General

Interview with Heather King on Happiness, Spirituality

Happiness interview: Heather King.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Heather King’s new book, Shirt of Flame: A Year With Saint Therese of Lisieux. I’m fascinated with anything about St. Therese; she’s my spiritual master and I’m always trying to find new material to read, so Heather King’s book was just my kind of thing.

I was also very interested to hear what Heather King had to say specifically on the subject of happiness.

What’s a simple activity that consistently makes you happier?

Prayer. “Simple,” yet it requires my whole mind, strength, body, heart, soul. For me, prayer is not so much an activity as a way of being; a stance toward life -- and death.

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Depression

Therapists Spill: My Mental Health Hero

The mental health field is filled with heroes. Whether researchers, authors, actors, coaches or clinicians, these individuals help others lead more fulfilling, less stress-soaked lives. They help shrink the lingering stigma of mental illness.

They advocate for better treatments. They create better treatments. They practice what they preach. And they promote a message of hope and positivity.

In honor of World Mental Health Day today, five practitioners reveal the heroes who’ve influenced how they work -- and even live their lives.

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Creativity

How I Create: Q&A With Career Coach Michelle Ward

What do you want to be when you grow up? That’s the question Michelle Ward, the When I Grow Up Coach, helps her clients answer. Ward is certified by the International Coach Federation. She’s spent over 750 hours coaching hundreds of creative people to devise the career they think they can’t have -- or discover it in the first place.

She’s also a musical theater actress with her BFA from NYU/Tisch. And she’s one of the most creative and passionate people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting online. Ward infuses everything she does with creativity and her enthusiastic one-of-a-kind approach.

Below, in our monthly series, Ward shares the behind-the-scenes of her creative process, how she overcomes the comparison trap, her powerful advice for readers and much more.

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Anxiety and Panic

3 Quick Ways to Stop Worrying on the Spot

When you get caught up in worrying, it can seem hard – or even impossible – to get out. One worry leads to another, and before you know it you’re tangled up in a web of worry thoughts.

But by using certain tools, you can quiet the mental chatter and calm your anxious mind.

Kathryn Tristan, author of the forthcoming book, Why Worry? Stop Coping and Start Living (available December 4, 2012), shares three strategies that can reduce worrying right now.

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Anxiety and Panic

How to Stop Coping With Anxiety & Start Living

When you’re riddled with anxiety or worry, it can feel like you’re in the back seat of a careering car. Your anxiety and worry have hijacked the driver’s seat, feet slammed on the gas, while you’re confused and feeling out of control with no access to the brakes. It’s frustrating and demoralizing to feel like you’re being dragged around by angst and unease.

Fortunately, there are many effective techniques to help you return to the driver’s seat.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Kathryn Tristan, a researcher at the Washington University School of Medicine and author of the forthcoming book Why Worry? Stop Coping and Start Living (available December 4, 2012).

As her book title reveals, Tristan believes that we can stop coping with anxiety and worry and instead start living fulfilling lives. She discusses this in greater detail below.

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Anxiety and Panic

How Kathryn Tristan Overcame Her Anxiety – And You Can Too!

Research scientist and author Kathryn Tristan was unable to fly or leave her hometown for over 20 years.

But after working from the inside out, as she puts it, Tristan was able to move past her overwhelming anxiety and panic. Through the use of specific techniques, she's been able to quell them and lead a fulfilling life.

Below, Tristan, who’s also author of the forthcoming book Why Worry? Stop Coping and Start Living (available December 4, 2012), reveals the four strategies that have helped her overcome anxiety and worry.

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Retrain Your Brain to Reduce Worry

Worrying can be helpful. It propels us into action and prevents procrastination. Even more importantly, it protects us from potential perils. But, of course, too much worrying is problematic. Too much worrying boosts stress and leads to anxiety.

But you’re not powerless over your worry-filled mind. There are many ways you can retrain your brain to reduce your worrying ways.

Below, Kathryn Tristan shares several suggestions. Tristan is a researcher at the Washington University School of Medicine and author of the forthcoming book Why Worry? Stop Coping and Start Living (available December 4, 2012).

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Addiction

3 Anti-Anxiety Strategies That Actually Don’t Work

Some of the strategies you’re using to reduce your anxiety might actually perpetuate and heighten it instead.

Kathryn Tristan, author of the forthcoming book Why Worry? Stop Coping and Start Living (available December 4, 2012), reveals three common tactics that can backfire.

Q: What are some anti-anxiety strategies that actually don't work?

A: Often people use three common coping strategies that do more harm than good. In a nutshell, these are pills, booze, or avoidance.

Scientific studies suggest that 1 out of 2 people in the U.S. will suffer at some time in their life from anxiety, depression, or addiction. That means you, me, someone in our family, a friend, etc., is currently or will be dealing with one of more of these life-altering issues.

Why?

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Creativity

How I Create: Q&A with Artist Jolie Guillebeau

{Jolie Guillebeau's paintings}
Jolie Guillebeau isn’t just an artist. She’s also a storyteller. In 2010 she set out to paint 100 paintings in 100 days.

She did it.

Fast forward a few years, and she's still painting daily. In fact, she sends out an email every day with a snapshot of her artwork and an accompanying story.

Guillebeau flexes her creativity muscles on a regular basis. Asking her to chat about her creative process for our monthly series was a no-brainer.

Below, Guillebeau shares what inspires her work, how she overcomes self-doubt, a clever way she keeps her creative juices flowing and much more.

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Books

Rewire Your Brain For Love: An Interview with Marsha Lucas, Ph.D.

Last year, I met a very cool licensed psychologist and neuropsychologist at a book signing for a mutual friend of ours. Marsha Lucas, Ph.D., has been practicing psychotherapy and studying the brain-behavior relationship for over twenty years. Prior to entering private practice, she was a neuropsychologist on the faculty at the Emory University School of Medicine.

In other words, she was probably one of those persons in grade school that was taken aside and given more challenging work, while the rest of us (at least the one writing this blog) struggled through the regular assignments.

Her book, “Rewire Your Brain for Love,” is a fascinating read because she delves into how the human brain works -- or fumbles -- in relationships.

In other words, she explores how we developed our current relationship wiring, and, if part of that is contributing to toxic relationships, how to modify it through mindfulness meditation. Lucas shows how a short meditation practice can result in seven key relationship benefits, including communication with yourself and others, an enhanced ability to handle fear, and being more emotionally authentic and resilient.

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Anger

Q&A with David Fitzpatrick, author of “Sharp: A Memoir”

Sharp: A Memoir is the beautifully written, harrowing story of David Fitzpatrick and his 20-year struggle with bipolar disorder and self-mutilation. One of five children, Fitzpatrick endured regular bullying from his older brother and later was tormented daily by his college roommates. He began cutting in his early 20s, steeped in self-loathing and spending years in psychiatric hospitals.

While Sharp is an intense and raw read -- and may be triggering for some -- it's ultimately a hopeful and inspiring story. It’s a story of a man who gets caught up in the mental health system but finally finds himself, as well as a fulfilling life.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Fitzpatrick about his powerful book. Below, Fitzpatrick reveals what inspired him to pen Sharp, what it was like reopening old wounds, what helped him lift the veil of mental illness, how he maintains recovery today and much more.

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Books

Q&A with Taylor Jones, Founder & Author of Dear Photograph

It’s one of the most poignant websites you’ll ever visit. Seriously, check it out and try not to be moved or get teary-eyed. (I have. Every. single. time.)

DearPhotograph.com features photo submissions from all over the world. The premise: Individuals visit the original place where a meaningful photo was taken. They hold up the old photo and snap away. Then they add a caption, beginning with “Dear photograph.”

CBS named Dear Photograph the No. 1 website in 2011. TIME Magazine ranked it No. 7 in its list of top 50 websites.

The site also has spawned a breathtaking book, Dear Photograph, which features never-before-seen photos.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Taylor Jones, the founder and curator of Dear Photograph. Below, Jones shares how he started the site, why it’s struck a cord with so many, the submission that’ll always stay with him and much more.

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