My 40’s Manifesto: Update #8

My 40’s Manifesto: Update #8

After a disappointing 20s and a heartbreaking 30s, I’m out to have the best decade of my life. I’ve studied the past and applied what I’ve learned to how I’m directing my future. I’m following five tenets that have changed and evolved to this point including connecting and engaging with relationships, being authentic without sacrifice, accepting love with grace, experiencing deeply, and going public. 

I am less than a week away from another completed solar trip and so its time to take stock and revisit my 40s manifesto.

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BOOKCLUB: Breath, by James Nestor

BOOKCLUB: Breath, by James Nestor

At some point, I became aware that the main benefit I received from yoga was the breathing. The Ujayiithe champion’s breath – is my favorite. I do it most of the day, especially when working on tasks. I’ve wondered if this is the most important thing I’ve learned in my practice. James Nestor seems to have had a similar question as is evident by his 2020 offering Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art. The book was NPR’s Book of the Year1 and notes Nestor’s journey to discover how breathing impacts our health and well-being. What he discovered is beautiful, terrifying, and all too useful.

Nestor’s Experiment

In the book, Nestor explains how he had a doctor plug his nose with silicone forcing him to breathe only through his mouth for ten days. There were ethical concerns with the experiment and so Nestor both conducted and funded the experiment himself having just one other participant. He recorded several items influenced by mouth-only breathing. His blood pressure skyrocketed, and he began to snore and experience sleep apnea. The quality of sleep was dramatically affected. He experienced dry mouth and felt physically drained.

Nestor reported that recovery after workouts was terrible. The experience was reportedly far worse than he expected. He experienced extreme irritability and anxiety. Nestor questioned his reasons for doing the experiment before the end. Towards the end, Nestor began to get a serious sinus infection caused by the blocked nasal passageways.

The second part of the experiment involved breathing only through the nose. An experience much more pleasant than the first.

Humans Are Terrible Breathers

It is speculated that 25-50% of the population breathes only through the mouth. Sixty to seventy percent of the population mouth-breath while sleeping.

Especially early in life, mouth-breathing impacts the structure of the face. Mouth breathing can cause an elongation of the face, crooked teeth, and swelling of the tonsils. It is speculated that this issue may be predominantly caused by our modern eating of ever softer foods. Ancient human skulls support this theory due to their proportion of mouth-to-face size and straight teeth. Humans are the only animals in the animal kingdom to have misaligned jaws and crooked teeth.

Along with softening food, this phenomenon is due to the enlargement of our brains. The development of the brain is put in higher priority than our ability to breathe.

Benefits of Nasal Breathing

The nose filters, cleans, heats, and moistens the air allowing us to absorb 20% more oxygen than when inhaling through the mouth. The nose plays a role in erectile dysfunction, triggering hormones and neurochemicals lowering blood pressure. The nose can ease digestion, react to a woman’s menstrual cycle, regulate heart rate, store memories, and control blood vessel dilation.

The nose is more connected to the genitals than any other organ. The right nostril appears to be an accelerant. Breathing through the right nostril increases circulation and body temperature rises in activation of the sympathetic nervous system – fight or flight. The right nostril will increase blood flow to the left side of the brain, increasing the ability to solve problems, conduct logic, and perceive language. The left nostril is a decelerant working opposite the right nostril. This nostril activates the parasympathetic nervous system causing rest, relaxation, and digestion. The blood flow is increased in the right hemisphere impacting abstract thought, creativity, and negative emotion.

Nasal breathing causes the sinuses to release nitric oxide, dilating and flushing the blood vessels resulting in more oxygen getting to cells.

Typically when there is nasal blockage it is possible to train your nasal passageways to allow more air to pass through. Nasal dilators are sometimes helpful in this retraining of nasal airways.

Nasal breathing during sleep causes the body to release vasopressin, a hormone that regulates kidney function. This will prevent waking up late at night to urinate and further, will help prevent losing too much water causing dehydration while sleeping.

Many doctors have their patients tape their mouths shut while sleeping in order to force nasal breathing in a practice called “mouth taping”.

Nasal breathing while exercising can actually lessen the number of breaths necessary during extreme physical activity. One study highlighted an athlete going from 47 mouth breaths to 14 nasal breaths while maintaining the same heart rate. The participants reported feeling invigorated while nasal breathing and exhausted while mouth breathing.

Criticism

Critics of Nestor’s book warn that “mouth taping” is riskier than reported. There is some chance of suffocation. And even though it is mentioned in the book, nasal breathing is not always a cure for sleep apnea as is sometimes reported by those citing or reading the book.2

Other criticism points out that the conclusions that he draws are a bit beyond what the research may point towards. The “experiment”, though backed by scientific data remains almost an “n of one” study.

My Take

Simply said, focusing on breathing and realizing the power of nasal breathing can have an enormous impact on well-being. I have spent a lot of time in the past six months doing yoga and working with nasal breathing. I’ve noticed a big difference in my well-being. Specifically, I ran two half marathons both at PR paces. I considered what happened as I did not focus on training as much as I had in the past. I believe what made the difference was increased lung capacity and nasal breathing during the races. This idea actually led me to this book. My experience is very similar to that of Nestor’s.

What’s your experience with nasal breathing?

References

  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/50-notable-works-of-nonfiction-in-2020/2020/11/16/37f4c4de-2069-11eb-b532-05c751cd5dc2_story.html
  2. Nestor, J., 2020. Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art. 1st ed. Riverhead Books.
  3. https://sleepreviewmag.com/sleep-health/sleep-whole-body/lungs/breath-james-nestor-sleep-medicine/

There is a Higher Place…

There is a Higher Place…

Saying goodbye to a dear friend.

There is a higher place.

It is a place we all know. It is our hopes and dreams, our perfect manifestation of a perfect life. We express our experience with the higher place in our work, our families, and who we choose to be. Those connected to our higher places are often the most important people on our journey. This remains true even when our connections faded long ago. We remain connected, an archive of this mythical place.

It is so rare to discover this place with another. To walk through the gates simultaneously. To have a partner in the discovery of this magic. Brian and I discovered our higher place together. We discovered it in song.

In this higher place, we are not limited by our bodies, our resources, or abilities. The confusion and pain in life instantaneously transformed into purpose, energy, declarations, meaning, and ecstasy. We can transform into our most true apparitions of ourselves. We can transcend the earthly existence we were born into. We are more than just the sum of our parts. The truth of this is obvious in this place. We are joined with something bigger than ourselves, yet it is also ourselves. It is something ancient, something pure, something truer than our worldly states.

Some may call this a spiritual experience or awakening. Others, finding your purpose. A peak experience, a calling, a gift. I think you may know of the experience that I describe.

Brian and I shared in the discovery of this place, this place between places.

So what does this mean?

This means that when we made the discovery we got to look each other in the eye and say “holy shit”. It meant that because we shared and understood the experience of discovery of this ethereal place, we held each other’s key to enter. It was a feeling, a memory, an oath. Perhaps more importantly, we discovered that we could add to this place. We could define it, grow it, shape it… and it would do the same to us. We were changed, transformed. This was fantastical, magical. There really aren’t words to describe it.

But like all higher places, they are higher. Meaning they don’t exist on this earthly plane. And that’s a hard lesson to learn. But we found a workaround, you see. We could take pieces of this higher place; parts, and entities, and display them when we returned. They were emblems of who we truly were and the path we would cut into this world. These entities are in the form of songs.

Brian and I were about fourteen when we discovered this place, though we were friends long before this. We discovered an Eden of endless possibilities and purposes. We would be forever bound by this experience.

And we’d go back to this higher place. Sometimes together. Sometimes apart. It was a blessing, you see. A gift. And we knew the importance of it and we kept it sacred.

Later in life, Brian would constantly remind me of the importance of this higher place. He would instruct me that it alone was truly the important thing. He would warn me against becoming too wrapped up in this earthly place. He reminded me that the most important things were those we simply didn’t always have the words to explain.

It’s important to note that Brian was enormous in this higher place. He was a giant. He was more of this world than of ours. All who know him understand this at some level. Sometimes, this looked…strange. He was often the loudest person in the room. He would always touch you when he spoke to you. I guess because he wanted to remind you as well of the importance of this higher place. And sometimes it took that disruption of an unexpected touch to break through our social programming. Connection, love, meaning. He wanted you to remember why it is you came here.

This was a power I resisted for most of our time together. But eventually, I gave in. Because… in all my studies and searching I found that … he was right. We came here to connect to each other, to experience one another deeply, and explore this mystery. And Brian did.

Brian and I recently had a discussion about meaning. All of the things we thought we wanted in life. The things we grew up wanting, feeling like we had to have – the job, career, money, or sex – it was about finding what all this means to us. And realizing that in all this searching we found that we already had everything we needed. And the journey is really about coming to terms with this truth.

So…What does that mean?

Hmmm… I think we were talking about a deep realization and comfort in the purpose of your existence.

It almost seems too simple.

And that made it difficult to accept. But I do know that Brian held on to this purpose, this care, this love, this concern. And sometimes he did so to the point where it hurt him. And in this, he suffered. But Brian found a profound sense of meaning in how much he cared for me and all of you.

Brian’s life was filled with love, care, and feeling – so much feeling.

There may be no monument to his life, but this does not matter. It does not change the magnitude of his impact on all of our lives.

There is a higher place…

And perhaps the strangest thing about this is that Brian doesn’t feel gone. I thought it was denial at first. And maybe some of this feeling is that. But there is something else…

Yeah, he’s not gone. He is still in us. The important parts of us. He’s connected to us by that higher place. The place we go to…there and back again.

We’re more there than here, now.

I suppose this place has many names all referring to the same place…The light, the grey havens, the enlightenment, the transformation, heaven, eternal rest. We go there and back again. Bringing pieces back with us. Brian brought so many gifts from this place.

Some are so obvious you may not realize them. Brian is my open-heartedness, my extraversion, my sense of adventure, my sense of humor, why I call my mom, why I give hugs, why I sing, why I drink beer, why I like Saves the Day, my spirit, my courage, my love, my kindness, my voice, my laughter, and my tears. All these, sacraments from the higher place.

I can only guess that he is some or all of those things to you as well.

He’s still here you see, the important parts anyway. The troubled parts of Brian’s life will fade into insignificance and only the good will remain in our hearts.

In the final weeks of Brian’s life, I was more connected to him than I had been in years past. I am so. grateful. for. this.

In our usual cadence of conversation, he called on me to remember our higher place. We would share links to songs, the gift from our higher place. And if anyone has any doubts about the joy, love, and purpose that existed in Brian’s heart, let me read the lyrics to this song that Brian shared with me just a few weeks ago. A song that revisited his journey, his transformation, and his love for all of you.

The Best I’d Ever Had

It was a young and angry summer

A song changed my mind

I heard it on the radio

and if everyone else heard this

they wouldn’t be so sad

It was the best I ever had

We were right about it

No one could ever take that

While the world was waking up and putting on their suits I was planning my escape

They were wrong about us

We showed them not to doubt us

No one could ever take that

And if I could go back I’d do it all again

It was the best I’d ever had.

And if everyone else heard this, they wouldn’t be so sad

The Ayurvedic Healing Orientation

The Ayurvedic Healing Orientation

Western medicine is becoming aware of its limitations. Treating symptoms does not cure the root cause. Scientific approaches often leave the experience of the individual out of the equation. And so the rise of holistic medicine is dawning.

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The Sun Salutations – ‘A’

The Sun Salutations – ‘A’

The Sun Salutation (Sanskrit: Surya Namaskara) is a ritualistic, meditative set of movements often associated with the Hatha Vinyasa style of yoga. The series of roughly nine to twelve asanas or poses is named after the Hindu sun god, Surya.

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My 40’s Manifesto #7

My 40’s Manifesto #7

What a remarkable year already, even a quarter way in. Growth continues to occur exponentially. I’ve joined some great communities supporting my journey. When I look back at the December entry, it feels like I don’t recognize the person that wrote it! Or, that I have grown beyond those ideas… closer to the most authentic version of myself.

I am more secure with what I would have previously considered my shortcomings. Some things that I’ve experienced recently would have been catastrophic to an older version of myself. But with a greater degree of self-compassion and acceptance, they are merely things to work on and through.

Let’s visit the tenets of My 40’s Manifesto

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Mindset. This Is Why It Matters.

Mindset. This Is Why It Matters.

How would you describe your mindset right now?

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, a 2006 book written by Carol Dweck describes the modern idea of mindset. The concept is divided between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. In Dweck’s own words those with a growth mindset are “individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others)”.1 On the other hand, those with a fixed mindset tend to believe things are the way they are and there isn’t much to be done to make a change.

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Yoga, A Deeper Journey

Yoga, A Deeper Journey

I am two months into a 200-hour yoga certification. I made this commitment to deepen my understanding of the flow-inducing practice as it has become dear to me. Also, I have a desire to become a better teacher. Yet, I am finding much more than that. I have found a world that I have been searching for while curious and experimenting only at the surface. 

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The 21 Day Find & Define Yourself Challenge

The 21 Day Find & Define Yourself Challenge

Welcome to the challenge!

In her 2021 Book, Do The Work, Dr. Nicole LePera writes …

“The reality is this, few of us have any real connection to who we really are. Yet we want others to see through all of our levels of self-betrayal and into our core selves.” 

Dr. LePera

Click each link below.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5

Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10

Day 11 Day 12 Day 13 Day 14 Day 15

Day 16 Day 17 Day 18 Day 19 Day 20

Day 21

My 40’s Manifesto #6

My 40’s Manifesto #6

Previous updates:

Update #5

Update #4

Update #3

Update #2

Update #1

Illusions

I am more than halfway into my forty-second year. I wrestle with several illusions including not properly managing time, that someone else is responsible for my current station in life, and that the position I find myself in is responsible for my restless desire for more.

Hmmm…

I just read a fantastic book on time management – or perhaps it’s an anti-time management book -, Time Management for Mortals, by Oliver Burkeman. It describes our obsession with time management pointing out that we’ll never actually achieve the state of control we desire and that most of our truly memorable time is that when we are not concerned with it. This is the first illusion, time. (Defeats the idea of this whole 40’s manifesto thing, eh?) The illusion is that I (and perhaps we) are not being as productive as we could be with our time. I often feel I am wasting a lot of time. Yet, I sleep only 5-6 hours per night to be productive early the next day (not enough!) and feel defeated with a to-do list that never seems to be finished. There will always be more items to add to the list! And this is why it’s an illusion – the illusion of control.

Next, even though I pride myself on having an internal locus of control, I often feel (almost subconsciously) that someone else ‘put me’ in the position I am in. This is often a thought under the surface when things aren’t going well. But it’s there (and also kind of embarrassing to admit). Blame is a strategy that doesn’t work and often follows overwhelm. Bottom line: I’VE MADE THE CHOICES THAT PUT ME IN THIS PLACE IN LIFE! Therefore…another illusion.

The final illusion I reckon with is that of having a great life yet wanting more. As if this ‘more’ will bring more happiness or well-being. But truth be told, life is pretty good.

As I was describing a new business venture to a team member, she made the comment “But, haven’t you already ‘made it’?”

No.

That was my thought, anyhow. My current position is nothing compared to my potential! The conversation triggered an existential fear best exemplified by the quote from the recent TV show Station Eleven, “I don’t want to live the wrong life and then die.”

Heavy, I know. But I do want more. I want a successful romantic relationship, a full-time career as a life coach, to backpack Australia for a month, to run 50 more marathons, and to publish my novel. I am not satisfied with the substantial successes of this past year including having the best financial year, the greatest degree of personal growth, and the best overall well-being in my life! I want more. ‘Restless desire for more’ – is that too strongly put?

I find myself faced with these illusions and still I know they are illusions. But when they arise, they are all-consuming to my awareness and therefore challenging to navigate.

Gateways and Synergies

I woke up early today and meditated for an hour. It went by in a flash. There was a time when I could barely tolerate ten minutes! I credit this to using a sensory deprivation tank or REST therapy two times per month. I float in saltwater, no light, no sound – NOTHING! This is very meditative and has been a gateway to deeper meditations. The space that exists between stimulus and response is extended. I am happier, less reactive, and better able to self-regulate. This synergy serves me well and causes me to consider whether the possibility of this type of synergy could exist in any other area of my life.

Overall, I’ve built a solid practice that has transformed my experience of living – and I’m just at the beginning.

The 40’s Manifesto Tenets

Connect & Engage in Relationships

The Vision: The value of my life should be sourced from relationships.

This tenet sits at number one for a reason. The relationships and the degree and depth to which I am engaged are key to the success of life in general. I can see the anxious-avoidant attachment style play out daily in my interactions. I seek to correct this pattern and feel secure in the engagement. This has impacted my success at work, in family, and in intimate relationships.

I’ll continue to face this head-on and continue to get comfortable with close relationships.

Be Authentic Without Sacrifice

The Vision: To be 100% to the core authentic with no second thought.

Boundaries. Probably the most success is experienced here. I’ve protected my time, space, and emotional energy from things that would have historically caused harm. I’ve also learned to be more accepting of what I deem my shortcomings. I’ve found that a lot of the time, what I consider a weakness isn’t seen that way by others. It may not be considered a strength, but instead simply a facet of my personality. Neither good or bad.

Accept Love With Grace

The Vision: Allow love and care to happen without second thought or impedance.

It was suggested to me to keep a compliment list. This is really just about putting up my antennae and becoming aware of the compliments I receive. This is a great activity because usually, I’m too busy tracking my weaknesses rather than hearing compliments from others.

Think Deeply

The Vision: To be a source of wisdom, peace, and groundedness for all of those I come in contact with.

This vision is really credited to Kevin, one of my yoga instructors. I used it as a declaration for the new year on a coaching call last week and many others gravitated towards its meaning. Lately, I’ve begun reading one book of fiction, one for knowledge, and listening to one book on either. I have exponentially increased the number of books I read through this practice.

I think another thing that comes from this practice is to listen to what people say and think more deeply about this as well. In reflection of past interactions and relationships, I have come to be aware that many times I wasn’t listening in the right context. This is not for lack of trying, I certainly did all that I could to really HEAR. But I wasn’t always able. Often I need the space and time to properly reflect on what the other is really saying in the context of their own experience.

Another challenge is effectively using deep thinking to drive you towards goals and planning to feel a certain way in certain scenarios. You don’t want to overdo this and become robotic. Yet, it is a tool for effectively navigating life.

Go Public

The Vision: To be publicly known for helping, inspiring, and coaching others.

At the direction of a life coach, I have taken on some clients myself to begin my journey as a life coach. I am currently constructing curriculum and coaching via zoom. I have not ever enjoyed anything more.

I will begin the certification process to become a yoga instructor in two weeks. I am excited about the hard work and growth that is coming down the pike this year.

Also, my new boss is supporting me to do a training workshop on Burnout. I am really excited about finally doing more to go public!

Happy New Year!

As I move into the new year, I am beyond excited about deepening my yoga practice, developing and growing my coaching business, and making some changes in my living situation to better support my goals.

Here’s to 2022!

Coaching is Leadership

Coaching is Leadership

The antiquated management philosophy of ‘you’ll do it because I told you to do it’ is no longer a valid or productive attitude. More than ever, being a leader in an organization requires being relational, emotionally intelligent, and a willingness to teach. In short, leading is coaching (and vice versa).

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BOOKCLUB: The Art of Impossible, By Steven Kotler

BOOKCLUB: The Art of Impossible, By Steven Kotler

Without realizing it, I have read several of Steven Kotler’s books including Stealing Fire and The Rise of Superman. They were unique in both the subject material as well as the orientation from which the information was presented. With his latest release, The Art of Impossible, it was clear that we shared similar interests. Perhaps this is a question of nurture as we grew up in the same part of the world, Cleveland, Ohio, and was part of the same social culture, the punk rock scene.

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BOOKCLUB: Dopamine Nation, by Anna Lembke

BOOKCLUB: Dopamine Nation, by Anna Lembke

Understanding of the neurotransmitter dopamine has suffered from a shallow comprehension. We’ve understood it in the context of getting a “dopamine hit” for taking part in rewarding behavior. In her new book, Dopamine Nation, Dr. Anna Lembke offers new information deepening our understanding of the nuanced functioning of dopamine. This deepening understanding reveals that dopamine functions as far more than a simple reward hit. It directs, programs, reinforces, punishes us in its withholding, and more. The impact has an undeniable influence on our daily lives.

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Why We All Need A Coach

Why We All Need A Coach

With the advent of technology keeping us “connected”, pandemics keeping us locked down and socially distanced, and our ingrained hopes that our significant others will be giving and passionate lovers, best friends, confidants, cheerleaders, and therapists, the need for someone to coach us from our corner is becoming an idea growing in popularity.

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Trauma Bonding in Romantic Relationships

Trauma Bonding in Romantic Relationships

As a young teen, I became involved in my first serious long-term relationship. The young woman I fell in love with was troubled. She had suffered unjust abuse and battled with mental illness. This fueled me. It gave me an opportunity to be a hero. As time went on, I attempted to help carry the weight of her burdens. I did not consider my needs, let alone ask for them to be met. My needs were neglected. Being as though I was so young, instilled in me was the pattern of trauma bonding.

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The Waters: A some rose, grapes, a life below

The Waters: Veilence

In writing poetry, the act itself seems(ed) a riddle to the outer world. While (as I’ve mentioned) the camouflage that surrounds the words does, I believe, come from the structure of the limbic system, there is another element that needs exploration. The act of veiling the meaning and purpose is in itself an act of poetry and an act of self-protection. It would not do to write “Jordan, I have a deep feeling of sadness that you choose not to be with me…”, for example. It is too direct, too open. It does not get across the experience of having such an emotional experience.

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Narcissus and Echo, A Love Story

Narcissus and Echo, A Love Story

In the Greek telling of Narcissus and Echo, a talkative nymph (Echo) is cursed, robbed of the ability to start a sentence. Echo may only repeat or finish a sentence started. Narcissus, obsessed with his beauty, is on a hunt. Echo, who falls in love at first glance with Narcissus, follows him through the woods secretly.

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Zoe and the Brain in Love

Zoe and the Brain in Love

Humanity is lonely and heartbroken. Technology attempts to solve these issues.

Recently, I watched the 2018 movie, Zoe on Prime Video. The movie depicts a synthetic human companion (Zoe) who falls in love with her creator, Cole, played by Ewan McGregor. Cole ends up falling for Zoe as well. However, he grapples with the idea that she is not, in fact, human. The story is well done in its nuanced depiction of the complexities of human relationships. Although there is some understandable criticism on certain aspects of the film, I will not address them here. I am surprised that I have not heard of the movie until this point. Even though cliched, the “what ifs” of AI and the potential of creating synthetic humans still hold some promising landscapes to be explored. This movie is an example.

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Flow, Dopamine, and Evil

Flow, Dopamine, and Evil

The Father of Flow Psychology, Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, noted in his early commentary that Flow does not necessarily equate to characteristically good actions. Meaning, it is thought that several of our quintessential “bad guys” were probably acting in a flow state. Steven Kotler, Flow expert, states: “Flow involves tinkering with primal biology: addictive neurochemistry, potent psychology, and hardwired evolutionary behaviors.”1 There is some danger involved in the pursuit of Flow. Therefore, some precautions need to be taken.

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Awakening From The Meaning Crisis

Awakening From The Meaning Crisis

I discovered John Vervake on the Jordan B. Peterson Podcast. He appeared very passionate about his knowledge and demonstrated this in his expression. I didn’t immediately dive in to learn more, but I did get a recommendation for the YouTube algorithm (I know, I know…they scanned my brain) on a video series entitled Awakening From The Meaning Crisis.

In The Meaning Crisis, Vervake traces the roots back to key idea leaders, societal developments and trends, philosophical ideas, religious institutions, psychological themes, and more, attempting to uncover how we arrived in the current state of the meaning crisis. In fifty-plus videos, Vervake explores a lot of territories. He poses ideas such as we should not limit what we believe to what we know. 

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Hi, I’m … Squirrel! Sorry, I have ADHD.

Hi, I’m … Squirrel! Sorry, I have ADHD.

Squirrel!

Oh, if I hear that joke in the mocking of my personal quirks one more time.

The comparison to “Dug”, the talking dog from the animated movie Up, has plagued me for most of my adult life. I (apparently) was (am) distracted by every little thing that had (has) nothing to do with the current situation I was (am) in. I was the poster child for ADHD, the butt of every hyperactivity joke, and even I joked that I had it. But in hindsight, I didn’t really know what it was.

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Nine Perfect Strangers

Nine Perfect Strangers

The new show, Nine Perfect Strangers, is now streaming its fourth episode on Hulu. The show is based on the 2018 book of the same name, by Lian Moriarty.

The show centers around a group of people attending a high-end wellness resort named Tranquilium, for a ten-day retreat. The resort is headed by a Russian woman named Masha (Nicole Kidman). In a former life, she was a driven, ruthless, CEO until she was shot and robbed in a parking garage. The paramedic that saved her, Yao, is her partner at Tranquilium.

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Apple Watches Are Ugly…But I Bought One Anyway

Apple Watches Are Ugly…But I Bought One Anyway

There was a time when I was holding my breath for the next Apple product release. I admire technology and believe that it has a net positive impact on our society. I felt the Apple brand inspired individualism, the highest quality, creativity, and a quest for greatness. (Of course, there are good arguments for and against all of these ideas).

I was excited to get the Apple Watch before it was released. I wanted to be an early adopter and more closely connected to the technology that I believed held so much promise. Practically, I’d use it to run and listen to music, ditching the phone arm-clip and replacing my flimsy Garmin watch. Over the years, I ended up buying several Apple Watches.

During the time I was really into the Apple Watch idea, I was bothered by one key component. It seemed very obvious, though I tried to ignore it. I fought my instinct to be repelled and tried to overcome. It seemed sacrilege to say out loud. My thoughts would fall on judgmental, deaf ears.

The Apple Watch is an ugly timepiece.

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BOOKCLUB: The Energy Paradox

BOOKCLUB: The Energy Paradox

By Dr. Steven Gundry

I have always had an interest in diet and believed I “ate healthily.” I experimented with several lifestyle diets, including pescatarian and a seven-year stint as a vegetarian in my twenties (and in the last threeish years). At 37 and newly divorced, I found myself at 210 pounds, and it was clear I was a bit overweight. I ran a lot, doing several half marathons. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t losing weight.

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Flow Series #4: The Art of Living a Meaningful Life

Flow Series #4: The Art of Living a Meaningful Life

We are in the midst of a crisis of meaning, inundated with cultural images and pressures signaling status and prestige, dictating what is deemed socially acceptable. The cancel culture, the culture wars, and the fear of being excluded have us expending a tremendous amount of attention to the millions of messages to which we are exposed each day.

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My 40’s Manifesto: YEAR #2

My 40’s Manifesto: YEAR #2

Here we are, entering year 42. The last year has been a year of exponential growth, joy, and inevitable pain. My personal life has gone through dramatic changes. I’ve tested the limits of my physical body and thus worked my way through injury. I’ve learned. I’ve learned how to learn. I have an instinctual feeling that I am on the correct trajectory.

(I also need to rant. There is no f#cking way I am 42? I feel better than I ever have been. I’m healthier, more active, and better mentally equipped! This age number is really a thorn in my side. I feel actual anger when I think about it! What have I been doing to waste all of this time and arrive now to some semblance of a good place?)

Anyhow…

In my last update, I updated the tenets to my manifesto as follows…

  1. Connect & Engage in Relationships
  2. Be Authentic Without Sacrifice
  3. Accept Love With Grace
  4. Think Deeply
  5. Go Public

Here is where I sit currently.

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Flow Series #3: Trigger Your Flow

Flow Series #3: Trigger Your Flow

At this point, we know what Flow is and understand the importance of the stages of the Flow Cycle. (If not, click here.) Now, let’s look at what TRIGGERS flow.

The triggers exist in two categories, internal and external. There are twelve individual flow triggers, six in each category.

Flow triggers work by either increasing neurochemicals that cause flow or by lessening the cognitive load allowing for focus3. Recall that the flow state activation hinges on focus and attention

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Flow Series #2: The Flow Cycle – A Sum Greater Than Its Parts

Flow Series #2: The Flow Cycle – A Sum Greater Than Its Parts

As the second installment in our Flow Series, we look at the Flow Cycle, its function, and potential in our lives.

There are four stages in the Flow Cycle – struggle, release, flow, and recovery. All are equally important in achieving the third stage and the goal of the cycle, Flow. The Flow definition is an optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best. The aim here is to create a sense of intense engagement in our lives, enhancing a sense of meaning, purpose, and well-being.

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FLOW SERIES #1: “Flowing” Down The River of Life

FLOW SERIES #1: “Flowing” Down The River of Life

Maybe you’ve had the same fantasy, you’re fully engaged, energized, passionate, and living the life of your dreams. You’re rising to your potential and pushing beyond. You’re reaching your highest aims, connected with your “people” and still having more gas left in the tank.

If you’re like me, this sounds too good to be true. But the science of flow intends to help take us to this very destination.

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Mental Health Awareness Month: BIPOLAR DISORDER (Manic Depressive)

Mental Health Awareness Month: BIPOLAR DISORDER (Manic Depressive)

More than seventeen million people in the United States and 264 million people worldwide live with depression1. Making it one of the most common mental health concerns, depression may be a misdiagnosis for a more specific kind of depression, called Bipolar Disorder. The disorder is among the most misunderstood, feared, and stigmatized mental health diagnoses. Many of us may know someone affected by BD and have seen firsthand how the symptoms of this illness can impact a loved one’s life.

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Mental Health Awareness Month: ANXIETY

Mental Health Awareness Month: ANXIETY

5 Things You Should Do About Anxiety

Anxiety is the most common mental health problem with 18.1% of the US population suffering from the condition 1. Most people who suffer won’t get treatment.

Maybe that’s you?

It was me.

I can remember days so anxiety-ridden it makes me ill to look back on them.

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BOOKCLUB: Do The Work, By Dr. Nicole LePera

BOOKCLUB: Do The Work, By Dr. Nicole LePera

New, From the Holistic Psychologist

Lepera is popularly known as the “holistic psychologist” on social media. Holistic is defined as “characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease.” With all of the academic divisions busy within their silos, there is a need for a holistic discipline. It’s possible for academics to not be aware of the connectivities between and among the disciplines.

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Pain and Suffering

Pain and Suffering

It is part of our existence. One third of Americans are in chronic pain. What is the meaning of pain?

Pain and suffering are part of the human condition – we all experience them. While it’s obvious that pain is meant to protect us from destroying our body (as is the case with physical pain) or to avoid potentially threatening situations (in the case of emotional pain). Many report that peace can be found through the crucible of suffering. This idea is embedded in our culture, religions, and in modern philosophy. At a deeper level, pain can be heavily influenced by our perceptions and expectations. To many, pain may define their lives.

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Make Your Mind Work For You: 5 Easy Steps

Make Your Mind Work For You: 5 Easy Steps

It’s your mind, right? Use it the way you want to use it!

Our minds are wondrous, complicated, and not fully understood. Currently, science is making some large leaps in the understanding of its functioning. By extension, how we can make it work the way we want. Many of us struggle with lack of motivation, energy, and/or chronic stress, anxiety, and depression. Effects of these experiences range from sleeplessness and high blood pressure to racing thoughts and the inability to fully function to our potential. Scientists and researchers seek to find the physical root of these experiences to better understand why and how they occur.

Note that some of these experiences are very serious and should be treated as such. For many of us, there is much we can do to make our minds work for us.

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CODEPENDENCY: I’ll work for your love…

CODEPENDENCY: I’ll work for your love…

The impact, symptoms, and what you should do about it.

Psychology Today defines codependency as “a relationship in which, by being caring, highly-functional, and helpful, one is said to support, perpetuate, or enable a loved one’s irresponsible or destructive behavior.”1This enabled behavior may also be abusive. Codependency originally was a title given to relationships involving substance abuse2. However, it is now widely applicable and widespread.

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INTERSECTION: Bliss and a New Modern Hero

INTERSECTION: Bliss and a New Modern Hero

A Story of Defeating a Truly Terrifying Enemy… Yourself.

Bliss, the new movie starring Salma Hayak and Owen Wilson on Amazon Prime, is a very human, otherworldly delve into the human psyche. Greg Whittle (played by Wilson) suffers from an unspecified mental illness and has recently gone through a divorce. Now, he is about to get fired. This marks the doorway to Whittle’s psychological break.

Or, does it?

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How Journaling Will Make You Better.

How Journaling Will Make You Better.

What do Matthew McConaughey, Ann Frank, Marcus Aurelius, Albert Einstein, Fredrick Douglass, Mark Twain, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Ryan Holiday have in common?

Give up?

They all are famous (at least in part) for keeping a Journal. McConaughey recently published a memoir called Greenlights, sourcing material from his personal journals. Ann Frank’s diaries provided insight into the Nazi occupation during World War II. And Ryan Holiday’s modern stoic pondering lead him to report journaling as the most important activity you can do each day.


 “When we translate an experience into language, we essentially make the experience graspable.”11


Dr. Pennebaker, Author of Writing to Weal

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Love! Like in the Movies…

Love! Like in the Movies…

Where did (do) we get ideas about romantic relationships?

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Where did (do) we get ideas about romantic relationships?

Parents or caregivers, of course. Yet, we often don’t consider the source of our relational conceptions to be movies. In many cases, this is the primary source.

When I was young, I had my first real conception of what romantic love should be viewing the movie Jewel of the Nile. Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner adventure through Columbia, attempting to find the fabled “jewel”. Douglas (Jack) plays the arrogant man, overconfident and fool-hardy, and Turner (Joan) a career-driven writer, overly-romanticizing every instance. Joan is lured by the Columbian dictator, and Jack sets out to rescue her with the help of his friends. During the course of their adventure, they rekindle their stale relationship, are married, and live happily ever after.

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And Now For Something Completely (Well, not completely) Different: INTERSECTIONS

And Now For Something Completely (Well, not completely) Different: INTERSECTIONS

Introducing a new content category: Intersections.

Intersections will cover the intersection between psychology, culture, and entertainment. Culture and entertainment can have an enormous impact on who we are, our lives, and our psychology. Movies, music, television, and other cultural events will be discussed in this particular category. However, the focus will be on individual experience, cultural consciousness, and psychology.

R.P.

Deep Thoughts: MINIMALISM: Less is Now

Deep Thoughts: MINIMALISM: Less is Now

Minimalism Fights the External Battles Mindfulness Fights Internally.

Click Above for the Audio Version of this post

Part of our cultural identity is consumerism. We are taught to consume. It is bred into us. We signal status, security, and purpose with what we consume, what we buy. I believe it’s a slow killer of the human spirit. Marketers use deficit advertising: ads giving us the impression we are not enough. It plays to our insecurities and fears. The idea we could be better if we only had Product X.

The result?

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2021: Your Comeback Year…

2021: Your Comeback Year…

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You were a little kid once—a starry-eyed, innocent child. You had dreams, big dreams. Maybe somewhere along the lines, you’ve decided you don’t deserve those dreams. (bullshit).

Instead of thinking that a new year’s resolution is a cliche, it just may be the opportunity to dust off some of those old dreams and make them real.

Life is just too damn short not to.

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My Faves: 8 Life Saving Thoughts…

My Faves: 8 Life Saving Thoughts…

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Daily, @whoareweblog on Instagram, a thought-provoking quote is posted. It is intended to shift paradigms, inspire, and/or give perspective. Often, personal experience is considered in searching for quotes. Just as often, society’s experience is considered. Here, We dive into the top 8 Life-Saving Quotes of the Day posted in the year past.

“God Have Mercy on the Man Who Doubts What He’s Sure of…”

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Home (Alone) for the Holidays

Home (Alone) for the Holidays

Loneliness is at an all-time high in our society. Now, we enter a holiday season socially-distanced.

With COVID-19 cases on the rise, holidays surrounded (physically) by family seem less and less a good idea. As the pandemic reaches a peak, we are more likely to be physically and emotionally alone. Survey data (pre-pandemic) reports that almost half of participants sometimes or always feel alone1. What’s more, the root cause is identified as social isolation or the lack of social connection. Loneliness is associated with mental and physical health issues, from depression and dementia to heart failure and stroke2. For those of us with a mental illness, the holidays tend to just make it worse3.

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Ten Powerful Ways to Turn it All Around

Ten Powerful Ways to Turn it All Around

Inspiring stories of those who achieved their dreams later in life

As we age, it can feel like a clock is ticking. A “scarcity mindset” with regard to time can take hold. And still, the message in our culture is that ‘youth is king’ and ‘forty is over the hill’. I’ve had this feeling. I’ve had the idea ‘what I’m doing is not an expression of who I am!?’ This is not the career for me! I wish I could...and a whole list of ideas and potential regrets comes to mind.

The need for novelty is human. Change is necessary to keep us invigorated. The average person changes careers at age 391. Being 40 and having these thoughts, it appears I’m in good company.

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Seven Must Read Books

Seven Must Read Books

The Best Recent Titles for Inspiration, Motivation and Personal Revolution

Listen to the Audio Version of this post above.

More information is published on just about any subject than ever before. As Tesla founder Elon Musk says, “You don’t need college to learn stuff… you can learn anything you want for free.”1 I adore this piece of advice.

There are two challenges when attempting to learn on your own. First, determining what’s important. Second, clearing the static created by the barrage of available information. So we’ll limit what’s important to psychology, self-improvement and insight. And let’s just say the purpose of this article is to clear the static!

In the last five years, print book sales have reached 650 million. Printed books maintain popularity over digital and audio version of the same. Sixty-five percent of adults in the US have read a printed book in the last twelve months2. Educational material has never been more in reach for human kind than in this moment, right now.

The following are seven must read books! These books will shift your paradigm, motivate and inspire you.

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UPDATE: My 40’s Manifesto

UPDATE: My 40’s Manifesto

In early July, I posted an article called “My 40’s Manifesto”. I have made it a point to keep the tenets of my manifesto top of mind. Also, I decided I’d provide updates intermittently. Perhaps some of you will get some enjoyment on my trials and tribulations during my search for enlightenment post forty.

There are five tenets to my manifesto:

  1. I will work on connection
  2. I will be authentic
  3. I will accept love
  4. I will think deeply
  5. I will engage in relationships

Here’s where I’m at five months in.

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DESIRE: Stop!! Buying That Will Not Make You Feel Better!

DESIRE: Stop!! Buying That Will Not Make You Feel Better!

How I’m beating impulse buying and so should you!

Click above for Audio Version!

Later in life, I am finding that I am attached to some ideas that don’t add up. These ideas have and are having a serious impact on my life. One of them I am trying to move beyond is materialism. Many studies show that those who are materialistic have a lower social and personal well being18.

I didn’t have a whole lot of money for most of my life. I couldn’t get all the “stuff” that I desired. This was extremely troubling. I felt a “less-than” feeling around all of my peers. Notably, when I was only ten or so, I refused to leave a shoe store until my father bought be a pair of Jordan’s for me, for the upcoming basketball season. (We eventually decided on Reebok Pumps).

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Coming to Terms with Scope and Reach of Humanity’s Power

Coming to Terms with Scope and Reach of Humanity’s Power

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Two hundred years ago it was 1820. The population was less than one billion. The most common mode of transportation was your own two feet. Or, if you were in business, it was a boat navigating a canal system. The feared kings of Rome and England, with all of their cruelty and wielded power did not have the kind of silent, immediate and fierce power that we now have.

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Five Reasons Five Years Is Too Long to Wait

Five Reasons Five Years Is Too Long to Wait

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Photo by @wokandapic

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week (Oct. 4-Oct. 10). The World Health Organization estimates between 30% and 80% of people with mental health concerns don’t seek treatment1. On Armchair Expert Podcast, it was reported that it takes five years for someone with depression to seek treatment.

The average person suffers for five years before taking steps to address it!

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Five Reasons We Love To Travel

Five Reasons We Love To Travel

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I ask every person I interview “If money was not an issue, how would you spend your life?” Almost everyone answers, traveling! As human beings, we love travel. Studies show that we are more optimistic about our work after travel and we improve social connections and communication skills1. Among other things, traveling alone can boost confidence, provide a greater peace of mind and bring you more in touch with yourself2.

On a recent expedition, I had several realizations of my own. Among them, five reasons why we love to travel!

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The Psychology of Politics (and what we can do to cope)

The Psychology of Politics (and what we can do to cope)

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Our beliefs about politics are personal. We don’t like to discuss our beliefs as a measure of self-protection. Often, for good reason. Here are some things to keep in mind about politics and our interactions with other humans.

Politics.

In civilized company, it’s something we’re not to discuss. It’s divisive, personal and uncomfortable. Yet, it’s implied and assumed in almost everything we do. From the car you drive to your feelings on vaccinations and face masks. It is widely assumed these feelings are related to your political positions. People are more afraid now in 2020 to share political beliefs compared to in 201714.

But why?

Drive a Toyota?

Your a Democrat.

Ford F-150?15

Republican.

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The 4 Things You Should do NOW to help prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder

The 4 Things You Should do NOW to help prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder

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A strange anxiety hangs in the background of my psychology this year. If you’re like me, when the summer fades a fog moves in. I’m less engaged, tired. There’s a loss of hope and inspiration. I want to sleep all the time.

Older now, I have an anxiety about this state and these feelings. The things I’ve tried in the past during these periods didn’t seem to help. As fall rapidly approaches, I need a gameplan.

How do we defeat SAD?!

In the following we’ll discuss The 4 Things You Should do NOW to help prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder.

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Your Ultimate Guide to the MBTI

Your Ultimate Guide to the MBTI

As an undergrad majoring in psychology, I was moved and inspired by the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory. Often referred to as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI, this personality test is perhaps the most controversial of its kind. Critics claim the science supporting MBTI doesn’t add up. On the other hand, those who do believe in its utility often do so in the extreme.

Upon first taking the test, I was revealed as an INTJ. Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging. According to the book, Please Understand Me II, by David Keirsy, this was less than 2% of the population! At that point in my life, I truly felt alien to my fellow humans. The test proved my feeling, I was rare! It also gave a sense of normalcy to my experiences and thoughts. Among other things, it reported that I couldn’t stand small talk! Wow! I was reading my fortune!

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The 5 Perks of Personal Planning on Paper

The 5 Perks of Personal Planning on Paper

In my early twenties, disgusted by my lack of progress in life, I disassembled and threw away my bed. I wouldn’t allow myself a bed to sleep in until I made something of myself.

Maybe a little over the top?

Yeah. I agree.

I decided I would build myself a loft bed. And so, I got pen and paper and drew up the plans. Measured the room, measured the wood, and cut.

Now, I don’t have a “handyman gene” in my body. I can’t build stuff. But my bed turned out pretty darn good. There was enough room underneath for my desk and dresser. It was cool.

The learning piece, however, was that something happens when you put pen to paper and plan! The power of thinking before you take action is often key to success.

Planning with good old-fashioned pen and paper has many benefits. The following are 5 perks of personal planning on writing.

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The 4 Things You Should Know About Your Beliefs

The 4 Things You Should Know About Your Beliefs

Belief

Belief is “the ability to combine histories and experiences with imagination, to think beyond the here and now”1. Our minds are meaning machines. And so it’s pursuit is to find (or create) the meaning of everything. Further, what we consider our reality is a function of what we believe, not visa versa. Throughout human history, people have been either castigated or commended for their beliefs. If you were cast out of the “tribe”, this equated a death sentence. Consequently, our beliefs have evolved to be relevant and important to our lives. Often feeling like a matter of life and death.

And so, these are the four things you need to know about your beliefs.

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Three Steps to Minimize Time Anxiety

Three Steps to Minimize Time Anxiety

Time Anxiety

Time Anxiety is the pervasive feeling of being rushed, causing feelings of overwhelmingness and panic1. It can be in relation to current time, future time or existential time – fear of time slipping away without meaning.

Though many people experience these various forms, they are all connected. While I am consistently fighting this anxiety, it is always fighting back.

In Time Anxiety, there is an overwhelming sense of time lack. There is a process of thoughts taking up a lot of mental bandwidth. This anxiety impacts functioning in other areas of life. Due to this anxiety, I haven’t engaged in relationships as well. I haven’t accomplished as much as I’d like. And finally, I haven’t done a lot of the things that I wish that I had at this point in my life.

But, I’ve made serious headway in dealing with it and I’ve almost beat it.

Here are three steps to minimize Time Anxiety.

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