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To Flourish, Humans Are Motivated by Four Universal Needs
Are you satisfying these needs at work? Could you?
The Big 4 Universal Needs Related to Flourishing
Different writers may use varied terminology to describe what has become known as the “Big 4” universal human needs or motivations. I’ve taken the liberty of using pairs of terms that each start with the letter C, with hopes that doing so makes them more memorable. (There is no particular order of importance on this list.)
- The first we might refer to as Contribution or Calling. That is, we need to feel as though our life has meaning or purpose. That isn’t to say that it has to be a grandiose sense of importance, but rather that what we do means something to others or to the world generally; that what we do is productive and purposeful.
- The second universal need we might call Choice or Control. Generally we prefer more rather than less choice and more control over what we do and how we do it. In fact, humans tend to actively resist encroachment on their autonomy.
- The third universal need could be termed Competence or Capability. That is, it is important to feel as though we do a pretty good job at what is important to us, and perhaps at least as important is the perception that we are improving or have opportunities to grow more effective.
- Last on our list is Connection or Community. It’s not that we need to be liked by everyone, but it is important to have a set of people who like and respect us; a group we consider our tribe.
These Big 4 universal needs or motivations apply to all of us, but there is probably variation in their relative importance to each person. If I asked you to rank order the four from most to least important, your rankings would probably not perfectly match mine.
How to Use the Big 4 Yourself
Knowing about the Big 4 allows us to use them as a checklist for evaluating our current job, a possible promotion, or a potential new job. It’s not a must that our job satisfies all four needs, but given how much time we spend at work, it would be ideal if it did. The greater the extent to which all four needs are connected to your work, the greater your likely job satisfaction. To promote retention, job satisfaction, and professional development for those you lead or supervise, consider how the Big 4 needs relate to each person’s roles and tasks and modify accordingly.
What if your work doesn’t satisfy one or more of the essential motivations? Are there other aspects of your life that do, or that could? Are there ways you might alter your work in light of what aspects of the Big 4 seem lacking? If not, are there possibilities for a more rewarding move, either inside or outside your organization?
Of course it is possible to maintain a position that does not offer much with regard to satisfaction of the Big 4 needs, and your choice to do so may have to do with meeting other needs (like a reasonable income). However, to flourish, it is worth asking, at least on occasion, how the Big 4 relate to your current situation, with an eye toward proactively making changes to maximize your engagement and life satisfaction.
Michael W. Wiederman Ph.D. Mindful Professional Development
August 21, 2022 | Reviewed by Gary Drevitch
A Connection Between a ‘Calm Mind’ and Better Capacity for Self-Control
Summary: People with greater self-control have calmer minds, which in itself generates fewer distractions from stimuli.
People who have a “calmer mind”—that is, their neuronal processes take longer on average and whirl around less than others—have greater self-control.
This was the finding of Dr. Tobias Kleinert, Prof. Dr. Markus Heinrichs and Dr. Bastian Schiller from the Department of Psychology at the University of Freiburg, together with Prof. Dr. Kyle Nash and Dr. Josh Leota from the University of Alberta/Canada, and Prof. Dr. Thomas König from the University Hospital of Bern/Switzerland.
Their research is being published in the journal Psychological Science. The paper has been accepted and is already available online as a preprint.
“Self-controlled behavior is important to achieving long-term objectives—for example when we do without high-calorie food to lose surplus pounds,” explains Schiller.
Why is this easier for some people than for others? Are these individual differences based in a fundamentally different organization of the brain?
To find answers to these questions, the Freiburg researchers recorded the electrical activity in the brains of over 50 relaxed yet wakeful participants in the laboratory.
The scientists also recorded the participants’ capacity for self-control in other ways: self-evaluation reports, behavioral tasks and the brain activity recorded while they did these tasks. The results of the study carried out at the University of Freiburg were confirmed in a second cooperative study that took place at the University of Alberta/Canada, with more than 100 subjects.
“On both sides of the Atlantic we were able to prove a robust connection between non-task-dependent neuronal processing and the capacity for self-control,” explains Kleinert.
Schiller says, “Our results indicate that people with greater self-control have a calmer mind, which in itself generates fewer distracting stimuli.”
Heinrichs adds that “these findings are hugely significant to a better understanding of clinical disorders associated with deficient self-control processes.”
A Self-Controlled Mind is Reflected by Stable Mental Processing
Self-control–the ability to inhibit inappropriate impulses–predicts economic, physical, and psychological well-being. However, recent findings demonstrate low correlations among self-control measures, raising the questions what self-control actually is.
Here, we examine the idea that people high in self-control show more stable mental processing, characterized by fewer, but longer lasting processing steps due to fewer interruptions by distracting impulses.
To test this hypothesis, we relied on resting EEG microstate analysis, a method that provides access to the stream of mental processing by assessing the sequential activation of neural networks.
Across two samples (N1=58 male adults from Germany; N2=101 adults from Canada [58 females]), the temporal stability of resting networks (i.e., longer durations and fewer occurrences) was positively associated with self-reported self-control and a neural index of inhibitory control, and negatively associated with risk-taking behavior.
These findings suggest that stable mental processing represents a core feature of a self-controlled mind.
University of Freiburg August 15, 2022
Original Research: “A Self-Controlled Mind is Reflected by Stable Mental Processing” by Tobias Kleinert et al. Psychological Science
Make Sustainable Lifestyle Changes Instead of New Year’s Resolutions
When January 1st rolls around, many people commit to making changes to their lifestyle, especially those that relate to their health. Whether someone’s goal is to lose weight, eat less sugar, exercise more, or drink less alcohol, the start of a new year seems like the perfect time to “turn over a new leaf.”
Unfortunately, studies show that New Year’s resolutions are often pretty unsuccessful; it’s estimated that between 80 and 90% of New Year’s resolutions are never fulfilled!
Many give up on their newfound goals and resort to old habits by the end of February, usually because their resolutions are somewhat unrealistic and lead to burnout and disappointment.
What’s a better way to improve things like your diet, weight, and activity level? Experts tell us that making small changes is the best approach, as well as celebrating our success along the way.
Why Resolutions Don’t Work As Well As Slower, Sustainable Changes
If you find yourself making promises to turn your life and health around this year, then you’re not alone. In North America about half of adults make New Year’s resolutions each year.
One reason why January feels like the perfect time to adopt new habits is because of the indulgences associated with the holidays; many find themselves eating, spending, and drinking more at the end of the year, but sleeping and exercising less.
One way that people rationalize their poor habits during the holidays is by stating that they’ll change and improve once the new year rolls around. Typically, this mindset only serves as an excuse to make poor choices.
So what’s wrong with resolutions then? Why do they so often fail to lead to lasting changes?
Here are some of the reasons that experts believe over-ambitious resolutions may wind up backfiring:
- Motivation usually declines after the first few months, and often it’s extrinsic motivation (such as to impress others) rather than intrinsic (self-motivated).
- A clear action plan is never established, rather goals remain ambiguous.
- People don’t think long-term; James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, estimates that it takes most people between two to eight months to develop a new habit.
- Stress and interference aren’t taken into account.
- Unmet milestones can wind up lowering self-trust and self-confidence, making it harder to push forward.
To make new habits stick this year, here is what experts recommend focusing on instead:
1. Set small goals
Begin with small challenges that seem doable, rather than over-promising that you’ll make drastic improvements. Once you’ve gotten better at keeping up with a new habit, set the bar a bit higher as the months go by.
Write down your goals and be specific, as this has been shown to improve the odds of you following through with them. Ask yourself what specific steps you can start taking to eventually reach a bigger goal.
As Forbes Magazine puts it, “keep in mind that choosing realistic goals or resolutions and achieving them improves our mindset. Even a small victory is still a victory.”
2. Be realistic about your schedule and capabilities
If you want a habit to stick, you have to figure out how to make it fit into your life. Make your habits as simple, automatic, and stress-free as possible.
For example, determine the easiest place and time to exercise, or the best day to do healthy grocery shopping.
Remove as many interferences and obstacles as possible, such as lack of motivation at the end of a busy day (which may mean hitting the gym in the morning instead).
3. Plan for how you’ll handle stress
While you might feel very motivated at first to tackle your goals, eventually you’ll lose some steam and life will get in the way. We all deal with stress and difficult feelings at times that make healthy habits hard to sustain, whether due to feeling anxious, depressed, frustrated, fatigued, or bored.
Plan ahead for setbacks and stressors. Identify situations that tend to trigger you so you understand your patterns better. Come up with ways to overcome things like a busy schedule or trips that involve dining out more.
The more you can plan ahead, the better you’ll be able to handle whatever comes your way.
4. Sustain motivation by celebrating your successes
Small changes made today that are sustained will yield larger results in the long run. This is why every success is something to celebrate, even if it’s something small like replacing one unhealthy meal with a better one each day.
Find ways to give yourself immediate positive feedback while you’re on your journey.
Take pictures of your progress, write down fitness goals you’ve reached, or track anything else that makes you feel proud, such as your weight, measurements, or other health markers. This builds confidence and trust in yourself which is important for pushing you forward.
Consider rewarding yourself along the way when you’ve reached a milestone, even if it’s something small like a massage, manicure, or day off of work to have fun.
Examples of Healthy “Lifestyle Changes” To Make This Year
- Ready to set some realistic goals during the New Year? Consider focusing on some of these changes that can lead to substantial health improvements when practiced over time:
- Cut out major sources of added sugar from your diet, such as soda, desserts, candy, or energy drinks.
- Remove specific foods from your diet that tempt you to overeat, such as pizza, french fries, chips, etc. Alcohol is another substance that you may want to commit to cutting back on.
- Carve out 1-2 hours per week to food prep healthy meals at home.
- Identify ways that you can swap one unhealthy habit for a better one, such as by going to bed one hour earlier rather than watching more TV.
- Find and join a local gym or fitness studio and sign up for several months of classes ahead of time if possible.
- Consider hiring a personal trainer if you know that a partner helps you stay accountable. Asking your partner/spouse for help to clear up your schedule, or joining a fitness/diet challenge with co-workers or friends is another way to gain support.
- Buy a fitness tracker and aim to walk 8K to 12K steps per day.
- Prioritize sleep, aiming for 7 to 9 hours every night.
What You Focus On Is What Becomes Powerful – Why Your Thoughts and Feelings Matter
What you focus on is what becomes becomes powerful. The message is real and comes fortified with some serious science. It’s called experience-dependent neuroplasticity. The research around it has caught fire and the findings are powerful. The implications for all of us are profound.
At the heart of the research is the finding that experience changes the brain. Just think about that for a minute: You have incredible capacity to change your brain through your experiences. Up until the last decade or so, it was thought that the brain stayed fairly much the same and wasn’t open to influence or change. We now know that just isn’t true.
Each of us has a brain that is designed to be malleable and plastic and open to our influence. It is constantly shaping itself to be the best one it can be for us. Our experiences are the fuel for this shaping and everything we see, feel, experience, sense and do is slowly but surely changing the architecture of our brains, sending gentle instruction on how they can build to best support us.
How does it work?
Between the walls of our skulls, billions of neurons (brain cells) work together to shape us into the humans we are. Different neurons are responsible for different parts of our experience, whether it’s eating, feeling, sleeping, sensing threat, firing up, falling in love, spelling, laughing, remembering, learning, nurturing – you get the idea. Being human is complicated and our brain drives all of it – it’s no wonder we are still discovering its secrets.
Every time you have an experience, the relevant neurons switch on and start firing. As this happens, neural connections get stronger and new synapses start growing.
Even as you read this, sparks are flying in your head. About 100 billion neurons are waiting and ready to act, but not all of them will be recruited. The ones that are will depend on the experience you’re having. The neurons that are connected to your immediate experience – what you are feeling, thinking, seeing, sensing, doing, experiencing – will fire and new connections will start to form within minutes. The more connected the neurons, the stronger that area of the brain, the more responsive and effective it will be.
The neurons that aren’t as needed will eventually wither away. This withering away is normal and healthy and is one way the brain grows into its most efficient self. You can’t grow the edges of your head so your brain occupies some precious real estate. The space is reserved for the neurons that you need the most – the ones that will best support you given the life you’re living.
Every time we have an experience, the corresponding neurons are activated. Every time they are activated, they are elevated a little in the order of importance. Repeating or prolonging an experience will keep the connections between neurons strong and ensure that they stay. This is why, for example, we can recite the alphabet without thinking. It’s not because we were born baby geniuses with a cute alphabet jingle imprinted into our brains. It’s because throughout our childhood, we sing the alphabet song and have it sung to us so many times, that the relevant neurons are repeatedly activated enough to eventually form rock solid connections.
Experience doesn’t just effect change by creating new connections and strengthening existing ones. It also seems to reach into our genes (the tiny atoms in the DNA inside the nuclei of neurons) and change the way they function. A regular practice of mindfulness, for example, will increase the activity of genes that have the capacity to soothe a stress reaction in the heat of a moment, ultimately making you more able to deal with stress.
Everything you experience will alter the physical structure of your brain in some way. The things you do, the people you spend time with, every feeling, thought, and automatic experience will influence the wiring of your brain to make you who you are and to influence who you can become.
Brains can change. Let me tell you a true story …
A bunch of neuroscientists wanted to explore how brains can change. To do this, they called on London cab drivers and some serious brain imaging.
In order to become a London taxi driver, would-be cabbies have to pass ‘The Knowledge’. This is a test of memory and is one of the most difficult tests in the world to pass. It involves memorising at least 320 basic routes, 25,000 streets within those routes and about 20,000 landmarks and places of interest. It usually takes about 4 years of committed study and at the end of it, those who have done the work end up with what amounts to a roadmap of London imprinted onto their brains.
A series of brain scans conducted on a group of drivers after their training revealed that their brains had actually changed to support their learning. Prior to the learning, the part of their brains responsible for spatial memory (the posterior hippocampus) was much the same as everyone else’s. Fast forward to the end of training, and it was found to be significantly larger. The longer a cabbie had been in the job, the bigger that part of their brain. Learning and repeated experience had changed the brain according to the job it was needed for.
creates the quality of your life.”
Why it’s SO important to be deliberate about who you’re with and what you do.
Experiences matter. They matter in the moment and in the way they can change the brain beyond the immediate moment.
Your brain will build and change whether you like it or not. It’s so important to build it in the direction you want it to build it. Think of it as a mark on a page. At first, the mark might be so faint as to not even be noticeable, but keep going over the mark, even with the slightest of pressure, and that mark will get more defined and more permanent. Your attention and focus will always be somewhere – maybe many places – which means there are wirings and firings happening all the time, strengthening what’s there or creating something new.
If you aren’t deliberate and conscious in shaping your brain, other people and experiences will do this for you. Experiences, situations and people – positive or negative – will leave lasting traces on your brain by way of strengthened neural pathways.
By being purposeful about your experience, and the experiences you repeat or spend longer doing, you can have a direct influence over how your brain strengthens and grows and the pathways that are most likely to endure – but it does take a deliberate and conscious effort.
What you focus on will determine the parts of your brain that fire, wire and strengthen. Then, as those parts of the brain switch on and the neurons start firing, lasting connections will be made, strengthening memories and influencing what the brain will attend to in the future (positive or negative).
If you let your mind settle on self-criticism, self-loathing, pain, distress, stress, worry, fear, regret, guilt, these feelings and thoughts will shape your brain. You will be more vulnerable to worry, depression, anxiety, and be more likely to notice the negatives of a situation, frame things in a negative way, and be barrelled off track by what you could have or should have done.
On the other hand, if you focus on positive feelings and frame situations with a tilt towards the positive, eventually your brain will take on a shape that reflects this, hardwiring and strengthening connections around resilience, optimism, gratitude, positive emotion and self-esteem.
The power to change your brain. We all have it. Here’s how to use it.
We are wired to notice threat and bad feelings. This is completely normal and healthy and it’s what has kept us alive for thousands of years. We humans are brilliant when it comes to noticing the bad, analysing it, and hanging on to it until we learn something from it. It’s called the negativity bias and it’s powerful.
The problem is that while it is our very human way to notice the bad, it is also human to let the good slide right of us. It’s not unusual that in a day of good conversation, fabulous people and enriching experiences, your mind will stick with the one argument, the one bad phone call or the one jerk that crossed your path. Imagine if it could be the other way around, with the good sticking and the bad sliding away into the ‘doesn’t matter’ zone. Because we humans are powerful creatures, we can go one better than imagining it – we can do it, but it takes a hard and deliberate push, which is okay – because we all have that in us.
First, we have to switch on to the good and be deliberate in noticing positive experiences. This might be more difficult than it sounds, particularly if you have a brain that, like many beautifully human brains, is well-trained in noticing the bad.
When you have the good in your radar, let your mind settle on it for long enough to start the neurons firing in your brain. Don’t just notice it, feel it. Hold on to it for at least 20 seconds. After this time, the experience will be hardwiring into your brain, firing neurons and strengthening the connections that will ultimately shape your experience.
This will start to grow these parts of your brain and shape a brain that is able to notice the good, respond to the bad and move forward, rather than stay stuck.
If the positive experience isn’t ready and waiting in front of you, do what you can to create it. It doesn’t have to be monumental. Try calling on a memory, listening to a song, making a phone call, organising a catch-up, playing or doing something that makes you feel nurtured. When you do, make the feeling stay. It might want to fade away, but don’t let it, not straight away.
Like any habit, noticing the good takes time to become automatic. Notice how quickly you notice the bad and let go of the good. Be deliberate in balancing things up and gradually, this in itself will also change your brain.
Does this mean negative feelings are a no-go?
Negative feelings are never a no-go. Being deliberate in focusing on the positive doesn’t mean that we have to pretend the negative doesn’t exist. Negative feelings are important too and deserve to be there. They guide us to withdraw when we need space to heal, they alert us to problem people or situations and they act as a warning sign. Negative feelings should be honoured as much as positive ones but they will come with a cost if they are allowed to take over.
The neurons that fire together, will wire and cause lasting changes in the brain. Staying in bad feelings beyond their usefulness is will do damage. It’s like going over and over the mark that serves no useful purpose but to keep a wound open. Every time you go over it, you’re making it a little heavier, a little stronger, a little harder for you to exist without its influence.
It’s always okay to feel the bad, to sit with it and to explore the wisdom that it contains. The wisdom will always be in there somewhere. Certainly an avoidance of negative emotions will have its own costs.
To stop the negative running away and doing damage, actively work towards balance wherever you can. Take some time to focus on your resilience, your courage, your strength, your inner wisdom. If you are feeling lonely, take time to draw on memories or people who love and appreciate you. Whether it’s a ‘hey there’ text, an invitation, a photo, a memory. If you are feeling drained, take time to draw on experiences that nourish you.
When the experiences happen, let the feelings stay for long enough to let them do their important work. Notice the bad, feel it, let it bring you new wisdom, but don’t keep watching it in the rear view mirror when there are other things around you that can start to move you forward.
And finally …
By directing your focus and staying with your experience, you can change your brain and shape it towards a more positive, compassionate, resilient, kinder, happier, more empowered and contented way of being. You can turn positive experiences into positive brain changes, which will in turn change your day to day experience.
What you focus on is powerful. The brain will build around what it rests upon. Whether we view the world through a lens that is sad or happy, optimistic or hopeless, whether we are open to love or quick to close it down is all directed by our brain. What you pay attention to will shape your brain, which in turn will shape your experiences, your relationships, your life.
by Karen Young
Building Your Resilience
Having a Strong Life Purpose Eases Loneliness of Covid-19 Isolation, Study Finds
Those Who Felt Their Life Was Guided by Meaningful Values or Goals Were More Willing to Engage in Covid-19 Protective Behaviors
Why can some people weather the stress of social isolation better than others, and what implications does this have for their health?
New research found that people who felt a strong sense of purpose in life were less lonely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why can some people weather the stress of social isolation better than others, and what implications does this have for their health? New research from the Communication Neuroscience Lab at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania found that people who felt a strong sense of purpose in life were less lonely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Did they achieve less loneliness by flouting public health guidance? No. Although lonelier people were less likely to want to follow public health guidance, people with a stronger sense of purpose also expressed more willingness to engage in social distancing, hand washing, and other COVID-19 protective behaviors.
Purpose in life, or a sense that your life is guided by personally meaningful values and goals – which could involve family ties, religion, activism, parenthood, career or artistic ambitions, or many other things — has been associated in prior research with a wide range of positive health outcomes, both physical and psychological.
“In the face of adversity, people with a stronger sense of purpose in life tend to be more resilient because they have a clear sense of goals that motivate actions that are aligned with personal values,” says Yoona Kang, Ph.D., lead author and a Research Director of the Communication Neuroscience Lab. “People with strong purpose may also experience less conflict when making health decisions. We felt that the COVID-19 pandemic was an important context to test whether purpose in life relates to individuals’ willingness to engage in behaviors to protect themselves and others.”
Based on their prior research, Kang and her collaborators expected that people with higher sense of purpose would be more likely to engage in COVID-19 prevention behaviors than individuals with a lower sense of purpose. In order to test their theory, the researchers surveyed more than 500 adult participants to capture their levels of purpose in life, their current and pre-pandemic levels of loneliness, and the degrees to which they intended to engage in behaviors known to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
They found that higher levels of loneliness made people be less focused on protecting themselves from COVID-19, and more skeptical that behaviors to prevent COVID-19 would be effective. However, having a stronger sense of purpose was associated with lower levels of loneliness and a greater desire to take action to protect themselves from COVID-19. Those with a higher sense of purpose also expressed a stronger belief that COVID-19 prevention behaviors would work. Even when people who had a strong sense of purpose did report being lonely, they still felt strongly about taking precautions to prevent COVID-19.
“When faced with extreme loneliness and social isolation, like during the COVID-19 pandemic, wanting to connect with other people, despite the health risks, is a natural response,” Kang says. “And yet, amidst this drastic shift in social life, we found that people with a higher sense of purpose were more likely to engage in prevention behaviors. This is striking because it shows that purpose in life can empower people to make life-saving health decisions that protect their own health and those around them.”
Additionally, the researchers found that older people expressed less loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic than younger people. Kang sees this as a sign of the resilience of older adults, and she hopes to further study how to enhance purpose in life and resilience in aging populations.
“Having a stronger sense of purpose was associated with really important, positive outcomes across the lifespan,” says Emily Falk, senior author, Director of the Communication Neuroscience Lab, and Professor of Communication, Psychology, and Marketing. “Our upcoming work will test interventions to increase their sense of purpose, in hopes of bringing these benefits to more people.”
The study, published this month in The Gerontologist, is entitled “Purpose in Life, Loneliness, and Protective Health Behaviors during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” In addition to Kang and Falk, authors include Danielle Cosme, Ph.D.; Rui Pei, Ph.D.; Prateekshit Pandey; and José Carreras-Tartak.
Materials provided by University of Pennsylvania. Original written by Ashton Yount. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
Yoona Kang, Danielle Cosme, Rui Pei, Prateekshit Pandey, José Carreras-Tartak, Emily B Falk. Purpose in life, loneliness, and protective health behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Gerontologist, 2021; DOI: 10.1093/geront/gnab081
June 16, 2021 Source: University of Pennsylvania Science Daily
Building Your Resilience
We All Face Trauma, Adversity and Other Stresses. Here’s a Roadmap for Adapting to Life-Changing Situations, and Emerging Even Stronger than Before.
The Road to Resilience
Imagine you’re going to take a raft trip down a river. Along with slow water and shallows, your map shows that you will encounter unavoidable rapids and turns. How would you make sure you can safely cross the rough waters and handle any unexpected problems that come from the challenge?
Perhaps you would enlist the support of more experienced rafters as you plan your route or rely on the companionship of trusted friends along the way. Maybe you would pack an extra life jacket or consider using a stronger raft. With the right tools and supports in place, one thing is sure: You will not only make it through the challenges of your river adventure. You will also emerge a more confident and courageous rafter.
What is resilience?
Life may not come with a map, but everyone will experience twists and turns, from everyday challenges to traumatic events with more lasting impact, like the death of a loved one, a life-altering accident, or a serious illness. Each change affects people differently, bringing a unique flood of thoughts, strong emotions and uncertainty. Yet people generally adapt well over time to life-changing situations and stressful situations—in part thanks to resilience.
Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress—such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. As much as resilience involves “bouncing back” from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth.
While these adverse events, much like rough river waters, are certainly painful and difficult, they don’t have to determine the outcome of your life. There are many aspects of your life you can control, modify, and grow with. That’s the role of resilience. Becoming more resilient not only helps you get through difficult circumstances, it also empowers you to grow and even improve your life along the way.
What resilience isn’t
Being resilient doesn’t mean that a person won’t experience difficulty or distress. People who have suffered major adversity or trauma in their lives commonly experience emotional pain and stress. In fact, the road to resilience is likely to involve considerable emotional distress.
While certain factors might make some individuals more resilient than others, resilience isn’t necessarily a personality trait that only some people possess. On the contrary, resilience involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that anyone can learn and develop. The ability to learn resilience is one reason research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary. One example is the response of many Americans to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and individuals’ efforts to rebuild their lives after tragedy.
Like building a muscle, increasing your resilience takes time and intentionality. Focusing on four core components—connection, wellness, healthy thinking, and meaning—can empower you to withstand and learn from difficult and traumatic experiences. To increase your capacity for resilience to weather—and grow from—the difficulties, use these strategies.
Build your connections
Prioritize relationships. Connecting with empathetic and understanding people can remind you that you’re not alone in the midst of difficulties. Focus on finding trustworthy and compassionate individuals who validate your feelings, which will support the skill of resilience.
The pain of traumatic events can lead some people to isolate themselves, but it’s important to accept help and support from those who care about you. Whether you go on a weekly date night with your spouse or plan a lunch out with a friend, try to prioritize genuinely connecting with people who care about you.
Join a group. Along with one-on-one relationships, some people find that being active in civic groups, faith-based communities, or other local organizations provides social support and can help you reclaim hope. Research groups in your area that could offer you support and a sense of purpose or joy when you need it.
Take care of your body. Self-care may be a popular buzzword, but it’s also a legitimate practice for mental health and building resilience. That’s because stress is just as much physical as it is emotional. Promoting positive lifestyle factors like proper nutrition, ample sleep, hydration, and regular exercise can strengthen your body to adapt to stress and reduce the toll of emotions like anxiety or depression.
Practice mindfulness. Mindful journaling, yoga, and other spiritual practices like prayer or meditation can also help people build connections and restore hope, which can prime them to deal with situations that require resilience. When you journal, meditate, or pray, ruminate on positive aspects of your life and recall the things you’re grateful for, even during personal trials.
Avoid negative outlets. It may be tempting to mask your pain with alcohol, drugs, or other substances, but that’s like putting a bandage on a deep wound. Focus instead on giving your body resources to manage stress, rather than seeking to eliminate the feeling of stress altogether.
Help others. Whether you volunteer with a local homeless shelter or simply support a friend in their own time of need, you can garner a sense of purpose, foster self-worth, connect with other people, and tangibly help others, all of which can empower you to grow in resilience.
Be proactive. It’s helpful to acknowledge and accept your emotions during hard times, but it’s also important to help you foster self-discovery by asking yourself, “What can I do about a problem in my life?” If the problems seem too big to tackle, break them down into manageable pieces.
For example, if you got laid off at work, you may not be able to convince your boss it was a mistake to let you go. But you can spend an hour each day developing your top strengths or working on your resume. Taking initiative will remind you that you can muster motivation and purpose even during stressful periods of your life, increasing the likelihood that you’ll rise up during painful times again.
Move toward your goals. Develop some realistic goals and do something regularly—even if it seems like a small accomplishment—that enables you to move toward the things you want to accomplish. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, ask yourself, “What’s one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?” For example, if you’re struggling with the loss of a loved one and you want to move forward, you could join a grief support group in your area.
Look for opportunities for self-discovery. People often find that they have grown in some respect as a result of a struggle. For example, after a tragedy or hardship, people have reported better relationships and a greater sense of strength, even while feeling vulnerable. That can increase their sense of self-worth and heighten their appreciation for life.
Embrace healthy thoughts
Keep things in perspective. How you think can play a significant part in how you feel—and how resilient you are when faced with obstacles. Try to identify areas of irrational thinking, such as a tendency to catastrophize difficulties or assume the world is out to get you, and adopt a more balanced and realistic thinking pattern. For instance, if you feel overwhelmed by a challenge, remind yourself that what happened to you isn’t an indicator of how your future will go, and that you’re not helpless. You may not be able to change a highly stressful event, but you can change how you interpret and respond to it.
Accept change. Accept that change is a part of life. Certain goals or ideals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations in your life. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter.
Maintain a hopeful outlook. It’s hard to be positive when life isn’t going your way. An optimistic outlook empowers you to expect that good things will happen to you. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear. Along the way, note any subtle ways in which you start to feel better as you deal with difficult situations.
Learn from your past. By looking back at who or what was helpful in previous times of distress, you may discover how you can respond effectively to new difficult situations. Remind yourself of where you’ve been able to find strength and ask yourself what you’ve learned from those experiences.
Getting help when you need it is crucial in building your resilience.
For many people, using their own resources and the kinds of strategies listed above may be enough for building their resilience. But at times, an individual might get stuck or have difficulty making progress on the road to resilience.
A licensed mental health professional such as a psychologist can assist people in developing an appropriate strategy for moving forward. It is important to get professional help if you feel like you are unable to function as well as you would like or perform basic activities of daily living as a result of a traumatic or other stressful life experience. Keep in mind that different people tend to be comfortable with different styles of interaction. To get the most out of your therapeutic relationship, you should feel at ease with a mental health professional or in a support group.
The important thing is to remember you’re not alone on the journey. While you may not be able to control all of your circumstances, you can grow by focusing on the aspects of life’s challenges you can manage with the support of loved ones and trusted professionals.
APA gratefully acknowledges the following contributors to this publication:
David Palmiter, PhD, Professor of Psychology at Marywood University, Scranton, Penn.Mary Alvord, PhD, Director, Alvord, Baker & Associates, Rockville, Md.Rosalind Dorlen, PsyD, Member: Allied Professional Staff, Department of Psychiatry Overlook Medical Center, Summit, NJ; Senior Faculty, Center for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis of New Jersey and Field Supervisor at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers University.Lillian Comas-Diaz, PhD, Director, Transcultural Mental Health Institute, Washington, D.C.Suniya S. Luthar, PhD, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York City, N.Y.Salvatore R. Maddi, PhD, The Hardiness Institute, Inc., University of California at Irvine, Newport Beach, Calif.H. Katherine (Kit) O’Neill, PhD, North Dakota State University and Knowlton, O’Neill and Associates, Fargo, N.D.Karen W. Saakvitne, PhD, Traumatic Stress Institute/Center for Adult & Adolescent Psychotherapy, South Windsor, Conn.Richard Glenn Tedeschi, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
source: American Psychological Association.
Benefits of Humility: 8 Ways Being Humble Improves Your Life
The benefits of humility include coping with anxiety, higher self-control and better relationships.
The poet Tennyson once said that humility is, “the highest virtue, the mother of them all.”
Yet society celebrates over-confidence, entitlement and a perpetual focus on the self.
People are increasingly competitive, attention-seeking, narcissistic, obsessed with their appearance and entitled.
A new study, though, underlines eight ways in which the benefits of humility can help us improve our lives (Kesebir, 2014).
The author of the study, psychologist Pelin Kesebir, explains that:
“Humility involves a willingness to accept the self’s limits and its place in the grand scheme of things, accompanied by low levels of self-preoccupation.”
Humility — or ‘a quiet ego’ as she calls it — can be surprisingly powerful in a variety of different ways.
1. Humility soothes the soul
Humble people are better able to cope with anxiety about their mortality.
Instead of erecting self-defences against death, humble people tend to find it provides a useful perspective on life and how it should be lived.
When it’s not all about you, interestingly, it makes death easier to contemplate.
2. Excellence in leadership
Humble leaders are not only better liked, as you might imagine, but they are also more effective.
Author of a study published in the Academy of Management Journal, Bradley Owens explained (Owens et al., 2011):
“Leaders of all ranks view admitting mistakes, spotlighting follower strengths and modeling teachability as being at the core of humble leadership.
And they view these three behaviors as being powerful predictors of their own as well as the organization’s growth.”
3. Higher self-control
Having high self-control is one key to a successful life.
Oddly, perhaps, studies have found that an obsession with the self can paradoxically lead to lower self-control.
The humble, though, because they place less importance on the self, exhibit higher self-control in many situations.
Perhaps this is partly due to the fact that humble people tend to know their limits.
4. Better work performance
The humble not only make better managers, but they also make better employees.
A study of employees’ supervisors found that being honest and humble was a good predictor of people’s job performance (Megan et al., 2011).
5. Humble people get higher grades
Perhaps being a better employee and better manager has its roots in the formative years.
A study of 55 students has found that those who were more humble did better academically (Rowatt et al., 2006).
Being humble, therefore, may make you better in school.
6. Humility leads to less prejudice
One of the characteristics of being humble is having a low sense of entitlement.
Humble people don’t think they are owed things.
This leads to a less prejudiced view of the world, encouraging them to be tolerant to others and less defensive about their own beliefs.
7. More helpful
Humble people are, on average, more helpful than people who are conceited or egotistical.
In a study by LaBouff et al. (2011), participants who were more humble, were more likely to offer help, and offered more of their time, to those in need.
Unsurprisingly, humble people have also been found to be more generous.
8. Humility benefits relationships
Humble people may have better relationships because they accept other people for who they are.
A study by Davis et al. (2012) of groups of people found that humility helped to repair relationships and built stronger bonds between people.
May 29, 2021 PsyBlog
How To Create A Morning Routine That Reduces Anxiety And Stress
The self-care rituals you practice in the morning
can improve your mental health for the rest of the day.
As a person who’s dealt with anxiety since I was a kid, I find that I’m often most anxious first thing in the morning. When I open my eyes, all of the worries and potential stressors that await me flood my mind. The pit in my stomach makes me want to stay in bed as long as I can so I don’t have to face the day ahead.
Of course, this avoidance only exacerbates what I’m feeling. What alleviates it is just the opposite: Getting up on the earlier side so I have time for my morning routine. These days, that’s making an iced coffee, taking my dog for a walk, following a short workout video, writing my to-do list for the day and ― when time permits ― meditating and journaling.
“Morning routines are powerful and set our pattern for the rest of the day,” Lee Chambers, an environmental psychologist and well-being consultant in Britain, told HuffPost. “A worry-filled morning will often flood into an anxious afternoon.” Conversely, starting the morning with intention creates a sense of calm and confidence that makes the rest of the day seem more manageable.
So how do you create those morning rituals that will quiet your racing mind and stick with them? Below, experts offer some helpful advice.
How to start a solid morning routine
Be realistic about how much you can dedicate to your morning routine.
Consider how much time you can realistically carve out for yourself.
“We all have a period of the morning that we have some level of control over,” Chambers said. “For some people, that may be an hour, for others, it may be 20 minutes.”
For example, if you have young kids or a long commute to the office, you may have less time to work with. So figure out what’s realistic for your circumstances.
Waking up earlier may help your mornings feel less frazzled. That said, you shouldn’t force yourself into becoming an early riser at the expense of getting a full night’s rest. Remember that sleep plays a pivotal role in your emotional regulation.
“Often we hear of routines that start in the early hours of the morning,” Chambers said. “For some people, this is a high-energy time and a perfect time to start your routine. But if you’re limiting your sleep or you just don’t function well so early, it is going to be detrimental.”
Experiment to figure out which rituals work best for you.
Finding out which morning routine additions alleviate your anxiety may take some trial and error. What works for your partner, friend or that random influencer you follow on Instagram may or may not work for you.
“Think about your biggest stressors and problems that trigger your anxiety, and then consider what really helps in these situations,” Chambers said. “Then look to those activities and experiment. There are many ways and methods to exercise, plan, journal, listen and read, and some will feel just right for you.”
Make it easy and enjoyable so you stick with it.
You don’t need to come up with some elaborate 20-step process to reap the benefits of a morning routine (but, hey, if you want to, more power to you).
“Morning routines are most effective when we enjoy them and they are easy to integrate into our lives,” Chambers said. “They are not about completely changing what we do, but adding small, positive changes that compound together.”
“Morning routines are most effective when we enjoy them and they are easy to integrate into our lives.”
– LEE CHAMBERS, ENVIRONMENTAL PSYCHOLOGIST AND WELL-BEING CONSULTANT
One way to make the morning smoother? Do some preparation the night before, like laying out your workout clothes, whipping up a make-ahead breakfast or putting your journal by your coffeemaker.
“Leave things to trigger you to remember, make what you need accessible and craft a space where it is possible,” Chambers said.
But know that you’re not going to execute your routine perfectly every day ― and that’s OK.
You might be on a roll for a couple of weeks and then fall off for a few days. If you mentally prepare for these hiccups, you’ll be less likely to beat yourself up when they happen.
“It’s easy to move into judgment and criticism of yourself when things don’t go as you would have wanted or when you don’t immediately want to jump out of bed in the morning to start a new routine,” said marriage and family therapist Lynsie Seely of Wellspace SF in San Francisco. “Expect that there will be difficult moments and connect with your internal voice that offers kind words and encouragement along the way.”
And when you do follow your routine, give yourself some praise.
“Celebrate a little,” Chambers said. “Similarly, when you miss it, be kind to yourself and get prepared for the following morning.”
Some habits worth trying to incorporate into your morning
Here are some expert-recommend practices to reduce anxiety. Experiment to see what works well for you and then narrow it down.
We asked mental health professionals to recommend some practices that help soothe anxiety. Try out a few of these and check in with how you feel afterwards — but know that it may take some time to see the benefits. Then you can determine if you want to add any to your a.m. routine.
1. Start your day by drinking water.
Before you have your tea or coffee, hydrate with a glass of a water as soon as you wake up.
“It gives us increased cognitive function, allowing us more clarity of mind, can elevate our mood and energy, and promotes more balanced emotional regulation and takes less than a minute,” Chambers said. “And it’s a great habit to stack your next part of the routine into, and you can even prepare your water the evening before.”
2. Walk outside.
Taking a walk outdoors is a calming, grounding way to begin the day.
“It is also great as it gets sunlight into our eyes, stimulating serotonin, which boosts our mood,” Chambers said. “It also ignites our senses, as the wind hits our face, sounds of the environment fill our ears and we smell the external world. It makes us mindful and eases our worries in the process.”
3. Practice gratitude.
Take a moment to reflect on all of the good in your life. You can list a few things in your head, share them with a partner or child, or write them down in a journal.
“Start your day with a grateful heart before you even get up from bed,” said Renato Perez, a Los Angeles psychotherapist. “Start naming all the things you’re grateful for. This could be done through prayer or simply a list you say out loud to the universe or Mother Nature.”
4. Try to avoid checking your phone first thing.
Those work emails, text messages, Instagram notifications and news alerts can wait a bit. If you charge your phone by your bed or use it as an alarm clock, you’re going to look at it right when you wake up. Before you know it, you’re sucked in and two minutes of scrolling turns into 20. Try charging your phone across the room so it’s not within reach. Or charge it outside of the bedroom and use an alarm clock instead.
“I see so many people who immediately check their work email in the morning, which automatically puts them in ‘work mode’ and makes them feel anxious about the day ahead before they even get out of bed,” said Gina Delucca, a clinical psychologist at Wellspace SF. “Similarly, some people hop on social media or start reading news articles while lying in bed, which may trigger anxiety by reading or seeing something negative or scary.”
That doesn’t mean you have to avoid your phone altogether, which just isn’t realistic for most of us. “But I definitely recommend giving yourself some peace and quiet in the morning before the daily grind begins,” Delucca added.
5. Take some deep breaths.
When you’re anxious, you might notice your breathing is quick and shallow, rather than slow and deep.
“This is a part of our body’s natural stress response, and it coincides with a few of the other physical sensations you may notice when you feel anxious — like rapid heart rate, dizziness and upset stomach,” Delucca said. “While we don’t have voluntary control over some of these bodily sensations, we do have control over our breathing, and we can use our breath to help induce a more relaxed state.”
“Morning routines are powerful and set our pattern for the rest of the day.”
– LEE CHAMBERS, ENVIRONMENTAL PSYCHOLOGIST AND WELL-BEING CONSULTANT
Those deep, nourishing inhalations and exhalations stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, producing a sense of calm.
“To begin, try to spend a few minutes each morning sitting or lying in a comfortable position, closing your eyes and taking a few slow, controlled, deep breaths,” Delucca said. “Try breathing in through your nose and then breathing out through either your nose or mouth. When you inhale, imagine that you are filling up a balloon in your abdomen rather than just breathing into your chest.”
“There is no better way to quiet the mind than by practicing meditation,” Perez said. “Start small — two to three minutes — and increment every week.”
When your mind wanders away, which it inevitably will, gently bring it back to your breath.
You can sit in silence, listen to relaxing music, do a guided mediation through an app like Calm, Headspace or Insight Timer, or find one on YouTube
You can also try repeating a mantra — “I am safe, and I will be OK,” is one Delucca suggested. Or do a body scan: Start at the top of your head, bringing awareness to each body part and releasing tension from that area as you slowly work your way down to your toes.
7. Eat a nourishing breakfast.
“Our mood is highly influenced by what we eat,” Chambers said.
Opt for a balanced breakfast that contains protein, healthful fats, fiber and complex carbohydrates — think a vegetable omelet with avocado toast or oatmeal with nut butter, berries and chia seeds. Refined carbohydrates, such as doughnuts and sugary cereals, can lead to a blood sugar spike and crash, “causing challenges with emotional regulation, which may leave you feeling anxious,” Chambers added. (That said, if the occasional croissant or chocolate chip muffin brings some joy to your morning, it’s totally fine. Food is meant to be enjoyed, after all.)
8. Read a few pages from a book.
Rather than reading news or catching up on your social media feeds early in the morning, Perez recommends picking up a book that inspires you and reading for a few minutes ― even just five pages.
“Find a book that really speaks to you and makes you feel good,” he said.
9. Move your body.
It could be yoga, walking, running, dancing, cycling, strength-training or even stretching.
“When you exercise in the morning, you may notice improved focus and energy during the rest of the day, as well as better sleep at night, which can also help to tame anxiety,” Delucca said. “In addition, exercising in the morning can enhance your mood by giving you a boost of endorphins and a sense of accomplishment at the start of your day.”
It’s worth noting that some people report that certain workouts, especially very intense ones, actually stoke their anxiety rather than reduce it. So just be aware of that.
“We react differently to exercise, and it is a stressor,” Chambers said. “Exercising with too much intensity for some people can lead them to become fatigued and more likely to feel anxious.”
10. Do some visualization.
A visualization practice can help you set the desired tone for your day. If you’re feeling anxious and distracted, perhaps you’d like to feel calm, focused and empowered instead. Seely recommends calling on a memory that evokes that feeling for you. Tune into the small details and sensations of the experience.
“For example, if I’m visualizing a memory where I hiked up to the peak of a mountain and I’m overlooking the summit, I might notice the details of the incredible view, the sounds of nature around me, the feel of my muscles after climbing the steep terrain, the smell and temperature of the air, the sensation of feeling accomplished, proud, unstoppable,” she said. “Really getting into every sensation of the memory helps your body to soak in the experience and primes your physiology for that particular state of being ― in this example, empowered and ready to take on the day.”
And if you can’t think of a specific memory, allow yourself to daydream and build the desired experience in your imagination.
How to stick to your morning routine
“You’re more likely to follow through on behavior change when you set clear and specific goals versus vague aspirations,” said psychologist Gina Delucca.
You may think your biggest stumbling blocks are a lack of willpower or hitting the snooze button half a dozen times. But often it “comes down to a lack of clarity with the routine,” Delucca said.
“You’re more likely to follow through on behavior change when you set clear and specific goals versus vague aspirations,” she added.
So instead of saying something general, like, “I want to work out in the morning,” make the goal more concrete: “I’m going to do a virtual yoga class at 7:30 a.m. after I finish my tea.”
Delucca also recommends getting up around the same time each day and outlining what specific activities you want to incorporate into your routine and in what order. It may help to write them down.
“When you do something repeatedly in the same order, you can eventually develop a habit,” Delucca said. “When a habit is formed, you’re not solely relying on how you feel in the moment in terms of your mood, motivation or willpower. Habits feel automatic without any guesswork as to what you should do next.”
She offered the example of taking a shower. You likely shampoo, condition, shave and wash your body in a specific order without giving it much thought.
“It’s automatic because the routine is clear and you’ve created a habit in which one action flows directly into the next action without any questioning,” Delucca said. “So, try to be as specific and consistent as possible when creating a morning routine. Each activity will serve as a cue for the next, and with time, your morning routine will flow.”
Kelsey Borresen – Senior Reporter, HuffPost Life 09/16/2020
5 Habits You Should Avoid
First Thing In The Morning
Here’s what to avoid in your a.m. routine and what to do instead.
can make a big difference in your overall well-being.
Mistake #1: Hitting The Snooze Button
Mistake #2: Letting Your Mind Be ‘Directed’ By Your Phone
Mistake #3: Filling Up On Sugar Right Away
Mistake #4: Not Washing Your face Properly Or Using SPF
Mistake #5: Completely Overlooking Your Mental Well-Being
10 Exercises That Can Make You Mentally Stronger
Building a little mental muscle could have a big impact on your life.
If you want to lift heavier objects, you need more physical strength. Large biceps and a strong back will go a long way toward helping you do the heavy lifting.
Well, the same can be said for your mental muscles. If you want to be able to tackle bigger challenges and overcome more obstacles, you need more mental strength.
Like physical muscles, your mental muscles require a good workout. And these 10 exercises can help you start developing the mental strength you need to crush your goals.
1. Reframe negative thoughts.
If you are having catastrophic thoughts like “This will never work,” then replace them with something more realistic, like “If I work hard, I’ll improve my chances of success.”
It’s true that everyone has bad days that lead to negative thoughts. But by searching for positive and realistic expectations, you can eliminate these damaging pessimistic thoughts and better equip yourself to manage the bad days.
2. Create goals.
It’s fun to aim high and dream big. But setting your sights too high will likely lead to disappointment.
Rather than set out to lose 100 pounds, focus on losing five first. When you crush that goal, you’ll be more motivated to lose the next five pounds.
Every goal you achieve gives you confidence in your own ability to be successful. This will also help you identify which goals are not challenging enough and which ones are unrealistically ambitious.
3. Set yourself up for success.
You don’t need to subject yourself to temptations every day to stay mentally strong. Modify your environment from time to time. Make life a little easier.
Put your running sneakers next to the bed if you want to work out in the morning. Remove the junk food from your pantry if your goal is to eat healthier. Little things like this will go a long way toward keeping you from exhausting your own mental energy and setting yourself up for success.
4. Do at least one difficult thing each day.
Improvement doesn’t come about by accident. You need to challenge yourself on purpose. Make sure to analyze your own boundaries, though, since everyone has a different idea of what is challenging.
Have the courage to pick something slightly outside these boundaries. And then take one small step every day.
Enroll in a class you don’t think you qualify for. Speak up for yourself even when it is uncomfortable. Always push yourself to become a little better today than you were yesterday.
5. Tolerate discomfort for a greater purpose.
The feeling of discomfort can often lead people to look for unhealthy shortcuts. Binge TV-watching and overdrinking are common emotional crutches. But these types of short-term solutions more often create bigger long-term problems.
The next time you experience discomfort, remind yourself of the bigger picture. Finish that workout even when you are tired. Balance your budget even when it gives you anxiety. Tolerating uncomfortable emotions can help you gain the confidence you need to crush your goals.
6. Balance your emotions with logic.
If you were to be 100 percent logical all the time, you might live a boring life, devoid of leisure time, pleasure, or even love. But if you base all of your decisions on emotion, you might spend all your money on fun, rather than save for retirement or investments. To make the best decisions, you need to balance your logic and emotion.
So regardless of how minor or major the decision in your life, check yourself to make sure you are balancing your emotions with logic.
Being overly anxious, angry, or excited can cause you to make an emotional decision. So write down a list of pros and cons for each decision you make. Reviewing this list will enhance the logical part of your brain and help balance out your emotions.
7. Fulfill your purpose.
It’s hard to stay the course unless you know your overall purpose. Why is it that you want to hone your craft or to earn more money?
Write out a clear and concise mission statement about what you want to accomplish in life. When you’re struggling to take the next step, remind yourself why it’s important to keep going. Focus on your daily objectives, but make sure those steps you’re taking will get you to a larger goal in the long run.
8. Look for explanations, not excuses.
Did you fall short of your goal? Then examine the reasons. Rather than make excuses for your behavior, look for an explanation than can help you do better next time.
Take on the full responsibility for any shortcomings without placing blame. When you face and acknowledge your mistakes, you can learn from them and avoid repeating them.
9. Use the 10-minute rule.
Mental strength can help you be productive when you don’t feel like it. But it’s not a magic wand that will make you feel motivated all the time.
There is a 10-minute rule that comes in handy when you are tempted to put off something important. If you catch yourself eyeing the couch at the time you planned to go for your mile run, then tell yourself to get moving for just 10 minutes. If your mind is still fighting your body after 10 minutes, then it might be OK to give yourself permission to quit.
But more often than not, once you take that first step, you’ll realize your task is not nearly as tough as you predicted. Getting started is almost always the hardest part, but your other learned skills can help keep you going.
10. Prove yourself wrong.
The next time you think you can’t do something, prove yourself wrong. Commit to topping your sales goal for this month or beating your time in the mile run.
You are more capable than you give yourself credit for, so make it a habit to prove yourself wrong. Over time, your brain will stop underestimating your own potential.
Build Your Mental Muscle
You won’t develop mental strength overnight. It takes time to grow stronger and become better. But with consistent exercise, you can build the mental strength you need to crush your goals and live the life of your dreams.