Positive Mental Attitude, or PMA, refers to an overall sense of well-being and optimism. It is a trait that can be taught, cultivated, and maintained. The more you practice recognizing positive aspects of life such as opportunities to grow and succeed, the better you get at seeing those opportunities and acting on them successfully. The results of PMA are pleasant results that reinforce the trait itself.
There’s a simple parable that tells us that we all have a Black Wolf and a White Wolf that lives in our mind. The Black Wolf represents toxic thoughts and behaviors whereas the White Wolf represents healthy thoughts and behaviors. The wolf that sticks around is the one that you feed the most.
How & what to feed the White Wolf
It is the strong White Wolf that creates that champion, the survivor and the miraculous mind (Let’s call all of these ... Continue Reading →
I have written a handful of articles about how people can extract rejection through a thought process that assumes rejection where there may be none. Rejection can also be anticipated before the situation even occurs. But rejection is not the only thing that can be extracted or anticipated. Defensiveness, grief, and failure are other experiences that can be created by the mind itself in an attempt to control the pain.
Generally speaking, a pessimistic outlook involves a ... Continue Reading →
Did you know that most New Year’s resolutions go unfulfilled after a few weeks? That’s because it’s just a resolution, not a lifestyle change. It is fine to start with a resolution, but leaving it there is like saying, “I’ll get it done tomorrow.” It is not active, it’s a passive comment, not a “doing” of much of anything in the here-and-now. Sure, you may do it for a few weeks as a “resolution,” but that’s not a commitment for ... Continue Reading →
In the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown frantically asks if anybody knows the true meaning of Christmas. The eternally sweet Linus, with his security blanket in tow, walks to center-stage of the school auditorium, drops his security blanket and confidently recites the Biblical account of the true meaning of Christmas.
I do not believe that Linus’ dropping of his security blanket is accidental. I believe that it is symbolic of how we don’t need comfort objects/behaviors, like a security ... Continue Reading →
You probably remember the ‘summertime blues’ from your school days. While most people are aware of the holiday blues, it doesn’t seem to be as normalized. Yet they seem to be far worse for many. There are reasons for this, and in many cases, they compound each other. But there is a way to counter this . . . but first, we need to identify the potential issues (Some solutions are further down in the post, I promise).
A perfect storm
You’re ... Continue Reading →
Ever seen that bumper-sticker that reads, “Practice random acts of kindness and beauty”? That’s a Loving-Kindness practice. So is the idea of “paying it forward,” where you do something nice for somebody else when somebody does something nice for you–you send the nice act to another person, then they send it to another, and so on.
If “an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind” (–Gandhi), Imagine what paying Loving-Kindness forward does . . . especially if you do ... Continue Reading →
There are times when the truth hurts, and the kindest thing we can do is be honest. Sometimes, people take that to mean that brutal honesty is the way to go. In most cases, that is the furthest thing from the truth! When you are being honest as a way to prevent things like false hope, enabling addictions, etc., there is no reason for to be brutal. The common metaphor we hear explaining this is that it is kinder to ... Continue Reading →
Ever notice that during stressful times you are more likely to fall into negative thought spirals? These are those self-perpetuating cycles of thought that basically leave you feeling worse than when you began (Eckhart Tolle calls these ‘pain body’). . . And oddly enough, as painful as they are, you seem drawn to them (i.e. can’t shut them up). Examples include: Sitting on the pity pot (feeling sorry for yourself), beating yourself up for mistakes, what if’s, borrowing trouble, etc. ... Continue Reading →
You’ve probably seen meditation in the news over the past few years. It is an empirically validated practice that changes your brain structure, chemistry, and functioning. And it’s not about an empty mind . . . it is actually a mindfulness practice.
It is possible to find moments of peace. And it is possible to train your brain to remain calm during stressful times. You can practice this calmness and mindfulness just as you would practice basketball, chess, music, etc. ... Continue Reading →
People often confuse skepticism with pessimism. While they both share a certain quality of questioning what is in front of us, neither is healthy in excess. A healthy balance, leaning towards optimism, is typically a great formula for happiness.
Let’s take a look and the differences, and why skepticism can be healthier when leveraged mindfully to counterbalance pessimism.
When we question something, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are being stubborn or negative. It simply means that we are engaging in a ... Continue Reading →
Compassion is often called the highest form of love. Pick any noble spiritual tradition and you’ll see compassion as a direct expression of love. Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and so forth all teach compassion for all things and beings. It’s a beautiful teaching to practice.
But somewhere along the way, we got our wires crossed with compassion and pity. Pity is when you feel sorry for somebody. Even the grammar of “feeling sorry for” somebody highlights this. When you tell somebody that ... Continue Reading →
Murphy’s Law says, “What can go wrong, will go wrong . . .”
. . . and at the worst possible time.
Lovely, right? We’ve all had these days, where you get up, stub your toe, put on mismatched socks, forget your phone, run out of gas on the way to work, get yelled at by your boss, bounce a check, then come home and realize you forgot to pick the kids up at after-school care. This is a bit of an ... Continue Reading →
In dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), there is a wonderful explanation of how the best of our thinking and feeling minds can be accessed. This “Wise Mind” is based on the idea that the thinking brain and feeling brain both have validity and can be used to inform each other during difficult times.
Read about Flow-Theory for another take on how Wise Mind is a balance of two dynamics.
The thinking mind does just that: It thinks thoughts. It uses logic, ... Continue Reading →
Self-worth has nothing to do with your financial or material worth.
When you value yourself based on your possessions, you’re disowning your most important self in exchange for your belongings. Having lots of money and/or lots of valuable things is fine; it’s mixing up your sense of worth with those valuables that become problematic.
A more accurate translation of the saying, “Money is the root of all evil” is, “Attachment to material goods is the root of all suffering” or even more ... Continue Reading →
For years I couldn’t figure out what was stopping me from getting in better shape. For the most part, it was just thoughts like, “I’m in decent shape,” or “Wow, sleep is really important, so I’ll sleep in today and go run tomorrow.” But what stopped me from breaking the procrastination cycle? Well, thoughts. It’s always thoughts that prevent change.
Just do it
Nike has a brilliant marketing campaign, “Just do it.” We all know what it means, but not everybody ... Continue Reading →