Brain and Behavior

Living in a Bigger Story

Out beyond the shadows of our old thinking, a wholly different world appears. A world that delights in our explorations, our need to join with others. A world that welcomes and supports our endeavors. The world knows how to change and grow. ~ Margaret J. Wheatley & Myron Kellner-Rogers, A Simpler Way
We love epic stories, those invoking the heroic journey. We resonate and identify with larger-than-life characters, not simply because we are fascinated with their exploits, but because we are drawn to the archetypal qualities they represent. And that allows us to tap into the inner resources we can discover in our own inner treasure chest:
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General

How to Recover from Failure

You create a presentation that does not go well. You launch a product that only 10 people buy. Your relationship is over. You don’t get the promotion or new job you really wanted. You get fired. You do something else, and feel like you’ve fallen flat on your face.

Understandably, you’re devastated. After all, you failed.

But failure doesn’t have to be a demoralizing letdown, a crushing catastrophe or a window into some bleak future. Because failure is what we make of it.
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College

4 Times You Should Say No to Additional Responsibilities at Work

Think about your average work week: How many of your daily tasks fit into the original job description you were hired to do? Chances are that, over time, out of an eagerness to prove yourself, you’ve taken on a number of responsibilities that fall well outside the realm of your core role. But how much of this newfound accountability is contributing to your professional advancement -- and how much of it is just running you ragged?

Top performers can be a prime target for additional requests because they enjoy challenge and frequently seek out new ways to demonstrate their skills. But do you find yourself saying yes every time your boss asks you to take a stab at a project that’s in no way related to your core competencies simply because you want to look like a team player?
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College

How to Get Over Your Fear of Talking about Money (And Get the Pay Raise You Deserve)


Talking about money can be difficult, even scary. It’s a topic that makes many people feel uncomfortable. Whether you’re negotiating higher pay in response to a new job offer or vying for a promotion in your current role, discussing salary is downright stressful.

You’re afraid of getting turned down, making things awkward, or even offending your manager. So, you make excuses as a way to sidestep the conversation. You tone down your requests -- or worse, you don’t...
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Friends

The 7 Habits of Socially Connected People

Some people may be naturally gregarious and easily find themselves socially connected. For most of us, feeling truly integrated into a social scene takes some effort. Luckily, there are predictable patterns to social success. Do certain things, and people will be drawn to you.

Below are seven skills that all socially successful people possess:

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Creativity

Why Vulnerability Will Make You Successful

I am a writer who blogs about being a highly sensitive person. I sit in my writing chair with my Mac and various beverages strewn about me, and write. It is very cathartic. I write about my emotions, feelings, thoughts, struggles, eccentricities, questionable habits, phobias, and anxieties. It feels so good to get them out. I finish my pieces and edit them for publication. I get ready to release them to the world. Then, as easily as they come, those cathartic feelings soon dwindle to just traces that quickly get absorbed by vulnerability.

What a word, Vulnerability. It doesn’t look nice. It doesn’t sound nice. It sure doesn’t feel nice. However unappealing the word is, vulnerability and I have been getting a lot closer lately. It’s not something I set out to do, like a New Year’s resolution:

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Depression

How to Get Out of Bed When You’re Depressed

A woman on ProjectBeyondBlue.com, my depression community, recently asked me this: “You exercise daily and eat the right things. You research and write this stuff for a living. But what about those of us who can’t get out of bed in the morning? What about when you are too depressed to exercise, eat right, or work? How do you simply get out of bed?”

The honest answer is that I don’t know.
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Brain and Behavior

1-Minute Mindfulness Exercises

Interested in doing mindfulness meditation but don't think you have the time? Below are 9 mindfulness exercises you can do in a minute or under.

Yawn and stretch for 10 seconds every hour.
Do a fake yawn if you have to. That will trigger real ones. Say “ahh” as you exhale. Notice how a yawn interrupts your thoughts and feelings. This brings you into the present.

Then stretch really, really slowly for at least 10 seconds. Notice any tightness and say "ease" or just say hello to that place (being mindful -- noticing without judgment). Take another 20 seconds to notice and then get back to what you were doing.

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Family

7 Steps to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

Congratulations! Despite the sarcastic negativity and nay-sayers, you have chosen a path of self-improvement. Here are seven simple things you can do to make sure you achieve all of your 2016 goals.

Treat yourself.
Your goals require a special type of strength from your mind and body. Acknowledge this, own this, and love yourself for deciding to improve despite the challenge it will be.

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General

How Do You Use Your Limited Time & Brain Cycles?

There's a meme that started way back in 2007 talking about a professor who fills up a jar full of golf balls, pebbles, and sand to demonstrate that you should fill your life with the important things first (the larger golf balls), so that the little things (the pebbles and sand) don't take up all the room in your life (the jar).

There's a reason memes become popular and get shared online -- because there is some kind of universal truth connected to them that people recognize. This clever story of a jar and golf balls is just such a meme.

You have a very short time on this planet -- much shorter than you realize when you take into account the tens of thousands of years of civilization before you were born, and the likely tens of thousands of years in the future. How are you going to spend that time? What kind of things will you spend most days focusing on -- the little, useless things, or the bigger, meaningful stuff?

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General

Be SMART and Avoid Failing at New Year’s Resolutions

Do you know people who have a hard time maintaining their big New Year's goals past February? Who are the people around you who joke, "Yeah, I made a resolution to lose weight, but then Valentine's Day came around." Or "I made a resolution to quit smoking, but then I needed a break at work."

If making and sticking to goals is hard for you, it does not mean that you are helpless, hopeless, or should give up trying. Far too many people make goals that are too big, too general, way too difficult, and without any tracking tools. People tend to create large, grandiose, long-term goals with no short-terms goals to guide the process. Follow the SMART method below to reach your resolutions for 2016.
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Depression

10 Ways to Fight Off the Winter Blues

People with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or the clinical version of the winter blues, aren’t the only ones who struggle with the shorter days, colder weather, and the general blah of the winter season. Less sunlight can affect the circadian rhythm, the body’s biological clock that governs certain brain wave activity and hormone production.

If you’re human, chances are you've woken up on a gray, wintry day and wanted to stay in bed. For older people, and for folks with a condition like
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