Simplicity

It is easy to get distracted by the many things in our lives. Our society tells us that we must be active and striving to gain and make progress at all times. Even our vacations can become a next best list of achievements. These messages penetrate all levels of our culture as we see children pressured to excel and adults struggle to sit idle for even a brief moment as their minds quickly identify the next thing they can accomplish in their day.  

We tend to feel great when things are going well. To be sure, it is important to appreciate our efforts and connect with a sense of pride. We may also feel great when we achieve a raise, buy a new car, rent a new downtown apartment, or complete an addition on our home. Again, it is not wrong to appreciate what we gain.

The problem with this formula relates to the sources of our happiness and sense of worth. The items on this list are external sources of satisfaction. As such, they provide a temporary satisfaction and a fleeting contentment. There is always something else waiting outside of our grasp. Furthermore, an eternal list of achievements can leave us in a state of anxiety as we hold tight and fear losses or setbacks. When our minds and hearts are connected to these powerful external forces, it is difficult to find a stable and lasting sense of contentment or peace in our lives. 

How do we achieve a stable and lasting sense of contentment? This is an important question to ask ourselves. One path toward contentment involves practicing simplicity. In doing so we practice letting go of our attachments to external sources of happiness. This can be incredibly difficult, but it presents an opportunity to begin to broaden our sense of freedom and begin to loosen our grasp on the many external things that can hold us hostage. Ask yourself:

Where might I find simplicity in my life?

What is truly most important?

What is truly lacking in this moment?

Our tendency to grasp external things and accomplishments is not a criticism, nor does this suggest a personal or moral failing. It is simply an invitation to consider the ways you are striving or grasping external things and how you might shift your perspective to gain a greater sense of inner peace and freedom. Throughout the coming days you might try taking a pause when you begin to feel distressed or anxious. Ask yourself what is needed in order to let go and find greater peace.  

Dr. Thomas Lindquist, Psy.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

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Acceptance

“There is something wonderfully bold and liberating about saying yes to our entire imperfect and messy life.” – Tara Brach                                                                                                    

Acceptance has become an increasingly important concept for building resilience and maintaining mental wellness. Although it has a long history in spiritual practices, acceptance has more recently become a cornerstone for mindfulness practice as well as therapy approaches such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).  

Acceptance involves recognizing a process or condition without attempting to change it or protest against it. It means that we can see our own experiences clearly and also let whatever we see be what it is without pushing it away. This is much different from fighting against our experience or judging our experience as good or bad. It is also much different from avoidance or neglecting our responsibility to take care of ourselves or others.  

Acceptance is a powerful way to cope with suffering. Perhaps the best example can be seen in the role of acceptance for coping with anxiety. If you practice being more accepting of your anxious feelings and thoughts, you will notice that they become less distressing and gradually diminish. 

A concrete way to shift toward a more accepting stance involves a shift in our thinking. For example, rather than thinking, “I need to fight off this anxiety,” focus instead on thoughts such as, “I am aware of feeling anxious, but I have been here before and I know it will pass.” 

Overall, it takes both trust and patience to develop an accepting stance toward our suffering. Therefore, it is perhaps most helpful to think of this approach as a practice that you can work on daily as you shift your relationship to the various forms of suffering or distress in your life.   

These two steps are helpful for practicing acceptance:

First, notice your discomfort. Take a few deep breaths and pause for a moment. You may even comment to yourself on your discomfort as you identify and observe your experience. Keep this part simple as you practice observing the process around your distress. You may reflect to yourself, “ I’m starting to overthink this,” or “I’m starting to get myself worked up and I’m feeling more and more tense and anxious.”  

Second, accept your discomfort. Using self-compassion, remind yourself that your distress is understandable. For example, it is natural to feel anxious when we experience a threat. Remind yourself that your thoughts are not facts and anxiety is a normal part of human experience.  Accepting anxiety or suffering into your life is like accepting that it might rain when you’re trying to throw an outdoor party. Rain happens and we can do little to change that. Yet, a rainstorm does not last forever. Rain is a normal weather event just as our emotions and periods of distress are normal human events.  

Although anxiety is a great example and a helpful place to start, acceptance can be applied to all forms of distress or suffering. As you work toward incorporating more acceptance into your life, practice speaking to yourself as if you were speaking to a best friend or family member. Remind yourself that emotions come and go. Remind yourself that all things are impermanent and always changing. Remind yourself that suffering is an inherent part of being human and you are not alone.  

As you work towards greater acceptance you may notice a greater sense of freedom. You may also notice a shift in the way you approach everyday challenges as you develop an expanded capacity to deal with problems as they arise.  

Dr. Thomas Lindquist, Psy.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

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Self-Love

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” — Buddha

The concept of self-love should not be confused with selfishness or being self-centered. It should also not be confused with simply buying things or getting a new hairstyle to feel more satisfied. Self-love is a sense of appreciation and admiration for oneself that grows stronger through self-acceptance and maturity. Much like self-compassion, self-love can lead us to take steps toward appreciating ourselves in a natural and healthy way.     

One major obstacle to self-love involves the conditions we set for ourselves. For example, we might find ourselves needing to accomplish a goal or obtain approval in order to feel positive about ourselves. In practicing self-love, we can aspire to feel this same sense of self-appreciation, even in the absence of a concrete condition or achievement. We can strive to love ourselves unconditionally, just as we love our children or a beloved pet.  

An important step towards self-love is to improve or change our self-talk. If we turn up the volume on our thoughts, we might notice how we speak to ourselves. It is not uncommon to find that your self-talk is critical or negative. We are often harsh critics of ourselves and may readily judge and condemn our actions or even our feelings. Consider how you might speak to a close friend, loved one, or child who experienced a failure or disappointment and practice talking to yourself in this same manner.  

Another helpful practice involves taking action to address your deeper needs, rather than focusing on what you think you want or what might feel good in the moment. This may take some self-reflection. Take a moment and consider what helps you stay strong and centered.  Ultimately, acting on these needs will likely serve you better in the long-term. 

Self-love can also be expanded by practicing forgiveness. Learning to accept your imperfections and view mistakes as part of growth can shift you away from self-criticism. Practice being less harsh on yourself when you make a mistake and take time to appreciate your achievements and resilience. 

Lastly, we can take a small, yet powerful step towards greater self-love through affirmations or personal mantras. In repeating a short phrase to ourselves we are consciously and unconsciously sending ourselves a message of self-love. You might practice repeating a specific phrase, such as “I am good and worthy of love,” or “I am enough.”  You could extend this further to practice phrases such as “May I experience peace and steadfastness,” “May I embrace today’s challenges with stillness and calm,” or “May my home be a home of balance and spaciousness.” 

Dr. Thomas Lindquist, Psy.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

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Coping with Election Stress

According to a new survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), more than half of U.S. adults (56%) identify the 2020 presidential election as a significant stressor, an increase from the 52% of adults who reported the presidential election as a significant source of stress when asked in the months leading up to the 2016 contest.  In addition, more than three-quarters of Americans (77%) endorse the future of our nation as a significant source of stress, up from 66% in 2019, according to a Harris Poll conducted for the APA.  

Election stress is clearly a significant challenge to maintaining mental health and overall well-being. The 2020 election is also taking place amidst a worldwide pandemic, which has lasted for more than six months. Facing the election with these additional burdens has only served to reinforce our collective burnout and uncertainty about the future.  

It is important to consider how you are coping and take time to reconsider the ways you take care of yourself and your loved ones. This may not come as a surprise, but setting stricter boundaries is probably the best place to start. 

First, it is wise to set boundaries around your consumption of news and social media. It is natural to feel drawn to the news media as we look for updates and guidance. We may also be unknowingly searching for a sense of control that is ultimately out of reach, only to find ourselves faced with further uncertainty, fear, anger or a sense of hopelessness. All of this contributes to further stress, which can be partially reduced by limiting our exposure.  

Second, it can be helpful to set boundaries around relationships with others that you might experience as difficult or even harmful. A respectful discussion of differences in opinion can be a positive experience, but when these interactions become disrespectful or infused with anger or offensive language, it is best to limit your involvement. If this is the case with loved ones, it would be good to express your need for a break or request that politics be discussed when you are not present. You might also seek out positive relationships with others who share your views or just enjoy spending time discussing or relating around other topics.  

In addition to boundaries, an ongoing self-care routine that involves healthy eating, adequate sleep, and time to relax and engage in positive or enjoyable activities is a must for combatting stress and burnout. Likewise, you can take more small breaks or micro-mindfulness moments to focus on your breath and ground yourself. Additional skills such as emotional regulation and reappraisal strategies, such as re-framing, can also be helpful. In some cases, you might even consider some form of political or social advocacy or volunteering, which could help you experience a sense of control and connection to the community.

There is also always the option of seeking professional support for yourself or a loved one. In addition to the dedicated space to process your concerns and experience empathy and support, a professional can assist you in exploring ways of mitigating your stress and adapting new strategies to address intrusive thoughts and worry or identifying unhelpful coping behaviors, such as excessive alcohol use, over-eating, and other impulsive or avoidant behaviors. Lastly, can you take a minute to further review the tips on addressing burnout in our blog from last week.   

Dr. Thomas Lindquist, Psy.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

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Burnout

We all deal with stress on a daily basis. However, when stress becomes prolonged, we can begin to experience emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion. This state of exhaustion is referred to as burnout. At some point we cannot continue to cope effectively with the high level of sustained stress, and we begin to experience symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches, difficultly sleeping, fatigue, loss of motivation, pessimism, emptiness, self-doubt and an overall lack of meaning. As this persists, we may start to neglect our needs and experience a desire to escape and avoid, which ultimately contributes to feeling more and more isolated and hopeless. If any of this sounds familiar, you are likely experiencing burnout.  

Coping with burnout involves reducing the constant drain on your emotional resources by learning to move through the stress cycle and conserve your resources, while also working to replenish your reserves. When in the midst of ongoing stress, it is important to work on reducing the burden on your resources through self-care and regular breaks. Later, it is equally important to continue attending to our needs after the stressful event or circumstances have passed, which is often when we are in the most need of support. In this way we can work on moving through the stress cycle by allowing ourselves to recover and prepare for future stressors.      

Emotional exhaustion is a key component of burnout. Therefore, emotional awareness is an essential part of working to reduce stress. This often starts with labeling and accepting what you are feeling, rather than avoiding or ignoring it. It is also helpful to recognize that emotions require patience and cannot be abruptly changed or avoided.  

The metaphor of a tunnel has been used to describe the process of moving through an emotion in order to see the light at the end. When we get stuck in the middle of the tunnel for an extended period of time we begin to experience burnout. Labeling, accepting, and expressing our feelings to others helps us continue to move through the tunnel and arrive at the light.    

Physical and mental exhaustion also play a significant role in burnout. Here, taking a break and finding a release are helpful coping strategies. This might take the form of a midday walk or other exercise, during which time you can intentionally direct your attention away from the sources of stress in your life. You might even try taking interesting or meditative pictures on your walk. It may also include things such as developing a regular meditation practice. Finally, it is essential to get adequate sleep, eat healthy foods, and stay well-hydrated.

Several additional strategies can be helpful for reducing the burden of constant stress:  

Creating boundaries around your work or academic demands can be helpful for reducing mental and physical exhaustion. For example, you might set a timer and only work within that boundary, after which time you can plan a period of rest.  

It is also helpful to communicate and connect with others to get support and to enjoy the benefits of connection. Social connection can also help us to feel less alone in our stress and burnout, particularly when the source of stress is common, such as the additional demands and restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Both giving and receiving support can go a long way in helping us cope.  

Burnout can take a major toll on our motivation and sense of purpose. Therefore, it can be extremely helpful to reconnect with a sense of meaning. Try taking a step back and looking broadly at your current circumstances. Take a moment to find one or more things or people you feel good about and connect with a sense of gratitude for the things that are going well, despite the many challenges you may continue to face. Consider your long-term goals and connect with a greater purpose in your life. Lastly, take a moment to acknowledge the ways you have already been resilient in coping with prolonged stress. 

Burnout is not a label for lack of effort or commitment, nor does it suggest any personal or moral failure. Yet, it should also not be worn as a badge of honor. It simply means you have been stuck in a tunnel of relentless stress and you have reached a point when taking some steps to address your physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion will be important for your continued well-being.  

Dr. Thomas Lindquist, Psy.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

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Coping with Feelings

“Feelings are just visitors, let them come and go.”

                                                                        -Mooji 

We are always experiencing feelings. Sometimes feelings can be overwhelming and difficult to manage. When this is the case, try to remind yourself of the following tips:

Feeling are not facts

Feelings come and go when we let them

Feelings are not a label 

Feelings are meant to be felt

Feeling often have something to teach us

Feeling hold information

Feelings are not permanent

Emotions such as fear, sadness, and anger are a basic part of life and sometimes we struggle with how to deal with them effectively. It can be tempting to act on what we are feeling, but that often doesn’t fix the situation that caused the emotions. It is often most helpful to practice pausing. Bring your attention to your breath. Check-in with your body to learn more about why you might be feeling a certain way and notice how your body feels. Do you feel tense or anxious? Take a moment to bring your awareness to your surroundings and notice the environment around you. Recall some of the tips described above and remind yourself of the bigger picture.

Dr. Thomas Lindquist, Psy.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

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Our Primary Psychological Concerns

As human beings, we are all faced with three primary psychological concerns based on the following three facts. First, we come into the world in a highly vulnerable state and must survive through a long period of dependency. Second, we have evolved a highly attuned and intense set of emotional responses to help us react to threats and cope with critical challenges. Third, we are social animals with a high level of inter-dependency and a long evolutionary history of social connection.  

These basic facts about the nature of human beings lead to three primary psychological concerns discussed by Joseph Burgo Ph.D. (2012). Primary to these concerns is the impact of our early childhood experiences with primary caregivers.  

First, we all must navigate issues of dependency. If our needs for safety and security were not met during this early childhood period, we may continue to struggle into adulthood with issues of trust. This is typically most challenging in our relationships as we may struggle to depend on others or fear abandonment and subsequent emotional pain.  

Second, we all must manage our feelings. If our caregivers were unavailable to help us manage our feelings and provide needed soothing experiences for us to learn and internalize, we may continue to struggle to manage our feelings as adults. A small challenge can quickly evolve into a full-blown crisis or abrupt and uncontrolled reactions for people who struggle in this area.  

Third, we all need to find a place in the world and feel that we belong. As an extension, we need to experience a sense of worth and validation from being part of a social community. If we were not provided with adequate opportunities for belonging as well as a sense of value and worth during our childhood, we may continue to struggle with issues of belonging as well as low self-esteem or feelings of shame.  

Of course, there is typically more to the story when we consider the role of dispositional traits or other important resources during periods of development. Nevertheless, these early experiences have an impact on all of us. The following questions can help you identify which of the three primary concerns are most relevant to you and highlight areas that might be useful to address in therapy: 

Relationships

Consider the ways that you manage difficulties in relationships with others. Do you struggle with feedback from others or rush to judgement? Do you struggle with trusting others? Do you feel the need to do everything yourself? Do you ever feel that needing support is weak?  

Emotions

Think about how you handle difficult emotions. Do you behave impulsively in an attempt to avoid feelings? Do you deny or do you find yourself feeling nothing at all in situations that would likely provoke an emotional response for most people? Do certain emotions make you uneasy? How do you react when others are upset or express anger?  

Belonging & Self-esteem 

Consider how you manage threats to your self-esteem. Do you find yourself striving for attention or admiration from others? Do you beat yourself up when you make a mistake or feel beneath others? Do you strive to present yourself as a nice or agreeable person?  

Take a moment to reflect on these questions and consider which of these primary concerns are most relevant in your life. 

Dr. Thomas Lindquist, Psy.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

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Defense Mechanisms

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.”
― Sigmund Freud

Defense mechanisms or psychological defenses involve a process of pushing away and avoiding thoughts or feelings that are too painful or morally unacceptable to us. Freud began writing about defenses in an early work, Studies on Hysteria (1895), where he described a mental process that translates to “fending off.” His daughter, Anna Freud, worked further on these concepts and is credited with our first definitions of defense mechanisms.  

Simply put, we can understand defense mechanisms as the automatic and unconscious psychological process of evading pain. We might also view defenses as the ways we deceive ourselves so that we can feel better – at least in the short-term.

Generally, most defense mechanisms are not inherently good or bad; they are a universal and necessary part of human psychology as they protect and help us navigate life. However, when they become rigid or increasingly entrenched into our functioning, they can prevent us from forming meaningful relationships or maintaining our self-esteem. In fact, many people first seek therapy as a result of their defenses becoming less effective in helping maintain an emotional or interpersonal balance. Consider how a compulsive behavior or destructive pattern may have a negative impact or how difficulties controlling reactions in social settings can lead to problems. All of these things can be connected to the role of defenses working to avoid pain and maintain stability.  

We all develop a unique collection of defenses as we navigate life and a common goal of psychodynamic therapy involves helping a client better understand their defenses as well as the needs that can be neglected or denied as a result. Learning more effective ways of coping with pain or discomfort as well as effective ways of expressing ourselves can lead to less reliance on defenses. The goal is never to eliminate defenses, but rather to change our relationship to our defenses so that they operate in a less rigid manner as we become more accepting of our vulnerabilities.  

Attempting to learn the full list of defense mechanisms in one sitting would be a bit daunting.  Here are three of the most common to help you get started.  

Denial is a refusal to perceive or consciously acknowledge unpleasant aspects of reality. In other words, when using denial, we are denying our own awareness and refusing to recognize what we actually know on some level to be true. Although this can seem like a deliberate process, all defense mechanisms operate largely on an unconscious level, outside of our awareness.  

Projection is another fairly well-known term in popular culture, although it is typically oversimplified in everyday conversation. Essentially, this process involves attributing one’s own unwanted thoughts or emotions to another. A good example of this process might involve a disgruntled colleague who becomes critical or rude to other co-workers, causing them to also become disgruntled. In this way, the colleague has projected his or her distress onto others, making it more tolerable to him. Likewise, projecting guilt is a common occurrence as seen in the partner who forgets to pick up milk. Upon returning with no milk, he is faced with criticism and feels guilty, which causes him to then react in anger towards his partner, causing his partner to feel guilty as well. In this way, projection allows people to unconsciously unload distress onto others and experience relief as a result. 

Displacement involves redirecting emotion or pain to a safer outlet. This is commonly seen in the example of an angry parent screaming at their children after a long day of being criticized and frustrated by his or her boss. It is not safe to express anger towards the boss so it gets displaced onto the children. In more technical terms, displacement involves the separation of emotion from the actual object of pain or distress and redirection of this pain to an object or person that is less threatening. Again, this unconscious process provides short-term relief, but it can lead to long-term problems as a primary approach to coping and it can have a negative impact on close relationships.  

Pay attention to the ways you work to avoid pain and discomfort. In most cases, you will not be aware that your behaviors are actually functioning in this way. You might seek feedback from family and friends regarding your patterns of behaviors or reactions. Again, the goal is not to eliminate defenses, but to rely less rigidly on such defenses or increase your awareness of attempts to avoid, ultimately broadening your capacity to manage and engage directly with your emotions and needs.  

Dr. Thomas Lindquist, Psy.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Visit us at lindquistpsych.com

Deepening Your Self-Awareness

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” – Carl Jung

Self-awareness involves the ability to be conscious of a range of experiences, including our emotions, thoughts, motivations, and behaviors. Our degree of self-awareness and the capacity to engage in self-reflection can have a significant impact on our mental health and relationships as it allows for us to step outside of a reactive approach navigating the world. In addition to self-awareness, the ability to empathize or understand what other people are thinking and feeling allows us to develop a more complex and less judgmental understanding around the actions of others. Taken together, the development of greater self-and-other awareness forms a cornerstone for healthy functioning and psychological growth.  

Understanding ourselves and others is an ongoing process that begins early in life and extends throughout the lifespan. This makes it an excellent area of focus for personal growth. There are numerous ways we can work to improve our self-awareness.  

Accepting feedback

Next time someone gives you feedback or criticism, take a moment to slow down and notice how you react. Do you feel defensive? Do you begin to discredit or criticize that person in your head?  Do you feel hurt or anxious?  

Take a few minutes to calm down. Once you feel grounded again, take time to observe your reactions to this feedback and begin to ask yourself questions. What is it that they are trying to communicate to me? Could some part of this be accurate? Is there something I can learn about myself from this? How can I use this as an opportunity for growth? If they are wrong or treating me unfairly, what is the most useful way of proceeding?

Reflecting on emotions

Think of the last time you became upset or reactive. Perhaps another driver honked at you or cut you off on the highway. Perhaps someone didn’t follow through on plans with you. Perhaps you were criticized or blamed for something at work.  

Once again, take a few minutes to calm down. When you are ready, allow yourself to connect with how you feel and ask yourself why you might be feeling that way. Can you name your feelings? When is the last time you felt this way? Does it feel appropriate to the circumstances? What other situations have caused you to feel this way? What have you typically done? What patterns do you see in the ways you feel or behave? 

Taking Perspective

Think of a time when you had a difficult interaction or felt confused by how others behaved towards you. You might also think of a time when others were in disagreement with you. Take a moment to reflect on what the other person might have been experiencing. What do you think they were thinking and feeling? How might they have viewed or experienced you?  

Encouraging curiosity 

When it comes to self-awareness, encouraging curiosity about yourself is an excellent practice. Practice taking more time to pause in your life and reflect on these questions. You may incorporate journaling about your day and writing down ideas or answers to the questions presented above. You can also practice asking more questions about how others experience you.  

Understanding ourselves and others is an important part of living a healthy and satisfying life. However, it can also be challenging as we face things about ourselves that are not easy to accept. Nevertheless, as we grow in self-awareness, we are likely to experience greater freedom and a stronger sense of agency. Our relationships will likely benefit, and we may find ourselves experiencing less stress and self-doubt. We might also find it easier to see why others behave or react in certain ways and we will be better equipped to handle criticism. Human beings are complex. Taking an active interest in yourself is a lifelong process and will serve you well as you navigate the many ups and downs of life.  

Dr. Thomas Lindquist, Psy.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

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Building Mastery

Can you recall a recent experience of being successful or doing something well? Take a moment to reflect on what it felt like to accomplish this task. Even if it is a smaller task, such as successfully keeping up with your laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, or making a healthy meal; engaging in things we are good at provides us with a reminder of our capabilities and strengths.

Building mastery is a dialectical behavior therapy skill that involves finding actives each day that allow us to connect with a sense of accomplishment as well as increased confidence and self-esteem. Although we may view everyday tasks as necessary or mundane, we can still experience mastery as we continue to learn how to accomplish such tasks in new ways or feel good about our success. In addition to basic needs, such as cooking and cleaning, we can also practice mastery by engaging in more tasks we enjoy. This might involve walking in nature, exercising, drawing or painting, practicing an instrument, completing a journal entry, or reaching out to a friend. All of these activities can be seen as opportunities to build mastery and experience greater self-confidence and a sense of strength. Successfully completing both tasks of daily living and small activities for enjoyment can help us feel more prepared to deal with the challenges we face throughout the week.

A practice of building mastery involves doing at least one thing each day that provides you with a sense of competence and encourages you to feel good about yourself. Spend just 10 minutes each day engaging in this task and take time to reflect on your thoughts and feelings afterwards. It is good to find a task that is difficult or requires some extra motivation, while also not being overly difficult or taxing. If you aren’t sure, start with something small and something you have been successful with in the past. Over time, you can challenge yourself to more difficult tasks or work to improve the current activity. As an example of this process, you might start with simply cooking dinner at home. Just the act of making a complete meal is an opportunity for connecting with a sense of mastery. Once you have successfully cooked a simple dinner, you could add the challenge of making a healthier meal or cooking something new or more complex.  

One final tip for practicing mastery involves paying attention to your mindset and self-talk. This practice will be less helpful if you are unnecessarily critical of yourself or judgmental about your efforts. If you notice such thoughts, work on taking a step back and refocusing on what you are doing well. You could even remind yourself that the choice of engaging in this practice of building mastery is an inherent accomplishment as you work to support your well-being.  

In the end, there is no specific task or set of items for this practice as it will depend partly on each person. If you are struggling, very simple or small tasks (brushing your teeth or making breakfast) are the best places to start and should rightly be viewed as accomplishments or instances of building mastery. If you are doing fairly well, you might decide to push yourself a bit more and try new things or find new challenges (cooking a new type of food or learning some other new skill). In some cases, you may simply incorporate some of your current activities and use mindfulness to focus more attention on these tasks, while reframing them as opportunities to connect with a sense of mastery. In the end, your goal should be to intentionally engage in a task that leaves you experiencing some level of accomplishment and positive self-regard, while making sure to connect with these feeling when you are successful.

Dr. Thomas Lindquist, Psy.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

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