Why Nostalgia Is Good for Your Self-Esteem


May 26, 2017

We’re all familiar with that overwhelming sensation that bubbles up whenever we hear a certain song, eat a certain food, or maybe walk down a certain street. It’s that feeling of emotional homesickness, best known as nostalgia.

But nostalgia gets a bad rap. The word itself — a bittersweet combination of nostos (a return home) and algos (the accompanying pain) in Greek — emphasizes the sadness of memory. And for centuries, it’s been labeled a disorder and attributed with negative thinking and depression.

However, researchers have recently come to believe there is more of an upside to nostalgia than a downside. Looking back at your life isn’t just about feeling loss, but also has the potential to deliver a sense of meaning and self-continuity. For example, revisiting old pictures can remind us of memories that are positive; we see ourselves among the networks of friends and family that we’ve built across our lives and we feel rooted.
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A quick guide to a great summer


May 25, 2017

Here’s to living an unstuck summer — three months of heightened promise to do what we love most. The definition varies for each of us. Learning to water ski? Biking cross country? How about drying your sheets in the sunshine?

Whatever your idea of summer is, we want you to have at it — without nagging obstacles, real and imagined, that can sabotage your pleasure. So in the spirit of we-all-deserve-this, here are five ways to make sure you don’t miss out.

1. Fun and time off are a requirement of being your best self. So why do we feel guilty about it? Overblown sense of responsibility? Maybe. More likely it’s a fear that people will think less of us, especially our employer. The truth is, you’ll work better if you take time to relax. “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or vice; it is as indispensable to the brain
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How to get the most out of your next vacation


May 22, 2017
Bathing suit

Before your next vacation, ask yourself if this headline from The Onion sounds a little too familiar: “Man Returns To Work After Vacation With Fresh, Reenergized Hatred For Job.”

While it’s satire, there may be no better way to sum up how taking time off can defeat its own purpose. But, believe it or not, it doesn’t have to be this way.

As it turns out, there’s actually a science to the act of vacationing. It’s more than just picking a place to go, packing a bag, and wondering if you accidentally left the milk out once you leave the house. To best enjoy your future relaxation and to combat the post-vacation blues, we’ve assembled this handy guide to help you make the most of a break, whether it’s a staycation, a short trip, or a far-flung adventure.

First things first…take the plunge

One tragedy of our collective tendencies is that many neglect
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How to make yourself more resilient


May 11, 2017

 

How is it that some people try again and again, while others get perpetually stuck at the first roadblock? The difference is resilience — an adaptive trait that enables us to bounce back when faced with difficulties.

Resilience doesn’t mean we escape feelings of pain and hardship, but rather meet those uncomfortable feelings so we can work through stressful situations. Here are some attributes of a resilient spirit:

  • An ability to bounce back after setback
  • A more positive outlook on life
  • Heightened problem-solving abilities
  • Greater decisiveness in day-to-day actions
  • An ability to manage strong feelings and stress with a clear mind
  • The confidence to try new things without worrying about every little detail that could go wrong.

A recent study links  resilience with physical benefits like a stronger immune system  and better cardiovascular health.  In other words, the less time spent
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Escape from overwhelm


May 4, 2017

Work. Life. The news. It can all seem too much sometimes.

And let’s face it, the overthinking fatigue brought on by being a Waffler can make matters worse. Forcing ourselves to think through every possible scenario, starting with total catastrophe, can make even getting out of bed feel like more effort than it’s worth.

So when I saw this gif of Elle Woods, the main character from Legally Blonde — one of my favorite guilty pleasures — I had that knowing uncomfortable laugh you get when something confirms your own go-to coping mechanism.

If you’ve seen the movie, you may recognize this scene when Elle is wallowing after getting dumped by her boyfriend. Taken out of context though, it pretty much works for any moment when you want to hide out, watch romcoms, and forget about the world for a while.

Who else turns to chocolate? I cannot be the only one who
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How to negotiate a power struggle at work


April 27, 2017

Power struggles personify the worst kind of office politics. They sap energy. Distract from purpose. And hold the potential to derail success and happiness.

It’s the rare individual who actually enjoys a power struggle. Most of us want to do what we’re paid for, joke around with our colleagues, and feel like we’ve contributed.

That’s not so easy when emotions are running high. Empathy is replaced with an “us or them” mentality that can quickly escalate. Then we’re stuck either dodging bullets or picking sides. What other choice do we have?

The heart of the struggle

Power often evokes the image of a corner office where people in expensive suits lay down the law for the rest of us. But the reality is, power — and the fight for it — can come from anywhere.

To help us understand workplace struggles, and how to respond to them, we asked our colleague Sara Kalick
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Your enemy, yourself


April 13, 2017

You can’t stand her. His behavior is galling. Every conversation is a confrontation with that person.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we all got along?

But we don’t. Most of us harbor negative emotions toward certain individuals that go beyond run-of-the-mill irritation. Because we’re human — meaning we have different hopes, approaches, and triggers in our lives.

That doesn’t mean, however, those differences are always insurmountable. To the contrary, they could be the foundation for some of our most fascinating relationships. If we temper our animosity enough to see the other person’s value.

If you’re game to make your world a friendlier place, here are four ways to coach yourself.

1. Why bother? Because cookie-cutter opinions only get us so far.

It’s true what C.S. Lewis said, that friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.”

Common ground with another person lets us
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21 tiny ways to stop feeling hopeless


March 30, 2017

When hopelessness hits, we feel sunk. All our worst stories swirl in our head, punctuated by words like can’t, won’t, never, impossible. Life feels bleak.

If only there were a switch we could flip that would turn our thoughts and emotions around.

Until there is (we’re not holding our breath), we can take tiny steps that will gradually restore our faith in possibility. To start, summon your strength and any of the twenty-one ideas below that feels right for you. Consider the smallest sense of relief as great progress, because it is. Then engage your relief to try another.

One request: If you believe your depression is clinical, please reach out to a professional.

When you’re feeling hopeless, ask yourself:

1. “How important is this to my life overall? Does it really make everything else worthless?”

2. “What can I control?”

3. “What makes me feel worse? Should I do something other than play the same game on
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Say no in the best possible way


March 23, 2017

Do you say yes when you mean to say no?

Maybe you don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. You’re afraid no one else will do it (or as well as you will). Or there are so many good options for someone else doing it that you can’t choose between them. That last one is especially true for us Wafflers.

Then the inevitable happens. Right after saying yes — or not saying no — you get overwhelmed, exhausted, stretched too thin. Even more requests pile up, and suddenly you just want to hide.

Though hiding works wonders at curing overwhelm, it shouldn’t be the only way to avoid saying yes to things you really don’t want to do.

Instead, there’s a way to say no without uttering the word, and that, with any luck, makes everyone happier in the process.  

Two things.

First, say thank you. When someone asks you to do something, what they
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Are you faking it?


March 16, 2017

We all do it. Something new comes along, and we don’t know exactly what the ins and outs are. So we fake it until we can figure it out. And until we figure it out, it’s pretty uncomfortable.

The potential disaster looming in our head is ridicule: we screw up or we’re found out or both. Depending on how vividly we imagine this scenario, we may abandon faking it altogether.

Try not to let that happen. Faking it is a form of learning (unless you’re performing something tricky like surgery or aerial skiing). It usually leads to newfound competence (and confidence).

But, sure, in the moment it feels kind of wrong. Here are a couple ways to ease the uneasiness.

Own your newness

Instead of thinking you have be perfect from the get-go, relax into the idea that you won’t be. Because you don’t have to be. And people will actually respect you for
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