by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
Play is powerful. I’ve written before about the importance of play for adults. Many of us dismiss play because we assume that once we become adults, it’s time to get serious, get to work and chip away at our to-do lists.
But play actually makes us more productive (in addition to providing us with more joy). That’s because play moves us.
According to Marney K. Makridakis in her excellent book Hop, Skip, Jump: 75 Ways to Playfully Manifest a Meaningful Life, “When it comes to the intersection of play and productivity, the secret is quite simple: what moves us is what moves us, which simply means what moves us emotionally is what moves us to action.”
Play is never “still, stuck or stagnant; it somehow always moves. So when it comes to manifesting a meaningful life, play works.”
Play is a creative and fun way to discover what a meaningful life looks for us. What does a meaningful life encompass? How can we create it?
by Sherry Katz
Have you ever wanted to be in a relationship but felt frustrated because no matter how hard you tried, disappointment or bad results developed?
As an example, let’s follow Joey through a few years of her life, starting from when she first entered college.
Joey was a reflective, serious, and caring young woman. She had a handful of friends whom she dearly appreciated. They had common interests, shared activities, and were available when any of them asked.
As the college years unfolded, Joey wanted to be in a relationship, similar to the ones she observed her friends starting.
by Tara Miller, MC
There are a lot of relationship paradigms being offered out there. There are even more quotes and advice offerings on what relationship success looks like and how to attain it. Many of these espouse ideas of true love conquering all, enduring all, being all. They involve accepting another’s faults completely and without question, with an ideal of compromise, hard work, and enduring all to achieve the end goal.
While many of these concepts are noble and true, between the beautiful and the cliche, they are only applicable in the right relationship.
In the wrong relationships, these same concepts are being used as reasons to stay because we still want to believe that love is enough all by itself. What we know is that love, in and of itself, is not enough. The wrong relationship can take these qualities that would make the right relationship thrive and endure and instead make excuses for our (or our partner’s) lack of health, toxic markers and red flags.
by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
A few months ago I wrote about how we can sit with our own painful emotions. Often we don’t. Instead, we gloss over negative feelings. We self-medicate. We berate ourselves for having negative feelings, making us feel even worse. (I can’t believe I’m upset about something so small! I’m so sensitive. I’m so stupid for feeling anxious about that.)
What’s also difficult is sitting with someone else’s pain and supporting them. It can feel awkward and uncomfortable — especially if we have a hard time with our own emotions. Our knee-jerk reaction may be to ignore what’s happening, offer solutions, be overly positive or act on any number of behaviors that dismiss the person’s feelings.
by Alicia Sparks
Happy December, sweet readers!
This week’s Psychology Around the Net brings you information on holiday stress, naked selfies (what?!), improving your fitness, and more.
6 Signs You’re Too Stressed About the Holidays: Do you dread parties? Are you afraid of disappointing others? What about extra resentfulness or forgetfulness? These signs and more could be indicators you’re way too stressed out about the holidays.
The Social Psychology of the Naked Selfie: Why do people keep taking naked photos and storing them in places where they know there’s a potential for hacking?
by George Hofmann
For the past couple of years, meditation has been easy. I’d put in some hard work over the previous decade and had found a place of stillness each time I took to the cushion. Sure, sometimes what I met as I observed my mind was difficult, but my practice had become productive and indispensable.
I spent the last two years as a stay-at-home dad of a toddler. I did all of the dad, and much of the mom, stuff. I managed the house, cleaned (badly), cooked (very well), arranged activities and play dates, and did what I could to keep the family satisfied.
None of this was easy, but my daughter napped every day. And while she napped I had a solid 35 minutes to meditate, without fail. I taught a couple of classes each week, and led a Wednesday night drop-in meditation group, but that was more rewarding and fulfilling than taxing.
Then it all came to an end.
by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
Almost every symptom of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) plays out in the household, said Terry Matlen, MSW, ACSW, a psychotherapist and author of the book The Queen of Distraction: How Women with ADHD Can Conquer Chaos, Find Focus and Get More Done.
Disorganization and distractibility lead to lost papers, unpaid bills, piles of laundry and lots of clutter, which can negatively affect relationships and spark blowups, she said.
Lack of planning leads to late dinners, leading to both cranky kids and parents, she said. (Plus, many kids with ADHD also are picky eaters, which complicates meal-planning even more, she added.)
by Sarah Newman, MA
“The catch about not looking a gift horse in the mouth is that it may be a Trojan horse.” – David Seller
Having recently gotten married, I received a lot of gifts from close friends and family. If there is anything I’ve learned it’s that some of these “presents” come with strings attached.
A gift is an act of altruism, of generosity. The point of gift-giving is to show love and appreciation for another person. It’s not about a dollar amount. It’s not about custom. It’s about being thoughtful — an important thing to remember with the holidays fast approaching.
by Brandi-Ann Uyemura, M.A.
The holidays offer us the greatest opportunity to either relish in goodness and hope or to deplete ourselves in envy and disappointment. The difference is our perception of what’s going in our lives. Do we indulge in the drama of a situation or do we settle our eyes on something brighter and better for our well-being?
It took many painful years of hitting my head against the wall and loved ones telling me to stop, before I got it. I voluntarily used up all my skills, energy and passion towards trying to change those who didn’t want to change. This year, I’m redirecting that energy in a workshop to teach those who actually want my help.
Similarly you may be grappling with your inner holiday demons. Maybe it’s all those difficult to resist temptations? Or instead of Christmas trees maybe the only green you’re seeing is the money you’ve spent or going to spend, or the envy you feel for those who seem to be fairing better than you.
The greatest gift you can give others, however, is giving to yourself. I’m not talking material things, though those can be rewarding at times. I’m talking about the gift of forgiveness, presence, self-compassion, self-growth and love.
This week, unwrap these gifts in our posts. If you just read them, it will spark a desire for change. If you begin to flirt with them, trying on a few changes here and there, by next year, who knows? You may become a happier, healthier, calmer, and more mindful version of you.
by Gretchen Rubin
Recently, I read Christopher Isherwood’s memoir, My Guru and His Disciple. It’s an account of Isherwood’s relationship with Swami Prabhavananda, the Hindu monk who was his spiritual mentor and friend for more than thirty years. (The photo shows Swami Prabhavananda on the left, Isherwood on the right, and Aldous Huxley between them.)
I was surprised to learn that Christopher Isherwood — who’s perhaps best known for The Berlin Stories, which was the basis for Cabaret — lived for years in Swami Prabhavananda’s monastery in Los Angeles, and considered becoming a monk himself.
by Emily Holland
Your childhood probably is tucked safely away in the past. But many of us underestimate the degree to which childhood events continue to affect our adult lives. It’s hard to imagine that events that occurred decades ago can stay with us, but underestimating their effects — even into adulthood — can be detrimental to our well-being.
Our most critical and influential developmental stages occur in childhood. We’re like sponges, absorbing the good and the bad all around us. It’s during this time that we develop our view of the world and of ourselves. These viewpoints may be developed early on but they often leave a permanent imprint.
by JC Peters
Have you ever pasted up a big sign on your bathroom mirror that says something like, “You are beautiful!” to try to improve your mood and self esteem? And found that it works not at all?
We all have a mean voice inside our heads that criticizes us, often much more harshly than we would ever criticize another person. For many of us, this negative self talk manifests as specific repeating phrases, especially when we are feeling stressed or upset: “You’re such a failure.” “You’re so ugly.” “You can’t do anything right.” You’d never say this to another person, but there it is, knocking around inside your head.