Thanksgiving sneaks up fast, at least it always does for me. This year I’m determined to give it more attention. That’s because I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of gratitude and how it can be vitally important in promoting wellness and fighting both anxiety and depression. Thanksgiving is a perfect holiday for exploring the idea of gratitude and how it can improve our lives. How we perceive the world has a dramatic impact on our mood. This is the foundation of many types of therapy, most famously Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The philosophy is: change how you think and you’ll change how you feel. One of the big challenges is that most Americans live very deficit-focused lives. I would assert that we have been trained to over-focus on information that is critical and negative. We see what we . . . read more
Attention Mainers and other cold-weather dwellers- it’s now officially mid-November! This is the time to develop your SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) prevention plan. Let’s face it, SAD is a real problem for us living in the dark and cold for months out of the year. Yes, you can always move south, but for those of us who prefer this way of life- I recommend a few tips for keeping up your SAD resistance: Sun. Find it. Sit in your car or under the atrium window at the mall. Take cues from the felines in your life- they’ll show you where all the sunny places are. Talk to your doctor about supplements. Vitamin D can be a particular problem for Northerners. Exercise. I know you won’t feel like it, but you really need to in order to feel okay. I just . . . read more
I often hear stories about people who over-extend themselves. Maybe its making cakes for a school function, loaning money, running errands for a family member, or donating time. People often say yes when that’s not what’s right for them. I believe saying yes when really you need to say no is a big problem. I’m not against generosity, charity, or volunteering. These are good things that you should do as much as possible, but not more than possible. When you try to do something you really can’t, it doesn’t end up with a positive result. (You can see my skill for forming obvious conclusions). Here’s how it plays out: You are asked to do something. You are not truly wanting/able/willing to do this something. But you feel bad so you say that you will. You do the something. It takes . . . read more
In lieu of quick-tip Tuesday, I have long-winded tip Monday. It doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, I’m afraid. But I have laryngitis and since I can’t talk very well, I need to use up my apparent quota of words in written form. At any rate, I would like to espouse the virtues of giving yourself some credit. It’s time to give yourself a big pat on the back and here’s why: Positive reinforcement is the best type of motivator. This is true of faithful animal companions, spouses, school children and ourselves. Noticing what we do well gives us motivation to do more of it and to keep improving. (Examples: Sit. Good dog, Fido! Nicely done with the vacuuming, honey! Good effort with the arithmetic, Sally! Way to go me, getting the bills paid and the dishes done . . . read more
We all make mistakes. Be prepared to make amends and heal the conflict by owning your part. Here’s the recipe for a good apology. 1. State what you did wrong 2. Own that you are responsible 3. Acknowledge how this must have impacted the other person 4. Say what you will do differently in the future and/or how you will attempt to repair this wrong 5. Be sincere!