Happiness Articles

Adding Power to Your New Year’s Resolutions

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Five Ways Autumn Boosts Our SpiritsI’ve lost interest in New Year’s resolutions. I’ve long since lost the “rah-rah-rah” energy for deciding something, trying to be a new kind of me, with better results in the world out there — thinner, kinder, richer, organized, highly successful, time for everyone and never missing a yoga class.

And yet, it seems New Year’s resolutions haven’t finished with me yet. Driving along, following the river one afternoon, I was musing on the word “intention.” In-tend. Tend-in.

Resolutions: Letting Go of Shoulds this New Year

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Letting Go of Shoulds This New YearAround this time of year, you’ll inevitably see articles about how so many of us fail to follow through on our resolutions. Within a few months or even weeks, we drop whatever intentions we originally had.

I think a big reason why we fail to stick to our resolutions is because they’re really “shoulds” — as in I should be more efficient at work. I should exercise more. I should be more focused on my goals. I should be more organized. I should eat differently. I should look differently.

“Shoulds” don’t speak to our deep desires. Rather, they’re steeped in shame.

The Power of Being Self-Compassionate

Monday, December 29th, 2014

The Power of Being Self-Compassionate Think about a time that you were overly critical with yourself. You looked in the mirror and didn’t like what you saw. You told yourself you were too skinny or too fat or even too average.

You picked apart the image looking back at you. Or you forgot something important, or made a mistake and you told yourself you were stupid or incompetent.

Research demonstrates that our brains have a negativity bias, meaning we are more sensitive to negative than positive. This is because in the natural environment, negative signals were a sign of trouble and therefore took up more of our awareness.

How to Put the Brakes On

Monday, December 29th, 2014

7 Ways to Navigate Self-DoubtA lot of people run through their lives going from one task to another without taking time to stop and smell the roses.

Our society is overworked, and as result, overstressed.

I know what it’s like to get so overwhelmed on something that you slowly start to lose your grip on reality. That’s just one of the many things I have to deal with while living with schizophrenia.

The point is, it’s important to put the brakes on when you start to feel overwhelmed. This is just as important for regular people as it is for people with a major mental illness. However, these two types of people don’t react to stress the same way.

The Wisdom of Insecurity: The Promise and Perils of Being in the Moment

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

despair-513529_640When I read The Wisdom of Insecurity by the philosopher Alan Watts during college in the 1960s, it turned my world around. He hammered home a point that is as simple as it is startling: life only exists in the present moment. Rather than blindly pursue a happiness that continually eludes us, we need to open to what is here now.

As Watts puts it,

“If happiness always depends on something expected in the future, we are chasing a will-o’-the-wisp that ever eludes our grasp, until the future, and ourselves, vanish into the abyss of death.”

Very simple, very profound, but misleading?

Couples You Meet in Counseling: The Wife Who Wants More and Her Annoyingly Satisfied Husband

Saturday, December 27th, 2014

Couples You Meet in Counseling: The Wife Who Wants More and Her Annoyingly Satisfied HusbandAlthough I thought I was done after
Mr. Perfect and His Crazy Wife
, The Ice Queen and the Martyr, and Mr. and Mrs. Just not Feeling it, I have realized that I have neglected the most common couple that I see in counseling: The Wife Who Wants More and Her Annoyingly Satisfied Husband.

The wife is a 40-something, attractive, intelligent woman with a tendency toward reading, some creative pursuits, and introspection. She has a lot of energy that she used in college, maybe grad school, and then raising her kids, and now her kids are in elementary school or older and much more self-sufficient. This leaves her with a lot more time to think.

The Power of Maybe

Friday, December 26th, 2014

The Power of MaybeMany of us view uncertainty as the enemy. It makes us uncomfortable and fearful — especially if our expectations have painted only one picture. That is, we dread uncertainty when we’ve convinced ourselves that only one result will do. Only one thing will make us happy or feel fulfilled. Only one thing, one path will lead to our dream life.

This one thing may be a relationship, a home, a business venture, a big move. Or, as in Allison Carmen’s case, a specific law school.

Toward a Language of Gratitude: My Problem with Saying ‘No Problem’

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

How Gratitude and Kindness Go Together for Brain-Changing Happiness

“Thanks for being there for me yesterday. It really helped to talk with you.”

“No problem.”

“The flowers are really beautiful! Thanks for bringing them.”

“No problem.”

“I appreciate the ride to the airport.”

“No problem.”

In each of these interactions, there is something offered and gratitude expressed. Yet the giver does not appear to receive the gratitude. There is a lost opportunity for a deeper flow of giving and receiving.

13 Tips to Fight Holiday Food Temptation

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

holidayknifeandforkthink a lot about habits, and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about habits related to holiday eating.

The holidays are supposed to be a festive time, but many people feel anxiety and regret around food and drink — the holiday season is so full of temptation.

I have to say, I enjoy the holidays much more, now that I’ve got a better grip on my habits, than I used to.

Could Your iPad, Laptop or Kindle Be Keeping You From Sleep?

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Could Your iPad, Laptop or Kindle Be Keeping You From Sleep?

Getting a good night’s sleep is a challenge for many people. Whether it’s constant awakenings throughout the night or difficulty falling asleep or something else, your sleep is the foundation for your mental health. Without regular, deep sleep, you’re not functioning at your best. For most of us, that’s a problem.

We’ve previously reported on research that shows light in your bedroom can interrupt your sleep cycle. Turning off those LEDs and turning down those bright clocks can even help too (something a lot of people miss). And there may be tools to help you improve your sleep even if you use electronic devices at night.

But what about using our iPads, tablets, smartphones, laptops or Kindles before we go to bed?

Preliminary new research suggests you should look at all of your electronic devices just as you’d eye a cup of full-strength coffee an hour before bed — with extreme caution.

It’s OK to Say No to Opportunities

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

how-to-say-noWe’re all faced with choices every single day of our lives. We’re also faced with numerous opportunities. These choices and opportunities come in questions from our friends, loved ones and colleagues. Some opportunities have incredible potential to take us places we never could have imagined. Some are just everyday opportunities, such as going to the bar with some friends.

The problem with a multitude of choices is the fact that to some, we’re inevitably going to have to say no.

8 Surprising Habits that Might Prevent Authentic Happiness

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

finding-happiness-cartwheel

“We first make our habits, then our habits make us.” – John Dryden

This may look good, sound good, and maybe even feel good at first, but it’s not serving you well in the end!

I’d hear this thought in my head over and over and still not believe it. But it had persisted ever since I started questioning the status quo in my life. And I don’t mean a loud, in-your-face, obnoxious line of questioning; rather, a gentle curious whisper that asks: Well, why does it have to be this way, if I may ask?

Questioning the status quo is not a novelty in our modern society, but here’s the thing: I was questioning the good stuff, like great habits that I grew up with and ideals that are the foundation of my value system.

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