Motivation and Inspiration Articles

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.

The San Francisco Giants Model Winning Relationships

Monday, November 10th, 2014

The San Francisco Giants Model Winning RelationshipsWhy would a marriage maven be writing about a baseball team? Living near San Francisco, how could I not get caught up in the hoopla? The Giants beat the odds again on October 29th, claiming their third World Series title in five years.

“How do they do it?” the pundits ask about this so-called team of misfits. And what does it have to do with marriage?

Actually, just about everything.

The Giants’ post-game interviews are enlightening.

How to Detach from Both Criticism and Praise

Friday, November 7th, 2014

joy in the new yearCriticism stings. Many of us may be so focused on protecting ourselves from the potential pain of criticism that we start to tailor our work — and our lives — to avoid it. We may let criticism dictate everything from the ideas we bring up in a board meeting to the passions we pursue.

Interestingly, we do the same with praise. We get so used to positive feedback that we may change how we act. And, when we don’t receive the accolades and applause, we start questioning ourselves and feeling like failures.

What’s the Meaning of Your Life?

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

anya meaning 2In his classic bestseller, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl explains that among the first things that he had to do once he arrived at Auschwitz was to surrender his clothes. This is humbling in itself, of course. But this was extraordinarily painful for Frankl, because in the jacket of his coat he had hidden the manuscript of his first book, in which he had invested so much of himself.

In turn, he inherited the rags of an inmate who had already died in the gas chambers. In the pocket, Frankl found a page torn out of a Hebrew prayer book, including the most important Jewish prayer, “Shema Yisrael.”

“How should I have interpreted such a ‘coincidence’ other than as a challenge to live my thoughts instead of merely put them on paper?” he writes.

Recovery is the Voice that Tells Your Future

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Recovery is the Voice that Tells Your FutureIt’s 6:30 a.m. in Germany, and I am underwater, pulling my body through the cool water’s drag. I’ve ridden my bike to the swimming pool (das schwimmbad), and have lost my location amid the winding streets. I only know that I must exercise. That is enough to pull me from sleep at dawn and push me through the unknown streets while my heart clanks like a rocket in my chest.

I will risk venturing into unknown safety to exercise. The compulsion scares me. Not appeasing it scares me more.

5 Tips for Changing Negative Self Beliefs

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Saving Yourself First

“Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain.”

- Robert Gary Lee

A year ago, I began to accept that I was depressed, and had been for a long time. It was scary. I broke up with my live-in boyfriend of almost three years, quit my job, and though I didn’t want to, I moved halfway across the country to move back in with my parents.

I was a wreck; all of the feelings that I had been suppressing for years, some literally since childhood, came flooding back. My only defense in the past had been to ignore these feelings, though I did so quite poorly and ended up being an emotional basket case most of the time anyway.

25 Questions for Cultivating Self-Compassion

Friday, October 24th, 2014

25 Questions for Cultivating Self-CompassionAs I wrote in this piece on journaling prompts for self-reflection and self-discovery, part of building a healthy relationship with ourselves is keeping an open and honest dialogue. It’s continually asking ourselves questions and welcoming the answers. It’s getting to know ourselves, at our core.

Another part of building a healthy relationship is cultivating self-compassion. But I know that for many of us this is hard. Really hard. Being kind feels foreign, and unnatural. Instead, after many years, our automatic reaction may be to bash, berate and bully ourselves.

The Secret to Living with Treatment-Resistant Depression

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

sad_woman09dYou’d never suspect this by listening to pharmaceutical ads, but only one-third of people with major depression get better after trying an antidepressant. The others go on to try different drugs, or combinations of medicine and psychotherapy, and usually seven in 10 achieve remission.

The other third?

They are labeled with the three most dreaded words in the mental health profession: treatment-resistant depression.

Radical Self-Care for Moms

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Radical Self-Care for MomsAs a mom, when you hear that it’s important to take care of yourself, your eyes might glaze over and you may be thinking something like: “Another thing I need to add to my to-do list: ‘self-care.’ How am I supposed to do that?”

That’s the reaction Elizabeth Sullivan sometimes gets from her clients.

It Helps to Focus on the Positive Stuff

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

It Helps to Focus on the Positive StuffThings are OK as they are. That’s the one fact I’ve been struggling with recently.

I have this image in my mind as to how I want things to be. I want to make lots of money, I want a house in the mountains, I want to get married. All of this I worry about on a near-daily basis. These are also the things that drive me to work, to be better, and to achieve more things.

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