This is a list of 25 powerful quotes from the Dalai Lama, the highest spiritual leader and head of the Tibet. These wise sayings can also be thought of as instructions for living. Scroll to the bottom of this post for a printable PDF of the quotes.
Have you ever crossed a bridge and seen the sides covered in tiny padlocks? These little “lovelocks” are a global phenomenon, and they can be found on bridges in large cities all over the world. You can also find them on fences, sculptures, lampposts, etc. Nowadays, pretty much anything that will sustain a lock is fair game.
Some of the locks have initials, names, or hearts carved into them, and they are latched there by couples to symbolize their love and commitment to each other. Then, the key is thrown away to represent their unbreakable bond; a padlock that will remain locked forever.
The Lovelock Tradition
The tradition of lovelocks is thought to have originated in the early 1900s in Serbia, where an unfortunate young woman, Nada, lost her lover. He went to war in Greece and fell in love with another woman, leaving Nada to die of heartbreak. As a result, the women in the town started protecting their love by inscribing their names and the names of their loved ones on locks and fastening them to the bridge where Nada would meet with her lover. The tradition has since become a trend in countries all over the world.
One of the most famous lovelock destinations is located in Paris: the Pont des Arts bridge. The Parisian tradition started around 2008 shortly after it gained popularity in Italy, where it was made fashionable by the Italian film I Want You. Subsequently, 6 years later in 2014, part of the Pont des Arts collapsed under the weight of over 700,000 padlocks.
The damaged structure was rebuilt with glass panels, leaving no way to attach locks. City officials came up with other creative (non-damaging) ways for couples to express their devotion, such as taking selfies and posting them with the hashtag #lovewithoutlocks. Lovers still travel from all over to see the bridge and pledge their love to each other.
The idea of a lovelocked bridge in Paris is romantic. But when I was there going through a marital separation, I developed a distaste for the practice. The locks seemed like a superficial way to show love, and I couldn’t help but see them as a symbol of broken promises. I also thought about the weight of the locks, both figuratively and literally.
The “I Love You” Wall
I didn’t pay a visit to the Pont des Arts, but I visited the Wall of Love, also known as the “I Love You” Wall, which features the phrase in over 300 different languages. The wall is located in Paris’s Jehan-Rictus Square and was created by the artist Frédéric Baron. The “I Love You” Wall is where my cynical thinking started.
The area was crawling with street merchants selling lovelocks, their cries of “A lock for your love!” screeching in my ears.
Fed up with being hassled to buy a 20-euro lock (the sort a 10-year-old girl might use for protecting secrets in her diary), I imagined various scenarios in which I would respond to the next merchant with feigned earnestness: “Do I get a refund if he breaks up with me?” “Do you have divorce ones? And those would be half-priced, right?” “Will it work on a stranger, or do they have to already be in a relationship with me?” “Is there a limit on how many I can use at once?”
I would pick away at the symbolism and absurdity of the lovelock, all to entertain myself.
Love-mocks, Love-blocks, Love-shocks
Although truly, what happens when a “lovelocked” couple breaks up, a relationship ends, or a once-happy marriage falls apart? For example, does Mary “cheated-on-by-her-now-ex-husband” Smith think about their traitorous lovelock somewhere out there, once a metaphor for love, now symbolic of what could have been or perhaps just a symbol of grief? The lovelock tradition is seen as a romantic gesture, but for some, the lovelock becomes a reminder of a lost love, a source of pain or sadness.
And how many of the lovelocks out there are representative not of love but failed relationships, abusive partnerships, or broken hearts? The stats aren’t great. More than 85% of dating relationships lead to breakups and most daters feel like their dating lives aren’t going well or that it’s hard to find people to date. The average length of a relationship is less than 3 years. The average marriage lasts approximately 8 years, and nearly half of first marriages end in divorce with even higher divorce rates for second and third marriages.
So really, how many of those locks represent love? It’s not romantic; it’s tragic.
And then, think about all the lovelocks that were removed to prevent structural damage, as was the fate of hundreds of padlocks at Pont des Arts. Or, what if your lock was one of the padlocks that led to structural collapse. What does that symbolize? That love is a destructive force or one that isn’t meant to last?
Finally, I thought about the dark side of the “forever locked” concept. By throwing away the key, couples are essentially locking themselves into the relationship. This could be a dangerous thing, as people and relationships change over time. Should love be viewed in such finite terms?
Love is not a lock. In fact, there’s nothing less romantic than thinking about a relationship as a prison. True love is given freely, no strings (or locks) attached, and it’s not binding. Not only that, but the lock concept limits the potential of love by viewing it as an object. Love is not a thing, but an experience that is shared. It can’t be forced or coerced; it’s something we choose.
This is when the realization came that a lovelock may still have a beautiful purpose, for while some loves are temporary, there is a type of love that should be the “forever” sort. Self-love should be protected and nurtured at all costs. No matter what happens in life, as long as you’re living, it’s worth investing in yourself. Besides that, self-love is the foundation of all other relationships.
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
After my epiphany, I was inspired to remake the lovelock concept in a way that would promote self-love. Here are five fun and creative ways you can embrace self-love with a lovelock:
1. Keep the key
Buy a lock and decorate it with your own personal touch or have it engraved to your liking. When you travel to a meaningful place, attach your lock to something that will last, perhaps a landmark or a bridge. But keep the key.
The key is a symbol of your power. It’s a reminder that you hold the key to your happiness and fate. You can choose to dwell on your mistakes or to forgive yourself, learn, and move forward. It’s up to you.
The key is a symbol of your worth. The key can also remind you that no one can make you feel bad about yourself unless you let them. You hold the key to your sense of self and your self-worth. Keep the key close, wear it as a necklace, or put it somewhere safe as a daily reminder that you are in control of your life. Let it remind you that you are worthy of love and respect.
2. Keep the lock too
Another option is to keep both lock and key. This is a more sustainable way to participate in a self-lovelock tradition, and it has a deeper symbolic meaning.
The lock represents your self-love, while the key represents your commitment to it. By keeping both, you are reminding yourself that you are worthy of love and that you are committed to loving yourself unconditionally.
Once again, you can wear as jewelry or keep in a safe place that you can see as a daily reminder. Let it remind you of your commitment to self-love and of the importance of loving yourself first.
3. Create your own self-love tradition
Find a special place that you can visit regularly to reaffirm your commitment to self-care. Perhaps it’s somewhere in nature, a place that brings you peace, a spot that holds fond memories, or even a place you’ve created specifically for this purpose.
Once a year, attach a new lock to this place as a symbol of your ongoing journey of self-love. You can do this alone or with a loved one, as long as the experience is meaningful to you.
Be sure to choose a place that is likely to remain accessible to you for years to come. This way, you can return to whenever you need a reminder of your commitment to self-care.
4. Give lovelocks freely
When you practice self-compassion, you’re better prepared to meet the challenges of life, knowing that you can count on yourself. Your capacity to love others actually increases. By choosing to love yourself unconditionally, you’ll have more compassion for those around you.
Lovelocks are symbols of self-love. When you see someone who is struggling, offer them a lovelock as a gesture of kindness and support. Share about the concept of a self-lovelock and how it can serve as a daily reminder to slow down, attend to needs, and practice self-compassion. Let them know that they are not alone.
5. Share the self-love message with others
Leave a self-lovelock on a bridge or other structure where lovelocks are common. This is a great way to spread the message of self-love and to inspire others to embrace their own worth.
Personalize your lock with a message about self-love. You can write or engrave your lock with a quote, a mantra, or simply the words “self-love.”
Leave the key in the lock or even leave an extra lock so that others can take it if they need it. This is kind gesture showing that you are willing to share your love with others.
Your self-lovelock will be a reminder to others that they are worthy of love and happiness. It will serve as an inspiration to all who see it.
To close, I’m not actually against the idea of lovelocks. They can be a fun and cute gesture, but they are ultimately just that: a gesture. They can be easily broken or lost and they’re not a guarentee of love or committment.
I believe that the self-lovelock is different; it’s a powerful symbol of self-compassion and healing. It is a reminder that you are worthy of love, and it can be a source of motivation when we are struggling.
I think there should be a Wall of Self-Love. This would be a place of inspiration where people could share their self-affirmations, messages of support, and mantras that have helped them through tough times. It would serve as a powerful reminder that it is not selfish to care for yourself, and that you should be proud to share this message with others.
Times are tough for therapists. Providing mental healthcare these days is challenging. Therapists find themselves in the midst of many perfect storms. Global changes, social unrest, tremendous upheaval, and trauma in the lives of their clients can mirror the struggles in their own lives, potentially leading to burnout.
Being a therapist is a beautiful, noble, and worthwhile undertaking. It is our life’s work. Yet often it is a slog. Clients may report a bit of progress, but then things fall apart. Our efforts to get through to them come up short. We can become lost and hopeless ourselves, watching people we have grown to care about continue to suffer and struggle.
In these situations, compassion fatigue and burnout can become a real risk. When we are worn down and exhausted, it can be difficult to give to our clients. The work that once inspired us can become draining to the point that it impacts our own wellbeing. When we feel burnt out, we need to find inspiration and reconnect to what it means to be a therapist.
Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Inspiration for the Weary Therapist: 4 Steps to Avoid Burnout
Here are 4 accessible steps for therapists to avoid burnout and compassion fatigue during challenging times:
1. Practice Real Self-Care
Self-care is vital for therapists. We learn from very early on in our training that we need to take care of ourselves to care for others. Yet what does self-care look like when you are at a level of weariness and burnout?
When we are in a lot of pain, our output to input ratio changes. If we are guilty of giving too much to our clients and not receiving enough from our lives, then we need to change the way we think about healing so that we do not give more than we take in. We must be okay with simply being present with our clients. We do not need to move mountains or do the work for them. As a therapist, you have to care for yourself too. We must strive for a healthy work-life balance to feel whole and avoid burnout.
Practicing self-care and attention, even in session, can help avoid burnout. Have a coffee in session. Sip it slowly. Take in the light that’s streaming through the window. Our clients need us to be present and alive when we’re meeting with them.
2. Practice Presence
What do you need to be present in session even in the face of others’ pain? Will always having food or tea with you help? Do you need different cushions on your chair? How about comfy clothes? A fan in the heat of summer? You may need a whole little apothecary on the table next to you to symbolize that you are present and caring for yourself while you care for your client.
Contrary to what we may have been taught, we do not need to hide our pain from our clients. We can let them know what we are going through. Clients benefit from having a full human being with them who is giving, receiving, experiencing joys, struggling, and even suffering themselves. Giving yourself permission to be a full person that is comfortable in the therapy room allows you to be truly present.
We need not clear everything out of our mind, be totally empty, and have no distractions in order to be present. I have seen new therapists who won’t remove their gaze from the client in session. That is too rigid. Instead, to avoid burnout, it helps to stay relaxed and open. We don’t need to override being human to be present in session.
3. Receive Care
Giving and receiving are connected. To effectively give to our clients and avoid burnout, we need to be adept at receiving. Receiving a breath, receiving a hug, receiving food, receiving sunlight, receiving sleep, and receiving company with people are all simple ways of taking in life so that we have more to give. Excessive giving can be a defense against receiving, as it can sometimes feel vulnerable to receive. To be impactful at giving to our clients, and to understand the control and power we have as therapists, we need to work on our ability to receive, and remove any barriers to taking in life.
For instance, how do you receive gifts from clients when they give you a present to express their gratitude? We are supposed to give to our clients, but the tables turn when they give to us. It is important for us to be open in those moments and receive the gratitude being offered. Instead of saying, “Oh, thank you very much,” and then putting the gift away, we might instead make a show of it, and ceremonially receive what they bring. Being fed by them in some way might help us be even more effective at feeding them overall and help to avoid burnout.
4. Embrace Your Humanity
Therapists are human too. When we are in pain, we need to be able to embrace our humanity and care for ourselves. To be effective at managing our clients’ pain, we must respond to our own suffering with warmth and self-compassion. Otherwise, we cannot practice real, deep compassion for others. When you give others a break for being a certain way, but won’t let yourself be that same way, it is not real compassion. It is unnecessarily beating yourself up, thinking that you need to be strong to help.
It is human to be weak. I have been surprised when I start hinting to clients that I don’t have it all together, they respond more effectively to treatment. When we are vulnerable with clients, we are sharing with them what it is to be human – that we are not always doing well. We acknowledge that the human experience is varied, that we are not ideal, but instead very human.
To avoid burnout, may the person you are be the same as the therapist that you are. May who you are in the therapy room be the same as who you are outside the office. You will feel way more at ease. Let your clients see you. They want to be seen and they want to be able to see you. Remember that your ability to see others only goes as far as your ability to be seen.
This guide has 50+ free resources for overcoming perfectionism including assessments, worksheets/handouts, workbooks, guides, videos, articles, and more.
Do you hold yourself or others to unrealistic standards and find yourself defeated or frustrated when those standards aren’t met? Are you sensitive to criticism and have a fear of making mistakes? Do you have a tendency to procrastinate? Are you driven by fear or have an intense fear of failure? If so, you may be a perfectionist. And it may be hindering you instead of helping.
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Amazon Description: “Nobel Peace Prize Laureates His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have survived more than fifty years of exile and the soul-crushing violence of oppression. Despite their hardships—or, as they would say, because of them—they are two of the most joyful people on the planet.
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Ancient sages compared the human mind to a monkey: constantly chattering, hopping from branch to branch—endlessly moving from fear to safety. If you are one of the millions of people whose life is affected by anxiety, you are familiar with this process. Unfortunately, you can’t switch off the ‘monkey mind,’ but you can stop feeding the monkey—or stop rewarding it by avoiding the things you fear.
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A motivational and inspiring guide to wholehearted living, rather than just the average self-help book, with this groundbreaking work Brené Brown, Ph.D., bolsters the self-esteem and personal development process through her characteristic heartfelt, honest storytelling. With original research and plenty of encouragement, she explores the psychology of releasing our definitions of an ‘imperfect’ life and embracing living authentically. Brown’s “ten guideposts” are benchmarks for authenticity that can help anyone establish a practice for a life of honest beauty—a perfectly imperfect life.
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Life isn’t easy, and having a brain wired to take in the bad and ignore the good makes us worried, irritated, and stressed, instead of confident, secure, and happy. But each day is filled with opportunities to build inner strengths and Dr. Rick Hanson, an acclaimed clinical psychologist, shows what you can do to override the brain’s default pessimism.
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Based on Gabor Maté’s two decades of experience as a medical doctor and his groundbreaking work with the severely addicted on Vancouver’s skid row, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts radically re-envisions this much misunderstood field by taking a holistic approach. Dr. Maté presents addiction not as a discrete phenomenon confined to an unfortunate or weak-willed few, but as a continuum that runs throughout (and perhaps underpins) our society; not a medical ‘condition’ distinct from the lives it affects, rather the result of a complex interplay among personal history, emotional, and neurological development, brain chemistry, and the drugs (and behaviors) of addiction. Simplifying a wide array of brain and addiction research findings from around the globe, the book avoids glib self-help remedies, instead promoting a thorough and compassionate self-understanding as the first key to healing and wellness.
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts argues persuasively against contemporary health, social, and criminal justice policies toward addiction and those impacted by it. The mix of personal stories—including the author’s candid discussion of his own ‘high-status’ addictive tendencies—and science with positive solutions makes the book equally useful for lay readers and professionals.”
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As Gottlieb explores the inner chambers of her patients’ lives – a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness, a senior citizen threatening to end her life on her birthday if nothing gets better, and a twenty-something who can’t stop hooking up with the wrong guys – she finds that the questions they are struggling with are the very ones she is now bringing to Wendell.
With startling wisdom and humor, Gottlieb invites us into her world as both clinician and patient, examining the truths and fictions we tell ourselves and others as we teeter on the tightrope between love and desire, meaning and mortality, guilt and redemption, terror and courage, hope and change.
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is revolutionary in its candor, offering a deeply personal yet universal tour of our hearts and minds and providing the rarest of gifts: a boldly revealing portrait of what it means to be human, and a disarmingly funny and illuminating account of our own mysterious lives and our power to transform them.”
Amazon Description: “Negative Self-Talk and How to Change It is an immediately helpful, life-changing handbook of how to deal with negative self-talk – for yourself, or anyone in your life. Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D., the best-selling author of more than twenty books, is the leading authority in the field of self-talk today. In this 60-Minute’ Book™ written for today’s reader, Dr. Helmstetter gives you all of the important information you need to change negative self-talk forever, in a short, easy-to-read, and condensed format. Also included is a special ‘Guide to Changing Your Self-Talk’ from The Self-Talk Institute.”
Amazon Description: “While in grad school in the early 1990s, Chris Niebauer began to notice striking parallels between the latest discoveries in psychology, neuroscience, and the teachings of Buddhism, Taoism, and other schools of Eastern thought. When he presented his findings to a professor, his ideas were quickly dismissed as ‘pure coincidence, nothing more.’
Fast-forward 20 years later and Niebauer is a Ph.D. and a tenured professor, and the Buddhist-neuroscience connection he found as a student is practically its own genre in the bookstore. But according to Niebauer, we are just beginning to understand the link between Eastern philosophy and the latest findings in psychology and neuroscience and what these assimilated ideas mean for the human experience.
In this groundbreaking book, Niebauer writes that the latest research in neuropsychology is now confirming a fundamental tenet of Buddhism, what is called Anatta, or the doctrine of ‘no self.’ Niebauer writes that our sense of self, or what we commonly refer to as the ego, is an illusion created entirely by the left side of the brain. Niebauer is quick to point out that this doesn’t mean that the self doesn’t exist but rather that it does so in the same way that a mirage in the middle of the desert exists, as a thought rather than a thing. His conclusions have significant ramifications for much of modern psychological modalities, which he says are spending much of their time trying to fix something that isn’t there.
What makes this book unique is that Niebauer offers a series of exercises to allow the reader to experience this truth for him- or herself, as well as additional tools and practices to use after reading the book, all of which are designed to change the way we experience the world―a way that is based on being rather than thinking.”
Amazon Description: “The Power of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) is a fable on self-leadership, because how you lead your own life has everything to do with how you lead in other areas. It is a tool for both individuals and organizations who want to create more effective communication and relationships. Learning how to transform everyday drama and opt for more growth-oriented solutions, is the priceless gift it teaches. As you walk with David, the main character, he shares how he is feeling victimized by life. Through serendipity he meets some wise guides, Ted and Sophia, who show David how he can move from feeling like a Victim to being a Creator of his own life. The Power of TED* offers a powerful alternative to the Karpman Drama Triangle with its roles of Victim, Persecutor, and Rescuer. The Empowerment Dynamic (TED) provides the antidote roles of Creator, Challenger and Coach and a more positive approach to life’s challenges. The teaching story provides a guide for learning and growing through the challenges we all face in our lives. Its message resonates with everyone who, at some time in their lives, feel victimized by their situation. Having helped thousands of people and scores of organizations over the past decade, The Power of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic) is being published in this 10th Anniversary Edition to convey a very timely message of hope that all of life, whether at home or work, can be transformed to create satisfying and fulfilling relationships.”
Amazon Description: “Are you smart, scattered, and struggling? You’re not alone. Cutting-edge research shows that today’s 24/7 wired world and the growing demands of work and family life may simply max out the part of the brain that manages complex tasks. That’s especially true for those lacking strong executive skills-the core brain-based abilities needed to maintain focus, meet deadlines, and stay cool under pressure. In this essential guide, leading experts Peg Dawson and Richard Guare help you map your own executive skills profile and take effective steps to boost your organizational skills, time management, emotional control, and nine other essential capacities. The book is packed with science-based strategies and concrete examples, plus downloadable practical tools for creating your own personalized action plan. Whether on the job or at home, you can get more done with less stress.”
Amazon Description: “In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be ‘positive’ all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.
For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. ‘F**k positivity,’ Mark Manson says. ‘Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it.’ In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected American society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up.
Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—’not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.’ Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.
There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.”
Amazon Description: “This is a completely updated edition of the 1983 classic that introduced a powerful method for gaining freedom from self-defeating behaviors and beliefs. Rick Carson, creator of the renowned Gremlin-Taming™ Method, has revised the book to include fresh interactive activities, real-life vignettes we can all identify with, and new loathsome gremlins ripe for taming. Carson blends his laid-back style, Taoist wisdom, the Zen Theory of Change, and sound psychology in an easy-to-understand, unique, and practical system for banishing the nemesis within. Among the things you will learn are:
Techniques for getting a sliver of light between the natural you and the monster of your mind.
The extraordinary power of simply noticing and playing with options.
Six keys to maintaining emotional balance amid upheaval.”
Amazon Description: “Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen have spent the past fifteen years working with corporations, nonprofits, governments, and families to determine what helps us learn and what gets in our way. In Thanks for the Feedback, they explain why receiving feedback is so crucial yet so challenging, offering a simple framework and powerful tools to help us take on life’s blizzard of offhand comments, annual evaluations, and unsolicited input with curiosity and grace. They blend the latest insights from neuroscience and psychology with practical, hard-headed advice. Thanks for the Feedback is destined to become a classic in the fields of leadership, organizational behavior, and education.”
Amazon Description: “What would it be like to free yourself from limitations and soar beyond your boundaries? What can you do each day to discover inner peace and serenity? The Untethered Soul offers simple yet profound answers to these questions.
Whether this is your first exploration of inner space, or you’ve devoted your life to the inward journey, this book will transform your relationship with yourself and the world around you. You’ll discover what you can do to put an end to the habitual thoughts and emotions that limit your consciousness. By tapping into traditions of meditation and mindfulness, author and spiritual teacher Michael A. Singer shows how the development of consciousness can enable us all to dwell in the present moment and let go of painful thoughts and memories that keep us from achieving happiness and self-realization.
Co-published with the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) The Untethered Soul begins by walking you through your relationship with your thoughts and emotions, helping you uncover the source and fluctuations of your inner energy. It then delves into what you can do to free yourself from the habitual thoughts, emotions, and energy patterns that limit your consciousness. Finally, with perfect clarity, this book opens the door to a life lived in the freedom of your innermost being.”
Amazon Description: “Now in a third edition, Robert M. Sapolsky’s acclaimed and successful Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers features new chapters on how stress affects sleep and addiction, as well as new insights into anxiety and personality disorder and the impact of spirituality on managing stress.
As Sapolsky explains, most of us do not lie awake at night worrying about whether we have leprosy or malaria. Instead, the diseases we fear-and the ones that plague us now-are illnesses brought on by the slow accumulation of damage, such as heart disease and cancer. When we worry or experience stress, our body turns on the same physiological responses that an animal’s does, but we do not resolve conflict in the same way-through fighting or fleeing. Over time, this activation of a stress response makes us literally sick.
Combining cutting-edge research with a healthy dose of good humor and practical advice, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers explains how prolonged stress causes or intensifies a range of physical and mental afflictions, including depression, ulcers, colitis, heart disease, and more. It also provides essential guidance to controlling our stress responses. This new edition promises to be the most comprehensive and engaging one yet.”
Amazon Description: “In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, bestselling author and world-traveling success coach, Jen Sincero, serves up 27 bite-sized chapters full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word, helping you to: Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want, Create a life you totally love. And create it NOW, Make some damn money already. The kind you’ve never made before.
By the end of You Are a Badass, you’ll understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can’t change, how to change what you don’t love, and how to use The Force to kick some serious ass.”
Guest Post by Ralph Macey, Writer/Blogger/Health Care Coordinator
Happiness is all about mindset. Many believe that happiness depends on external factors, but this is not the case. Happiness depends on your mindset. Absolute happiness can exist even in the face of adversity when you have a positive mindset.
Setbacks will always be a part of life. No one can avoid hardships or problems, not even monks or saints. When problems arise, you can tackle them head-on. And when there are joyous moments in life, you can savor them. And when you can remain relatively unaffected by whatever is happening around you, you can create a mindset of absolute happiness.
Human beings have a disgusting trait. They tend to focus more on the negative aspects of life than the positive. Oftentimes, people are more concerned about the things they do not have instead of the ones they already possess. Hence, they become unhappy.
When you dwell on the things you’re missing out on, it is easy to be unhappy. For example, you may feel resentful when you don’t receive a raise or promotion at work. However, when you look outside of yourself at the millions of unemployed people in the world, you may feel better. (At least you have a job!)
Have gratitude for everything you have. Gratitude helps to develop positive emotions, enjoy experiences, tackle adverse situations, and build healthy relationships. When you have gratitude for even the small things in your life, you feel happy.
“Happiness will never come to those who don’t appreciate what they already have.”
Develop a growth mindset and discard the fixed mindset.
There are two kinds of mindsets. The first is the fixed mindset, and the second, the growth mindset.
In a fixed mindset, you are resistant to change. You are rigid in your way of thinking and are not concerned with self-improvement or personal growth. When you encounter challenges, you choose to not learn from them. You tend to defend your position blindly. Hence, you become an angry, irritated, fearful, and unhappy person.
In a growth mindset, you crave learning and personal development. Whenever there is a challenge, you view it as an opportunity for improvement. With a growth mindset, you evaluate the situation, acknowledge the drawbacks, and focus on the skills you need to be successful. You do not have an inflexible, narrow mindset and are not driven by ego. Instead, you embrace any new challenge as a learning opportunity. Thus, you become happy and content.
If you want to be happy, adopt a growth mindset and discard the fixed mindset. Regard every challenge you face as a medium to grow and prosper.
Make a list of the things that make you happy.
To foster a happiness mindset, make a list of the things and memories that make you happy. Every morning, jot down a few words or phrases (i.e., friends, a favorite vacation, a beloved pet, your favorite meal, a brand new car, etc.). Add to your list daily. Once you have a list of considerable length, devote 30 minutes to reviewing it. In those 30 minutes, reflect on the people, places, events, and things that bring you joy.
Do not overthink or judge yourself.
Human beings have 6200 thoughts per day. And not all of those 6200 thoughts are positive. You experience both positive and negative thoughts. Try to not dwell on your negative thoughts, and do not overanalyze them. When you overthink things, you may worry unnecessarily and feel unhappy. Also, do not be ashamed of your negative thoughts. It is okay to have negative thoughts; just don’t let them overpower you. For a happiness mindset, let the negative go, and instead, focus on the positive.
Think about the best moment of the day.
Before going to sleep at night, think about the best moment of your day. It will bring a smile to your face. Did you love the food your significant other cooked for dinner? Or, if the meal was mediocre at best, be happy that they took out time from their busy schedule to prepare something for you. (It’s the thought that counts, right?) Relish in the feelings of happiness and gratitude as you drift off to sleep.
Focus on your goals and the journey rather than the obstacles.
You will face obstacles in life. Sometimes, you will fail and fall flat on your face. But you can pick yourself back up. Focus on your goals and on the journey itself, not on stumbling blocks you encounter along the way. When you’re fixated on a problem, you become discouraged and are thereby less likely to look for the solution. Subsequently, you get stuck, and happiness may seem out of reach.
To get unstuck, develop a plan, and then take action to achieve your goals. Get back on track with a renewed focus, and fight until you succeed. Your vision of success will help you move forward as you continue on your journey.
“Happiness is a journey, not a destination.”
Ben Sweetland (Author and Psychologist)
Think positive thoughts about others.
When you think negatively about the people in your life, you become incapable of maintaining healthy, genuine relationships. Misunderstanding and miscommunication can lead to conflict. Heated arguments or giving the cold shoulder generates hostility.
As much as possible, assume that others have positive intentions. For a happiness mindset, do not judge their words, actions, or motives. Judgments cloud your heart with unhappiness.
Stop comparing yourself with others.
Each life is precious. Every journey is different.
Now, envision that you’re scrolling through Facebook. You probably see smiling, attractive faces and happy, perfect families. In comparison, your life may seem dull or pathetic. Suppose you just went through a painful breakup, and when you view your home feed, all you see is your friends getting married or having babies. You may feel disheartened. If so, remind yourself that Facebook only reveals a tiny piece of the picture, not the full story. You are looking at edited highlights of your friends’ lives. You don’t know what happens behind the scenes. For a happiness mindset, stop comparing your life with others, and write your own story.
“Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is.”
Mandy Hale (Author)
Seek medical help to regain your lost happiness.
Happiness leaves your life when you develop severe depression. Depression is like a thief. It steals optimism and joy. If left untreated, depression can lead to hopelessness and mental anguish and will rob you of the ability to feel any pleasure or enjoyment. It may impact your relationships with others, in addition to affecting sleep, appetite, and energy levels.
What would you do if you were having heart palpitations, dizziness, and chest pain? Would you ignore your symptoms… or would you ask someone to drive you to the nearest hospital? Certainly, you would seek immediate medical care. Urgent health issues require treatment; likewise, urgent mental health issues require treatment.
When there are chemical imbalances in the brain, your thoughts, emotions, and perceptions are affected. As a result, you experience depression, anxiety, etc.
If you are depressed, consult with a psychiatrist to learn about available treatment options. After assessing your symptoms, the psychiatrist will recommend one or more medical treatments. The first line of treatment for depression typically consists of medication and psychotherapy. However, if your symptoms persist despite continued treatment, your doctor may prescribe an alternative treatment, transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy, or TMS therapy.
What is TMS therapy?
TMS therapy is a non-invasive treatment that involves the delivery of recurring magnetic energy impulses to the parts of your brain that regulate mood. The magnetic pulses stimulate targeted brain cells to enhance communication between different parts of your brain, restoring balance. When TMS therapy is given at regular intervals, it is called repetitive TMS (or rTMS). TMS therapy reduces symptoms of depression and improves mood. TMS therapy is also effective for decreasing symptoms associated with OCD, PTSD, anxiety disorders, chronic pain, etc. This treatment is painless and has little to no side-effects. It does not involve sedation. Even after undergoing a session, you can drive back to your home without any hassle. That’s the best part of TMS therapy.
In conclusion, to cultivate a happiness mindset, you must master your mind, not the other way around. True happiness comes from within and is not influenced by external factors.
To develop the happiness mindset, practice gratitude, strive to improve yourself and learn, reflect on the things that make you happy (daily), be kind to yourself (and others), be solution-focused, compare self with self (not anyone else), and seek psychiatric care for depression.
Guest Author: Ralph Macey, Writer/Blogger/Health Care Coordinator
Ralph Macey, a professional writer since 2008 and medical health/patient care coordinator at savantcare.com since 2014, writes articles on all mental health-related subjects. He holds a degree and two professional certifications in his field and continues to upgrade his knowledge with additional classes and seminars. He also provides mental health consultations and private fitness instructions for free in his local community.
How do we develop self-confidence? Early childhood experiences with parents (or caretakers) shape how we view ourselves and our capabilities. A child whose parents are supportive and encouraging develops a sense of self-efficacy; they feel nurtured and secure. In contrast, children who are neglected or abused may be fearful or uncertain.
Peer relationships also impact the development of confidence; positive social interactions foster self-assurance and high self-esteem. Conversely, a child who is rejected or teased may experience a sense of unworthiness or feel unsure about their abilities.
Once a child develops low self-worth, it can be difficult to bounce back. Children who are ostracized or bullied by their playmates become hesitant to initiate or engage in play. The absence of peer socialization leads to further isolation. As a result, critical social skills are not learned, making the child an even less desirable playfellow, which only reinforces the belief that they’re undeserving.
Lack of Self-Confidence
The patterns formed in early childhood tend to repeat themselves. A child who never develops a sense of competence will not grow up to be a confident, self-reliant adult.
“For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.”
Traits of low self-confidence include discounting yourself and doubting your capacity for effectiveness. A person who lacks self-assurance may believe they’re inferior to others. They may experience anxiety or depression and struggle with learned helplessness (the belief that one has no control over what happens to them in life).
A lack of confidence can also lead to fear of rejection or criticism. Constructive feedback can feel like a personal attack. This person may have trouble accepting compliments or expressing their opinion.
When someone is highly insecure, they avoid social events. They’re more likely to be bullied at work or involved with an abusive partner. As a result, their relationships and overall quality of life suffer.
In contrast, someone who is self-confident views themselves as competent; they feel good about themselves. They have a positive outlook on life and are generally optimistic. A self-confident person is often resilient and able to quickly recover after experiencing setbacks.
“The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence.”
10 Traits of Self-Confident People
2. Optimistic and positive
3. Ask questions and are eager to learn
4. Open to feedback and constructive criticism
5. Take healthy risks
6. Able to laugh at self
7. Don’t internalize failure
8. Take ownership (of both successes and mistakes)
9 Effective Strategies for Developing Self-Confidence
1. Correct cognitive distortions
A cognitive distortion is an error in thinking or a self-defeating belief that is not an accurate reflection of reality. Cognitive distortions impact how we view ourselves and our abilities. For example, black-and-white (or all-or-nothing) thinking is a distortion of “absolutes” (i.e. “If I fail at something, I’ll fail at everything”).
By replacing irrational views with ones that are reality-based, you’ll feel more confident. (See 50 Common Cognitive Distortions for a list of thinking errors from Psychology Today.)
2. Adjust your attitude
Your overall perspective greatly impacts confidence. If you’re generally negative and believe that failure is inevitable, it will become your reality. Instead, practice optimism and gratitude. A positive attitude enhances self-confidence.
“Self-belief does not necessarily ensure success, but self-disbelief assuredly spawns failure.“
3. Track your achievements
Is optimism challenging due to circumstances, barriers, or obstacles? Try creating a list of all the things you’re proud of – your biggest accomplishments in life. Did you graduate college? Quit smoking? Pay off a loan? Raise a child? Earn an award? To enhance self-confidence, take pride in your successes. Review the list often and update it with successive achievements.
4. Identify talents, skills, and knowledge
In addition to acknowledging accomplishments, recognize your unique talents, skills, and knowledge. What are you good at? What are your areas of expertise? Instead of lamenting a lack of athleticism, relish in your ability to make others laugh or your mastery of the Dothraki language.
5. mistakes happen
You’re only human after all, and as a human, you are going to make mistakes. You will never achieve perfection, so let go of unrealistic standards or expectations you have for yourself. Also, don’t beat yourself up for your mistakes; be kind to yourself… and be wise. When you mess up, own it, and then learn from the error. Every mistake is a growth opportunity; you only fail when you give up.
6. Don’t compare out
(Or if you do, compare yourself to others who lack what you have!) There will always be people who are better off and there will always be people who have it worse than you. To build confidence, use yourself as the measure for success, not someone else.
7. Fake it till you make it (“act as if”)
To feel confident, act confident! Be intentional in your speech, actions, and how you carry yourself. Act like you know what you’re doing, and people will believe it, which in turn will influence how you feel about yourself. Just like thoughts have the power to alter behaviors, behaviors can impact thoughts and beliefs.
“I taught myself confidence. When I’d walk into a room and feel scared to death, I’d tell myself, ‘I’m not afraid of anybody.’ And people believed me. You’ve got to teach yourself to take over the world.”
8. Seek support
Ask for help when you need it. Rely on trusted family and friends for support and encouragement. (It should also be noted that if you have a mental illness, you may require professional help. Feelings of worthlessness, panic, and extreme self-consciousness are examples of symptoms that interfere with someone’s ability to feel confident; they can be treated with psychotherapy and/or medication.)
When you’re tired or rundown, it’s difficult to feel good about yourself. It’s also true that you won’t function as well when your basic needs aren’t met. If a vehicle is not well-maintained, its performance suffers; the same is true for people. Eat healthy foods, get adequate rest, drink plenty of water, exercise daily, and seek treatment when ill.
Bellis, M.A., Hardcastle, K., Ford, K. et al. Does continuous trusted adult support in childhood impart life-course resilience against adverse childhood experiences – a retrospective study on adult health-harming behaviours and mental well-being. BMC Psychiatry 17, 110 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-017-1260-z
Suzuki, H., Tomoda, A. Roles of attachment and self-esteem: impact of early life stress on depressive symptoms among Japanese institutionalized children. BMC Psychiatry 15, 8 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12888-015-0385-1