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Looking Way (Way) Back: An Evolutionary Perspective for Modern Mental Health

  Note from Hannah: This the first in a series of guest posts with the goal of providing new perspectives to mental health, wellness, and being a human. This piece was bravely shared by our guest writer, David.  My brain is broken, I thought to myself, as I sat in a plush, brown leather chair in my psychiatrist’s office; the perfect cliché- in an old brick building in downtown Portland, Maine. I stared, vacantly, through a large bay window, the sun’s rays cast upon my face, warming my skin through the white sheer curtains. Being a few stories up, I gazed at a slightly veiled view of  the modest skyline of the city I grew up in, amidst the backdrop of sparkling ocean and blue sky. The view made it easy to transport myself elsewhere, in avoidance of what I     . . . read more

There is No Failure

I believe that failure is an unhelpful concept. I’m not even convinced it’s a real thing. In my mind, it belongs in the category of make-believe creatures along with unicorns, dragons, and the Easter Bunny. Recently, Seth Godin (marketing genius and writer whose lessons surprisingly generalize to many areas of life), made a very wise point in his post, Just the good parts. He feels that when you hit bumps in the road, like a bad break or rejection, “It means that you’re doing worthwhile, difficult work, not merely amusing yourself.” I would add to this and assert that you can’t have success without so-called failure. In my assessment, there is no way to “fail.” Life is not graded. You can’t get an F. There is showing up and participating, making choices, being accountable, and doing our best. Or there     . . . read more

Perfection: The Really Cute, Organized, Put-Together BULLY

This is not my laundry closet. I believe what I have is more appropriately called a laundry dungeon. Still, I do love pictures of tidy, sparkling cupboards, “mud” rooms, and, of course, closets. My house doesn’t look like one of these very lovely Pinterest images and that’s okay. Other people do have houses like this, and that’s okay too. I admire and applaud their dedication to beautifying and organizing their homes. However, I think we need to be careful not to be too seduced by the idea of having everything be just so. We can’t expect to have every aspect of our life look like it should be documented in a magazine. There is no such thing as perfect. Everyone intellectually knows this. Yet, somehow the striving for perfection is a big part of our lives. Well-meaning people everywhere are     . . . read more

Can People Really Change?

I’m always a little surprised when I’m asked, “Can people really change?” Yes, people can really change. And if you’ll excuse the double negative, I’d say people can’t not change. While I’m not an expert on too many things, my humble observation is that everything changes. All the time. I don’t know about you, but I wake up older everyday. I know about homeostasis but I think it’s to keep us on some even keel as we experience change around us at every moment. Change happens, whether you believe you are in charge of it or not. If you don’t believe you are driving your own life, then change happens, you just didn’t give it much intention or direction. That’s a waste, because I really think we know what’s best for our own lives. So it bums me out when     . . . read more

The Truth About Procrastination

I have always heard from self-proclaimed procrastinators that they “need the pressure in order to perform.” I used to accept this as a legitimate reason to procrastinate, feeling that if it works for people then it’s fine. But somewhere down the line, this way of reasoning has lost its validity. Now I say to you procrastinators everywhere, “Procrastinate if you want, but you don’t need the pressure, you choose it.” So there. I’m calling you out on this one because I care. Really, I do. I’ve already outlined all the reasons I believe procrastination sucks the life out of you. Time to take away its power. I’ve put my health correspondent on the task of compiling all the research studies of how procrastination makes you ill. But for now, you’ll have to accept antidotal evidence that it just isn’t good     . . . read more