Let's Talk About It
We are faced with all kinds of challenges in life. It is easy to get caught up in the daily ups and downs. That is why we prioritize self-care and self-actualization to stop, reflect, and reenergize yourself in the midst of difficult times. From writing poetry to meditating or sharing conversation with good friends, self-care should be personalized to what works best for you. Take the time to get to know yourself and be well.
This time a few years ago, while slogging through the final chapter of my dissertation, I had lunch with a friend. At one point, I lamented to him, “If I could just find the motivation to get through the last few paragraphs, I’d be done with this thing, once and for all.” He responded with, “Why wait? You should just embrace the pain and get it done. It’d be worth it.” At the time, I stared back at him with confusion (and frankly, more than a little annoyance); however, in the years since that conversation, I’ve recalled his words often and reflected upon the realization that my friend was absolutely right.
There is a prevailing notion in our culture that we cannot do something unless we feel motivated to do it. However, in his book, Beat the Blues Before They Beat You, Dr. Robert Leahy points out that we do plenty of things each day that we don’t want to do—we go to class or work when we’re not feeling well, we put up with behavior we don’t like from other people, and we...Read More
Our ability to think and reflect on our experiences is a trait that distinguishes us from most other animals. It allows us to anticipate problems and plan for the future. It also allows us to make sense of and giving meaning to the past.
The problem that arises for many of us is when we can’t turn off our thinking mind. It’s as if part of us believes that by ruminating on a problem we can solve it and get free of it. Yet, in fact our mind can turn a problem or experience over and over again without ever solving anything or seeing things more clearly.
We all have problems; adversity is part of life. But a tendency to ruminate about our problems can set us up for anxiety and depression. We can get so stuck in our heads that we miss the beauty and joy of life and the calm clarity that can come from being in the present—the smile of a friend, the drops of rain hitting the leaves outside the window, the way the setting sun lights the clouds on fire.
Just as it...Read More
There’s an old song from the late 1950’s that goes, “‘Cause there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues.” With the Spring Term coming to an end, I’ve found myself thinking about this song a lot recently. It is that time of the year when many of my therapy clients begin to express concerns about the upcoming summer break. It’s in these moments that I am reminded of the fact that summer break can mean very different things to different people.
For many people, summer break is a time of relaxation, hanging out with old friends, enjoying the familiar comforts of home (being in your old room, eating some home cooked meals, etc). But for others, summer break has less of an appeal. In fact, summer break can be something that students dread.
For some folks, going home might mean returning to tense family situations. For others, it can mean a lack of the freedom they have gotten used to at college. Several of my clients have told me that they often fall into a depression...Read More
I have just climbed the 450 stone steps to the top of Lying Dragon Mountain in Ninh Binh Province, Viet Nam. Near the top of this exquisitely beautiful setting I encounter a group of young people talking selfies. And I wonder—why are they so focused on taking pictures of themselves? Can they not see how beautiful and special this place is? Why must they focus on themselves, on their own images?
As I try to place myself into their mindset the answer that comes to me is something like: Look at me in this beautiful place. I’m beautiful too. (For beautiful, you could substitute the words important, significant, happy, etc.) Also, I gather that by taking a picture on this happy occasion, later they can look at the photo and re-experience a similar happiness, the same thrill of being alive.
While all of this is well and good, part of me does worry that by focusing on oneself and the social network in such a singular place, one might miss taking...Read More