Four Essential Components Of A Balanced Life

It’s been said that we are human beings, not human doings.

Reminding ourselves of this concept can help us to keep life in perspective. Busyness can masquerade as “getting things done,” which may temporarily bolster our self-esteem, at least on the surface, but putting excessive focus on staying occupied can alienate us from ourselves as well as other people, and drain us physically and emotionally.

On the flip side, we generally don’t benefit from spending most of our...


How To Fix The Four Communication Styles That Predict Divorce

In any intimate, committed relationship we are bound to have differences with our partner. Since no two people are exactly alike, nor would we want it that way, the goal is not to eliminate disagreements (which, by the way, are not an indicator that a relationship is on the rocks), but to develop skills in the area of constructive conflict.

John and Julie Gottman, psychotherapists who developed the Gottman Method of couples therapy, claim that they can...


How to Stop Black-and-White Thinking

“He never listens to me.”

“I always forget my friends’ birthdays.”

“You are the worst boyfriend ever.”

Do you sometimes find yourself thinking or speaking in an all-or-nothing manner? Do you tend to view things in an extreme way? If so, does this habit work well for you, or does it trip you up? I’m guessing that it’s the latter.

Black-and-white thinking can be a major contributor to misery. It’s a small step from such a thought process to believing...


The 3 Essential Steps to Self-Compassion

We generally feel good about ourselves when we’ve achieved a meaningful goal, believe ourselves to be “on top of things”, and receive positive feedback from others. The challenge lies in dealing with those times when we’re off our game, disappoint ourselves or someone important to us, or fail to get something we value. At such moments, practicing self-compassion can help us with emotional balance, resilience, and tolerating our pain.

According to leading self-compassion researcher Dr. Kristen Neff,


Your Thoughts Don’t Have To Dictate Your Behavior

Our minds are meaning-making machines. First and foremost, our minds try to protect us by figuring out how to avoid danger. That’s simply part of evolution – if we don’t survive, we won’t be able to enjoy a beautiful sunset, warm embrace, inspiring conversation, inspiring music or art, or life at all.

So, our minds aren’t malevolent (with a few rare exceptions) – they are just trying to taking care of us and minimize pain. However,...


3 Steps To Letting Go Of Problems

You’ve told yourself time and time again that you would never again drink too many mimosas at Sunday brunch, eat half a bag of cookies in one sitting, procrastinate on your taxes until April 14th, or get involved with shady characters.

And at the time you really meant it.

Yet, you still find yourself repeating the same behaviors, even as you recognize that they aren’t benefiting you.

Moreover, you realize that you spend a lot of time thinking about...


10 Strategies For Responding Effectively To Criticism

It’s generally not fun to be at the receiving end of criticism. Also, there's no doubt that some criticism is mean-spirited, hostile, and not really meant to be helpful. However, often we can learn a lot from constructive criticism. The challenge is to resist becoming defensive, which reduces our chances of actually learning something from the situation.

Some tips for receiving critical feedback in effective ways:

Respond calmly. Resist the impulse to jump in and begin defending...


8 Tips For Dealing With Painful Emotions

Into every life some rain must fall.

As smug as this cliché may sound, it’s true. Even if we’ve been blessed with the “happy” gene, we cannot avoid feeling emotionally uncomfortable from time to time.

We feel things for a reason. Our emotional pain carries a message.

If someone close to us passes away, it’s natural for us to grieve and feel sad.

If we receive a dire medical diagnosis, we’re likely to feel anxiety.

When something important to us doesn’t...


Nine Lies We Tell Ourselves To Avoid Change

Most of us have a love-hate relationship with change.

On one hand, we want to move forward and grow, which is a fundamental principle of life. On the other hand, the prospect of change (or actual change) can cause us to feel anxious and as if we want to crawl into a hole or escape by another means. Devouring an entire pizza, going back to bed, having a third (or fourth) beer, or simply continuing life on...