We’ve all faked a smile to get past a rough patch, but there are ways to actually increase our happiness naturally. It’s true that some people may be more prone to having a positive outlook- whether because of their genetics, environment, or upbringing. However, there are still strategies that all people can use in order to train themselves to “look up” a little more. Here are some ways to cultivate optimism in your life:
Allow Yourself To Experience Disappointment
Sometimes optimism can be misunderstood as simply looking on the bright side, but a bigger, perhaps more important side of optimism is going through those painful trials and having hope that things will improve. We need to mentally time travel to the future to see that we’re going to come out okay, and that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
For this Valentine’s Day season, I thought it fitting to use this Studio 5 segment to discuss one of my favorite topics: love! We all know the excitement of falling in love, of being completely and totally enamored with someone else. Who doesn’t love roses, chocolates, and candlelit dinners for two? But the truth is that when February is done, when the honeymoon phase of a relationship is over, real love is a lot of work. It can be challenging, painful even, but it can ultimately help us learn and mature, both individually and together. Here are a few ways that love is a growth process:
The original purpose of social media is to connect us, and yet for many women, looking in on others’ lives can leave us feeling inferior, jealous, isolated, or dissatisfied. So how can we put all these posts and pictures in perspective when we seem to get discouraged by them? There’s been quite a bit of research done on how social media affects us psychologically and emotionally. Here are a few tips to help you if you find that it’s dragging you down:
1. Be Intentional & Interact Directly
Studies have shown that always consuming, or simply binge reading and looking at picture after picture online can negatively impact you. I encourage you to instead intentionally research, seek out information, and connect with people in your life. Engage more and be purposeful; don’t just mindlessly scroll through your feed to fill time.
We live in a technology-saturated world, and our kids are often more adept at the newest gadgets than we are! I’ve found that parents are sometimes weary about the newest developments in the tech world. But these are the times we live in, and the internet will never go away. The online world can improve our lives or it can distance us, so I invite adults to embrace the good it can bring. However, there are certain skills that our children may be (somewhat) lacking in how to function and have relationships in a non-virtual way. Here are 5 real life skills for high-tech kids.
We’ve all experienced drama at one time or another. Maybe it’s with a gossipy co-worker, an overbearing family member, or a nosy friend. But how do you know if you yourself are the one being overly dramatic? Self-awareness is key, but the problem is that most people who really struggle with this are entirely oblivious to the fact. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine whether or not you’re a drama queen (as well as some tips to help you not let drama get the better of you):
1. Do I lash out with others when I’m not included?
In my clinical practice, I’ve often seen this manifest in relationships with in-laws. For example, a woman I worked with was upset when her mother-in-law had a fun outing with others in the family but didn’t include her. If this kind of situation happens to you, how would you handle it? Some might take extreme offense, harbor great resentment, become overly dramatic, and lash out. Others may stay silent and conceal that it was painful to be excluded. But I challenge my readers to assume positive intent and then simply ask for what you want. It’s okay to say something like, “That was probably a fun thing you all did. It hurt me a little to not be invited. I’d love to be included next time around.”
–> Avoid the drama by being direct and assertive and not lashing out or gossiping.
For this segment of Studio 5, I wanted to change things up a bit and offer my perspective on another therapist’s work. Dr. Brené Brown has become a household name since her famous TED talk a few years ago. To say I’m a huge admirer of hers would be an understatement; the insight she offers about vulnerability, shame, and courage are transforming our culture. This week, I sat down with Brooke to talk about Brené’s new book “Rising Strong.”
The word “clique” often has a negative connotation and may bring up feelings of exclusive peers in Junior High, but adult cliques exist as well. It may not be a pleasant word, but the truth is that like-minded individuals often form social groups to discuss shared values, lifestyles, and interests. These groups can be intimidating, especially if you are looking from the outside in and would like to be a part of them. Here are some strategies to break into an adult clique:
1. Don’t Take It Personally
If you feel like you’re not in the loop with a certain group or you haven’t been invited to participate, try not to take it personally (though this is easier said than done). Remember that people often organize themselves based on commonalities (working at the same company, playing tennis, homeschooling their children, etc.), and if you don’t feel involved, it’s likely not that someone is trying to intentionally exclude you. And perhaps members of a certain clique don’t necessarily feel like they need to expand their circle, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t.
Although your college age child may be grown up and no longer living at home, it’s still possible to maintain that emotional connection you’ve likely been working on for years. But with the new distance and living situation, parents and young adults alike sometimes have a difficult time navigating this transition in their relationship. How can you two be close when things have changed so much? Here are some strategies to stay connected with your college age son or daughter:
1) No Such Thing as “Normal,” Only What Works
Every family culture is unique in how each member is differentiated, or separate but simultaneously connected. Some like to talk and be together very often, while others are more comfortable being independent. So when it comes to communication between parents and their adult children, there is no real standard of how much you should be talking or emailing; just do what’s best for the relationship.
When you think of the idea of creativity, what comes to mind? A brilliant painter? A famous film director? An acclaimed composer? While those examples certainly are true, there is more to creativity than famous artists and their work. For the purpose of this discussion, the definition of creativity is the ability to make new things or think new ideas, transforming existing materials into something novel and beneficial. Here are 5 common myths about creativity:
Moms have a lot to do, and we often take pride in accomplishing tasks and checking items off of our to-do lists. But when we don’t achieve what we set out to, unfortunately we can beat ourselves up (this happens particularly during changes and chapter endings, such as summer winding down and kids heading back to school). It seem to be human nature to focus on what we didn’t get done, but focusing on our shortcomings (perceived or real) can lead to great unhappiness and emotional distress. Here are 5 ways to resolve mom guilt:
1) Stop the Cycle of Comparison
Theodore Roosevelt wrote that “comparison is the thief of joy.” I recently found myself comparing my family’s summer plans with those of some of my friends and wishing that we had done more. Thankfully, I was able to catch myself and simple say, “Stop It!” Social media makes it all too easy to compare our lives with others, but every person and every family is different, and there is something empowering about owning your own life and experience for what it is (click here for a past Studio 5 segment on avoiding comparison).