July 31, 2015
I just listened to NPR's Fresh Air interview with Sarah Hepola, author of the memoir titled, Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget. If you drink to be a more bold, brash, funnier, or sexier you, in other words, to quell social anxiety, then this could be a listen that helps you swerve off of the road to addiction (or a read that helps, but I haven't read the book yet so I can't recommend it). Important fact: Blackout refers to memory lapses due to excessive drinking. It does not mean passed out or unconscious. If your friend tells you how funny you were last night but you don't remember? You might have experienced a blackout. Unhealthy, yes. Dangerous? Could be.
Click here to listen to Fresh Air's Terry Gross interview the author.
--Sandy Andrews, PhD
July 20, 2015
Want to be happier at your job? Here is one way: Ask your boss if you can install a tub in your cubicle. After she finishes laughing at, and/or firing you, return to your cubicle, sit in your office chair, and imagine you are taking a bubble bath. A long, relaxing, soaker bath with scented bath oil and fluffy white bubbles and a glass of your favorite beverage at your side. And while you're imagining this bath? Breathe... Breathe... Breathe... Slow, quiet inhales and exhales. Feeling your chest expand, your shoulders rise, your nose take in the subtle current of air. After two minutes of this relaxing bubble bath of your mind? Return to work.
According to researcher and educator, Shawn Achor? After doing two minutes of breathing meditation, your productivity will go up. You will feel less stressed, more focused, and experience greater optimism.
Most of us work somewhere in the vicinity of 40 hours per week. That is a lot of our lifetime spent working. For many, that's a lot of time spent hating one's job, feeling trapped, dreading the rest of the work week, feeling hopeless.
Do you have fifteen minutes to watch a video that will help inspire you toward feeling better about your job? Can you take fifteen minutes, or less than one-tenth of one percent of your work week to steer yourself out of the work-week-blues? Sure you can. You owe it to your physical wellbeing and future happiness to do so.
Besides being entertained by Achor's delicious humor, listening to his TED Talk will help you learn that job success is largely determined by:
1. optimism levels
2. social support
3. ability to see stress as a challenge, not as a threat
You will learn that, happiness isn't determined by what you do, what you have, or where you are. Rather, "Ninety percent of your long term happiness is predicted ... by how your brain processes the world." Happiness, in other words, is determined by how you think about what you have and where you are.
So even if you're stuck in a tiny cubicle, you can think your way into a more productive, more challenging, more successful mindset. And mindset is, according to research Achor discusses, seventy-five percent of the happiness equation.
Watch the video and you will also learn that, "being positive in the present - turns on the learning centers of the brain." You have the opportunity to be better at what you do, learn more, and impress your boss with your willingness to go the distance.
Watch Achor's TED Talk, here.
--Sandy Andrews, PhD
July 14, 2015
We're all in search of happiness and nothing makes this more certain than a search of recent research in the field of psychology. Lots of studies looking for ways to increase our feelings of happy.
A Washington Post journalist spoke to Shawn Achor, a Harvard trained expert on positive psychology. Achor recommends several exercises to increase feelings of wellbeing, including.
(1) Gratitude. Spend two minutes every day thinking of three new things you appreciate, enjoy, or are thankful for.
(2) Positivity. Spend two minutes every day recalling a positive experience from your day. Recollect every detail you can think of and let yourself feel the pleasant feelings associated with each detail. This can be as simple as observing a beautiful flower or seeing a dog chase a frisbee.
(3) Exercise. Fifteen minutes a day of high energy physical movement. Get your heart rate up AND your feelings of happiness.
(4) Breathe. Here's the magic time again, two minutes. Push away from your keyboard, silence your phone, turn off the tv, sit under a tree, lay beneath a ceiling fan. For two minutes, just listen to your breathing. That's it. Just listen and stay focused on the sound of the air moving in and our.
(5) Kindness. Each day send an email or text someone a message telling them how much you appreciate something about them or something they have done. According to Achor, this is one of the most powerful happy-getters.
You can read the Washington Post article and interview in full, here.
--Sandy Andrews, PhD