General

Loving the Small Stuff

I am really feeling the benefit of peppering my day with mini-meditations right now. The next one I want to share with you is this: loving the small stuff.

I learned this wonderful mini-meditation practice from one of my teachers recently. It’s one that she does every day and I can see why.

I am already a fan (and frequent practitioner) of gratitude practices. I include them in my online and face-to-face programs. But this one has a really delightful twist.
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Brain and Behavior

Mindfulness: Essential for Everyone

What do Oprah, LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Kobe Bryant, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ariana Huffington, Hugh Jackman and Phil Jackson have in common? They are all famous and rich? Sure, but a core component of their journey to success is their regular practice of mindfulness.

What makes a life successful? What are its component parts? There is birth, school, college, drugs, alcohol, money, vacations, sex, children, aging, grandchildren, death, and yet there is no recipe for combining all of these to assure a happy life. Deciding that you can know how you will live by defining the number of children you will have, exactly where and when you will vacation, how much money you will make, and what your profession will be is as futile as assuming that you will know how you will feel after eating a slice of orange cake simply by knowing the ingredients that went into the cake.

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Addiction

Daily Rituals to Reduce Anxiety

Who among us has not experienced their fair share of anxiety? Whether it be from finances, school assignments, career troubles or relationship issues, we all - at least occasionally - get caught in the rainstorm that is anxiety. Some prefer to outrun this brewing downpour. I say, save your energy, and just bring an umbrella.

An anxiety umbrella can take many forms: medicine, therapy, self-reflection or alterations in one’s daily tasks that reduce the burden of anxiety and allow you to focus on more important matters. Here are a few examples that you can use when that cloud of stress turns threatens to turn into a perfect storm:

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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: December 26, 2015


Ah, you survived -- and possibly thrived in -- the holidays, sweet readers, and we've got just what you need to unwind and catch up on what's going on in the world of mental health.

Grab a cup of joe (or hot chocolate...unless you're experiencing this weird heat wave here in the U.S.), and read up on how music therapy can help depression, a therapist's answers to pressing anxiety questions, what we can push for regarding state mental health legislation next year, and more.

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Anger

A Holiday Guide for Abuse Survivors

Hardly anyone would claim to be a stranger to holiday stress. From money woes to holiday travel, traditions, and family tension, at some point everyone has struggled to make it to January. But the holidays can be a particularly tough time of year for anyone with a family history of abuse, whether it’s emotional or physical.

The idea that one shouldn’t be alone during the holiday season is drilled into our heads and we want familiar people near, even if those people can be toxic to us. Memories of trauma may become more salient. Some holiday encounters could open old wounds. You're not just trying to make it to January -- you're trying to avoid being retraumatized.
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Anger

Tis the Season of Giving But Are We Forgetting the Other Half of the Equation?

It’s that time of year again. Malls are overflowing with shoppers looking for the perfect gifts for their loved ones. Tis the season of giving in full bloom.

Especially during these trying times, it’s important to remember what’s most important in life: honoring and appreciating our loved ones. As Freud famously recognized, “Love and work are the cornerstones of our humaness.” Living with a sense of meaning and nourishing our important relationships makes our existence richer.

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Brain and Behavior

Workplace Environment Affects Mental Health

The workplace environment you spend 40 or 50 hours in per week has a very real and substantial impact on your mental health, according to multiple studies and expert opinions from psychologists all around the world.

According to a 2011 research study on how workplace design contributes to mental health and well-being, the average person spends 33 percent of their waking time in their workplace on a weekly basis. As such, the physical workplace environment has a major impact on everything from happiness and mood to productivity and focus. The study concludes that “good working conditions enable employees to work effectively” and that “investments in the physical workplace that create those conditions pay back quickly.”

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Habits

5 Easy Habits That Strengthened My Relationships

When people think about changing their habits, they often think of the diet-and-exercise family of habits.

Also, as much as I personally love habits, I know that many people associate habit-change with having to make a lot of effort. But habits don’t have to take a lot of time or energy to form, and they can help us with any aspect of our lives.

I have to admit, even now, after spending years thinking about habits, I’m astonished by how much a truly tiny habit can boost happiness. For instance, here are some examples of a few quick, easy habits that I’ve adopted to strengthen my relationships. They’re all practically effortless, they all make me happier.
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Anxiety and Panic

How to Use a Journal for Better Emotional Health

According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada, one in every four Canadians will develop at least one anxiety disorder in his or her lifetime. The pressures associated with our fast-paced society can take their toll on the best of us. Repeated exposure to moderate levels of stress can lead to the development of any anxiety-related disorder, such as panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, as well as other psychological and physical ailments.

Most advertisements would have you believe that medication such as antidepressants are the only way to deal with anxiety. Medication does have its merit for certain conditions such as agoraphobia. Before the problem gets out of hand, however, there are simple ways to better manage your emotions and increase your psychological health.

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Happiness

New Study Suggests Giving Up Facebook Will Make You Happier

Are you strong enough to take a break?

I'm addicted to Facebook. I don't just go on there once or twice a day -- I'm constantly on there. But there are a lot of things I don't see on my feed, some things (and people) that I've blocked and other content that the Facebook algorithm has randomly decided not to show me.

Still, there's so much on Facebook that I don't want to see and that I wish I'd never seen. If I never see another over-the-top conservative rant from that nice boy from second grade again, or the endless pictures and videos of my middle school friend's son learning how to potty, I'd be forever grateful.
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Anxiety and Panic

How to Get Out of a Work Rut or Career Slump


Have you ever had a day when things felt off? Maybe you continually lost focus, had an utter lack of motivation, or simply couldn’t rally to get anything done. We’ve all had unproductive days here and there, but occasionally, these slumps can span days, weeks, or even months.

A single bad day is one thing, but a lingering work rut can be detrimental to your happiness, well-being, and career. When you’re in a slump, you don’t produce your best work and may become disengaged from the tasks that used to excite you.
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