Photo: Strelka Institute/Flickr/Attribution License
According to a study conducted by University of Kansas professor Jeffrey Hall and published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, you can forget about fast friends. The path to becoming BFF’s requires time-and not just any hours will do. “For working adults, more time at work was associated with less closeness in friendship,” Hall says. “Instead, time spent in leisure, at home, or at play really mattered.” In all, you’ll have to dedicate 50 hours to graduate from acquaintance to “casual friend,” 90 hours to jump to “friend,” and 200-plus hours to claim “close friend” status. The good news? That gives you plenty of time to finish making those friendship bracelets.
By: Dr. Drew Appleby
Do you have a procrastinator personality?
Procrastination is one of the most damaging characteristics that students display because it robs them of good grades and prevents them from maintaining productive and healthy relationships with their teachers, families and friends. Procrastination can have both external (e.g., situations involving work overloads) and internal causes (e.g., personality characteristics).
The following six procrastinator personalities identified by Sapadin (2012) in her book "How to Beat Procrastination in the Digital Age: 6 Unique Change Programs for 6 Personality Styles" are examples of the internal causes that can fuel procrastination. I highly recommend Sapadin’s book because it provides thinking, speaking and action strategies tailor-made for each of the six personality styles designed to help students lessen their tendency to procrastinate. If you are a procrastinator, these six descriptions will help you to know thyself better, the action strategies from Sapadin’s book will teach you how to be true to thyself, but it will be your responsibility to just do it.
Here are the six styles. Do you recognize yourself in one or more than one?
The perfectionist believes that her value as a human being is at stake every time she undertakes a task. The world is an all-or-nothing place for the perfectionist, which means that if the project she is working on fails, or is not the best, then she is a failure too. Her greatest fear is that she will not measure up to her own expectations or the expectations of others, a belief which may have its origin in a parent who looked at the 98 percent on her term paper and asked what happened to the other 2 percent. Procrastination allows the perfectionist to postpone completing an assignment because if it’s not complete, it can’t be judged.
The dreamer yearns for an easy, painless and nonthreatening life. When the world disrupts this dream by presenting difficult challenges, the dreamer retreats into his mind, creating an ideal world in which he is a "special" person who does not have to play by the same rules as everyone else. This dream is very comforting, but it also creates damaging academic, occupational and social/romantic consequences by producing late assignments, unfinished tasks and broken promises.
The worrier has an overpowering need to feel safe, but pays a high price for this feeling. Her most fearsome foes are risk and change, which paralyze her because she fears they will push her outside of her narrow comfort zone. Expecting the worst, she creates a stream of negative “what ifs” that predispose her to assume that taking an action will produce a disastrous outcome. The worrier has "better safe than sorry" tattooed on her soul. Hence, worriers experience less joy and fun in their lives than most other people; but they believe it is an acceptable price to pay for feeling safe.
The crisis-maker creates lots of drama in his life by waiting until the last minute to get things done. He under-reacts to situations that provide plenty of time to work by saying, "I don’t work well until I really start to feel the pressure," and then over-reacts with great frenzied bursts of activity just before the deadline. This burn-the-candle-at-both-ends strategy may work for the young, but over time it will fail because it will become harder and harder to transform yourself into superman/woman with jolts of adrenaline and caffeine.
The defier harbors a deep resentment toward authority, and has learned that the safest way to rebel is to use passive aggressive techniques. When asked to perform a task, a defier will almost always say “sure, I can do that,” but then “forgets” to do what he promised. This strategy provides the defier with a sense of power over others, but unfortunately it often leaves the important people in his life feeling betrayed, manipulated and/or used. When this strategy produces its inevitable negative consequences (e.g., failing a course), the defier consoles himself by thinking that this is the inevitable price he must pay if he wants to do things his own way.
The pleaser is always busy, so it doesn’t seem like she is procrastinating. Her focus, however, is not so much on getting her work done, but on pleasing others so they will like her. There is really no problem with that strategy unless she gets distracted from focusing on her own obligations. Pleasers may think they can do it all, yet, over time, they lose the balance between school and fun, work and leisure, and the professional and the personal. Soon she is disappointing not only those she wants so desperately to please, but also herself by producing mediocre work and making up excuses to explain why her work is late.
Do you recognize yourself in one or more of these descriptions? If your answer is yes, then you have taken the first step in a journey that can transform you into a happier and more productive person. But don’t forget that this journey has the following three parts:
By: Dr. Susan David, TED Talks
"Psychologist Susan David shares how the way we deal with our emotions shapes everything that matters: our actions, careers, relationships, health and happiness. In this deeply moving, humorous and potentially life-changing talk, she challenges a culture that prizes positivity over emotional truth and discusses the powerful strategies of emotional agility."
By: Dr. Emily Esfahani Smith, TED talks
"I used to think the whole purpose of life was pursuing happiness. Everyone said the path to happiness was success, so I searched for that ideal job, that perfect boyfriend, that beautiful apartment. But instead of ever feeling fulfilled, I felt anxious and adrift. And I wasn't alone; my friends -- they struggled with this, too.
Eventually, I decided to go to graduate school for positive psychology to learn what truly makes people happy. But what I discovered there changed my life. The data showed that chasing happiness can make people unhappy. And what really struck me was this: the suicide rate has been rising around the world, and it recently reached a 30-year high in America. Even though life is getting objectively better by nearly every conceivable standard, more people feel hopeless, depressed and alone. There's an emptiness gnawing away at people, and you don't have to be clinically depressed to feel it. Sooner or later, I think we all wonder: Is this all there is? And according to the research, what predicts this despair is not a lack of happiness. It's a lack of something else, a lack of having meaning in life
Our culture is obsessed with happiness, but I came to see that seeking meaning is the more fulfilling path. And the studies show that people who have meaning in life, they're more resilient, they do better in school and at work, and they even live longer."
Watch video below to hear more about the pillars to building a more meaningful life.
By: Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth, TED Talk
"Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn't the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of "grit" as a predictor of success. Dr. Duckwork describes "grit" as passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. She states that grit is having stamina; sticking with your future, day-in, day-out, not just for the week, or month, but for years. Additionally, she says that grit is working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is like living life like a marathon, not a sprint." Do you have grit? If you don't, what things do you think you can do to change your perspective on long-term goals?
By: Brad Stulberg
"When I first started training for marathons a little over ten years ago, my coach told me something I’ve never forgotten: that I would need to learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I didn’t know it at the time, but that skill, cultivated through running, would help me as much, if not more, off the road as it would on it.
Research shows that, if anything, physical activity boosts short-term brain function and heightens awareness. And even on days they don’t train — which rules out fatigue as a factor — those who habitually push their bodies tend to confront daily stressors with a stoic demeanor. While the traditional benefits of vigorous exercise — like prevention and treatment of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and osteoporosis — are well known and often reported, the most powerful benefit might be the lesson that my coach imparted to me: In a world where comfort is king, arduous physical activity provides a rare opportunity to practice suffering.
What’s remarkable and encouraging about these studies is that the subjects weren’t exercising at heroic intensities or volumes. They were simply doing something that was physically challenging for them – going from no exercise to some exercise; one need not be an elite athlete or fitness nerd to reap the bulletproofing benefits of exercise.
The truth, cliché as it may sound, is this: When you develop physical fitness, you’re developing life fitness, too."
By: Azriel ReShel
"We seem to do it naturally for others, but what does it mean to do it for ourselves? For me, holding space means becoming the container to experience myself; to grow, to feel, to express, to test out, to live. It is being present, treating yourself with care, consideration, kindness, compassion and love. Hearing the needs of your body and mind, feeling your emotions, and listening to the yearning of your soul. It’s a way of being, a lifestyle, a profound choice and a stand you take. It’s not a belief system, but is rather a way of being with yourself and meeting your own needs. This can be lifesaving in intimate relationships, where we can ruin a good thing by trying to make the other meet all our needs. We spend every minute of the day with ourselves. How much of it is good, supportive, and kind?"
Click on the link below to read a more in-depth description on 9 examples of how you can shape your life for the purpose of 'being there' for yourself.
9 steps to holding space for yourself:
1. Embracing your imperfection
2. Saying no
3. Developing boundaries.
4. Communing with yourself
6. Reaching for support
7. Being authentic
8. Being a good parent to yourself
9. Developing supportive rituals
By David Gelles, NY Times
"Anger is a natural, life-affirming emotion. It lets us know when a boundary has been crossed, when our needs are not being met, or when someone we care about is in danger. But when misdirected, anger can harm our physical health and our relationships. Being mindful of anger means not suppressing, denying or avoiding it and also not acting out in harmful ways. Instead, connect with the direct experience of the anger, and then decide what action you want to take.” — Jessica Morey, executive director of Inward Bound Mindfulness Education"
Here is a list of points that Ms. Morey suggests when processing anger:
Recognize and respect that anger is happening. It’s part of the human experience.
Stop fueling the anger: Cut off the stories about how you were wronged or why your anger is justified. Instead, shift your attention to the body.
What part of your body is not feeling angry? Your feet? Your back? The breath at the tip of your nose? Are there any sensations in your body that feel neutral, even pleasant? What else is happening around you? Are there any neutral or pleasant sounds you can attend to?
Rest your attention on these sensations for a few minutes, allowing yourself to find some calm. If your mind wanders back into thinking about the anger-producing situation, come back to these neutral sensations.
Investigate the anger more directly. Where do you feel it? Is it in your chest? Your hands? Your jaw? What does the anger feel like? How do the sensations of anger change as you pay attention to them? Do any other emotions show up underneath the anger?
Explore the information this anger has for you. What is its message? What does it need? Was a boundary crossed?
Reflect on how you could skillfully respond to what is making you angry. What would be the most helpful response right now?
Finally, commit to taking whatever skillful action is needed without doing any harm — whether it’s a walk, a nap or a direct, difficult conversation.
By David Gelles, NY Times
"Meditation is a simple practice available to all, which can reduce stress, increase calmness and clarity and promote happiness. Learning how to meditate is straightforward, and the benefits can come quickly. Here, we offer basic tips to get you started on a path toward greater equanimity, acceptance and joy. Take a deep breath, and get ready to relax."
Click below for a list of guided meditation and mindfulness exercises.
By: Stephanie M. Bucklin
"When Karen Papajohn first came home from the hospital with her infant son, AJ, she felt numb. “I kept wondering why I didn’t feel the same ‘joy’ and ‘happiness’ of welcoming this precious gift into my life as my husband did,” she wrote in a survivor story on Jenny’s Light, a perinatal issues website. Amongst other things, Papajohn was sleep-deprived, overwhelmed, and exhausted.
But she wasn’t depressed—instead, Papajohn was suffering from postpartum depression, a condition that is distinct from major depressive disorder. While the many of the symptoms are similar (sad mood, restlessness, poor concentration), PPD isn’t merely an extension of depression, as a recent review published in Trends in Neurosciences confirms. It involves distinct changes to the brain, which suggest that PPD is a separate biological disease, and may even require distinct treatment..."
By: Florence Williams, National Geographic
"When we get closer to nature—be it untouched wilderness or a backyard tree—we do our overstressed brains a favor.... Our brains aren’t tireless three-pound machines; they’re easily fatigued. When we slow down, stop the busywork, and take in beautiful natural surroundings, not only do we feel restored, but our mental performance improves too."
"A large study found less death and disease in people who lived near parks or other green space—even if they didn’t use them. Researchers suspect that nature works primarily by lowering stress. Compared with people who have lousy window views, those who can see trees and grass have been shown to recover faster in hospitals, perform better in school, and even display less violent behavior in neighborhoods where it’s common. Such results jibe with experimental studies of the central nervous system. Measurements of stress hormones, respiration, heart rate, and sweating suggest that short doses of nature—or even pictures of the natural world—can calm people down and sharpen their performance."
By Brene Brown
"Brené Brown studies human connection -- our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk at TEDxHouston, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity."
In her talk she says, "vulnerability is the core of shame, fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it's also the birthplace of joy, creativity, of belonging and love."
By Jennifer Rollin, MSW, LGSW
"From the time that we are children, many of us are told things such as, “don’t cry,” or “there’s nothing to be sad about.” As a culture we are often taught that we should try to avoid unpleasant emotions at all costs. Thus, for many the primary impulse when they are experiencing unpleasant emotions is to try to escape from their feelings, whether it is through alcohol, drugs, restricting food, binging, workaholism, busyness, compulsive sex, or a variety of other self-harming behaviors.
However, I believe that it is far healthier to “lean into” your experiences of pain, rather than trying to numb your emotions. The following are three reasons that it is important to allow yourself to process and experience your feelings."
By Dr. Roni Beth Tower, ABPP
"A romantic relationship can be easily recognized by its intense and sometimes irrational driving force of emotion. Passion fuels our behavior, guides or distorts thoughts, changes physical and chemical functioning, and alters lives.
The romance might begin with a “coup de foudre," or the lightning bolt that we think of as love at first sight. The attraction can seem to have no earthly reason or explanation, and may appear to emanate from another planet, lifetime, or dimension. It could be the sort of experience that compels someone to abruptly stand up in the middle of a meeting and follow an invisible beam pointing to a person standing across a room.
Romantic love can also arise more slowly, building on a firm foundation of friendship. A base of shared history allows reason to remain in control for at least an initial critical period. It doesn't matter how you found your perfect partner; you typically know when he or she has arrived—and the rest is in the details.
But you must tend to these details to make your relationship flourish. These 10 strategies will help you nourish and sustain a close, romantic relationship."
By The Scene
Two best friends wrote down the things they don't like about their own bodies. They are now going to say these comments out loud, but direct them to each other. Why do we say things to ourselves that we wouldn't ever say to (or think about) our best friends? Be a best friend to yourself.
Helen M. Farrell, animation by Artrake Studio
"Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world; in the United States, close to ten percent of adults struggle with the disease. But because it’s a mental illness, it can be a lot harder to understand than, say, high cholesterol. Helen M. Farrell examines the symptoms and treatments of depression, and gives some tips for how you might help a friend who is suffering."
By Sharon Horesh Bergquist, MD
Stress can be helpful for small bursts of energy or productivity. However, chronic stress can be damaging to the body and can even change the structure of your brain. Learning how to manage your stress (versus stress controlling your life) is critical for your well-being. Research consistently shows that exercise and meditation are excellent ways on managing and decreasing stress. Additionally, regularly engaging in exercise and meditation have been shown to increase the size of parts of your brain that are responsible for improving memory. Click below for a quick video animation on how stress affects your brain.
by Dr. Robert Waldinger
"What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it's fame and money, you're not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you're mistaken. As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life."
Robert Waldinger is a psychiatrist and the Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history.
By Brene Brown
We're all guilty of blaming others. Here's a short and funny video offering an explanation as to why we might quickly jump to blaming others when something goes wrong. She explains that blaming is a temporary discharge of anger, which is different and less effective than holding others accountable and being vulnerable enough to express our own feelings.
by Amit Chowdhry
Do you find yourself spending a lot of time on social media? Have you ever noticed that it can negatively impact your mood? Research is consistently showing that there is a direct relationship between social media usage and depression. More specifically, research is showing that the more time spent on social media or frequency of visits may increase a person's likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms. Continue reading to learn how social media can lead to depressive symptoms...
by Robin Shreeves
"Scruffy hospitality means you’re not waiting for everything in your house to be in order before you host and serve friends in your home. Scruffy hospitality means you hunger more for good conversation and serving a simple meal of what you have, not what you don’t have. Scruffy hospitality means you’re more interested in quality conversation than the impression your home or lawn makes. If we only share meals with friends when we’re excellent, we aren’t truly sharing life together."
by Suzanne Lachmann, Psy.D.
Romantic relationship breakups are difficult to deal with and usually involve grieving the loss of your loved one. Here are 7 stages of breakup grief that a person can experience in the process of letting go...