Disrupting the Cycle of Avoidance Coping

Procrastination, self-isolation, wishful thinking, passive aggressive behavior, and alcohol use. Sound familiar? These behaviors are all common examples of avoidance coping. When we are engaged in this common form of maladaptive coping, we are not directly addressing our problems, interpersonal conflicts, or difficult emotions. Rather, we are disengaging and distracting ourselves so that we mightContinue reading “Disrupting the Cycle of Avoidance Coping”

Channeling Your Inner Tortoise: Slowing Down to Reduce Stress

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”  -Lao Tzu Rushing can increase stress, interfere with meaningful communication, and reduce our capacity for pleasure and enjoyment. Although rushing is sometimes inevitable, constant pressure to rush from one thing to the next leads to chronic stress and burnout. Both our physical and mental health can beginContinue reading “Channeling Your Inner Tortoise: Slowing Down to Reduce Stress”

Using Behavioral Activation to Improve Your Mood

It is not uncommon to skip or cancel plans because we are feeling down or unmotivated. It is also not uncommon for us to wait to feel better or feel more motivated before taking action. Although canceling plans to focus on taking care of ourselves is sometimes the right decision, avoiding activities that can helpContinue reading “Using Behavioral Activation to Improve Your Mood”

Compassionate Curiosity

“In addition to a sense of humor, a basic support for a joyful mind is curiosity.” -Pema Chödrön Compassionate curiosity is an approach for developing self-observation skills and expanded self-awareness described by Gabor Maté, a Hungarian-Canadian Physician and expert in addiction, stress and child development. The practice involves a gentle and compassionate investigation into ourContinue reading “Compassionate Curiosity”

Fire in the Guest House

When is the last time you recall feeling distressed or anxious? When did you become aware of your anxiety? Most of us struggle with some worries as we navigate daily challenges and anticipate obstacles. However, when we find ourselves worrying about worrying as well as the potential negative impact of worrying, it can start toContinue reading “Fire in the Guest House”

Receptive Awareness

Attention is of central importance for navigating a chaotic world. It is also of central importance for practicing meditation and mindfulness. In meditation, paying attention to the breath is often taught as a starting point as beginners are encouraged to bring their attention back to the breath each time their mind wanders. Over and overContinue reading “Receptive Awareness”

Counterfactuals & The ‘what if, would have, could have’ gang

Counterfactual thinking is a concept that refers to our tendency to imagine various alternatives to life events that have already occurred. Typically, this involves a scenario that is different from what actually occurred and consists of thoughts such as, “What if” or “If only I had done … then I could have prevented this.”   InContinue reading “Counterfactuals & The ‘what if, would have, could have’ gang”

Gremlins, Speeding Trains, & Thunderstorms

It is easy to become overwhelmed by our thoughts. People often describe getting stuck, spiraling, fighting, pushing, or otherwise becoming involved in what often becomes an unsuccessful attempt to control or get relief from distressing thoughts. All of us are prone to negative thought patterns or cognitive distortions, which often operate outside of our awarenessContinue reading “Gremlins, Speeding Trains, & Thunderstorms”

Advice from Your Future Self

Try the following experiment. Imagine yourself five-to-ten years into the future. Close your eyes and picture what you look like. Try as much as possible to connect with this future version of yourself. Reflect on the wisdom and life experiences you might have gained. What memories would you hold close to your heart? How isContinue reading “Advice from Your Future Self”