Psych Central

Motivation and Inspiration Articles

Honoring the Difficult

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Honoring the DifficultWhat’s your initial response when you’re confronted with a difficult situation or a tough task? If you’re like most people, you responded with heaviness (it’s so hard) and negativity (it’s so tedious and troublesome), accompanied with a sigh and a groan.

Yet, approaching something difficult doesn’t have to be that way. It’s certainly not that way when we are little kids. It’s a tough task for a 1-year-old to start to walk. He cautiously puts one foot in front of the other, attempts to balance himself and frequently falls.

Does he then give up? Does he think in his little baby language, ‘this is too hard for me; I can’t do this’?

Can People Really Change?

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Can People Really Change?Surely there are things about yourself that you don’t like. So you change them, right? Well, not exactly. It’s more likely that you keep on doing them, even though you say you’d like to change them. So is the old adage, “A leopard can’t change his spots,” true? That people can’t change?

No, people can change.

But you can’t just snap your fingers and say goodbye to well-established patterns, even when those patterns result in bad consequences. Sure, you wish it could be easier. You may be impatient with yourself, giving yourself a good scold: “Just stop it already!” Oh, how I hate the word “just” when it pertains to change. We don’t change “just” because someone (even ourselves) wants us to.

14 Recommended Books for Psychiatry Patients

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

14 Recommended Books for Psychiatry PatientsAn effective psychiatrist or psychologist will own a bookshelf stocked with recommended reading for his patients. 

He will have read a host of books on various topics, from sleep strategies to marital advice, so he knows what he is recommending. My psychiatrist has compiled the following list of recommended books for patients. It may be helpful to you too.

An Alternative to To-Do Lists for Getting Tasks Done

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

An Alternative to To-Do Lists for Getting Tasks DoneMost of us use some kind of to-do list, whether it’s tasks scribbled on a sticky note (like me), projects typed into a computer or an app on your phone, or a snapshot of your day written into a planner.

Author Sam Bennett finds to-do lists to be “too dictatorial.” It makes her feel like a high schooler who’s being told to do her homework.

Instead, she prefers creating a could-do list.

These very words, “could do,” remind her that she has a choice about the tasks she works on.

Trying Not to Try: The Art & Science of Spontaneity

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

Trying Not to Try: The Art & Science of SpontaneityAnyone who has struggled with insomnia knows that the harder you try to sleep, the more likely you are to stay awake all night.

There have been stories of folks falling asleep in the chairs outside the emergency room of a hospital because it is there that they must do the opposite — stay awake – in order to articulate the severity of their insomnia. Trying too hard can surely backfire with sports, public speaking, any type of performance, dating, and just about everything at which you want to succeed.

Resolving the paradox of trying not to try, or securing relaxation in order to succeed, has engaged great thinkers throughout history.

Valentine’s Day: Love When You Are Feeling Blue

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Valentine's Day: Love When You Are Feeling BlueTomorrow, it’s Valentine’s Day again, and maybe you are not feeling so lovey-dovey. Maybe you are feeling low or lonely.

Maybe you are feeling the cold emptiness of loss of those who should still be here but are not here anymore. Maybe you are feeling the defeat of making ends meet when no matter how hard you work, the numbers are not adding up. Maybe your plan is not going as planned. Maybe the weather just seems so wrong.

And since Valentine’s Day is about love, and you are deep in the darkness, maybe you feel like Valentine’s Day is not for you this year. Maybe you feel completely left out, watching people around you exchange kisses and love while you stand alone in your pain.

7 Steps to Surviving Job Loss

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

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Losing your job hurts.

Companies use fancy terms to describe it – downsizing, reorganization, consolidation, …

Why Making Comparisons Hurts You More Than It Helps

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Why Making Comparisons Hurts You More Than It HelpsAt the start of a new year, many people make resolutions and are inspired to make changes in their lives. This year my resolution is to have no resolution.

The problem with resolutions is that it can place you on a dangerous course of comparison. We constantly compare images, status, children, wealth, skills or values.

Although dangerous, comparison also is quite essential for our growth and development. We all need a parent, teacher, friend, pastor or role model to guide us and teach us. Most times your mentor knows something more than you, hence the comparison: you know more; I know less. Therefore, I want to know what you know. There’s also the triple comparison: he is “better” than me, but I’m “better” than she.

One tricky comparison is that of suffering. For example, someone’s family member dies and another person’s marriage is over. Though different, both are experiencing the same feelings of pain, grief and loss. To compare the extent of one’s trials is not so important, in my opinion.

What We Lose When We Bypass the Little Moments

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

What We Lose When We Bypass the Little MomentsDuring this past Christmas season, I ventured into Rockefeller Center to work on a project with my friend. I also wanted to immerse myself in the magic that Manhattan has to offer, especially during that time of year when everything around us seems to emit a bit of sparkle. The glorious Christmas tree was gorgeous (as usual), the lights shimmered brightly, illuminating the sidewalks, and festive caroling could be heard.

And yet, the atmosphere didn’t feel quite right. I was being pushed and shoved in a sea of aggressive onlookers who were also eager to acquire a touch of the holiday spirit. Everyone was desperate and determined to snap a photo on their phone or their tablet.

The pace was fast. Movement was rushed. My friend and I wondered: were they really here to absorb the sights, or did they just hope to get a snazzy picture for Instagram and bustle onward?

There’s something to be said for those little moments — moments that can feel special if we give the immediate present a chance.

6 Things to Say to Someone with Depression or Who’s Depressed

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

6 Things to Say to Someone with Depression or Who's Depressed

Lots of people experience depression, while others just have bad days or just are feeling down on themselves. No matter why they’re depressed, sad, or unmotivated to do much of anything, one thing is certain — it’s a tough feeling to experience. Depression is isolating — like you’re all alone in it, and that it will never end.

As a friend or partner of someone who’s experiencing that depression or feeling blue, what can you do to help? After all, there’s a lot of advice telling you what not to say to a depressed person and things that most people don’t want to hear when they’re feeling down.

We crowd-sourced the following list by querying our Facebook friends about what they’d like to hear when they’re feeling down, blue, or depressed. Here are a few of their very, very good suggestions.

Answering the Question: ‘What Should I Do With My Life?’

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

Answering the Question: 'What Should I Do With My Life?'What’s the first question exchanged when we meet someone new? You guessed it: “So… What do you do?”

In our culture, what you do for a living is inextricably tied to society’s perception of your worth. A stable job with a good salary is highly regarded, but we often look less lovingly upon the self-trained artist or entrepreneur who gives blood, sweat, and tears to make their vision possible.

Why is this? Is the number on your paycheck the true meaning of success?

Adults & ADHD: 7 Tips for Finishing What You Start

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Adults & ADHD: 7 Tips for Finishing What You StartBecause of the nature of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), adults with the disorder quickly lose interest in what they’re doing. The ADHD brain gets bored easily and needs novelty (this helps to boost dopamine levels, which are low in people with ADHD).

Of course, this doesn’t bode well for wrapping up tasks.

The need for newness also means that adults with ADHD often start many different projects and simply get too busy to finish them all, according to Sarah D. Wright, a life coach who specializes in working with people who have attention disorders.

Plus, they can get stuck on a task, because they’re unsure of how to move forward, she said.

In order to finish what you start, it helps to have support and get clear on the parameters of your project. Below, Wright revealed how to do just that, along with other specific tips for following through.

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