Readers write: Taking the blinders off

November 28, 2016
Kimberly Wilson on tunnel vision

Kimberly Wilson is a writer, entrepreneur, animal rights activist, yoga teacher, and psychotherapist. She recently used the Unstuck app for the first time and was struck by how much her diagnosis as a Tunnel Visionary resonated with her in this moment, as she studies for her clinical license exam, works on a new book, and contemplates what’s next.

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I find myself daily sitting at a desk surrounded by books on writing and Moleskines filled with ideas. There’s also a pile of study materials for an upcoming licensing exam and a nearby shelf overflowing with business books. The feeling of stuckness permeates, so I recently worked through the Unstuck app and was diagnosed as a Tunnel Visionary — blinded to possibilities outside my direct line of sight.

For someone with an entrepreneurial spirit and zest for making things happen who tends to operate with a
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Here we are. Where are we?

November 14, 2016

Unstuck is not political. Nor does it comment on religious beliefs.

Unstuck is about living better. Striving to be our best selves. And in this moment of unrest in America, we’re not sure any of us are doing either of those things.

The reasons don’t matter. The consequences do.

We’re feeling attacked. We’re feeling righteous. We are visibly, audibly, emotionally, physically divided. And it hurts.

It doesn’t matter what side you’re on (if you’re on a side). It hurts. Even for those whose anger has been unleashed, it hurts. The pain of being misunderstood. Of not being heard. Of losing hope. In this moment, we are all united in despair.

Some of us are showing up in hateful ways. Some of us are showing up in angry ways. Some of us are retreating. Some visibly scared. None of us is showing up as our best selves.

It hurts.

Where do we go from here? Do we stand
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Get your gratitude glow on

November 8, 2016
get gratitude

When prompted to list the things we’re grateful for, it’s easy to give the same answers every time:

“My family”
“My health”
“My family’s health”

These things are undoubtedly important — we should be grateful for them. But that pesky word, “should,” can be telling. Anything with a “should” attached to it can feel heavy. Pure gratitude, on the other hand, feels light — like a warm glow spreading through you.

Plus, when we recite the same list of things we’re thankful for over and over again, our authentic feelings of gratitude can get stale.

So how can we tap into gratitude in a way that feels fresh each time?

We’ve put together a printable exercise that helps you do just that. (Click the link or the image below to print the exercise.)

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20 tiny ways to kick-start a change

October 31, 2016
kick-start a change

When you’re longing for a change, it’s time to build your enthusiasm with any of these 20 change kick-starters. There’s no reason to wait — that perfect moment almost never appears.

1. Ask yourself, if not now, when?

2. Decide to change.

3. Say your goal out loud to yourself or someone else. It feels good.

4. Ask yourself: What would life be like without this change?

5. Release yourself and others from blame. It doesn’t matter how you got where you are.

6. Build your intolerance for how things are now.

7. Each time you complain about things, stop and come up with a solution.

8. Ask yourself: Who do I know who has done something like this? It’s instant inspiration.

9. Describe who you will be after the change.

10. Dream large about the outcome.

11. Acknowledge what you’re afraid of. Remind yourself that it’s worth the risk.

12. Ask yourself: What do I have control over in this situation?
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Getting unstuck from parenting power struggles

October 24, 2016
parenting struggles

Meghan is the parenting columnist for the Washington Post and a certified parent coach. She is the mother of three daughters and lives with her family in the Washington, DC, area. You can follow her online on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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There are so many places to get stuck while parenting: From power struggles to chores, from sassiness to ignoring, there is no shortage of ways and reasons to struggle with children.

Before you can deal with the drama of your children, you must figure out why you are struggling with your children.

Key questions to ask yourself about why you are struggling:

  • Am I having the same struggle over and over about the same topic with my child and expecting different results?
  • Am I angry, resentful, or sad about something from my childhood?
  • Am I always disagreeing about parenting with my partner?
  • Am I
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3 steps to let go of that grudge

October 10, 2016
holding a grudge

Holding a grudge can be all-encompassing. Just the mere thought of someone who was rude to us, betrayed us, or otherwise hurt us triggers a tightness in our throats all the way down to our stomachs. Getting angry can feel empowering at first. But staying mad causes collateral damage in ways we may not even realize.

For one thing, harboring negative feelings can block us from experiencing positive ones. What’s more, when we dwell on how we’ve been wronged, we tend to talk about it a lot. If this is true for you, how might the grudge you’re holding onto be affecting your relationships? Is it possible that you’re so wrapped up in what happened that you aren’t as available to friends and family members as you’d like to be?

Staying mad also zaps our energy and can affect our health and well-being. Dr. Karen Swartz, a psychiatrist and clinical programs
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Making decisions in pencil

September 26, 2016
making decisions in pencil

A few years back, I was at a career crossroads and fortunately had an insightful coach to guide me.

I’d always imagined my life as a chess game where I could see multiple moves out — if I do this, it puts me in position for that, which will ultimately land me at my goal. My crisis was that I no longer saw the chess board and I couldn’t tell how the opportunity I was considering would play out in the long
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Why are we afraid of change? How change affects our social lives

September 12, 2016
change relationships

This is part four in our series exploring the science of our discomfort with change.

In the first post of this series, when we explored how human beings handle uncertainty, I mentioned a dream job across the country that you might, or might not, apply for. I mentioned how scary it can be to consider all the unknown outcomes of such a decision, such as where you’d live or whether the job would live up to expectations. But there’s another facet to such decisions: the impact of such a major life change on your relationships. Taking a job across the country could mean leaving family, friends, and a romantic partner behind and having to start over among strangers.

When I interviewed experts in a range of fields about how human beings make decisions, break habits, and handle things like loss and uncertainty, several of them cautioned against thinking solely in terms
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Why are we afraid of change? Examining the allure of habit

August 29, 2016

This is part three in our series exploring our fear of change.

“Lizards don’t learn very much,” writes neuroscientist Marc Lewis in his book, “The Biology of Desire.” “Their repertoire of skills is innate.”

By contrast, mammals have brains that “are designed for learning — they are designed to change — in sync with their environments.” We humans have evolved to adapt to cold weather, to fashion new tools, to adventure to new lands.

So why is change so hard for us, when we are, apparently, so used to it?
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Why are we afraid of change? How fear of loss holds us back

August 22, 2016

This is part two in our series exploring our fear of change.

Why is it so hard to give up what we have in exchange for something that seems better? It turns out, there’s a lot of research into how people make decisions in the economic arena that can help us understand why it can be difficult to change course, even when we say we want
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