Posts tagged: Shift Your Mindset

The surprising power of your life story


As anyone who ever attended a high school reunion can attest, your personal identity is fluid. Hairstyles, sports allegiances, and even personalities change over time. (Cue that Simple Minds song Don’t You (Forget About Me).)

Evidence from my own yearbook includes Ryan, a sweet if wildly unmotivated friend who, at age 20, dropped out of college to be a ski bum in Colorado. Fast forward eight years, and Ryan is the CEO of a nonprofit startup dedicated to preserving ecological practices of indigenous communities in Andean South America. I spotted him in Palo Alto with a Bluetooth receiver behind an ear that he once reserved for storing clumsily hand-rolled cigarettes.

Ryan’s personal story is now a successful part of his company’s fundraising and branding efforts. He uses his evolution to demonstrate how apolitical weekend outdoorsmen can become activists. It perhaps goes without saying that his parents are especially fond of this
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3 big benefits of talking to yourself


Like all first bosses, mine was terrifying. Laura barked orders in a clipped Boston Brahmin accent, ran five miles before work every morning, and had multiple first-person anecdotes co-starring Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Among her many intimidating traits was a tendency to murmur to herself at any given moment. I’d hear Laura quietly reciting to-do lists while pouring herself bottomless mugs of black coffee in the kitchen or half-whispering intel in an elevator en route to a meeting.

Because I was 22, eager to please, and entirely lacking perspective, I tended to assume these mutterings had something to do with my shortcomings as her assistant. But in reality, my former boss’s propensity for self-talk may have actually been one of the keys to her remarkably successful career. Recent neuropsychological studies show that talking to yourself can help you target and achieve goals as well as identify and adapt emotions faster than if you’d stayed
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How to get the most out of your next vacation


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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Escape from overwhelm


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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Your enemy, yourself


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


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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How to inject more joy into your day


What's your intention today?

Question: What’s your intention for today?

The quick answer might sound something like: Go to work, or keep the kids clean and fed, or just get through it.

Then there’s the answer beneath that answer: Be able to pay my bills. Maintain order in my day. Hold the dread at bay.

All understandable. Necessary, even. But, in addition, what if we intended to do something that touches our soul? To feel purposeful or loved or delighted. Now that’s something to get out of bed for!

For some of us, the day runs mostly on auto-pilot. For others, it can seem rudderless. Or bland. Or contentious. Those joy-filled days— isn’t that what vacation is for?

Sort of. Vacation is important because it helps us step back and experience life differently. But what about the 360 other days of the year? Don’t you want to inject some joy into those too?

Of course you do. So let’s do
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What to do when you wake up in the middle of the night


Little kids aren’t the only ones suffering from nightmares. I wonder sometimes if it’s scarier as an adult, because the things keeping me awake at 3 a.m. are more possible than any of the stuff I used to imagine.

The real-life monsters that haunt me: losing my income, losing a loved one, making someone mad, making the wrong decision, and being alone — forever.

Sound familiar? When real-life monsters haunt you, here’s what to remember:

1. “Everything feels worse in the middle of the night.”

That’s what my mom would say when I would whimper beneath the covers in the middle of the night, too scared to move. Hoping she could save me. The moment I heard her rustling across the hall, I would start to feel better.

It’s surprisingly helpful to speak to myself in that same tender voice when my mind is spiraling into worst-case scenarios.

The phrase that works for me
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Divorce! Job loss! How yoga helped me release the grief


yoga

In our Reader Stories series, Unstuck readers share personal stories about getting stuck — and unstuck. Here, author and writing coach Jen Violi explains how yoga helped her move through the shock of loss. 

On the hallway floor of my new apartment, I sat and leaned against the closet doors. It felt safer down there, in part because moving around meant I would see painful reminders of my husband, now in a different state, now not living with me. Last month: us. This month: me.

In this moment, moving around also meant I might step on broken glass. Because, of course, the front of the frame of a picture collage of us had shattered when I tried to put it in the closet, out of view. Of course. Metaphors can be so distressingly obvious.

A grain of hope

Eventually I got up, led by a need to pee, as well as the
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Jealousy is a gift — embrace it


We’re raised to think of jealousy as something to avoid. If we’re jealous of someone else’s life, it must mean we aren’t grateful for our own — right?

Jealousy can in fact be a positive emotion, and an opportunity to shift our perspective. When we’re jealous of someone, it’s usually not so much about what they have, but about what we perceive ourselves as not having. As Julia Cameron wrote in her creativity guidebook, “The Artist’s Way”:

Jealousy is always a mask for fear: fear that we aren’t able to get what we want; frustration that somebody else seems to be getting what’s rightfully ours even if we are too frightened to reach for it.

3 questions to ask about your jealousy

The next time you feel yourself becoming jealous, consider it an opportunity to ask yourself:

  1. What am I afraid of?
  2. What do I really want?
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