The 10 Best Apartment Dogs Might Surprise You

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Today, let’s talk about the best apartment dogs. First off, many dog owners will tell you that dogs and apartment living don’t go together. But you don’t need a huge yard in suburbia for your dog to be happy. If you live in an apartment and you want a dog, there’s a wide variety of breeds that make good apartment dogs. If you haven’t already acquired a dog, check out our list of breeds (or mix of breeds; we LOVE mutts) below that make the best apartment dogs.

First, Size Doesn’t Always Matter When it Comes to Choosing the Best Apartment Dogs

A Greyhound dog.

Just because a dog is small doesn’t mean he’ll make the cut for good apartment dogs. Some small-breed dogs are far too vocal to meet the requirements of the best apartment dogs. Others are too antsy and have too much energy to be cooped up, even if their smaller size makes the space seem bigger. For example, though he is among the smallest dog breeds, the Chihuahua doesn’t make our list of top apartment dogs because of the breed’s tendency to bark, as well as his energetic, nervous demeanor. However, many Terriers, though they are high energy, tend to make the best apartment dogs as long as they get enough exercise.

Some large breeds also make excellent dogs for apartments. For example, the Greyhoundis often thought to need room to run because he was bred to do just that. But many rescued Greyhounds are retired racers and are much more inclined to lie around with that sexy, languid look than to chase bunnies on sticks. And, again, as long as exercise requirements are met, many large dogs can live comfortably in an apartment or a small house.

10 Best Apartment Dogs (Small to Large)

Yorkshire Terrier.

1. Yorkshire Terrier:

At around 7 pounds, this extra-small wonder makes the list of best apartment dogs not only because he takes up little space but also because he is not a barker. He is also friendly with people and other pets and very adaptable to new experiences.

2. Maltese:

The slightly larger Maltese (around 9 pounds) has a silky coat with no undercoat that sheds very little, making cleaning in a small space easier. He is also a quiet dog who mostly wants to be where his owner is, earning him a solid spot on this roundup of good apartment dogs.

3. Boston Terrier:

At 12 to 18 pounds, this breed is also very attached to his owner, which means he doesn’t mind being indoors in a small space as long as his owner is attentive. He is also an easily trainable dog.

4. French Bulldog:

A smallish dog (around 20 pounds) with the traits of a larger dog. He is calm and quiet, often relaxing on the most comfortable seat in the place. His practical demeanor makes him suitable for any living space, including an apartment.

5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel:

This is one of the friendliest breeds, making it easy to deal with other tenants and their dogs. At 13 to 18 pounds, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is also calm and very adaptable.

6. English Bulldog:

This is the larger cousin of the French Bulldog who weighs 49 to 55 pounds, a stable dog who is comfortable in small spaces. Indeed, most seem to prefer the couch to the dog park.

7. Basset Hound:

This breed might not seem likely to land on the list of best apartment dogs with his bulky stature (around 60 pounds), but like the Bulldog, he is a very calm dog who is easily kept busy with treat toys and lots of petting.

8. American Staffordshire Terrier:

The show dog version of the American Pit Bull Terrier is more dog-friendly than his cousin. He is easily trained and forms a tight bond with his owner. As long as he gets adequate exercise, he is a good apartment dog. He weighs 55 to 65 pounds.

9. Greyhound:

This racing dog (60 to 80 pounds) might seem an odd choice for a list of best apartment dogs, but retired Greyhounds are some of the biggest canine couch potatoes. They are very trainable and adaptable. They seem to appreciate a more sedentary lifestyle.

10. Great Dane:

“Huge dogs” don’t seem to be good candidates for “great apartment dogs,” but the Great Dane (at a majestic 100 to 130 pounds) is such a natural loafer that, though your couch will probably be fully occupied, he’ll take up far less space than you might think. Add to that his calm demeanor, friendliness, trainability and quiet nature, and the Great Dane makes an excellent choice among best apartment dogs.

If you live in or are moving to an apartment or small house and already have a dog, don’t worry. The following tips can help you all live happily in a small space.

10 Tips for Having the Best Apartment Dogs — No Matter What Breed(s) Your Dogs Is

French Bulldog lying down by Shutterstock.

1. Acclimate:

If you’ve adopted a new puppy or adult dog, or if you’re moving your current dog into a small space, try to acclimate him slowly by visiting for shorter and then longer periods.

2. Be present:

Again, if an apartment or small house is a new environment for your dog, try to stay with him as much as possible. Go out for short periods alone at first, and then lengthen them.

3. Create space:

Think storage, storage, storage when it comes to furniture. Anything that takes up space should serve as storage as well. Try to keep as much floor space open as possible.

4. Darken and lighten:

Apartments can be very dark because of the surrounding buildings. They can also get too much light if they’re high up. Drapes and special bulbs can help keep the lighting natural.

5. Establish a routine:

This is vital for dogs who have to wait to go outside. Feeding and walking times should be consistent.

6. Find a good trainer:

One trait that all good apartment dogs have — they’re not prone to be excessively vocal. If you’re having behavioral issues such as a dog who won’t stop barking, find a trainer in your area who specializes in that issue.

7. Get a bench:

A small or large bench against a windowsill gives your dog a place to jump up and observe the world — and also makes the space seem larger.

8. Hire a dog walker:

The best apartment dogs are the dogs who get adequate exercise and enrichment. For the times when you can’t get your dog out for extra exercise, a trusted dog walker is a necessity.

9. Invest in a gate:

If you have a studio or open floor plan, make sure you can put a gate up to keep your dog separated from others. Using the kitchen or bathroom often works. Also, make that space your dog’s haven with his bed and toys.

10. Juggle those balls:

It’s perfectly fine to play fetch in your apartment, as long as it’s not too early or too late. Installing rugs helps absorb the noise of dog nails. You don’t have to be at the dog park to have fun with your dog.

Get more tips for living with your dog in a city here >>

A few final thoughts on the best apartment dogs

It’s easy to find a dog who will live well in an apartment or small-house setting. Size isn’t everything — quiet, lower-energy, non-working dogs are really what make the best apartment dogs. And if you already have a dog who needs to adapt to a small space, remember: If our dogs are with us and we’re happy, they’re happy, too. Rather than fretting over sharing a small space, look at it as a bonding experience. After all, tripping over each other is just a game of tag, if you look at it that way.

Tell us: Do you live in an apartment with a dog? What do you think of our tips? What other breeds — or mixes — should be on the best apartment dogs list? Let us know in the comments!

5 Motivational Life Mantras For A Happy And Successful Life

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1) Before You Tell Your Thoughts, Think A Bit:

Speaking the wrong words at the wrong time can increase your troubles.

Ultimately, we all need self-discipline. It is a simple solution that we can easily cope with the difficulties in life, by changing our attitude. And keep love relationships for life.

2) Avoid Criticism And Do Not Make Fun Of Others:

There are two types of effects of our sensation and its outbreak. If you send positive thoughts in the form of love, affection, kindness, compassion, welfare, then it will make your relationship even more beautiful and stronger. On the contrary, those who use anger, hatred, anxiety, criticism, molestation, negative thinking and bad words, their relationship seems to be diminishing. And in this concern, love and happiness always go away from the human life. In the relationship between two people, both should have the power to understand each other, and there should be ego and hatred in each other.

3) Do You Feel Easily Miserable And Are Happy With You?

I believe that keeping good and bad habits to a limited place can lead you to the wrong path. The people have a habit of adopting bad habits early and developing them, while good habits only take place after a lot of difficult and lots of attempts. And that is why we are annoyed with each other. We should bring our inner feeling to our mind. Considering the inner feeling, we should bring positive feelings out and destroy negative feelings.

Contrary to the feeling of happiness, love, attraction, meditation, kindness and compassion, we all see it in our own nature. Our nature reflects our qualities and our happiness depends on our nature.

The easiest solution to remove the sour taste in the relationship is to humiliate your temperament and whether the situation is favorable or the opposite is always a smile. To be happy, you need to change your nature.

4) Change Your Definition:

Make your definition so much that you can easily feel happy and can be very happy. Make sure your best day is today, today you can easily live the life you want. Always remember these things, then happiness, love, freedom will always be there in your life.

If someone asks you how you live happily and enthusiastic? So your answer, “I am so happy because I live in today and easily breathe and I feel happy”.

Your attitude will help you to live a happy life. And you will always be living in the atmosphere of love, charm, helper and kindness, compassion, so that both your health and your property will be safe.

Apart from being easily happy, there is one more thing that you should be in, and it is not that easy to be unhappy. It is impossible for any person to make you sad. Make sure to limit your frustration to a limit. You will be disappointed if you lose more than $ 1 million in the day, if you have any such event in your life then you should be disappointed. If you use these limitations in your life then you will never be easily dissatisfied. And you will be able to live happily throughout life.

5) Use These Conditions:

You make all the changes just to make positive changes in life. To increase these habits you need to be humble, honest and consistent. All the time, you should be aware of this new definition of life. Write all these terms on many pages and put them at different places in the house. So that your attention will turn to them again and again. You can also keep all these terms as wallpaper of your computer, laptop or mobile phone.

Doing so will change your bad habit in good habits in just a few days, and you will find yourself the happiest person in this world. You can always be happy with doing this. And you can also learn how to please others with your attitude.

And there will be no place for anger, hatred, despair and trouble in this world.

Always remember one thing ….

Love and happiness win everywhere.

Humans Don’t Want Happiness Above All, Argued Nietzsche

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Everybody wants to be happy, right? Who doesn’t? Sure, you may not want to sacrifice everything for pleasure, but you certainly want to enjoy yourself. There are a slew of drugs on the market for solving the problems of depression, and the methods for achieving happiness are often sold and advertised as something you can get, and that which you desire above all else.

The pursuit of happiness is so integral to our idea of the good life that it was declared to be an inalienable right by Thomas Jefferson. It summarizes the American Dream like no other idea. For many people it is the meaning of life itself. It is difficult for some to fathom that there is a way of thinking that suggests you don’t want to at least try to be as happy as you can be.

Well, there is one philosopher who doesn’t think you want happiness in itself. Friedrich Nietzsche.

Nietzsche saw the mere pursuit of happiness, defined here as that which gives pleasure, as a dull waste of human life. Declaring: “Mankind does not strive for happiness; only the Englishman does”, referencing the English philosophy of Utilitarianism, and its focus on total happiness. A philosophy which he rejected with his parable of the “Last Man,” a pathetic being who lives in a time where mankind has “invented happiness”.

The Last Men? In Nietzsche’s mind they were happy, but dull. 

Nietzsche was instead dedicated to the idea of finding meaning in life. He suggested the Ubermensch, and his creation of meaning in life, as an alternative to the Last Man, and offered us the idea of people who were willing to undertake great suffering in the name of a goal they have set, as examples. Can we imagine that Michelangelo found painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel pleasant? Nikola Tesla declared that his celibacy was necessary to his work, but complained of his loneliness his entire life.

Is that happiness? If these great minds wanted happiness in itself, would they have done what they did?

No, says Nietzsche. They would not. Instead, they chose to pursue meaning, and found it. This is what people really want.

Psychology often agrees. Psychologist Victor Franklsuggested that the key to good living is to find meaning, going so far as to suggest positive meanings for the suffering of his patients to help them carry on. His ideas, published in the best-selling work Man’s Search for Meaning, were inspired by his time at a concentration camp and his notes on how people suffering unimaginable horrors were able to carry on through meaning, rather than happiness.

There is also a question of Utilitarian math here for Nietzsche. In his mind, those who do great things suffer greatly. Those who do small things suffer trivially. In this case, if one was to try to do Utilitarian calculations it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find a scenario when the net happiness is very large. This is why the Last Man is so dull; the only things that grant him a large net payoff in happiness are rather dull affairs, not the suffering-inducing activities that we would find interesting.

This problem is called “the paradox of happiness.” Activities which are done to directly increase pleasure are unlikely to have a high payoff. Nietzsche grasped this problem and gave it voice when he said that “Joy accompanies, joy does not move.” A person who enjoys collecting stamps does not do it because it makes them happy, but because they find it interesting. The happiness is a side effect. A person who suffers for years making a masterpiece is not made happy by it, but rather finds joy in the beauty they create after the fact.

Of course, there is opposition to Nietzsche’s idea. The great English thinker Bertrand Russell condemned Nietzsche in his masterpiece A History of Western Philosophy. Chief among his criticisms of Nietzsche was what he saw as a brutality and openness to suffering, and he compared Nietzschean ideas against those of the compassionate Buddha, envisioning Nietzsche shouting:

Why go about sniveling because trivial people suffer? Or, for that matter, because great men suffer? Trivial people suffer trivially, great men suffer greatly, and great sufferings are not to be regretted, because they are noble. Your ideal is a purely negative one, absence of suffering, which can be completely secured by non-existence. I, on the other hand, have positive ideals: I admire Alcibiades, and the Emperor Frederick II, and Napoleon. For the sake of such men, any misery is worthwhile.

Against this Russell contrasts the ideas of the Buddha, and suggests an impartial observer would always side with him. Russell, whose interpretations of Nietzsche were less than accurate and who suffered from having poor translations to work with, saw his philosophy as the stepping stone to fascism, and as being focused on pain.

So, while you may value something above happiness, how much are you willing to suffer to get it? Nietzsche argues that you will give it all up for a higher value. Others still disagree. Are you even able to pursue happiness and receive it? Or is Nietzsche correct that you must focus elsewhere, on meaning, in order to even hope for satisfaction later?

Modern Relationships Scare Me

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Modern dating scares me because it’s impossible to distance yourself from someone you once loved. You struggle to move on, to tell yourself you can live without them, because they are always staring back at you from laptop, phone, and tablet screens. Even if you try to erase all traces of their existence, if you smash block and delete, there’s always a friend of a friend posting a picture with them or a Facebook memory that will make your heartache come rushing back. Closure is hard to achieve — and it seems like no one wants to achieve it. Exes will text you out of the blue when you feel like you are doing fine without them. They will ruin all the progress you made getting over them with a drunken miss you text. They will make sure you keep coming back to them, even when they have already made it clear they are the wrong one for you.

Modern dating scares me because there are a million different types of relationships. Serious relationships. Open relationships. Almost relationships. Casual relationships. Texting relationships. Situationships. Even though it seems like there are more relationships than ever before, no one actually wants to define the relationship. They want to see where things go. They want to avoid labels, even though without labels, it’s easier to get hurt. One conversation could solve everything, it could clear up all the mixed signals, but those conversations rarely happen.

Modern relationships scare me because cheating is easier than ever. You can download a dating app and swipe through options on your couch, at your desk, beside your own partner in your own bedroom. You can send snaps that will delete automatically, erasing any evidence of infidelity. You can harmlessly flirt with someone you would have never seen again, but with the help of social media, you can continue contact, you can build an inappropriate connection without realizing it’s happening. You can lose the person you love without ever seeing it coming, without catching onto any of the signs they are ready to stray.

Modern relationships scare me because everyone watches your love unfold. They see the pictures you post and either aww or roll their eyes. They make uneducated guesses on how long the relationship is going to last. And when you break up, it’s not private. Everyone notices when your profile picture changes to a headshot. They catch on quickly. It’s intimidating to know everyone on your friend list knows whether you are single or whether you are in a serious relationship or whether you have been jumping from person to person.  Everyone has an opinion on your love, even if they have never seen you two together in person. Your relationship is none of their business, but social media makes them feel like it is.

Modern relationships scare me because they are a breeding ground for abandonment issues. They can end without warning. They can end with a text — or with an unanswered text. Without a face-to-face conversation, most questions are left unanswered. Most wounds are left wide open. It’s hard to accept losing someone when you have no idea what you did to chase them away, when you aren’t sure whether it was your fault or bad timing or poor chemistry.

Modern relationships scare me, because no matter how much effort you put in, it’s useless unless the other person puts in effort too

How To Be Resilient: 8 Steps To Success When Life Gets Hard

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“Stick with it!”“Be resilient!”“Never give up!”I see a lot of stuff about resilience, persistence and grit. What I don’t see is a lot of legitimate info on how to actually increase those qualities.How can we be more resilient? How can we shrug off huge challenges in life, persist and — in the end — succeed?So I looked at the most difficult scenarios for insight. (Who needs resilience in easy situations, right?)When life and death is on the line, what do the winners do that the losers don’t?Turns out surviving the most dangerous situations has some good lessons we can use to learn how to be resilient in everyday life.

Whether it’s dealing with unemployment, a difficult job, or personal tragedies, here are insights that can help.

1) Perceive and believe

“The company already had two rounds of layoffs this year but I never thought they would let me go.”

“Yeah, the argument was getting a little heated but I didn’t think he was going to hit me.”

The first thing to do when facing difficulty is to make sure you recognize it as soon as possible.

Sounds obvious but we’ve all been in denial at one point or another. What do people who survive life-threatening situations have in common?

They move through those “stages of grief” from denial to acceptance faster:

Via Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why:

They immediately begin to recognize, acknowledge, and even accept the reality of their situation… They move through denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance very rapidly.

What’s that thing doctors say when they’re able to successfully treat a medical problem? “Good thing we caught it early.”

When you stay oblivious or live in denial, things get worse — often in a hurry. When you know you’re in trouble you can act.

Nobody is saying paranoia is good but research shows a little worrying is correlated with living a longer life.

(For more on how a little negativity can make you happier, click here.)

Okay, like they say in AA, you admitted you have a problem. What’s the next thing the most resilient people do?

2) Manage your emotions

Sometimes when SCUBA divers drown they still have air in their oxygen tanks. Seriously.

How is this possible? Something goes wrong, they panic, and instinctively pull the regulator out of their mouth.

Via Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why:

M. Ephimia Morphew, a psychologist and founder of the Society for Human Performance in Extreme Environments, told me of a series of accidents she’d been studying in which scuba divers were found dead with air in their tanks and perfectly functional regulators. “Only they had pulled the regulators out of their mouths and drowned. It took a long time for researchers to figure out what was going on.” It appears that certain people suffer an intense feeling of suffocation when their mouths are covered. That led to an overpowering impulse to uncover the mouth and nose. The victims had followed an emotional response that was in general a good one for the organism, to get air. But it was the wrong response under the special, non-natural, circumstances of scuba diving.

When you’re having trouble breathing what’s more natural than to clear an obstruction from your mouth?

Now just a brief second of clear thinking tells you this is a very bad idea while diving — but when you panic, you can’t think clearly.

Rash decision making rarely delivers optimal results in everyday life either.

Resilient people acknowledge difficult situations, keep calm and evaluate things rationally so they can make a plan and act.

Via Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why:

Al Siebert, in his book The Survivor Personality, writes that “The best survivors spend almost no time, especially in emergencies, getting upset about what has been lost, or feeling distressed about things going badly…. For this reason they don’t usually take themselves too seriously and are therefore hard to threaten.”

(For methods Navy SEALS, astronauts and the samurai use to keep calm under pressure, click here.)

So you know you’re in trouble but you’re keeping your cool. Might there be a simple way to sidestep all these problems? Yeah.

3) Be a quitter

Many of you might be a little confused right now: “A secret to resilience is quitting? That doesn’t make any sense.”

What do we see when we look at people who survive life and death situations? Many of them were smart enough to bail early.

Via Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why:

“…It’s a matter of looking at yourself and assessing your own abilities and where you are mentally, and then realizing that it’s better to turn back and get a chance to do it again than to go for it and not come back at all.” We are a society of high achievers, but in the wilderness, such motivation can be deadly…

The best way to take a punch from a UFC fighter and to survive a hurricane are the same: “Don’t be there when it hits.”

You quit baseball when you were 10 and quit playing the piano after just 2 lessons. Nobody sticks with everything. You can’t.

When the company starts laying people off, there’s always one guy smart enough to immediately jump ship and preemptively get a new job.

And some people are smart enough to realize, “I am never going to be a great Tango dancer and should double my efforts at playing poker.”

And you know what results this type of quitting has? It makes you happier, reduces stress and increases health.

Via Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain:

Wrosch found that people who quit their unattainable goals saw physical and psychological benefits. “They have, for example, less depressive symptoms, less negative affect over time,” he says. “They also have lower cortisol levels, and they have lower levels of systemic inflammation, which is a marker of immune functioning. And they develop fewer physical health problems over time.”

You can do anything — when you stop trying to do everything.

(For more on how to determine what you should stick with and what you should abandon, click here.)

Okay, so maybe you can’t bail and really do need to be resilient. What does the research say you can do to have more grit? It sounds crazy …

4) Be delusional

Marshall Goldsmith did a study of incredibly successful people. After assembling all the data he realized the thing they all had in common.

And then he shouted: “These successful people are all delusional!”

Via Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success:

“This is not to be misinterpreted as a bad thing. In fact, being delusional helps us become more effective. By definition, these delusions don’t have to be accurate. If they were totally accurate, your goals would be too low.” Goldsmith noticed that although illusions of control expose people to risk of failure, they do something else that is very interesting: they motivate people to keep trying even when they’ve failed… “Successful people fail a lot, but they try a lot, too. When things don’t work, they move on until an idea does work. Survivors and great entrepreneurs have this in common.”

Crazy successful people and people who survive tough situations are all overconfident. Very overconfident.

Some of you may be scratching your head: “Isn’t step one all about not being in denial? About facing reality?”

You need to make a distinction between denial about the situation and overconfidence in your abilities.

The first one is very bad, but the second one can be surprisingly good. See the world accurately — but believe you are a rockstar.

Via Supersurvivors: The Surprising Link Between Suffering and Success:

Denying or distorting a bad situation may be comforting in the short term, but it’s potentially harmful in the long run because it will be almost impossible to solve a problem unless you first admit you have one. In contrast, having an especially strong belief in one’s personal capabilities, even if that belief is somewhat illusory, probably helps you to solve problems… A useful, if somewhat simplistic, mathematical formula might be: a realistic view of the situation + a strong view of one’s ability to control one’s destiny through one’s efforts = grounded hope.

(For more on what the most successful people have in common, click here.)

So this is how superheroes must feel: there’s definitely trouble, but you’re calm and you feel like you’re awesome enough to handle this.

But we need to move past feelings. What actions are going to see you through this mess?

5) Prepare … even if it’s too late for preparation

Folks, I firmly believe there is no such thing as a “pretty good” alligator wrestler.

Who survives life threatening situations? People who have done it before. People who have prepared.

Now even if you can’t truly prepare for a layoff or a divorce, you can work to have good productive habits and eliminate wasteful ones.

Good habits don’t tax your willpower as much as deliberate actions and will help you be more resilient.

How do you survive a WW2 shipwreck and shark attacks? Keep preparing for the future, even when you’re in the midst of trouble.

Via Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience:

As the days went by, he continued to concentrate on strategies for survival. At one point, a rubber life belt floated by and he grabbed it. He had heard that the Japanese would use aircraft to strafe shipwrecked Americans. The life belt could be blown up through a rubber tube. He cut the tube off and kept it, reasoning that if the Japanese spotted them, he could slip under water and breathe through the tube. He was planning ahead. He had a future in his mind, and good survivors always concentrate on the present but plan for the future. Thus, taking it day by day, hour by hour, and   sometimes minute by minute, did Don McCall endure.

One caveat: as learning expert Dan Coyle recommends, make sure any prep you do is as close to the real scenario as possible.

Bad training can be worse than no training. When police practice disarming criminals they often conclude by handing the gun to their partner.

One officer trained this so perfectly that in the field he took a gun from a criminal — and instinctively handed it right back.

Via Make It Stick:

Johnson recounts how officers are trained to take a gun from an assailant at close quarters, a maneuver they practice by role-playing with a fellow officer. It requires speed and deftness: striking an assailant’s wrist with one hand to break his grip while simultaneously wresting the gun free with the other. It’s a move that officers had been in the habit of honing through repetition, taking the gun, handing it back, taking it again. Until one of their officers, on a call in the field, took the gun from an assailant and handed it right back again.

(For more on how to develop good habits — and get rid of bad ones, click here.)

You’re expecting the best but prepared for the worst. Perfect. Is now the time to de-stress? Heck, no.

6) Stay busy, busy, busy

What’s the best way to survive and keep your emotions in check when things are hard? “Work, work, work.”

Via Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience:

Remember the saying “Get organized or die.” In the wake of trauma, “Work, work, work,” as Richard Mollica wrote. He is a psychiatrist at Harvard who studies trauma. “This is the single most important goal of traumatized people throughout the world.” The hands force order on the mind.

When things go bad, people get sad or scared, retreat and distract themselves. That can quell the emotions, but it doesn’t get you out of this mess.

Resilient people know that staying busy not only gets you closer to your goals but it’s also the best way to stay calm.

And believe it or not, we’re all happier when we’re busy.

(For more on what the most productive people in the world do every day, click here.)

You’re hustlin’. That’s good. But it’s hard to keep that can-do attitude when things aren’t going well. What’s another secret to hanging in there?

7) Make it a game

In his book “Touching the Void,” Joe Simpson tells the harrowing story of how he broke his leg 19,000 feet up while climbing a mountain.

Actually he didn’t break his leg… he shattered it. Like marbles in a sock. His calf bone driven through his knee joint.

He and his climbing partner assumed he was a dead man. But he survived.

One of his secrets was making his slow, painful descent into a game.

Via Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why:

Simpson was learning what it means to be playful in such circumstances: “A pattern of movements developed after my initial wobbly hops and I meticulously repeated the pattern. Each pattern made up one step across the slope and I began to feel detached from everything around me. I thought of nothing but the patterns.” His struggle had become a dance, and the dance freed him from the terror of what he had to do.

How does this work? It’s neuroscience. Patterned activities stimulate the same reward center cocaine does.

Via Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience:

And tellingly, a structure within the basal ganglia is activated during feelings of safety, reward, and simply feeling great. It’s called the striatum and drugs such as cocaine set it off, but so does the learning of a new habit or skill and the performance of organized, patterned activities…

Even boring things can be fun if you turn them into a game with stakes, challenges and little rewards.

And we can use this same system for everyday problems: How many resumes can you send out today? Can you beat yesterday?

Celebrating “small wins” is something survivors have in common.

Via Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why:

Survivors take great joy from even their smallest successes. That is an important step in creating an ongoing feeling of motivation and preventing the descent into hopelessness. It also provides relief from the unspeakable stress of a true survival situation.

(For more on how to increase gratitude and happiness, click here.)

You’re a machine. Making progress despite huge challenges. What’s the final way to take your resilience to the next level? Other people.

8) Get help and give help

Getting help is good. That’s obvious. But sometimes we’re ashamed or embarrassed and fail to ask for it. Don’t let pride get in the way.

What’s more fascinating is that even in the worst of times, giving help can help you.

By taking on the role of caretaker we increase the feeling of meaning in our lives. This helps people in the worst situations succeed.

Leon Weliczker survived the Holocaust not only because of his resourcefulness — but also because he felt he had to protect his brother.

Via Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience:

When his fifteen-year-old brother Aaron came in, Leon was suddenly filled with love and a feeling of responsibility for the two boys. He was shedding the cloak of the victim in favor of the role of the rescuer. Terrence Des Pres, in his book The Survivor, makes the point that in the journey of survival, helping someone else is as important as getting help.

Sometimes being selfless is the best way to be selfish. And the research shows that givers are among the most successful people and they live longer.

Via Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why:

Helping someone else is the best way to ensure your own survival. It takes you out of yourself. It helps you to rise above your fears. Now you’re a rescuer, not a victim. And seeing how your leadership and skill buoy others up gives you more focus and energy to persevere. The cycle reinforces itself: You buoy them up, and their response buoys you up. Many people who survive alone report that they were doing it for someone else (a wife, boyfriend, mother, son) back home.

(For more on how helping others can also help you, click here.)

So once the threat is passed, once the dust has settled, can we have a normal life again? Actually, sometimes, life can be even better.

Sum up

So when life is daunting and we need resilience, keep in mind:

  1. Perceive And Believe
  2. Manage Your Emotions
  3. Be A Quitter
  4. Be Delusional
  5. Prepare… Even If It’s Too Late For Preparation
  6. Stay Busy, Busy, Busy
  7. Make It A Game
  8. Get Help And Give Help

To live full lives some amount of difficulty is essential.

Via Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience:

Richard Tedeschi, a psychologist who treats post-traumatic stress, said that “to achieve the greatest psychological health, some kind of suffering is necessary.”

You can meet life’s challenges with resilience, competence and grace.

And when the troubles are over, science agrees: what does not kill you can in fact make you stronger.

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This article first appeared on Barking Up The Wrong Tree.

7 Habits of Existentially Vibrant Living

Author Article

The following are the seven habits that, in my opinion, comprise the basis of existentially vibrant living:

(1)   the habit of making one’s own meaning (instead of “looking for it”)

(2)   the habit of accepting reality “as is” (put differently, the habit of “noticing ordinary perfection”)

(3)   the habit of being present in the moment

(4)   the habit of making conscious choices (which helps you de-program and re-program your life at will)

(5)   the habit of self-acceptance/self-compassion

(6)   the habit of accepting uncertainty (“because we are always flying blind into the unknown of what is yet to be”)

(7)   the habit of forgiving and compassion

These seven vital signs of conscious, meaningful, and mindful living are the goals of the program of existential rehabilitation.  Developing these habits will help you feel freer and more alive, more at ease and psychologically invulnerable, more attuned to yourself and more connected with others, and, most importantly, less preoccupied with what should be and more in awe of what already is.

Adapted from Present Perfect (P. Somov, New Harbinger Publications, 2010)

If You’re Not Interested In Having Kids Ever, You’ll Notice These 3 Things About Yourself

Author Article
Sarah Ellis

Hello, my name is Sarah and I really don’t want kids. I’m getting to the age where a lot of my friends have baby fever, and even if they aren’t considering children just yet, they’re excited about the prospect of being a parent down the road. But as for me, I’m not interested in having kids ever, and I’ve always felt this way. Does this make me totally unusual or abnormal? Sometimes, I wonder. But I just don’t feel like parenthood is part of my calling in this world.

Thankfully, I’m not alone, according to the therapists I spoke to for this story. It’s completely OK not to want children, despite the pressures society sometimes puts on us to feel otherwise. Listen to your instincts! “If your gut is screaming ‘no’ even when everything around you (your partner, your parents, society) are saying yes, do yourself a favor and listen,” says Rachel Zar, AMFT, relationship and sex therapist. “Being honest with yourself and with your partner … is the best way to make an authentic and intentional decision.” There are several signs to pay attention to that might signal you’re not interested in having kids. Here are three of the major ones.

YOU WANT TO KEEP YOUR LIFE EXACTLY AS IT IS.

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“If having your life turned upside down for another person does not feel worth it, it [parenthood] may not be for you,” says Nicole Richardson, LPC. Having kids is a huge change in so many ways, and if you don’t see that happening, you may not want to take that step. If your career is thriving, your relationships are thriving, and you really don’t want to shift things around, it might not make sense to bring kids into the equation.

YOU FEEL A STRONGER PULL TOWARD OTHER PASSIONS.

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Got other things in your life that feel like a priority? You do you! “If you experience a pull to focus your life energy in other ways, such as career path, social relationships, traveling the world, or life with your partner, and don’t see children as a piece of that picture, you must give yourself permission to want that life and know that it’s OK,” says Liz Higgins, MS, LMFT. Higgins notes that sometimes people feel judgment from others about their decision not to have kids, simply because other people may not understand it. But you have to trust yourself and do what feels right for you.

YOU ONLY WANT KIDS BECAUSE YOU FEEL PRESSURE FROM OTHERS.

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I could say this a million times, but your life is up to you! There’s nothing worse than feeling like you have to do something to live up to other people’s expectations. “If you know in your heart of hearts that you don’t need children in order to feel fulfilled in life, or if you believe that you contribute to the world and gain satisfaction in other ways, then don’t rush or force yourself into parenthood because you think it’s the next step you’re supposed to take,” Higgins advises. “Don’t succumb to pressure from friends or family if you know there’s a voice inside leading you to another path.” No one know you better than yourself, so do what feels best for you and your life.

Whether or not you choose to have kids, there are so many ways to feel fulfilled and contribute positively to the world around you. For me, I know that writing is what I love more than anything, and I want to keep space open to help others through my words. For you, maybe it’s travel, or career, or even prioritizing a relationship with your partner! You don’t have a make a decision right now, and that’s totally okay, but just know that you are whole and complete no matter what you decide. Trust your gut!

Fostering a Lust for Life

Author Article –  

February is often thought of as the month of love. For some people this refers to romantic love, and for others, it might refer to love for a friend or relative. It can also be about the love — or lust — for life and living life to its fullest, which means listening to the messages of your heart and going in the direction of what brings you the most joy.

Many people experience unhappiness at different times, and often they’re unsure of what to do to change or transform their situations. They may feel that they want something more out of life, but they don’t know what that something is. In essence, we all want to be happy and make some sort of impact on the world, and the places where we want to do so are usually those areas we feel passionate about, and which are connected to our life’s purpose.

Most often your life purpose is already present within you — it’s just a matter of finding it. First, you need to know yourself, what has shaped your past, and what inspires you to move forward. These are all pieces of information offering tools for self-awareness. This knowledge can be very empowering and a means to fostering a lust for life.

Journaling to Learn Your Life’s Passion

One way to figure out your passion and your reason for living is to begin a regular journaling practice. A good place to start is to write about what you’re grateful for and all the positive aspects of your life. This is also an excellent way to learn about the messages of your heart and to tap into your subconscious mind.

Sometimes people begin journaling during challenging times. My own writing journey began when I was ten and my mother gave me a Kahlil Gibran journal to help me cope with the loss of my grandmother. Although I began writing from a place of pain, I realized that during the creative process, I was tapping into some profound inner truths. This helped me heal and find my life purpose, which involves teaching others how to transform their lives through the written word.

Humanist Psychologists and Life Purpose

Humanist psychology, the newest branch of psychology that was born in the 1960s, highlights the importance of everyone living their true potential, which is also known as self-actualization. Psychologists Abraham Maslow and Rollo May were instrumental in launching this branch of psychology, and their influence remains significant today. In fact, May was influential in inspiring my own ongoing journaling process back in the 1960s. When I turned 18, my family doctor gave me a copy of May’s Love and Will, which informed a great deal of my adolescence, taught me self-awareness, and gave me myriad ideas to journal about, even though when I initially read the book, I didn’t really understand much of what the author was saying.

I shelved the book but knew that I would return to it at a later date, and when I fell in love in my early twenties, I dusted it off and began to read. May reminded me of the importance of love in my life, how to differentiate love from sex, and also to see where the two intersect.

Many years later when I became a published writer, I became enamored with May’s book The Courage to Create, which tapped into the idea of listening to the messages of the heart and mind when it comes to being creative, and having the courage to listen to those messages. In doing so, we break old patterns and release long-standing fears on the road to living a meaningful life.

The Importance of Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is key for anyone who yearns to foster a lust for life. Knowing oneself requires a deep sense of inner knowing. Writing is an ideal way to increase our sense of self-awareness, as it helps us see ourselves and the world around us in a nonjudgmental, clear, and honest way. Being self-aware helps facilitate writing for healing and transformation and also stimulates the mind-body connection, which offers an opportunity for positive change, and ultimately, happiness.

There are many ways to foster self-awareness, so you need to find what works best for you, but writing is a good way to start because it serves as a container to express and hold feelings, emotions, and experiences. It’s also a way to begin a dialogue with yourself. Dialoguing, whether verbal or written, is very healing — emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Identifying Moments of Being

In addition to knowing and appreciating all the positive aspects in your life, it’s wise to identify what writer Virginia Woolf calls “moments of being,” or moments that help define us. These moments could be simple things like remembering the shoes your mother wore or how your father played with you in the backyard. It could be the day your little brother or sister came home from the hospital as a newborn, or the time your family adopted a pet for the first time. These are moments when an individual experiences a sense of stark reality, which can result from a shock of some sort or a discovery or revelation. These are transformative moments. And sometimes, the moments that impact us most are those we don’t even fully understand at the time they’re occurring.

Writing prompt: Make a list of ten or more moments in your life that were pivotal and transformative. The memories that come to your mind can serve to inspire you in many ways and foster a lust for the rest of your life.

References

Maslow, A. (2014). Toward a Psychology of Being. New York, NY: Sublime Books.

May, R. (2011). Love and Will. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.

May, R. (2009). Man’s Search for Self. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.

May, R. (1994). The Courage to Create. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.

How Habits Become Your Destiny

Author Article
By Susanna Newsonen

Habits are a part of everyone’s life. We all have them, we all know of them, and most of us tend to complain about them. Yet not many of us take the time to learn about them. If we did, we would be a lot more successful with building good habits and eliminating bad ones.

With 40 percent of your daily behavior being based on habits, it’s important to stop and take stock of what they actually are. Imagine if 90 percent of that 40 percent is all bad habits, or habits that are holding you back? That’s not a fun nor productive place to be.

That’s why it’s important to become your very own social scientist for your own life. Explore what your habits are, how they have been built, and whether they are good or bad for you. This is where you have to start. Without the self-awareness and the breaking down of the habits, it’s very difficult to start changing your habits or adding new ones in.

To help you get started, I have three questions for you to use when you start exploring your habits:

1. Is this habit helping me to be happier, healthier or more successful?

If the answer is no, it’s obvious you’ve got to let it go. The only tricky part is you can’t just eliminate it because it’s an existing neural pathway in your brain. Instead, you’ve got to dress that bad habit in new overalls to turn it into a good habit you want to keep.

2. How is my habit formed?

Without understanding what your habit consists of it’s impossible to change it or adapt it. This is where Charles Duhigg’s habit loop comes in, with each habit having a cue (a consistent time, location, emotion, person or activity), a routine (the actual behavior) and a reward (some sense of satisfaction). The key is realising that even the bad habits have a reward even though we might not label them as such.

3. Do I want to change one or more habits in my life?

No one can tell you what habits you should or shouldn’t have. You know what is best for your body and being, and you know what habits you are happy to involve in your life. When you’re deciding whether to change a bad habit or to add a new good habit into your life, make sure you have a clear why behind it. Doing it “because someone said so” isn’t going to keep you motivated through your habit change.

The most important thing to remember is that habit change is possible. Even though it’s difficult at the start, the more you stick with it, the easier it becomes. There are lots of different tools and strategies to test when it comes to changing habits and building new ones successfully, but before all that comes the understanding of what habits actually are, how they are formed, and how you can override the neural pathways of bad habits.

Then, like Aristotle said, you’ll be on your way to excellence: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”