Self-Help Articles

Like Jung and Wharton, Do You Remember When You First Knew Yourself?

Monday, January 19th, 2015

mirroremptyIn my writing about habits and happiness, I keep coming back to the same idea: to shape our habits, to build our happiness, we have to start with a knowledge of ourselves — our own nature, our own interest, our own temperament.

It sounds so easy to know yourself — after all, you hang out with yourself all day! But it’s very, very challenging. We’re so distracted by how we wish we were, or by what think we ought to be, or by what other people expect from us … we lose touch with what’s actually true.

Is Brain-Training a Hoax?

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Is Brain-Training a Hoax?In a society that glorifies brain-related companies such as Lumosity, it’s important to note that while their goal is moral, their process is inherently flawed.

As an Integrative Neuroscience major at Binghamton University, I can understand why parents and children alike fall for the tempting ways to enhance your brain’s functioning. After all, it’s no secret that as we begin to age, our memory and other senses begin to fade gradually and sometimes rather abruptly. Nevertheless, the market for these brain-training websites is alive and thriving.

Lumosity prides themselves in being able to “enhance neuroplasticity” through games and other tasks. While their mission statement is not incorrect, it’s not the only route to mental clarity.

5 Helpful Practices for Families

Friday, January 16th, 2015

5 Helpful Practices for FamiliesIn his book The Secrets of Happy Families author and New York Times family columnist Bruce Feiler turns to various fields and individuals — the military, Silicon Valley, sports coaches and Green Berets — for insights into creating stronger, more connected families. He also tries out these tips at home with his own family, which includes his wife and twin daughters.

In the book, Feiler shares all kinds of tools for teaching kids values, creating a more peaceful household and having more fun as a family.

Here are five tips and tools from The Secrets of Happy Families, which you might want to adopt for your family.

6 Tips for Building Emotional Muscle When Life Gets Tough

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Woman outdoors holding flower smiling

If your emotional muscle is damaged from the past, it’s up to you to build it back up.

The scenario happens so often, it’s practically cliche:

A woman or man in an “unhappy” marriage meets someone new. Instantly, there’s a powerful connection, and maybe even an affair occurs; and, instantly, this person thinks she or he now knows how to be happy again.

The Reasons We Ruminate and How to Reduce the Cycle

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

The Reasons We Ruminate And How to Reduce the CycleWhen we’re ruminating about something, we’re really obsessing about it. We overthink it. We blow it up in our minds. We review a situation over and over. And over.

Therapist Melody Wilding, LMSW, compared our ruminating minds to a broken record. Typically we ruminate about the past, including perceived mistakes and missed opportunities, she said.

Ruminating is “characterized by overwhelming self-criticism and negative self-talk about one’s failures and shortcomings.” We think that if we’d just done something better or had been better, the outcome would’ve been more positive, she said.

Why Compliments are Powerful

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Why Compliments are Powerful

There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread. ~ Mother Teresa

Psychologist John Gottman most likely agrees. His widely respected research found that in good marriages, compliments outnumber criticisms by more than five to one.

My book, Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love:30 Minutes A Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted, tells exactly how to hold a successful marriage meeting. They are short, gently structured conversations with your spouse which fosters romance, intimacy, teamwork, and smoother resolution of issues.

Relieve Pain, Stress, and Sleeplessness with Japanese Massage Techniques

Monday, January 12th, 2015

male sleeping patterns

Getting a good night’s sleep can seem like an impossible dream for those in chronic pain. And to make matters worse, the situation tends to worsen over time, resulting in a never-ending pain/insomnia cycle. The pain causes sleep deprivation, which in turn weakens the body’s natural pain control mechanisms — leading to more pain and more insomnia.

Since medication is not recommended for long-term use, researchers from the University of Alberta have been exploring low-cost, alternative therapies to help people with chronic pain get better sleep.

Their findings show that self-administered hand shiatsu — a Japanese form of massage, similar to acupressure — can help people in pain fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep for a longer period of time.

Working Out of a Creative Slump, Literally

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Working Out of a Creative Slump, LiterallyMore often than not the advice I’m given when I hit a creative slump is to do more creative things. Make a collage. Write in my journal. Draw or doodle. Read a book or watch a movie. Find a new way to reorganize or rearrange my workspace.

But when I’m not feeling creative, creative fixes don’t sound appealing. The more things fail to sound appealing, the less I do and the bigger the slump. It seems like it will never end, and I start to wonder if maybe I’ve already had all my best ideas.

Hitting a creative block leaves us lost and bored. It can make us doubt our abilities, our choices and our livelihood. You just don’t feel like yourself.

5 Ways Couples Can Connect When They’re Super Busy

Monday, January 12th, 2015

5 Ways Couples Can Connect When They're Super BusyYou don’t have to be told that today’s world is a rapidly moving one. You know it. You feel it every time you start writing your to-do list or reviewing it at night, noticing that you haven’t exactly crossed everything off.

“Every individual, couple, and family experiences the ramifications of the fast-paced world in which we live,” said Kaitlyn Slight, MS, a marriage and family therapist who specializes in working with couples in Raleigh, N.C.

“Coming home from work to do more work, carpooling children, unmanageable responsibilities, and impossible deadlines leave people fatigued, frustrated, stressed, and with little energy to give to relationships.”

How to Make the Most of Therapy for Your Child

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

How to Make the Most of Therapy for Your ChildTherapy isn’t just helpful for adults. It’s important for kids, too. Therapy provides kids with “a ‘safe’ place to process and explore their world without the inhibitions that the world places on them,” said Clair Mellenthin, LCSW, a child and family therapist.

Therapy can help kids with everything from nightmares to social anxiety to difficulty concentrating in school to trauma to mental health issues, she said.

In therapy kids are able to work on these issues without worrying that they’re hurting their parents’ feelings or disappointing them, she said.

Feeling Down? Three Attitude Changers for a Happier Life

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

just-be-happy-positive-psychology-smiling-woman

Are you buzz-killing your own joy? Here’s how to tell…

Gift-giving time? Skip the over-priced mall-bought gifts forgotten the day after a birthday, an anniversary, etc. There is a better gift to give everyone — it will change their life and yours.

Embrace the concept that there is treasure in everything and fully trust that you are in the right place, at the right time. Decide that you are in charge of your life and your happiness. And the best way to share the gift of happiness with others is through gratitude.

Think you already have an attitude of gratitude? Well, think again.

The Power of Vulnerability to Create Intimacy

Friday, January 9th, 2015

classically_vulnerable_stockII_by_moonlitdreamer_stockTo be alive is to feel insecure sometimes. We’re wired with a desire to feel physically safe and emotionally secure. Our heart longs for love; we want intimacy to feel connected with the fabric of life — and not so painfully alone.

Being human means being vulnerable. We may open ourselves to another person, only to have our sensitive heart met with the rough shards of shame and criticism. As our overtures for connection are met with rejection, we may keep ourselves hidden to protect our tender heart.

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