Happiness Articles

Letting Go of Imagined Symbolism in Psychosis

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Letting Go of Imagined Symbolism in PsychosisIn the midst of a psychotic episode, whether the result of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, one of the main motivating factors in our jilted decisions is the imagined symbolism in meaningless circumstances or objects.

I can remember when I was out on the streets of New York and Boston, deep in the midst of a major psychotic episode. I was convinced I had a mission to bring peace to the world, and though I was destitute, I wandered around following signs and colors and motions of passersby convinced there was some deeper symbolism or meaning in these insignificant things.

Are You ‘Addicted’ to Something?

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

addiction-300x212The definition of  “addiction,” and what people can become “addicted” to, are hotly contested issues. In everyday conversation, of course, people throw around the word “addicted” a lot, as in, “I’m addicted to Game of Thrones.”

Addiction, whatever it might be, is a subject that’s related to my current fascination: habits. As I explain in the introduction of Better Than Before, my discussion of habit formation doesn’t cover addictions, compulsions, nervous habits, or habits of mind. Nevertheless, I did a lot of reading and thinking about addiction, because it’s a useful area to consider.

Secret of Adulthood: Someplace, Keep an Empty Shelf

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

SomeplaceKeepAnEmptyShelf_1248581-235x300Now, what’s so great about an empty shelf? An empty shelf shows that I have room to expand …

“Life Is What Our Character Makes It. We Fashion It, as a Snail Does Its Shell.”

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Jules-Renard-243x300“Life is what our character makes it. We fashion it, as a snail does its shell.”

–Jules Renard, …

Depression When You Have It All

Monday, August 18th, 2014

Depression When You Have It AllPeople think, if only I had success in life, I’d be the happiest person …

Awakening to Ourselves As We Are: The Essence of Mindfulness

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

by Hans-PeterThe renowned psychologist Carl Rogers famously said, “The curious paradox is that when I can accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

This statement is as simple as it is profound — and yet not easy to implement. Yet it embodies a principle that is a key to both psychological health and spiritual growth.

Overcoming Shame to Connect with Your True Self

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

Overcoming Shame to Connect with Your True SelfEach of us experiences shame.

“[I]t is part of our human condition,” writes author and therapist Darlene Lancer, LMFT, in Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You.

Without good coping skills, we may feel like failures when we don’t meet our own or others’ expectations, she writes. In fact, shame can even prevent us from being our true selves. Shame often starts in childhood. It can even get passed down from generation to generation.

Does Your Sweetheart Drive You Nuts with the Very Qualities that Attracted You?

Friday, August 15th, 2014

swingingballsAre you driven nuts by the very qualities that drew you to your sweetheart?

A few days ago, I read Elizabeth Bernstein’s Wall Street Journal piece, How to cope when you and your partner are falling out of love.

It discusses the idea of “fatal attraction” — that the traits that drew you toward your sweetheart now drive you nuts. Often, we’re drawn to a quality in someone else because we somehow lack or desire that quality in ourselves — but then that very quality turns out to be a point of tension. An introverted person might be attracted to someone’s more outgoing nature, but then get tired of their constant desire to be sociable.

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.

9 Ways to Find Happiness

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

9 Ways to Find HappinessIt may seem self-serving to some to study happiness in a world full of misery. However, research findings support the theory that being happy motivates people to constructive action in the world. So cultivating happiness and well-being influence your energy and enthusiasm.

Happiness is not a static state or a finish line. Emotions provide important information; they direct action and interaction. Negative or painful emotions may be entirely appropriate to a situation and serve to inform intelligent actions. Opportunities for building happiness may be maximized, when appropriate, and often consist of incremental changes that become new habits over time.

The Importance of Having a Friend to Talk You Down

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

take-friendship-next-level-honestyI’m stable. At least that’s how I usually am.

In the eight years I’ve lived with schizophrenia I’ve managed to find a pretty strong footing for my life. I take my meds and go to therapy and practice my social skills and hell, I even have a job, which is more than a lot of people with schizophrenia can handle.

That said, there are times where the stars align for madness and you lose yourself in being overwhelmed with feelings or thoughts that confuse and delude you.

This past week was one of those times for me.

3 Tips to Change Your Perspective on Nearly Everything

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

ways-combat-overthinking

Recently I took drastic measures to shift my perspective and conjure up some new ideas, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

You see, I’ve been talking a lot lately with activist allies about climate change, or global warming, or climate chaos if you prefer. Like so many earthlings, we are deeply concerned about the safety of the food we eat, our air and water, our farms and gardens, our health and that of the pollinators, soils and seas, and the impact a changing climate will have on them all. And despite lots and lots of studies of how best to talk about these issues with others, it still seems as if we are all a little bit stuck.

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