had a drink in over a year. She stopped drinking because she realized that it clouded her thinking. She realized that she was using alcohol to relieve stress and escape from her thoughts and feelings. No one would call her an “alcoholic.” In fact, many of her friends don’t understand why she quit.

But, without alcohol, she’s seen many positive changes. She has more clarity. She feels more motivated. She sleeps better. She’s more present in her life.

We think of drinking in two ways: Either you’re a normal drinker. Or you’re an alcoholic. Either you have a serious problem. Or you don’t. But drinking is way more nuanced and much more layered than that.
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Addiction

Why Do Drugs?

Any casual look at media, billboards, online popups, and banners and signs in stores is enough to show that medications and drugs are ubiquitous. Whether used initially for a legitimate medical reason - with a prescription from a doctor - or socially, drug use can and does morph into something much more serious, including addiction. Why, then, do drugs?

Just as there are many reasons people drink alcohol, there are equally as many why they do drugs. Here are some of the more common:

To feel euphoria, pleasure and empathy, even though temporary
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Habits

Is Your Man Cheating on You with His Smartphone?

Does it seem like every time you look over at your partner, he is glued to his smartphone screen, doing who knows what? You ask him a question, wait for his response and all you get is a simple, “what was that?” or “huh?”

What could possibly be so interesting and taking up this much of his time? And how do you live with it, without grounding him from technology or throwing it out the window?

Your partner doesn’t have to be messaging other woman via email or social media in order for technology to be causing damage to your relationship. Feeling like you have to compete with a smartphone, tablet, or other device can easily lead to resentment and dissatisfaction in your relationship.
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Anger

Controlling Your Anger on the Roads

No one likes bad drivers, especially those who don’t know how to use a turn single. For many, frustration turns into anger that’s hard to handle on the road.

Friends and relatives feel uneasy and unsafe riding in the car while with an angry driver, especially when behavior escalates. Muttering under your breath becomes cursing and flipping your middle finger.

Instead of words or gestures, road rage leads to aggressive driving.
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General

3 Creative Activities for Couples to Cultivate Your Intimacy

All relationships require regular tending. They require effort, attention and time -- like anything worthwhile. One of the best ways to tend to your relationship is to focus on your intimacy.

Intimacy isn’t just about sex. It’s about cultivating your intellectual, emotional, and spiritual connection.

Specifically, intellectual intimacy is sharing thoughts or interests that each partner finds stimulating, said Lanie Smith, MPS, ATR, an Arizona-based art therapist who believes in the value of creativity and communication in helping couples play, heal, and grow together.
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Brain and Behavior

Pillow Talk: You Need More Sleep

“You can sleep when you are dead,” a friend chides.

Offering an awkward chuckle, I was too tired to supply a witty response. In America, we stifle our collective yawn to meet the next pressing deadline. But there is a more important deadline than the latest accounting project: our (sleep) health. For a painful few, sleep is an elusive dream.

In American society, we sacrifice sleep for employment or academic obligations. In competitive academic programs, we brag about the number of all-nighters we pull. Time has chronicled the sleep fatigue of first-year residents and its damning effect on patients.
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General

5 Ways to Cultivate Truth

“The truth may be stretched thin, but it never breaks, and it always surfaces above lies, as oil floats on water.” – Cervantes, Don Quixote

It isn’t all that uncommon to find yourself bending the truth. People do it all the time. Sometimes it’s to spare someone else from feeling uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s to give ourselves an escape from consequences we know we’ll encounter if we tell the truth. But guess what? The truth will eventually come out,...
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Creativity

3 Suggestions for Revising Unsupportive Stories

The stories we hold about ourselves can expand or narrow our lives. One example of limiting narratives revolves around what we believe we’re good at and what we believe we’re bad at. Helen McLaughlin’s clients often create these kinds of stories, letting them dictate their decisions and days. For instance, one client might hold the story that she can’t ask her boss for a raise because she’s bad at anything resembling a confrontation. And she’s really bad at advocating for herself.

The problem? This narrative “locks her into a future in which she has little control over what she can and can’t achieve at work and in life,” said McLaughlin, a transformation coach who helps smart, motivated life-explorers to leverage their curiosity, discover what exists for them beyond their default future, and achieve their Big Thing. Plus, the client might’ve created this story based on inaccurate or outdated information—a moment from many, many years ago.
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