This Is The Most Powerful Way To Make Your Life Fantastic

See Author Article Here
By Eric Barker

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Last year Cal Newport convinced 1,600 people to completely change their lives.He asked them to take a 30-day break from the optional technologies in their lives. Unless not using it would get you fired, divorced, or cause the people you love to spontaneously burst into flame, it was out. Say goodbye to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for a month.And anything not optional got rules: only checking email at designated hours and the screen time limits you might impose on your kids now got imposed on you. So what happened?No, nobody had a seizure. And, yes, the initial transition was rough for many. But after that, in the vast majority of cases, it utterly changed people’s lives for the better.

They got happier. More productive. They spent more quality time with their kids. One father remarked how weird it was to be the only parent at the playground notlooking at his phone.

Research shows 70% of your happiness comes from relationships:

Contrary to the belief that happiness is hard to explain, or that it depends on having great wealth, researchers have identified the core factors in a happy life. The primary components are number of friends, closeness of friends, closeness of family, and relationships with co-workers and neighbors. Together these features explain about 70 percent of personal happiness. – Murray and Peacock 1996

And what’s the biggest controllable factor that’s taking quality time away from your relationships? Probably your phone. The internet. The pseudo-relationships you have on social media.

We’ve read a thousand tips and tricks for reducing our screen time but they’re like fad diets and are generally only effective until the next time you feel a buzzing in your pocket.

Technology’s not evil, but we need to find a balance. We need more than tips, we need a philosophy. A system. Dare I say, an ethos. And Cal has one for us: “Digital Minimalism.”

No, Cal’s not going to tell you to smash your phone. Quite the opposite: He’s a professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University, sporting a PhD from MIT. The Force is strong with this one. He’s the bestselling author of a whole bunch of books, including the amazing Deep Work.

His latest book is Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

I gave Cal a call to find out how we can get the best of technology — so it doesn’t get the best of us. This isn’t another rant about the evils of screens. It’s a battle plan for building a better life.

Let’s get to it …

The true enemy is “reverse FOMO”

FOMO: fear of missing out. You’ve probably clicked an article about the subject because, hey, wouldn’t wanna miss out on the latest internet hysteria. But FOMO is a false god. It’s not the real problem.

The real problem is “reverse FOMO.” You’re not missing out on anything online. But by always being online you’re missing out on life. Here’s Cal:

We have this idea of FOMO, which is that if you’re not super-connected, there could be something you’re missing out on. But the reality is that the issue most people are having is that because they’re using technology more than they know is healthy, it’s crowding out all the things that we know deep down make a good life good. People are missing out on real-world conversation, which is just crucial for a satisfying life. Being with people in person, sacrificing time and effort to actually be with someone, to connect with them through the good, the bad, the boring, the interesting. We need that to survive.

The ability to lift your phone at any moment is slicing good hours into time confetti. It’s preventing us from accomplishing big things and focusing on the people we love. And at the same time it’s creating a salad bar of new problems like anxiety, FOMO and loneliness. Sorry, your brain needs more social connection than Facebook Likes can provide. Here’s Cal:

…we’re seeing this increasingly strong signal that more social media use means higher likelihood of loneliness. And one of the leading hypotheses is that social media displaces real-world interaction. If you’re on social media all the time, you feel like you’re very social, and therefore you don’t invest the effort required to do as much real-world interaction. Our brains evolved for millions of years with no like buttons or emojis. When you say, “Okay, I’m not going to give you any face to face interaction, but what I am going to give you is a little number that counts how many hearts someone clicks on a picture” — that’s not satisfying it. That’s why you can ironically end up more lonely when you spend more time on social media platforms. It’s something we should be much more afraid of than we are.

Too much phone time isn’t just distracting us from our relationships — research shows it’s making us worse at conducting them. Here’s Cal:

Sherry Turkle from MIT documents that conversation actually requires practice. There’s a dance involved in sitting across from someone and negotiating that interaction. And if you rob a lot of that from your life, you get bad at it. It not only makes you lonely, it not only brings out anxiety-related disorders, it makes you really bad at relating when you have to do it.

People will respond “But social media is good for X and Y. I do get value from it!” No doubt. But that logic is a trap. Plenty of things have some value — the question is what are you giving up in exchange for it?

You have 24 hours in a day. If you’re doing one thing, you’re not doing another. Is the value you get from epic hours online better than the value you’d get from the alternative? Better than quality time with friends? We need to be more conscious of the choices we’re making.

When a friend convinces you to download yet another app, they may say “you don’t know what you’re missing.” But when it comes to real life, we do know what we’re missing. And often it’s far more valuable than whatever another dinging notification brings.

(To learn more about how you and your children can lead a successful life, check out my bestselling book here.)

So what do we do about it?

Forget lifehacks — Start with values

Tech’s not good. Tech’s not evil. Tech’s a tool. You can use it for good or for let’s-be-honest-checking-email-300-times-a-day-is-not-very-good.

You never sat down and decided that your default should be you’ll stare at your phone every time you have a free second. But somehow it became the rule anyway.

And that’s the problem. We didn’t make a decision. And that has led to epic amounts of asking, “Where the heck did all my time go?”

We don’t need a lifehack. We need to start with values to make sure that technology serves us instead of us serving it. A hammer is a tool. But you wouldn’t default to picking it up every time you had a free moment. That would be silly.

You’d grab it for a purpose that served your goals. But things get screwed up when you don’t know what your values and goals are. Here’s Cal:

What matters is your whole picture for your life. You’re trying to build a good life that focuses on the things that are important to you, and technology is only useful in so much as it helps support the things you really care about. What this means is that you’re going to be very intentional. “Here’s what I really value. I’m going to focus my energy on these things, and I’m going to ignore and miss out on everything else.” That intentionality itself can be way more satisfying and positive than the benefits you get from all of those minor conveniences and minor dollops of value. You’re figuring out what’s important to your life. For each of these things, you’re stepping back and saying, “What’s the best way to use technology, if at all, to support this value?” and then you ignore everything else.

If your career is everything to you and you’re in sales, hey, maybe you need to check email 300 times a day. No problem — that’s in service of your values. But that’s not the case for most of us.

You need to ask yourself what’s important to you. And then make a decision about how technology fits into your life to serve those goals. Be intentional abut setting rules that serve your purpose. Here’s Cal:

How many people just made a New Year’s resolution to look at their phone less? That doesn’t do it. How many people have read the same article again and again about turning off their notifications? That’s the equivalent of telling people, “Vegetables are good for you. Try to eat less and move more.” It’s not enough. People need a philosophy based on their values so we don’t have to think about it. Digital Minimalism is one such philosophy. It’s like the veganism or the paleo of the digital world.

“Paleo for your screen” has a nice ring to it. But that might be too extreme for most of us.

But you need to know your values and priorities. And then set rules that work for them. Because as we’ve all seen, if we don’t start with values tech time will fill every void by default and you’ll end up wondering where the hours went.

You may also end up wondering where you friends and family went too.

(To learn how to stop checking your phone, click here.)

I know what a lot of people are thinking: “Um, other than vague platitudes about putting those I love first, what are my values?” And that leads us to another problem with tech. To address this one, we actually need to start by getting away from people.

In fact, we need to get away from everything for a little while …

Try a long walk without a phone

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away people used to do this thing called “thinking.” They didn’t listen to anything, read anything, or talk to anyone for a little while. You can look this “thinking” thing up on Wikipedia and it probably has a picture of a horse and buggy next to it.

These days I think many of us are scared to death of being alone with our own minds. This wasn’t always the way. And it’s not good. Here’s Cal:

A smartphone made it possible for the first time in human history to eliminate all moments of solitude and deep thought from your day because it provides an endless stream of compelling stimuli. If you want to take in ideas and process them into something valuable, this requires a lot of thinking, and this thinking has to be done free from other stimuli. So if you want to take the great ideas from that new Eric Barker article and integrate them into your life into a way that’s really useful, you can’t just read the article. You also are going to have to spend some time thinking about what you read and place it within the structures that already exist in your life. You have to have time alone with your thoughts to extract anywhere near the full possible value from information.

We need to do less reacting and more reflecting. Back to Professor Cal:

Having insight about your values, your life, changes in your life, what you want to do, how you want to live, these key bits of self-reflection that help us grow as human beings absolutely depend on solitude. There has to be time where it’s you alone with your thoughts.

So go out and take a long walk, sans phone, and try this “thinking” thing. Reading and listening to good ideas is awesome — trust me, I’m a big fan. But we also need time alone to create good ideas.

We need to think about what is important to us. When we have the answer to that, many other decisions become much much easier.

(To learn the 4-step morning ritual that will make you happy all day, click here.)

So you’re taking time to think. You know what’s important to you. But now you’re going to face the same problem the 1600 people in Cal’s experiment did:

“What the heck do I do with myself now that I’m not online all the time?”

“High-quality analog leisure”

Archaeologists have discovered that back in that Dark Ages when people did that “thinking” thing,  they also engaged in these odd rituals called “hobbies.” These were projects where they gained skills and created things without incentives from an employer. How quaint. Here’s Cal, who explains things with 90% less snark:

Historically, especially in the 19th century or the 20th century, as people had more leisure time, the natural discomfort with boredom drove them to try to fill it with quality activities or community engagement, high-skilled hobbies, intellectual pursuits that are done for non-professional reasons, like poetry and novels and big idea thinking. And we were always driven towards this.

We all have activities we’re passionate about. Things we’d like to do that make us feel proud of ourselves. Things we’d like to be respected for. We look at people who teach themselves to play the guitar or learn another language and say, “Where do they find the time?”

But we all have the same 24 hours. Really. (It has to do with physics or something.) I laugh when I see articles on the net about, “How To Read More Books.” They get a lot of clicks. And people often ask me, “Eric, you read a lot. How can I read more?” But I won’t be posting on the subject anytime soon. Actually, I will.

Here you go: “The things that are not reading, do them less. The things that are reading, do them more. The End.”

We all have 24 hours. It’s about priorities. And many of us are making our phones and social media a big priority — whether we admit it to ourselves or not.

One of the most common things Cal heard from the 1600 was, “I forgot just how much I enjoyed doing X.” We should all do more X. And some Y. Forget Z, it sucks.

We blast our free hours into time confetti and then can’t conceive of how people take on big personal projects or learn new skills. What hobby might bring you more joy or pride?

Seriously, answer that question — because if you don’t know the answer, your efforts to curb your tech use will inevitably fail. You must have something to fill the void. And it has to excite you more than Instagram.

(To learn the 4 harsh truths that will make you a better person, click here.)

So other than your new stamp-collecting hobby, what else do you need to do? Hint: it involves people…

Make awesome plans with friends

Social media is the empty calories of friend nutrition. Keep stuffing your face with digital Doritos and you won’t have time for a real meal.

Think the world will end if you don’t comment on your friend’s next Facebook selfie? It won’t if you go visit them in person. Here’s that Cal guy again:

Digital minimalists are way more invested in real-world conversation. Maybe they don’t comment on that baby picture, but they show up unsolicited with dinner so you don’t have to cook that night. They call you. And it’s a priority for them. “I want to talk to you. What’s going on? How’s X, Y, Z happening with your work?” And so their friendships end up becoming much stronger.

This is what he saw with the 1600. (I encourage you all to emulate them — and bring me dinner.)

Do your best not to socialize digitally anymore if you can help it. Don’t use texting to catch up — use it for logistics to arrange a get together. Prioritize quality over quantity. Less texting, more hugging. Hugs make you happy. Science says so. Mom says so. Scientific moms say so.

But the big thing we’re missing these days is activities. People used to do things. Yeah, coffee or a drink is nice, but we need events, celebrations and competitions. Poker nights, board games, pickup basketball. We need to be a part of something and have a medium in which to connect, cooperate and express ourselves. Here’s Señor Newport:

So this is one of the benefits you get from high-quality leisure activities that have a social component to them, such as playing a board game with a group of friends or Ultimate Frisbee with your team. Part of why these types of things seem to be really beneficial is that the structure of the activity allows you a lot more flexibility and enjoyment in your social interaction that you might have in a simple conversation.

Play Monopoly. Plan an outing. Go conquer a neighboring village.

(To learn how to have a long awesome life, click here.)

Okay, we’ve learned a lot about what we’ve been missing. Let’s round it all up and see just how essential being part of a real-life community is to every one of us …

Sum up

This is the most powerful way to make your life fantastic:

  • Reverse FOMO is the problem: You’re not missing anything online. But if you’re always online you’re missing a lot of what makes life great.
  • You Don’t Need Lifehacks, You Need Values: If you don’t know what’s more important to you than spending time on Instagram, you will keep spending all your time on Instagram.
  • Long Walks Without A Phone: Thinking. Give it a try. I promise you, it’s not something you want someone else to do for you.
  • High Quality Analog Leisure: Make something, learn something, practice something. We all have 24 hours in a day. Someone else is not doing cooler things than you because they have “more time”. It’s because they have different priorities.
  • Make Awesome Plans With Friends: Which village should we conquer first?

It’s about feeling good about yourself. Living a life in alignment with your deepest values. Accomplishing things you’re proud of. And, most of all, being engaged with a community of people who love and support you.

I like technology. So do you. Nobody’s saying we have to surrender our phones and smash our routers. The issue is, by not having rules around how much we use it, we’ve quietly sacrificed some things that are vital. We can’t let digital connection get in the way of real community. That’s what we should be afraid of missing out on. It’s more important than any buzzing in our pocket — and if we take the time to really think about what makes us truly happy, we’ll choose community over modern conveniences almost every time.

I’m not trying to be all sappy and poetic. We have evidence. By the end of the nineteenth century, cities in America were rapidly moving toward what would become the modern world. New technologies, more convenience — but less community.

However, among the Native American tribes, not much was changing. Largely egalitarian and ruled by consensus, they lived much the same as they had for thousands of years. Not much new technology, but no shortage of community.

Here’s what’s interesting: city-dwellers sometimes left to join the Native American tribes. But the reverse almost never occurred.

From Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging:

It may say something about human nature that a surprising number of Americans—mostly men—wound up joining Indian society rather than staying in their own. They emulated Indians, married them, were adopted by them, and on some occasions even fought alongside them. And the opposite almost never happened: Indians almost never ran away to join white society. Emigration always seemed to go from the civilized to the tribal, and it left Western thinkers flummoxed about how to explain such an apparent rejection of their society.

Actually, it even gets more extreme than that.

From Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging:

“When an Indian child has been brought up among us, taught our language and habituated to our customs,” Benjamin Franklin wrote to a friend in 1753, “[yet] if he goes to see his relations and make one Indian ramble with them, there is no persuading him ever to return.” On the other hand, Franklin continued, white captives who were liberated from the Indians were almost impossible to keep at home: “Tho’ ransomed by their friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness to prevail with them to stay among the English, yet in a short time they become disgusted with our manner of life … and take the first good opportunity of escaping again into the woods.”

Humans are a social species. We long to be part of a community, part of a tribe. Given the option, we’ll always choose it. The modern world isn’t giving us a lot of great choices. So we must create them for ourselves. And the first step toward that is making sure that technology serves our communal needs, rather than replacing them.

Seriously, how many of the best moments of your life happened in front of a screen?

Morning People Really Are Happier, According to Science

See Author Article Here
By Michelle Darrisaw

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You may want to rethink hitting your snooze button in the morning. According to a new study, the time you decide to rise and shine could impact your overall mental and physical health.

Jacqueline Lane, an instructor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, recently conducted a sleep study and published her findings in the Nature Communicationsjournal. In an interview with TODAY, the professor revealed that early risers are essentially happier and healthier than nighthawks. Lane observed that those who wake up early have a specific genetic component that lowers their risk of developing depression and chronic illnesses.

“Individuals who tend to be happier tend to be morning-type individuals,” Lane said.

The population sample for the study was comprised of two groups: 250,000 people in the U.S. who used the DNA and ancestry services of biotech company, 23andMe and 450,000 people in the U.K. who enrolled in the biorepository Biobank across the pond. Lane and her team of researchers used sleep timing measures to evaluate circadian biology as it relates to genes.

They separated the group by those who identify as morning people and those who can’t pry themselves away from Netflix at night (or, ya know, just go to bed late in general). From there, Lane and her associates examined their genomes to determine the relationship between their genes and their preferred wake-up time and how it connects to their health. And what they found was pretty interesting.

Trying to change a night owl to a morning lark has serious health consequences.

“We show that being a morning person is causally associated with better mental health but does not affect body mass index or risk of Type 2 diabetes,” stated Lane in the study’s results.

“There is also a link between evening preference and a higher risk of schizophrenia (and depression),” she explained to TODAY.

But don’t think that just because you don’t hit the hay as soon as the sun goes down that you’re at risk for developing a mental health disorder.

“It is incredibly complicated,” she added. “The genetics about being a night owl is only part of it. It is more about environment, with living out of sync with your internal clock. Trying to change a night owl to a morning lark has serious health consequences.”

Still, Lane admitted more research needs to be done on how our genes are affected by our sleep cycles. However, it couldn’t hurt to set your alarm to get up a tad earlier.

“Understanding if you are a morning or evening person can really impact the schedule you choose,” Lane said. “It might determine when you choose activities or the timing of your meals.

So, now you know there’s a quasi-scientific reason why all the those morning people in your life tend to wake up so darned peppy.

Is Pursuing Happiness the Smart Thing to Do?

See Psychology Today Article
By Alexei Orlov

Oleksandr Pidvalnyi/Pexels
Source: Oleksandr Pidvalnyi/Pexels

In the quest for happiness, I have come to understand it as a fleeting emotion, as fluid as tidal waters. Rather than looking outward for nirvana, I should instead seek a better sense of self. In the end, I know for sure that the only measurement that matters is my own. I do not give myself permission to measure my worth against the earthly achievements of others; that is as superfluous as it is harmful.

I have walked through many passages of life and never have I met anyone who is completely and absolutely in a constant state of euphoria or happiness. That being said, I am blessed for having met a rare few who despite the noise of the world and the scars and blooms of their own experiences, are truly at one with themselves. It is they who find the closest state to pure bliss.

Every time I have met such a person, they seemed to have the same traits:

  • they were remarkable listeners
  • they read a great deal and reflected even more
  • they walked away from the chatter of every day regularly, sometimes for an hour, other times much longer
  • they were always thankful for something even when their plight seemed unbearable to an outsider
  • they admired simplicity;
  • they gave space and time to others;
  • and most importantly, they sought honesty from within before searching for it in others.

I hope I shall find this balance of the wisdoms one day.

From where I stand, those that deny the varied degrees of darkness that molest their minds and sometimes their very souls—always seeking a distant light, always measuring always desiring—make victims of themselves. There is that terrible saying that goes: “the happier my friends the more I die.” Trying to measure one’s happiness by the rule of others can be dangerous.

Most times the best of things are right there with us, if only we did less reaching out and more listening to the voice within.

I have come to believe that it is important to see happiness not as something that is an additional benefit but an inextricable part of existence; what we value and our values are often not the same thing. There is no constant state of mind.

Another’s perceived success should not be allowed to serve as the ultimate measure of our own worth or happiness! How would one really know what history remains in their quest? Do you know where the bones may lie, or what tears have fallen?

Victor Freitas/Pexels
Source: Victor Freitas/Pexels

To my mind, any sense of enduring happiness is much more about benevolent values, things that don’t disarm or harm. A person’s fame or another’s wealth does not make him special, just different. I am different and unique and so are all others. Whether one is very public or considers themselves an unknown is of no real consequence.

Only you—and you alone—know who you really are. You have the power of self. Social measures are a man-made delusion. Social strata are pretty much medieval. Human knowledge: a knowledge of self and one’s effects upon others is what truly matters.

It is incredible how often we can watch without seeing, hear without listening, speak without reflection and judge without understanding. Blind assumption is the mother of all disaster. Space, reflection, and listening to the whispers of those who care as much as your own inner voice are your true and important companions.

The pursuit of happiness is like trying to catch feathers in the wind; it’s a whimsical folly and will not last forever. We will have many spikes and many valleys.

George Desipris/Pexels
Source: George Desipris/Pexels

From the moment we have basic cognitive power we are taught how to react to and assimilate things. I have more chance to stay balanced, with less teetering—even in this world of uncontrollable wonders—if I listen to myself and am open to constant discovery. If I have the courage to reshape and to retreat, I can then spring forward with an open mind and spirit.

In the search to belong we are all too often lost while surrounded by many. Being part of the madding crowd is, I guess, a part of most of our lives and we have to deal with it. One can’t just simply get off the proverbial bus while it speeds along the motorway.

But that does not mean for one moment that you can’t step away from the invading noise. You’re only good to others when first you take care of yourself.

Search for the right thing—a sense of self and of things that you value that will keep you appeased even when outside conditions are rough. Perfection is best found in embracing our imperfections: We are none of us perfect but like an aged oak table: gnarled and blemished but still standing as something utterly specific.

Your sense of worth and your sense of self belong entirely to you. The only place to look for them is within. To search for these essential feelings is the most important work many of us will do, and a continual state of being. This is in and of itself a happy state.

These Two Questions are Key to Mastering Any Skill

See Author Article Here
By Peter Bregman

A feeling of discomfort may mean that you’re on the right track.

It was the last race of the ski season. My son Daniel, 10 years old, was at the starting gate in his speed suit, helmet and goggles, waiting for the signal.

“3… 2… 1…” The gate keeper called out and he was gone in a flash, pushing off his ski poles to gain momentum. One by one, each gate smacked to the ground when he brushed by. As he neared the end, he crouched into an aerodynamic tuck to shave a few milliseconds from his time. He crossed the finish line —48.37 seconds after the start — breathing hard. We cheered and gave him hugs.

But he wasn’t smiling.

48.37 seconds put him solidly in the middle of the pack.

I had coaching ideas. Ways I could help him get faster. While I am an executive and leadership coach, I coach skiing on the weekends and I was a ski racer myself at his age. But I held back my feedback, hugged him again and told him I loved him. That’s what he needed in that moment.

Later though, I asked him how he felt about the race.

“I never get in the top 10.”

This is delicate terrain — coaching your own kids — and I chose my words carefully.

“I have two questions for you,” I said. “One: Do you want to do better?”

If the answer is “no,” then to attempt to coach would be a fool’s errand (a mistake I have made in the past).

“Yeah,” he said.

“Here’s my second question: Are you willing to feel the discomfort of putting in more effort and trying new things that will feel weird and different and won’t work right away?”

He was silent for a while and I let the silence just hang there. Silence is good. It’s the sound of thinking. And this was an important question for Daniel to think about.

I believe — and my experience coaching hundreds of leaders in hundreds of different circumstances proves — that anyone can get better at anything. But in order to get better — and in order to be coached productively — you need to honestly answer “yes” to both those questions.

Maybe you want to be a more inspiring leader. Or connect more with others. Maybe you want to be more productive or more influential. Maybe you want to be a better communicator, a more impactful presenter, or a better listener. Maybe you want to lead more effectively, take more risks, or become a stronger manager.

Whatever it is, you can become better at it. But here’s the thing I know just as clearly as I know you can get better at anything: you will not get better if 1) you don’t want to and 2) you aren’t willing to feel the discomfort of doing things differently.

One senior leader I worked with became defensive when people gave him feedback or criticized his decisions. He wanted to get better, he told me, and he was willing to feel the discomfort. So I gave him very specific instructions (learned from my friend Marshall Goldsmith): Meet with each member of your team and acknowledge that you have struggled with accepting feedback and tell them that you are committed to getting better. Then ask for feedback — especially ways you can be a better leader — and take notes. Don’t say anything other than “Thank you.”

“It took every restraint muscle in my body not to get into a conversation about their comments,” he told me afterwards. “Especially because I felt they misunderstood me at times. It was beyond uncomfortable. And I messed up a few times and had to apologize. But I did it — and they haven’t stopped talking about what a welcome change it’s been.”

Learning anything new is, by its nature, uncomfortable. You will need to act in ways that are unfamiliar. Take risks that are new. Try things that, in many cases, will be initially frustrating because they won’t work the first time. You are guaranteed to feel awkward. You will make mistakes. You may be embarrassed or even feel shame, especially if you are used to succeeding a lot — and all my clients are used to succeeding a lot.

If you remain committed through all of that, you’ll get better.

I now ask those two questions before committing to coach any CEO or senior leader. It’s a prerequisite to growth.

I sat silently with Daniel for long enough that I thought he might have forgotten my question. Sitting in the discomfort of that moment, I realized that this was a new behavior for me too. I’m used to jumping in and trying to help him. Now, I was sincerely asking him whether he wanted my help. I was honestly OK with whatever answer he gave me — and it felt a little weird. But the more I settled into the silence, the more comfortable I got with just sitting with him — which I found I loved doing.

Finally, he spoke up.

“I think so” he said, “but it’s the end of the season. Can we talk about it at the beginning of next season?”

“Sure,” I said, “I’ll ask you again then.”

Originally posted at Harvard Business Review

26 Tweets That Perfectly Sum Up What Getting Older Is All About

See Buzzfeed Article Here
By Dave Stropera

Getting older is so many different things to so many different people, but it’s mostly…

1. Not being easily angered by trivial things:

twitter.comastoldbyjayde

2. Having an active and fulfilling social life:

Twitter: @haleymrobertson

3. Seizing the day:

Twitter: @simplynhinz

4. Thinking back on your past mistakes:

Twitter: @katie_taylor987

5. Carefully planning your routine:

twitter.comissasassybitch

6. Coming up with new excuses:

Twitter: @summ1tup

7. Realizing what makes YOU happy:

Twitter: @donfrijole / Via Practically Functional

8. And what YOU love in life:

Twitter: @Contwixt / Via Getty

9. Being happy for those to you:

Twitter: @_viibbe

10. Discovering the things that bring you joy:

Twitter: @adultproblem

11. Finding time to enjoy some entertainment:

Twitter: @adultproblem

12. Finally understanding the finer things in life:

Twitter: @mrfilmkritik

13. And learning to appreciate fine art:

Twitter: @onefunnymummy

14. Staying awake for very good reasons:

Twitter: @imtheebrock

15. Finding pleasure in the little things in life:

reddit.com

16. Reminscing on the good old days:

Twitter: @_daytonw

17. Being prepared:

Twitter: @valeegrrl

18. Having the hard conversations:

Twitter: @erinringerr

19. Listening to the wisdom of the youth:

Twitter: @khatragirl

20. Taking a little time for yourself:

Twitter: @kiranclassy

21. Staying organized:

Twitter: @justalikks

22. Taking care of the youth of today:

Twitter: @oshimakesmusic

23. Speaking eloquently whenever possible:

Twitter: @adultprobs

24. Treating yourself:

Twitter: @docawesome_phd

25. Having true freedom:

Why Happiness Is The Ultimate Currency

See PsychCentral Article Here
By 

My friend Avi is a great barber. His customers, myself included, refer to his golden hands — his ability to satisfy my son’s desire to look like Ronaldo, or a woman’s desire before her daughter’s wedding to look like Grace Kelly. Putting his phenomenal skills together with his sound business sense, Avi could have easily expanded his business far beyond his little salon.

So I asked him one day why he chose not to grow his business by adding a bigger place in a more central location in the city, or by opening other branches. Avi said he’d thought about it several times but in the end decided against it: “I asked myself, is this something I really want, or is it something others think I should do?” He went on to describe the can-must link that’s so pervasive in our culture: the belief that if you can grow, you must grow. But why?

Avi explained that over a decade ago, he understood that no matter how much he had — a bigger house, a faster car, a fatter bank account — he would always want more. He could choose to continue in the rat race and never satisfy his desires, or he could stop the race and be satisfied with what he had. He went on to quote a Jewish source, the Chapters of the Fathers: “Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot.”

Cutting hair in his small salon gives Avi the emotional gratification no amount of money could buy. His daily experiences were worth more than all of the gold in Fort Knox because happiness, not wealth or prestige, is the ultimate currency.

What, for you, is worth all of the gold in Fort Knox? Can you envision something in your life that would provide you with an abundance of happiness? To identify sources of the ultimate currency in your life, follow these four steps:

Step 1: Record your daily activities.

For a week (or two), keep a record of your daily activities. Throughout the day, write down how you’ve spent your time, from a twenty-minute session responding to e-mails to a night of binge-watching TV. This record doesn’t need to be a precise, minute-by-minute account of your day, but it should give you a sense of what your days tend to look like.

Step 2: Assign meaning and pleasure.

Once your activity list is complete, create a table that lists each activity, how much meaning and pleasure the activity provides, and how long you typically spend doing it. Indicate whether you’d like to spend more or less time on each activity by adding a “+” for more time or a “++” for a lot more time. If you’d like to spend less time on the activity, put a “−” next to it; for a lot less time, write “−−.” If you’re satisfied with time you’re investing in a particular activity, or if changing the amount of time you spend isn’t possible for one reason or another, add an “=” next to it.

Step 3: Highlight activities with high-yield happiness.

Which of your activities provide the most happiness in the least about of time? Are there things you don’t do now, but would yield significant profits in the ultimate currency? Would going to the movies once a week contribute to your well-being? Would it make you happier to devote four hours a week to your favorite charity and to work out three times a week? If you have many constraints and can’t introduce significant changes, make the most of what you have.

Step 4: Introduce happiness boosters.

What happiness boosters — brief activities that provide both meaning and pleasure –could you introduce into your life? If your commute to work is a drag but is unavoidable, try to infuse it with meaning and pleasure. For instance, you could listen to audio books or your favorite music for part of the ride. Alternatively, take the train and use the time to read. Then, as much as possible, ritualize these changes.

One of the many lessons I learned from my barber is that material wealth is not a prerequisite for the ultimate currency, and that dollars and cents are no substitute for meaning and pleasure. As the psychologist Carl Jung once said, “The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.”

The 10 Best Self-Care Apps of 2019

See Author Article Here

by 

No matter what you do, you have to find moments to rejuvenate. Self-care is critical to managing stress and living a healthy life. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of the best self-care apps available in 2019. Whether you have an hour to spare or just a few minutes, there’s room for self-care with these tools.

 

Strides Habit Tracker: Best Self-Care App to Track Important Daily Habits

Screenshots of Stride on iPhone

What We Like

  • Strides works on all Apple devices, including the Apple Watch.
  • It tracks all of your goals and daily habits in one place, in checklist form.

What We Don’t Like

  • You need to add each of your goals and habits separately before you can start tracking.

Are you drinking enough water? What about getting enough sleep? The Strides Habit Tracker makes it easy to track those goals and habits you need to be your best self. After adding each of your individual goals and healthy habits, you’ll be able to see a daily checklist of tasks to keep you on target.

Strides will also send notifications on your device to remind you of your goals. You can also see your daily and long-term progress using the in-app charts. Strides is currently available for free for all iOS and watchOS devices, but for unlimited trackers, web syncing, and data protection, there’s Strides Plus for $29.99 per year.

 

MyFitnessPal: Best Self Motivation App for Tracking Fitness Goals

Screenshots of MyFitnessPal on iPhone

What We Like

  • Tracking your daily calorie count is easy with the built-in menu offering thousands of products to choose from.

What We Don’t Like

  • Isn’t completely ad free without purchasing the pro version.

If exercise and healthy eating habits are part of your personal self-care routine, then MyFitnessPal is an excellent app to have in your arsenal. You can count your daily calorie intake using the in-app menu, or track your exercise. MyFitnessPal keeps track of your weight, fitness, and more to help you reach your goals.

MyFitnessPal is available for both iOS and Android devices. It’s free to download and use, but to remove ads, you’ll need to upgrade to Premium for either $9.99 a month or $49.99 a year.

 

Grateful: A Gratitude Journal: Perfect Self-Care Journal for Showing Daily Gratitude

Screenshot of Grateful App on iPhone

What We Like

  • The interface is easy to use and uncluttered.
  • The journal is prompt-based for easy recording.

What We Don’t Like

  • The free version only allows you to enter 15 entries.

Studies have shown that showing gratitude is a surefire way to improve your mental and emotional health. However, we’re often too busy to whip out a journal and pen. The Grateful gratitude journal is right on your phone, making it perfect for quick use. It offers daily prompts to help you record your thoughts and even allows you to take photos in the moment.

Grateful: A Gratitude Journal is free to download for iOS devices, but, to unlock unlimited journal entries, you’ll need to purchase the premium version for $4.99.

 

Youper: Your Own Personal Pocket Confidant

Screenshot of Youper app on iPhone

What We Like

  • The quick conversations help you better understand your mood or situation.
  • You can see an overview of your various emotions over the course of time.

What We Don’t Like

  • The guided meditations can’t be accessed without going through the Youper Assistant.

Sometimes, you just need someone, or something, to talk to, right? The Youper AI Assistant helps you understand and record your emotions through in-app conversations. As you converse with Youper, the app will learn more about you and what makes you tick. Over time, you’ll be able to see what makes you feel certain emotions to help you better manage your emotional health.

Youper starts by asking you how you are. As you record your emotions and answer questions, Youper gives you options such as guided meditations and thought processing. Youper is free to download and use for both iOS and Android devices.

 

Day One Journal: Great Self-Care App for Journaling Your Way to Better Health

Screenshot of Day One app on iPhone

What We Like

  • You can use multiple journals for multiple things.
  • Day One allows you to write, take photos, and record moments all in one app.

What We Don’t Like

  • To use the multiple journal feature, you’ll need to upgrade.

Journaling is a vital habit, especially for self-care. The Day One Journal makes it easy by giving you everything you need in one app. Record your thoughts, ideas, goals, and aspirations with text or photos using the easy interface. Your data is also encrypted with end-to-end encryption inside of the app.

Take a few moments each day to record what makes you happy, what inspires you or what lights your fire using the Day One Journal. It’s free to download for both iOS and Android devices, but to unlock features such as multiple journals, you’ll need to purchase the premium version for $24.99 a year.

 

Pzizz: A Self Help App to Get Better and More Restful Sleep

Screenshot of Pzizz app on iPhone

What We Like

  • Separate settings for sleeping, napping, and focusing makes this app extremely easy to use.

What We Don’t Like

  • The subscription after the one-week free trial is pricey.

A critical part of self-care is ensuring you’re getting enough sleep. Pzizz helps you get the best sleep of your life thanks to in-app “dreamscapes,” or optimized mixes of music, voiceover, and sound effects. These dreamscapes change each night, helping to quiet your mind and wake up feeling refreshed.

This app also allows you to take power naps using the dreamscapes or focus on work using “focuscapes.” Hailed as a winning app by The Duke of York and J.K. Rowling, it’s known for causing blissful sleep.

Pzizz offers a free 7-day trial on both iOS and Android. However, after the trial, you can expect to pay $49.99 per year.

 

Daylio: A Self-Care App For Tracking Your Every Mood

Screenshot of Daylio app on iPhone

What We Like

  • Daylio is a simple mood tracker that allows you to capture how you feel on a daily basis.

What We Don’t Like

  • The interface is a bit busy compared to other tracking apps on this list.

How do you feel in this very moment? Those who are focused on self-care often take note of their mood using a mood tracker. The Daylio mood tracking journal allows you to track your mood and what you’ve been up to with cute icons. You can also write journal entries each day to go with your moods.

Daylio is free to download for both iOS and Android devices, but for unlimited moods, a pin lock, advanced stats, and more, you’ll need to purchase the premium version for $5.99.

 

Aloe Bud: Your Companion for Tracking Your Self-Care Efforts

Screenshot of Aloe Bud app on iPhone

What We Like

  • The design of this app is by far the cutest and most original in this list.

What We Don’t Like

  • It’s not as user-friendly as the other apps in this list.

To make sure you’re taking ample time out of your day for self-care, Aloe Bud allows you to track your self-care methods. From hydrating to breathing to being around those you love, Aloe Bud ensures you do what makes you happy each and every day. Plus, the icons are enough to make you smile.

Aloe Bud is free to download for iOS. To download premium and custom reminders, you’ll need to purchase premium for $4.99.

 

Motivation Quotes: Best Self Motivation App to Stay Inspired Throughout the Day

Screenshot of Motivation app on iPhone

What We Like

  • You can customize your own motivational quote themes.
  • Thousands of quotes in many different categories.

What We Don’t Like

  • The subscription price is hefty compared to other similar apps out there.

Everyone could use an ounce of extra motivation each day. The Motivation Quotes app delivers thousands of quotes from many different categories straight to your phone. You can change your theme, save the quotes for later, search based on how you’re feeling, and more.

Motivational Quotes is free to download for iOS and Android. However, to unlock all categories and complete access, you’ll need to purchase the premium version for either $35.99 annually or $59.99 for lifetime access.

 

Breathe+: Great Self Help App for Relaxing in Moments of Stress

Screenshot of Breathe app on iPhone

What We Like

  • The visuals are totally relaxing, making it easy to breathe correctly to reduce stress.

What We Don’t Like

  • There are ads that pop-up randomly while you’re using the app.

Visualizing your breathing is a great way to relax in moments of stress. The Breathe+ app allows you to breathe with in-app visualizations, relaxing your mind and training your breath. You can create custom settings to breathe as long as you need. The visualizations are beautiful and calming to the eye.

Breathe+ is available for free on iOS, but to remove the in-app ads, you have to purchase premium for $1.99.

You are the architect of your owner destiny; you are the master of your own fate; you are behind the steering wheel of your life. There are no limitations to what you can do, have, or be. Accept the limitations you place on yourself by your own thinking.

Take Care Of Yourself

The Dangers Of High-Functioning Depression And Anxiety

Nicole Kordana on Living With High-Functioning Depression And Anxiety
Author Page Here

“It’s been 8 years since I was diagnosed with depression and 5 since I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety. For many people when I tell them, it comes as quite a shock. “Wow, you don’t seem depressed” or “I’ve never seen you panic about anything” is a rather common response. Reflecting on this, I can understand why it would come as a surprise. I graduated high school with above a 4.0 GPA because I loaded my schedule with Advanced Placement courses so I could get ahead in college.

I participated in sports, I volunteered, I had a job, and generally seemed to be doing pretty well. I was accepted into the colleges I applied to and started school in the fall, where I also excelled and became involved in many activities around me. I was functioning as a “normal” young adult, so how depressed or anxious could I be right?

My depression and anxiety seemed like a war going on inside my head, reeking havoc on my physical health and general outlook on life. You would never have known by looking at my grades, my endurance on the soccer field, my performance at work, or my interactions with peers. It was easy to go about my daily life and excel in public, my mind was too busy to be sad or nervous, but when I returned home I entered a different world.

I was inconceivably sad and overwhelmed reflecting on the day I had. I knew I had a list of things I needed to complete before I could fall asleep in good conscience, but I lacked all motivation to complete a single task. On the other hand, not completing anything made me irrationally fearful that I would not succeed. I was sitting in the shell of my body unable to do anything.

Do your homework. I can’t. If you don’t you’ll be a failure, you’ll never be accepted into a good college. I’m too tired to do anything tonight. If you don’t do anything tonight, your grades will plummet; your teacher will be disappointed with you.

I’d go back and forth with myself until I forced myself to agonizingly and poorly complete something.

The physical toll on my body was no less. My back hurt immensely, I experienced migraines frequently, my panic attacks made me feel like my heart was going to be ejected from my chest, and my outbursts of anger toward my family were uncontrollable. And despite my insisting “nothing was wrong” my mother took me to see a psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist informed me that I experienced high-functioning depression and anxiety, which is not uncommon, especially in teens and young adults. High-functioning illnesses are scary in the fact that its easy for people who experience them to convince themselves that everything is fine, that they are just going through a phase because every other aspect of their lives are relatively normal.

Due to the “normal” levels of functioning in people who experience high-functioning depression or anxiety (or both), these people often go undetected by themselves, family, friends, co-workers, even medical professionals, and therefore don’t receive the treatment they need. Prior to receiving treatment, I was excelling in my personal and academic life, which made me question: what was the point in seeking treatment at all?

Our society is becoming more aware and accepting of mental illnesses, yet it is too common that people put the symptoms of mental illnesses in a box. I want to be explicitly clear when I say mental illnesses affect each person differently, not one experience with mental illness is identical. From therapy to medication to natural remedies, many treatments exist to help people who have depression or anxiety — but not receiving treatment often worsens the issue.

Many mental illnesses are invisible ailments, and high-functioning illnesses can often be silent, but that doesn’t mean they are not felt. We often hear that the people who fall victim to suicide “led perfectly normal lives” or their friends “had no idea they were sad enough to feel suicide was their only escape.”

Seeking treatment is not only a preventative measure to ensure symptoms don’t further progress; it is a proactive way to better your quality of life. As cliché as it sounds, with some simple ways to be proactive about your mental health, managing depression and anxiety is 100 percent attainable.

If you or someone you know experiences depression, anxiety, or a combination of both here are some ways to be proactive about your health and some important tips for when you are feeling low.

1. Know your body.

There are typically warning signs – bold or subtle changes- of when you are about to experience a little more of a struggle with your mental illness. Pay attention to these changes so you can take preemptive measures against your symptoms.

2. Have a solid support network.

Struggling with depression or anxiety is not something to be ashamed of. Millions of people are experiencing the same thing as you. Lean on people who can relate to what you are feeling, or find someone you trust that you are comfortable explaining your situation to. It’s good to have someone you can call, text, or talk to when you need a quick pick me up.

3. Give yourself some well-deserved attention.

Pamper yourself a little sometimes. You work really hard in your daily life and you manage your mental illness, appreciate yourself. It’s okay to have an extra helping of ice cream, buy those concert tickets, or just plain old relax for an afternoon. If you don’t take care of yourself, how are you expected to be able to perform at your best?

4. Exercise and eat right.

I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times but it is a miracle what eating right and some exercise can do for your body. I love to think of the mantra “feel good, do good” because it’s true; the better you feel the happier you behave. When you feel good it is reflected by how the people around you behave and leads to positive reinforcement.

5. Discover a hobby.

Finding an activity or hobby that you really enjoy can serve as a very positive distraction for negative things, and a mood boost for when you’re feeling above average. Find a group of people

6. Five sense distraction.

If you are in a public place and feeling overwhelmed, you can use the five sense method to calm down. Focus and examine: 5 things you can see, 4 you can touch, 3 you can hear, 2 you can smell, and 1 taste. Try to breathe through your nose as you complete this task and you will feel relieved in no time!

7. Don’t give up.

Treatments are typically not a quick fix, they take time, and yes a little energy. But the outcome is well worth it. Don’t give up on your treatment plan, on the people supporting you, or yourself. You are a powerful, resilient individual.

You can do this.

I love how relatable her story is. Don’t wait until it’s too late. It took me tying to kill myself to realize I was struggling