Battling burnout with purpose and meaning

When my kids were toddlers, my husband and I had a complex division of labor. We both worked full-time and, as is often the case for working parents of little ones, there was always way more that needed to be done than we had time for. It felt like we were constantly in motion trying…

Gently challenging your thinking traps

It turns out there is a stepwise method for addressing thinking traps that gives us a little freedom from their tyranny. It’s called reappraisal. Reappraisal means slowing down, looking at what’s going on in your mind, and evaluating your thoughts. It’s especially helpful when you’re having a strong emotional response. It’s a skill you can easily learn, and though it seems pretty basic, following the steps can help reduce the intensity of a painful emotion and lead to more effective actions.

Getting to know your thinking traps

Our minds are constantly appraising the world around us. Appraisals are adaptive: our ancestors needed the ability to identify, interpret, and problem-solve the events in their lives in order to survive. In contemporary life, this skill is no longer just about survival. It influences everything we do—planning for the future, negotiating relationships, finding love, and so on. But sometimes, this amazing skill can also get us into trouble.

Comparing our insides to other people’s outsides

Upward social comparison is sometimes really useful. It can give us information about what we want to be doing more of and serve as a motivator, like when you notice that your friend Joe is great at getting to the gym more frequently than you, and you try to be more like him.  As we’ve all experienced, however, there can be a downside to upward social comparison.

Overscheduled and stressed out: finding a healthy balance for our kids

Today’s kids can be overscheduled, underslept, and overstressed. Yes, kids get stressed out just like adults when they’ve got too much on their plates. Not surprisingly, my daughter showed obvious warning signs, which I minimized for a while. She would cry when she was hungry and couldn’t find time to eat; she became irritable when bedtime was pushed out because she was trying to get everything done; and she rebelled and simply refused when she was feeling too overscheduled.

How to get unstuck when facing tough decisions

In blackjack, when you have 16 and the dealer is showing 10, you have a tough choice. You can either “hit” or “stand,” but regardless of what you choose, you’re more likely to lose than win. In a situation like this, it’s helpful to have a decision-making framework based on the science of probability. When you think in terms of probability, the decision to hit or stand is less likely to be influenced by how you’re feeling.

Coping with your inner critic and imposter syndrome

Everyone has an inner voice that talks to them – the part of their mind that constantly judges them and tells us what to do. This inner voice can be your best friend our worst enemy. It can encourage you to take risks and innovate as your biggest fan, or it can be out of control as your worst critic, berating you every time you make a mistake, sapping your motivation to get up and try again.

5 ways to manage your perfectionism

When is the last time you hiked through a mountain meadow filled with wildflowers and said, “Oh, what a mess!” Wildflowers are beautiful precisely because they are imperfect, irregular, and unexpected. Just as we accept what we see in nature, we can also practice accepting things as they are – without trying to make them perfect – in other parts of our lives. We can make room for imperfections and make the choice that things are “good enough” for the moment.