Habits Articles

Before & After: ‘I Get My Coffee in My Bedroom and I Don’t Go Downstairs Until I Am Done.’

Friday, August 15th, 2014

HabitsRepeatFour (1)I’m writing my next book, about how we make and break habits — an issue very relevant to happiness. Each week, I’ll post a before-and-after story submitted by a reader, about how he or she successfully changed a habit. We can all learn from each other.

If you’d like to share your story, contact me here. (To hear when the book goes on sale, sign up here.)

This week’s story comes from Paige NeJame.

How the Strategy of Scheduling Helped Me Make a Habit.

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

In my study of habits, I’ve identified many strategies that we can use to make or break our habits.

The Strategy of Scheduling, of setting …

4 Questions to Ask Yourself to Make Good Decisions

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

difficluty-making-decisionsWe make countless minute and monumental decisions on a daily basis.

What time will I wake up? What will I eat for breakfast? What tasks will I tackle at work? Should I say yes or no to this commitment? Do I want the promotion? Do I want this person for my partner? What doctor should I see? Where should my kids go to school?

Psychotherapist Alison Thayer, LCPC, helps her clients navigate all sorts of decisions — “from how to handle a difficult situation at work or a disagreement with a loved one, to life-changing [decisions], such as quitting a job, ending a relationship or even doing both and relocating to another state.”

Relearning How to Relate to People After a Major Trauma

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

IsolationWhen I was first diagnosed with schizophrenia eight years ago, it was almost impossible for me to talk to people, let alone relate to them.

If it wasn’t the constant anxiety and paranoia keeping me from engaging, it was the burden of having an 800 lb. gorilla that nobody understood hanging over my head.

How could I possibly get on anyone else’s level when there was this immense self-stigmatizing diagnosis of being crazy sitting on my shoulders?

Think You’re Not Guilty of Verbal Abuse? Think Again

Monday, July 28th, 2014

M375/0011

Never speak badly about yourself.

It’s a simple statement, one many of us would agree with in concept. But do you follow it’s advice? Probably not. Because our inner critic speaks to us in a voice so familiar we rarely notice it’s presence.

Recently, I had a friend say out loud with absolute conviction: “God, I’m such a (expletive) idiot.”

She said this more than once, and I was taken back to my childhood where this type of mental patterning was more commonly accepted. I used to say this out loud to myself all the time. Now, I just say it internally.

How to Use Self-Talk to Improve Performance

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

How to Use Self-Talk to Improve PerformanceDo you ever talk to yourself? Although it’s not always a conscious habit, most of us practice self-talk on a daily basis, as a way of guiding, motivating or supporting ourselves.

Maybe you’re heading to the store and start running through a list of all the items you need to buy. Or perhaps you’re trying to get through a particularly challenging task at work and find yourself whispering something like “Come on, focus, you can do this.”

Are We What We Wear?

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Are We What We Wear? On a hot summer day in Central Texas I exited my apartment in a linen skirt, white short-sleeved sweater, and sandals. My neighbor, who is also a friend, greeted me on this bright sunny morning with the comment “you look like such a counselor today.”

At first I wondered what this meant and felt it might be negative in nature. However, throughout the day I embraced this idea. What does it mean to “look like a counselor?” What could it mean to look like a teacher, attorney, housewife, or barista?

How to Be More Assertive at Work

Sunday, July 20th, 2014

7 Tips for Setting Boundaries At WorkWe’ve all had days or weeks or months at our jobs where we feel like we’re being taken advantage of. You know the feeling: if it doesn’t come in getting passed over for an opportunity, it comes at the hands of either your boss or coworkers not giving you the respect you think you deserve.

You’ve also come up with reasons why these things happen. Sometimes it’s because Jerry from the art department is a brownnoser. Sometimes it’s because of your bad luck and the notion that you just can’t catch a break. Overall, though, you just wish you could be more assertive.

How to Deal with Burnout

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Suicidal Ideation and CyberbullyingWe all know what it feels like when you’ve had enough. It’s that listless, weary feeling of not wanting to proceed but knowing that you have to.

Some refer to it as ennui; others simply call it burnout.

It happens when the stress of performing a certain task overrides its enjoyment. It can take place in every facet of your life, from your job to your home life to your relationships.

It’s OK to Have Anxiety

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

It's OK to Have AnxietyAnxiety is a fickle beast. It can come on at any point during your day and completely wreck you until you’re able to find a place to unwind.

A major point of contention in my struggle with mental illness has been the anxiety I feel in social situations.

It goes like this: You’re about to enter a new situation and deal with people who don’t know you. You wonder what they’re going to think of you.

How Depression Damages Your Relationship & What You Can Do

Friday, July 4th, 2014

How Depression Damages Your Relationship & What You Can DoDepression is a difficult illness that darkens your thoughts and feelings. It saps your self-esteem, energy, motivation and interest in anything. It’s also tough on romantic relationships.

According to psychologist Shannon Kolakowski, PsyD, in her book When Depression Hurts Your Relationship: How to Regain Intimacy and Reconnect with Your Partner When You’re Depressed, depression diminishes your ability to connect with your partner and creates doubts about your union. Symptoms such as anger and irritability can create tension between partners.

10 Quick & Easy Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Woman outdoors holding flower smiling

We all know the importance of maintaining good physical health — we’re bombarded daily with ads for exercise programs, diet plans, and blog posts on what to eat and drink and what vitamin supplements to take or avoid. What’s not as frequently addressed, however, is mental health — but it’s just as important.

Household budgets are strained all across America, but even if times are tight there are plenty of ways to improve your mental outlook — and they don’t have to take a lot of time or effort.

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