5 Precious Gifts to Give Yourself (That Just Happen to Be Priceless)

"The greatest gift you can give yourself is a little bit of your own attention." -- Anthony J. D’Angelo

The other day, when I was out celebrating a friend’s birthday, someone asked about the best gift I’d ever received.

What came to mind was getting my parents’ hand-me-down Corolla when I was sixteen. It was my first taste of being all ‘grown-up.’ I felt like my parents trusted me enough to give me the keys to go out on my own. It gave me a sense of pride and freedom.

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Brain and Behavior

How to Stop Creating Problems for Yourself

"If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family." -- Ram Dass
I just returned from a four-day trip with my family. It was my own family of four (my husband and two kids), plus my mom, my two sisters, and my brother-in-law. It was great. We get along well and have fun together. And, it was four days with family.

It’s a funny thing… although you grow up with your siblings, listening to and being influenced by your parents, you all end up so unique -- different from each other and different from the adults who raised you.
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The Surefire Way I Stopped Feeling Sorry for Myself

“We can always choose to perceive things differently. We can focus on what’s wrong in our life, or we can focus on what’s right.” -- Marianne Williamson
I was down in the dumps the other day and was feeling sorry for myself.

For some reason everything was just off. You know when you have one of those days when nothing seems to go right? And you get easily irritated and extra sensitive with everything?

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The #1 Key: How to Help a Person Dealing with Depression

"Don’t look for someone who will solve all your problems. Look for someone who won’t let you face them alone." -- Unknown
Depression for me is like constantly walking up a hill.

Most of the time the hill has only a one percent gradient. You can hardly even tell it’s a hill. I walk, run, jump, skip along, doing cartwheels and stopping to smell pretty flowers and listen to bird-calls; it’s sunny and warm, with clear blue skies.

Even though I have to put in a little bit of effort to walk up, times are good.

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How to Awaken Your Soul After a Broken Heart

"For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction." -- Cynthia Occelli
There are no two ways about it. Heartbreak squeezes you as though you were an orange, crushes you as though it were a tractor, and cuts sharply as a razor blade.
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4 Ways to Rediscover Yourself After an Unhealthy Relationship

“I am leaving you for me. Whether I am incomplete or you are incomplete is irrelevant. Relationships can only be built with two wholes. I am leaving you to continue to explore myself: the steep, winding paths in my soul, the red, pulsing chambers of my heart. I hope you will do the same. Thank you for all the light and laughter that we have shared. I wish you a profound encounter with yourself.” -- Peter Schaller
A few months back I was someone you could easily walk all over. I was afraid to let go of friendships because I feared having no one in my life.
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Anxiety and Panic

How to Redefine Boundaries to Your Own Personal Freedom

“The boundary to what we can accept is the boundary to our freedom.”

- Tara Brach
I was in the heart of my Ph.D. program when I received the diagnoses: OCD, depression, and binge eating disorder.

It explained a lot, of course. All those years of anxiety, self-doubt, and intrusive thoughts were not normal after all. Eating to the point of gaining forty pounds in a few months was foreign to most people.

I wanted an explanation. Why me?

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The 6 Worthwhile Benefits of Life in the Slow Lane

"Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress; which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once." -- Unknown
I've been practicing yoga, on and off, for fifteen years.

It's helped me through and out the other side of infertility, kept me company on the long and winding road of adoption, and helped walk me out of the shadows of depression.

It's a big part of my life, part of who I am -- a faithful friend, the kind that welcomes you back with open arms even after you've been inattentive.
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8 Surprising Habits that Might Prevent Authentic Happiness

“We first make our habits, then our habits make us.” - John Dryden
This may look good, sound good, and maybe even feel good at first, but it’s not serving you well in the end!

I’d hear this thought in my head over and over and still not believe it. But it had persisted ever since I started questioning the status quo in my life. And I don’t mean a loud, in-your-face, obnoxious line of questioning; rather, a gentle curious whisper that asks: Well, why does it have to be this way, if I may ask?

Questioning the status quo is not a novelty in our modern society, but here’s the thing: I was questioning the good stuff, like great habits that I grew up with and ideals that are the foundation of my value system.

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3 Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others On Social Media

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
~ Steve Furtick

We all have certain triggers that can cause our confidence to take a sudden nosedive.

For some, it’s a trip to the gym. If you’re self-conscious of your body, watching fit people strut their stuff in their tightest fitting gym clothes likely has you over analyzing your every body part.

For others, it may be a certain individual -- a family member, friend, or enemy that, for whatever reason, leaves them with the dreaded feeling that they just aren’t enough.

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5 Tips for Changing Negative Self Beliefs

“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.

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