Motivation and Inspiration Articles

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.

7 Ways to Navigate Self-Doubt

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

7 Ways to Navigate Self-DoubtEveryone experiences self-doubt. It’s one of the most common concerns psychotherapist Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, encounters in her therapy and career counseling.

Self-doubt shows up in different ways. It might manifest as seeking advice or validation for decisions because we don’t trust ourselves, she said.

It may mean minimizing yourself, such as saying that a personal idea was something you read online “to avoid rejection in case others don’t like your idea.”

Important: Do Not Overfeed (Yourself or Others)

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

Female_betta_closeupLast weekend, we had a lot of excitement. My nine-year-old daughter got a betta fish, which she named Esther.

When we were talking to the clerk about how to care for the fish, she told us, “Be sure not to overfeed your fish. Just two pellets.”

When we read the little instruction book that came with the bowl, it said, “Do not overfeed your fish.” On the bottle of fish food, it said, “DO NOT OVERFEED.” So it seems clear to me that people have a real tendency to overfeed their fish.

Which got me thinking — why is it so fun to feed animals, birds, people? Even when it’s not such a good idea.

You Can’t Force Things

Monday, October 13th, 2014

You Can't Force ThingsIt’s been tough getting to sleep the last few nights.

I’ll go to bed and turn off the light and then the thoughts start pouring in. I’ll worry that I didn’t do the right thing in any number of situations during the day. I’ll worry about the work I have to do the next day. I’ll worry that no matter what I do, I’ll never be closer to my dream of buying a house in the mountains.

It occurred to me last night while I was lying there, though, that you can’t force sleep. If you try to fall asleep and see that you’re not, that’s just one more thing to worry about. The sleep will come; it always does. There’s no point in trying to force it to happen.

Recent Comments
  • Josh: Great article, I could really use active conditioning on learning to control my emotions (I am known as a...
  • brokeandblue: I am someone that prides myself on being non-judgemental. At all. In fact I get complimented on this,...
  • Cathy Taughinbaugh: This is a wonderful list of blogs, which are so helpful to those suffering from anxiety. I wanted...
  • Parsnip: Interesting article, the logic fits in well with what happens. I think that swearing also reduces...
  • MomNxwife: I agree with what you say in this article; however, after living with loved ones who suffer with bi-polar...
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