Motivation and Inspiration Articles

Lessons Our Emotions Can Teach Us — and How We Can Learn

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Lessons Our Emotions Can Teach Us – And How We Can LearnMany of us dismiss our emotions. We think of them as capricious and inconvenient. We think they stall problem-solving. We think they take too much time to process, and we don’t have the luxury of simply sitting and stewing.

If we grew up in a home where emotions were vilified or regularly suppressed, where good girls didn’t get angry and good boys didn’t cry, we might’ve adopted the same views and habits of repressing ourselves.

The Psychology of Rewarding Yourself with Treats

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

The Psychology of Rewarding Yourself with TreatsIn my book Better Than Before, I describe the many strategies that we can use to change our habits. We all have our favorites — but I think most of us would agree that the Strategy of Treats is the most fun strategy.

“Treats” may sound like a self-indulgent, frivolous strategy, but it’s not. Because forming good habits can be draining, treats can play an important role.

When we give ourselves treats, we feel energized, cared for, and contented, which boosts our self-command — and self-command helps us maintain our healthy habits.

Carefully Choose Your Actions with These 3 Mindfulness Tools

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Using Your Senses to Gain a Richer Life

“Your task is not to seek for love, but to seek and find the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” — Rumi

As humans, we are creatures of habit. We not only stick to the same brand of shampoo, but we also have many mental, emotional, and behavioral patterns that we fall back on day to day.

This isn’t always a bad thing: mindlessly getting the same brand of shampoo every time saves us probably twenty minutes of careful comparison. We can’t be mindful all the time.

When Things Don’t Turn Out How You’d Hoped, Expected or Planned

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

When Things Don’t Turn Out How You’d Hoped, Expected or PlannedMaybe you took a job that was supposed to be fulfilling, but you dread going to work. Maybe you studied intensely for many months but still didn’t pass the bar. Maybe you thought you’d be married by now, but you aren’t even dating anyone. Maybe you poured your heart into a project or relationship only to get fired or break up. Maybe you and your kids aren’t as close as you were before.

When life doesn’t turn out the way we’d hoped, planned or expected, we feel tremendous disappointment and start doubting everything, including ourselves, writes Christine Hassler, a life coach and speaker, in her book Expectation Hangover: Overcoming Disappointment in Work, Love and Life.

5 Playful Prompts for Creating a Meaningful Life

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

5 Playful Prompts for Creating a Meaningful LifePlay is powerful. I’ve written before about the importance of play for adults. Many of us dismiss play because we assume that once we become adults, it’s time to get serious, get to work and chip away at our to-do lists.

But play actually makes us more productive (in addition to providing us with more joy). That’s because play moves us.

According to Marney K. Makridakis in her excellent book Hop, Skip, Jump: 75 Ways to Playfully Manifest a Meaningful Life, “When it comes to the intersection of play and productivity, the secret is quite simple: what moves us is what moves us, which simply means what moves us emotionally is what moves us to action.”

Play is never “still, stuck or stagnant; it somehow always moves. So when it comes to manifesting a meaningful life, play works.”

Play is a creative and fun way to discover what a meaningful life looks for us. What does a meaningful life encompass? How can we create it?

ADHD & Adults: Help for Organizing Your Household

Friday, December 5th, 2014

ADHD & Adults: Help for Organizing Your Household Almost every symptom of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) plays out in the household, said Terry Matlen, MSW, ACSW, a psychotherapist and author of the book The Queen of Distraction: How Women with ADHD Can Conquer Chaos, Find Focus and Get More Done.

Disorganization and distractibility lead to lost papers, unpaid bills, piles of laundry and lots of clutter, which can negatively affect relationships and spark blowups, she said.

Lack of planning leads to late dinners, leading to both cranky kids and parents, she said. (Plus, many kids with ADHD also are picky eaters, which complicates meal-planning even more, she added.)

Letting Go: External Changes

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Letting Go: External Changes“When some girls go through a breakup, they’re inspired to cut or dye their hair,” my professor said in a lecture for his “Psychology of Personality” course.

When experiencing any significant change, whether it’s a breakup or embarking on a new life chapter, we may crave external transformation. It will not resolve the issues at hand; however, it can reflect inner growth and progress. There’s a certain catharsis to physical alterations.

7 Ways for Those with Dysthymia to Get the Day off to a Good Start

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

7 Ways for Those with Dysthymia to Get the Day off to a Good StartI’m a deep thinker, a creative type — and a dysthymic. As in: a person with dysthymia, officially known as Persistent Depressive Disorder, characterized by feeling “down” on a regular basis without reaching the level of near-total impairment associated with major depressive disorder.

The sense of depression is at its worst when I have little immediate “busyness” to occupy my mind.

Often the hardest part of the day is starting it: that is, getting out of bed in the morning. If you have a similar problem, the following strategies help:

Your Inner Voice: Friend or Foe?

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

Your Inner Voice: Friend or Foe?Who is the person you speak to most frequently?

Why, it’s yourself, of course.

And what is the nature of those conversations? Do you tend to be harsh, nasty and punitive about who you are and what you’ve done (or haven’t done?) Do you frequently expect too much of yourself? Are you your own worst enemy? Does your self-judgment pierce your heart, deflate your energy?

If so, it’s time to take two paths to change your inner voice from foe to friend.

What Habits Are Best for Creativity?

Friday, November 21st, 2014

What Habits Are Best for Creativity?When I tell people that I’ve been working on Better Than Before, my book about habit change, many people ask, “What habits are best for creativity? What habits help people think creatively — and also, actually produce?“

Often, people make the case for adopting a particular habit by pointing to a renowned figure who practiced that habit, with great success.

What Does Your Habits Manifesto Look Like?

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

What Does Your Habits Manifesto Look Like?Writing a personal manifesto is a great exercise for clarifying your thinking — and it’s also a creative, absorbing process. I’ve written my Twelve Personal Commandments, and I also collect Secrets of Adulthood, which aren’t manifestos but are related to the same impulse.

As I’ve been writing Better Than Before, my book about how we make and break habits, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about habit-formation.

So I decided I should write my manifesto for habits.

How to Refrain from Getting Too Excited about Potentialities

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

How to Refrain from Getting Too Excited about PotentialitiesA lot has been happening in my life.

I’ve had a lot of really exciting opportunities, for which I’m incredibly thankful, but I’ve also had many potential opportunities that fell through. Sometimes they fell through based on my inability to do the work, sometimes it just wasn’t the right fit and sometimes it was no fault of my own and extenuating circumstances got in the way.

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