Archives for Well-being


New To Meditation? Try These Tiny Stepping Stones From Headspace

While I've played around with meditation before, I never really held myself to its committed practice. I'd get excited about it for a few days, cozying up with Meditation Oasis podcasts after dinner, but then I'd drop the habit out of boredom or inattention. Or both.

But for the past ten days, I've been using a meditation app called Headspace to get me meditating more habitually....
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Adjust Your Posture This Weekend For A More Confident Monday

So, I own a pet bird. (That's him on the left.)

Actually, I hesitate to call my parrotlet a pet. He's more like a little bird friend -- a tiny little feathered dinosaur who talks.

He's a comical little guy: he knows how to play peek-a-boo, he loves shredding tissues, and he's learned to imitate my laughter with near-perfect pitch.

But when he gets angry -- when he doesn't want to be touched or bothered, for example -- you know it.

And how do you know it? Well, he fans out his tail feathers if I try to touch him. He also fluffs up the feathers on his back.

This birdie non-verbal language lets me know my little featherbutt doesn't want to play. The feather fanning and fluffing makes his pint-sized, hollow-boned bird body look bigger and stronger, as if to say, "Hey! I'm big and powerful, mom! Go away. We play by my rules because I'm the boss around here."


I don't think it's any secret that adopting a "power posture" (say, standing with your hands on your hips or reclining on a chair with your arms behind your head) can communicate a nonverbal message to someone else.

Using a power posture tells others that you're the boss. You're in charge. You're the alpha.

But can these confident postures tell yourself anything? Can they tell yourself that you're in charge and in control?
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I Hate Quotes About ‘Success’ (Except For This One)

Generic platitudes tend to annoy me. You know the kind I'm talking about -- right?

Say you've just been through a bad breakup. It stings monumentally, and you keep hearing crap like this:

"It'll all work out in the end."
"Maybe it's for the best."
"There are plenty of fish in the sea."

Blah. These phrases are so scripted into our culture, and I'm sure the people who use these phrases mean well -- but I can't help rolling my eyes a bit at these saccharine one-liners.
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How To Start Loving Your Unmotivated Self

This Valentine's Day, I wanted to take a different approach to discussing love on this blog.

A Redditor named Ryan from Canada made a post in /r/getmotivated several months back that has really, really stuck with me. I'm going to share (most of) it with you today, but first, I want to ask you a big question.

Do you love yourself?

(Cue the cheesy new-age music and self-help vibe here, right?)

But seriously, that's not what I mean at all. Let's think about the word "self" for a minute.

Right now, you You are reading this blog post and existing in the present moment, right? (Obviously.)

But there are other versions of yourself, too -- versions of you who aren't reading this blog post right now -- who also deserve your love and caring. (And no, I'm not trying to get metaphysical here with any parallel-worlds stuff. Read on; you'll see what I mean.)
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Breathe Easy This Weekend With A Simple Web App

Have you ever noticed your respiration rate increase during periods of heightened anxiety? It's okay if you have -- it's completely normal and part of the body's fight-or-flight reaction.

But what if you're anxious about something that you can't fight or flee from? Then, your quicker-than-usual rate of breathing becomes an annoyance at the least -- and a panic trigger at worst.

Perhaps you've read about abdominal breathing in Edmund J. Bourne's classic text, The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook. Breathing retraining can help with panic and anxiety symptoms, he notes -- and I agree. It can.

But perhaps, like me, you absolutely hated his 5/5/5 "Calming Breath Exercise" because, let's face it, fellow panickers: holding your breath for 5 seconds between inhale & exhale is...uncomfortable, to say the least. Right? My body hates it!

For me, it raises my heart rate, and I still can't quite understand why it's so often recommended.

So, what else can we do?
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Help! My Cold Meds Make Me Anxious. What ELSE Can I Do?

Feeling sick? You're probably not alone. It's that sneez-y, cough-y, mucus-y time of year.

So, if you're anything like me, you have an anxiety disorder and you hate being sick. In fact, maybe being sick in and of itself elevates your anxiety level.

Throw some cold meds into the equation and you might really end up feeling bonkers. Medicines for cold and flu can be very powerful, and the side effects of their active ingredients can sometimes include disconcerting side effects, like dizziness or wooziness. (Think Sudafed, for example.)

And that sucks. Because getting relief for a cold is awesome...unless the price for that "relief" is more than a tablespoon of anxiety.

In yesterday's post, I wrote about how I often take smaller doses of OTC cold medication than the bottle recommends. The meds still end up working (to a degree), and save me from some of the side effect-related anxiety.

But what if you're too scared to take any cold meds? Are you doomed to suffer?
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