Category Archives: Psychology

How to Be Emotionally Independent

Being emotionally independent and resilient is an integral part of being happy. When we depend on others for our sense of self, we never truly know who we are. Fortunately, by accepting ourselves, modifying our thinking, and taking active strides to be true to who we are and who we feel, we can find that inner sense of peace and independence we’ve been looking for. And it all starts with Step 1 below.

Step 1. Accepting Yourself

Reframe the past.

Let’s take parents: most of them aren’t that great. Are they not that great because they don’t love us or we don’t deserve affection? No. Though as children, that’s hard to see. They’re not that great because they have no idea what they’re doing – they’re trying, but they’re only human. Instead of blaming them (or an ex, for example) for your pain, reframe it. See that they don’t deserve anger, hate, or resentment. At worst they deserve pity; at best, compassion.
Whether you’re 7 or 70, you’ve probably had relationships that have left you a little worse for the wear. We, humans, have a tendency to take every failure/argument/disappointment/rejection personally and tally it up in our own mental notebooks, coming up with a number to equate to just how valuable we are. First things first, that’s gotta stop. The past is in the past and it’s going to stay there. It has little significance.

Forgive and forget.

This is an integral step in the accepting yourself and reframing the past idea. When you don’t hold grudges and stop taking things personally, you’re left with an organic, untainted version of you – an emotionally independent and resilient you. And you’ll be happier, too!
The next time you catch yourself being upset with someone, realize that it has nothing to do with you. It’s them making their own decisions, and you have no control over that, which is fine. This is one trivial moment in the scheme of your life that in short order will be completely forgotten about.
That being said, this doesn’t mean that some people should be let off the hook. Forgive them, forget the behavior, but modify your expectations. Was your friend an hour late to your lunch date? Noted. Next time (if there is a next time), you’ll know how to handle it.

Spend time with yourself.

When’s the last time you had some free time to kill and didn’t whip out your phone or otherwise distract yourself? In today’s day and age, we’re constantly bombarded with stimuli, which ultimately removes us from introspection and getting to know our own minds. Starting now, take 20 minutes or so a day for some “me-time.” Who’s better company than you, anyway?
In this time, watch your mind wander. Where does it go to? How does it think? Take note of just how fascinating this thing inside your head really is. What can you learn about yourself?

Know who you are.

Kind of like asking an ant to look in a mirror and say, “I’m an ant,” isn’t it? Well, in addition to the steps above and below, there are a few sticking points that apply to everyone:
  • You are just as worthy as everyone else you know. There are not “better” humans; we all have good and bad qualities.

  • You have talents and interests. What are they?

  • You have thoughts and opinions. You have things you like and dislike. What are those?

  • You have values. You have beliefs. What things/concepts/ideas do you hold as true?

Step 2. Changing Your Thinking

Test yourself.

There are a handful of ways one can be emotionally dependent. The most common way is in a romantic relationship. We learn to depend on our significant other for affection, sex, approval, you name it. When it doesn’t come, we feel we’ve done something wrong or we’re somehow less valuable. How are you emotionally dependent? Romantically? With friends? Coworkers or your boss? With every person you meet? Think about a few of the following things to pinpoint what areas you need to work on:

  • Do you get jealous easily? Do you compare yourself to others so much that it can ruin your day?

  • Do people often fail to meet your expectations? Who does this most often?

  • When you’re alone, do you seek out others just to feel okay? Does a void spring up when you’re not with others?

  • Does your partner or the idea of a partner mean happiness to you?

Take responsibility.

When we blame others, they’re at fault. Therefore, they become the only ones who can fix the problem. Terrible. In order to take control of your thinking and emotions, you’ve got to take responsibility.

This forces you to become reliant on yourself for a solution. Instead of wallowing in misery, you think about what options you have at your disposal to improve the situation. This gets rid of those negative emotions that well up, too, forcing you to be more logical and feel more in control.

The next time you get offended, stop.

Just for a moment. Why get all worked up? This is just a person who is passing judgment and criticism. It is not the end of the world, nor is it even particularly remarkable, likely. Everyone does it. Why give them the satisfaction of caring? It’s just not worth it.

Remind yourself that you don’t have to react the way you feel inclined to. It may seem as if the natural, human way to respond is by being upset, but that’s hardly your only option. You could be angry, you could be sad – or you could note it and move on. After all, there’s no benefit to being angry or sad, is there? What’ll it get you?

Realize that happiness is only inside you.

Quite literally. Serotonin and dopamine are what you really enjoy. If you wanted to condition yourself to feel ecstatic at the sight of brown carpet, you could. Brains are funny little creatures like that. In other words, you decide what makes you happy and it has nothing to do with the outside world. It comes from within – you can’t find it out there.

In case it wasn’t clear, this is very, very, very good news. You have control over all your feelings! You are at the whim of no one! Every emotion you want to feel, you can. Every emotion you don’t want to feel, you don’t have to. Happiness is just a decision away.

Do your best not to overcompensate.

There is a fine line between being emotionally independent, and well, a jerk. Some people get so caught up in “being true to them” that they step all over others in an effort to assert themselves. Keep in mind that this is not an excuse to be a bully and to always get your way. You can be kind and considerate while still being true to you.

Most people who stomp all over others are trying to thwart their inner feelings inadequacy or unimportance. They don’t feel of any value on the inside, so they force their “value” on others in an effort to convince themselves. This isn’t being emotionally independent – it’s straight up being rude.

Step 3. Living Independently

Decide for yourself.

The next time your friends are sitting around the table badmouthing the latest movie or complaining about pseudo-liberals or even gossiping about a friend, instead of letting them shape your opinions, decide for yourself. How do you feel? Why should their opinions have any weight on yours?

Try this in tiny ways, too. The next time you want to check out a cafe or a movie or a shop, etc., and you’ve heard pretty mediocre things, go anyway! Other people sometimes just don’t know what they’re talking about.

When you have decided for yourself, work up to speaking out about it. It’s possible other people feel similarly but are too shy to say anything! You may also bring up a good point that no one else considered.

Say “no.

The next time you have an opportunity to do something that you just don’t feel like doing, say no. Not only do you not want to partake in this activity, but it’s totally fine if you don’t live up to others’ expectations because it doesn’t bother you. Listen to your gut – it’s often right.

There’s a fine line here, however. Should you skip your best friend’s wedding because you don’t feel like it? Probably not. Should you avoid the mandatory work meeting because you’re feeling lazy? Nope. In other words, know how to pick your battles.

Learn to fix your own problems.

Nowadays, we live in cultures of millions. We have so many resources at our disposal that we don’t have to do a thing ourselves. We get our cars fixed, our plumbing fixed, our computers fixed, our health fixed – the list goes on and on. Unfortunately, that takes away from our resourcefulness and our sense of responsibility. In order to not depend on others, we’ve got to fix our own problems.

So the next time you’re feeling down in the dumps, take it on your own shoulders to do something about it. Spend the night doing something you really enjoy, treat yourself to retail therapy, or, heck, just relax. When you’re successful, this can show you that you have the power to make everything better, not other people.

Expect little from others.

There’s a line from a James Bond theme that says, “Arm yourself because no one else will save you.” It’s a little cynical, but the idea is true: we’re all humans and at the end of the day, we have to be selfish and put ourselves first to be happy. Everyone else does it, so you can, too – without feeling any guilt.

Keeping this in mind can help you from getting your hopes up and then being let down. When you have few expectations of people, it’s easier for others to meet them. And it’ll be easier to notice who still struggles meeting your lack of expectation and who consistently rises to the top.

Hang out with different groups of people.

When our entire lives revolve around a small group of people, it’s hard not to think that their opinions couldn’t move mountains. To widen your world and take the importance off their opinions, hang out with more people! Having a wide social network is good in fair and foul weather, too.

All humans have to attach themselves to things. It can stink because it means our emotions are at the whim of other people and other things. The key here is to not over-attach yourself. It’s a fine line that only you can find. The best way to do this is to spread yourself between different people and divvy up your time accordingly.

Do your own thing.

This is what it comes down to. You are your own person and therefore you’re going to do your own thing, whatever that means. When you find who you are and stick to it, no one can stop that inner sense of happiness that’ll prevail as a result.

People who genuinely stick to who they are are a rare breed. It shouldn’t cause judgment – it should inspire. People will see that you are your own fountain of happiness and wish they were the same! While some won’t be able to handle it, they’re not the ones you want to be around anyway!.

 

 

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Source: The above story is based on materials originally published on wikihow.com. The original article was written by several unspecified authors.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

9 Signs You’re In A Relationship With A Con-Artist

I resolve to publish this short list as I found it on powerofpositivity.com because in my life experience I faced this situation. And I can say that the sooner you recognize that you are staying with a con artist the easier will be to come out. Consequences are often incredibly heavy. This happened to me since I had a trusted con-artist partner for a very long time. Thank heaven, this is gone now. Be careful and look at signals.

By the way, a con artist is a person who cheats or tricks others by persuading them to believe something that is not true to get benefits and personal advantages.

Manipulation is the name of the game when you’re in a relationship with a con-artist. A con-artist is what we now call someone who used to be called a confidence artist. Let’s look at 9 telling signs that you’re in a relationship with a con-artist.

1. YOU HAVE LOW SELF-ESTEEM

A con artist often looks for an easy target. Someone who already has low self-esteem is an easy mark for them. They will use your low self-esteem to their advantage by telling you that they would love you more if ___. Do yourself a favor and leave this person immediately. True love is not conditional.

2. YOUR ROMANCE SWEPT YOU OFF YOUR FEET AT FIRST

Because they needed your undying devotion to them in order to rip you off, your con artist was a great romancer at the beginning of your relationship. However, things have changed now and there has been very little romantic action lately.

3. YOUR GUT INSTINCT IS TRYING TO SEND YOU A SIGNAL

That ‘Hmm, that was weird’ gut feeling happens more often to you in your relationship with a con artist than it ever did otherwise. Pay attention to that feeling because it’s sending you a signal that something’s wrong.

4. THE CON-ARTIST KEEPS YOU FROM SEEING YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY

Someone rational who is removed form the relationship has the power to open your eyes to what is really happening with the con-artist’s behavior. As a result, the con-artist in your life will try to keep you from seeing these people who are a threat to their game. Do not let someone tell you who you can and cannot spend time with.

5. YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS ONE-SIDED

You are probably giving more to your partner than you are receiving. This can be in the form of love, emotional support, gifts, money, or time. If your partner does not reciprocate as often as you’d like them to, it could be a sign that you’re in a relationship with a con-artist.

6. YOU LACK CONTROL OVER YOUR LIFE

If your con-artist has done a good job, they will take power away from you. You do not control the money, vehicles or power in the relationship. If you have to ask permission to go anywhere or buy anything, it is a warning sign that you’re in a relationship with a con artist.

7. YOU ARE A GIVER BY NATURE

The types of victims that con-artists look for are those in healing, nurturing, and socially responsible people. You want to help your fellow man and your con-artist is going to claim to need your help. They have targeted you based on your generous personality.

8. CONFLICTING STORIES DON’T ADD UP

Catching a con-artist in a lie means that they have to create another lie to cover their tracks. A con-artist is basically a narcissist and a sociopath; they only care about themselves and they do not feel sorry for their actions that hurt someone else.
In fact, a good con-artist is so good at avoiding feelings of guilt that they will often blame the victim for making them act this way. Author Tamar Frankel who wrote The Ponzi Scheme Puzzle: A History and Analysis of Con Artists and Victims says of con-artists: ‘They have an ego that can’t afford to be repentant, so they blame others. They blame the government, they blame the law, and they blame the victims. They also justify what they do as a protective measure’if they don’t cheat others, others will cheat them first.’

9. YOU HAVE TROUBLE REMEMBERING THE LAST TIME YOU FELT AT PEACE

All of the drama created by living with a con artist can wreck havoc on your emotional state. You likely have been feeling feel fear, anger and sadness more often than you feel moments of joy. Your con artist likes keeping you in an unhappy emotional state because you can be more easily manipulated that way.
According to fraudaid.com, only about 7% of scam victims report the crime. If you believe that your con-artist has stolen from you, do not be afraid to contact police to report the crime. A police trail may be one of the only ways to prevent other people from falling victim to this person’s games.

Don’t believe everything you hear about the saddest day of the year

Blue Monday is a hoax.

Once we get through Christmas and New Year, it’s time for Blue Monday – traditionally the third Monday in January, when a combination of weather, debt problems, low motivation, a return to work, and abandoned New Year resolutions create a perfect storm of depression that hangs over the population. It sounds like a plausible enough theory, but don’t fall for it: Blue Monday is actually a hoax.

Or to put it more accurately, it’s a promotional idea dreamt up by a travel company back in 2005, as Atlas Obscura reports, when 24 January was declared the first Blue Monday. That company was Sky Travel, which enlisted the help of psychologist Cliff Arnall (then of Cardiff University) to add some credence to the idea and throw in a pseudo-scientific equation or two.

Designed by ad agency Porter Novelli, the idea was to get potential customers thinking about summer holidays to help beat the Blue Monday misery – perhaps a few weeks in the sun could help keep depression at bay? But despite it being a completely fictional nadir, Blue Monday still gets plenty of media coverage every January, so make sure you don’t get caught up in the negative hype.

As The Guardian’s Dean Burnett points out, depression doesn’t follow a schedule, let alone one set by a marketing firm. Sky Travel has since gone out of business, so any boost in ticket sales it may have received by convincing us we were all at a low ebb obviously wasn’t enough.

We do know that Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is very much a real condition, as the changing seasons and shrinking number of daylight hours cause chemical changes in the brain. However, there’s no such evidence that this sadness reaches its peak on Blue Monday, even if there are another 11 months to go until Christmas.

As Atlas Obscura points out, the term originally referred to the tradition of lining the church altar with blue cloth on the Monday before Lent. It’s also been associated with excessive drinking and subsequent hangovers in work, and is of course also the name of one of New Order’s biggest hits (though the 1983 single was about relationship problems rather than Seasonal Affective Disorder).

“True clinical depression (as opposed to a post-Christmas slump) is a far more complex condition that is affected by many factors, chronic and temporary, internal and external,” writes Burnett for The Guardian. “What is extremely unlikely (i.e. impossible) is that there is a reliable set of external factors that cause depression in an entire population at the same time every year.”

Even Cliff Arnall has tried to distance himself from his previous claims since 2005, but that hasn’t stopped him identifying the supposed happiest day of the year as well.

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Story Source: The above story is based on materials originally published on sciencealert.com. The original article was written by David Nield. This story was originally published online on 7 Jan. 2016. Images credit  YuryZap/Shutterstock.com. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

15 Signs You’re With A Good Man

James+Michael+Sama+7th+Annual+Shorty+Awards+oLUxoU9NxtJlThe author of this short article is James Michael Sama, who is an award winning Boston based blogger on the topics of dating and relationships, having amassed over 30 million readers in just a year and a half. He writes and speaks on the topics of chivalry, romance, and happiness throughout the country and has been featured repeatedly in news segments, talk shows, and mainstream radio.
James’ mission is to bring dignity back to dating and relationships by reinstilling these values that are sorely lacking in modern times. James is also currently working on his first book.

Here is Mr. Sama’s article.

When it comes to dating and relationships, I often find myself wondering how certain people end up with others. Wondering why they don’t walk away if they don’t get what they deserve and hoping that they truly appreciate their teammate if they are getting what they deserve.

I think a big part of the problem blurring this line is that many people aren’t even quite sure what a healthy relationship looks like these days or how a “good man” (or woman) should act towards their partner. To help clarify, I have put together this list of how a good man should act while in a relationship.

1. A good man never lets you forget how much he loves you.

I cannot tell you how many conversations I have had with people who tell me that there is no affection in their relationship. The man in their life does not make them feel loved, wanted or appreciated. This is a profoundly important piece of the puzzle — a good man will always remind you how much you mean to him.

If someone truly loves you, you will know it and feel it. If they don’t, you’ll be wondering all the time if they do.

2. A good man always supports you.

Regardless of whether you want to go back to school after 20 years to get your Master’s degree, start a singing career or stay at home to raise a family, a good man will always support you and what you want out of your life. He will never discourage you or make you feel as though you can’t do what you set out to do. He will be beside you every step of the way, cheering on your victories and comforting you during your defeats.

3. A good man will inspire you.

This goes one step beyond supporting you, which can be more passive. To inspire someone takes effort both in how one lives their own life and how they encourage others to live theirs. A good man’s drive and ambition will rub off on you as he pursues his own passions.

4. A good man will work to gain your trust.

A good man will want you to be comfortable and confident in your relationship. The very cornerstone of this is being able to trust someone, and he will realize that. Without trust, there is no foundation for love or respect.

He will understand that trust is not just handed over to someone — it has to be earned, and then it has to be kept.

5. A good man will always make you feel beautiful.

He will understand that making you feel beautiful does not just mean saying the words to you. It will mean truly making you feel beautiful. In the way he looks at you, touches you and treats you. He will notice details when you put effort into your appearance and remind you how attractive he still finds you, even when you don’t.

A good man will understand that whether you are in your sweatpants on the couch or in your evening gown heading to a gala, when you love someone for who they truly are, everything about them becomes beautiful.

6. A good man will make you feel safe.

I have always said that I believe one of the best compliments a woman can give her partner is telling him that she feels safe around him. Regardless of how attracted she is to you or how funny she thinks you are or how much money you have, if a woman cannot sleep soundly by your side at night, none of it matters.

7. A good man does the little things.

Do you need a prescription filled, but have to stay late at work? Did you mention an art exhibit coming to town and he made plans to take you to see it? Regardless of how small certain things seem, he will understand they are really the big things that matter most.

8. A good man never crosses the line.

It is natural to have disagreements and even arguments in a relationship, but there is no reason to make things personal, become insulting and never, ever to become abusive. A good man will remain calm and focus on the topic at hand.

9. A good man is always trying to improve himself.

Whether it be learning new things, developing a new skill set, reading a new book or watching a documentary, a good man who prides himself on continuous self improvement will always be intellectually challenging you and keeping your attention. He will be doing these things for himself, but the added benefit will be the positive impact it has on your relationship.

10. A good man understands actions speak louder than words.

Having the right man in your life will make you understand that people who make empty promises do not deserve your respect. People who keep promises deserve your respect, and he will be one of them.

11. A good man will open up to you.

It can be difficult for some people to express their emotions, fears and even inner-most desires, but having the right person in our lives often helps to open those doors. A good man, while understanding of course that some things are to be kept private, will not hide things from you or bottle up his feelings, knowing that doing so will cause tension and frustration.

12. A good man will always be honest with you.

When building a foundation for a happy, healthy relationship, a good man will understand that honesty is always the best policy.

13. A good man will make you feel comfortable being honest.

Comfort in a relationship (the good kind, not the kind that makes you stop trying) comes from the ability to be open and honest with your partner — and the ability to do this comes from knowing you will never be judged. A good man will encourage you to open up and share your feelings with him. There should never be any fear of him flying off the handle or overreacting if you share something with him.

This means being able to be the most genuine, uncensored version of yourself around him.

14. A good man will never be abusive.

Perhaps the most important point of all. Whether it be mentally, emotionally or physically, a good man will never even think about being abusive towards you or harmful in any way. If this happens to you, please have the courage and respect for yourself in order to talk to someone or walk away immediately. No good person would ever act like this, and it will not get better on its own.

15. A good man will stand by you.

When a man commits his love and his time to someone, there are no stipulations or circumstances required. There will be good times and there will be not-so-good times. There will be challenges and unexpected situations that arise. But he will stay by your side and be your teammate through it all.

Of course, there is an asterisk to this. This does not mean you can disrespect your partner, lie or cheat. It does not mean you can betray his trust and expect him to stick around because he promised to commit to you. This point is about things the two of you go through together and him having the integrity to not walk away when times get hard.

Any man can be by your side on the sunny days. The real test of character is whether or not he will hold the umbrella over you during the stormy days.

Remember, if the person you are with puts in the effort to be this person for you, please let him know how much you appreciate him. No matter how kind someone is, there is no emptier feeling than giving your heart to someone who you feel takes it for granted.
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Story Source: The above story is based on materials originally published on JamesMSama.com and found on huffingtonpost.com. The original article was written by James Michael Sama. Images credit Tetra Images Yuri Arcurs via Getty Images. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Leadership Transparency: 3 Ways to Be More Open with Your People

Blanchard LeaderChat

Arms CrossedLeadership is not something you do to people, it’s something you do with people. Letting people know what they can expect from you underscores the idea that leadership is a partnering process.

That’s one of the messages that Ken Blanchard highlights in his work with senior leaders.

Blanchard underscores the idea that leadership transparency is a key element of success in today’s organizations. That’s because transparency gives employees a chance to see the “person behind the position” in their organization.

This willingness on the part of leaders to share a little bit of themselves helps to build trust and confidence in a powerful way—and it encourages others to share information about themselves as well. The result is greater openness and stronger bonds throughout the organization.

3 Ways to Be More Open

For leaders looking to be more transparent with their people, Blanchard recommends three steps:

  1. Identify your beliefs about leading…

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Why Have Hobbies?

Aunt Beulah

In a recent Peanuts cartoon, when Lucy told Charlie Brown she was thinking of starting some new hobbies, Charlie said, “That’s a good idea, Lucy. The people who get most out of life are those who really try to accomplish something.”

Looking appalled, Lucy replied: “ACCOMPLISH something? I thought we were just supposed to keep busy.”

In the past, I thought like Lucy. Viewing hobbies as busy work to fill my idle moments, I pursued decoupage, macramé, origami, tatting, and yodeling. Each endeavor enjoyed the same success as my wish to be 5’6”.Wreath

My search for a busy-work hobby peaked when I scoured fields and ponds for nuts, pinecones, grasses, and twigs, which I used to make Christmas wreaths. I gave these creations to loved ones, who exclaimed happily and hung them in their snug homes.

I had used liberal amounts of a smelly liquid adhesive to attach my found…

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This Is Why You Feel So Sad on Sunday (and How to Fix It)

Every Sunday around 4 p.m., much of the developed world gives a collective groan. The weekend is fast receding, Monday is fast approaching, and the blues (a legit thing—ask the experts) set in. But you can outsmart them—and keep your mood in weekend mode till the clock strikes midnight—with a few easy strategies. Monday can wait.

Even after the best of weekends (or especially after the best of weekends), there’s a cloud that descends. Chances are, you’ve felt it. In a 2013 poll from the career site Monster.com, 81 percent of American respondents said they get Sunday-night blues—and 59 percent said they experience them “really bad.” As laid-back “weekend you” begins to morph into uptight “weekday you,” anxiety over anticipating an over­flowing in-box, the drudgery of packing school lunches, and the tyranny of a mile-long to-do list sets in.

“Sunday nights aren’t considered the end of a great weekend but the beginning of something neither the child nor the adult is looking forward to,” says Stuart Brown, a psychiatrist and the founder of the National Institute for Play, in Carmel Valley, California. But what is the cause of this dread? And what can we do to change it? If you’re prone to Sunday-night blues, try one (or, uh, all) of the following tips. And welcome to a future with no more sad Sundays.

Do Sunday on Saturday

Typically we schedule fun stuff on Saturday, obligations on Sunday. This only reinforces the blues. Instead, take care of buzz-killing chores, errands, and commitments on Saturday, when you’re naturally in a better mood. This could also change your experience of tougher tasks. For example, visiting your great-aunt in the retirement home when you’re already feeling down may remind you of the shortness of life; seeing her with a fresh Saturday-morning mind-set might move you to reminisce about summers at the cabin (happier for her, too). This weekend switcheroo leaves you open for “moments of unencumbered joy” on Sunday, when your psyche is in need of them most, says Cassie Mogilner, Ph.D., a happiness researcher and an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Homework is yet another Sunday downer. Nagging kids to hit the books creates an angst-filled evening. “Children may feel more positive on Monday morning if Sunday night is free of last-minute preparations for tomorrow’s school day,” says Erika A. Patall, Ph.D., an assistant professor of educational psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Slot time for homework on Saturday, with a little extra on Sunday morning. (Hash it out with your children beforehand so you can work around soccer games and birthday parties.) This can be a hard sell for teenagers, but if you have little ones, instilling this habit now can really pay off in a multitude of ways. “In general, students learn more if they distribute their studying over time, rather than trying to cram the learning into one long session,” says Patall.

Become a Forward Thinker

Another reason you feel off on Sunday, of course, is that your head is swirling with tasks for the upcoming week. Spare yourself this stress by ending your workweek with a plan. “Before you leave the office on Friday, prep your desk so you can jump in Monday without missing a beat,” says Peggy Duncan, an Atlanta-based professional organizer. Create a Monday-specific to-do list, line up necessary files, and tag e-mails that require attention. If you have to check your work calendar over the weekend, do it Sunday morning to avoid having the prospect weigh on you all day, then dive into a distraction (exercise, playtime with the kids) to keep yourself from becoming consumed with work thoughts. If it is within your control, don’t schedule Monday-morning meetings. “They just add to the sense of dread,” Duncan explains.

Getting your act together at the end of the week can be a boon to all aspects of your life, from planning meals and organizing carpools to managing long-term school projects. Anticipating challenges preweekend will prevent late-night dashes to the market and Staples, and the headaches that go with them.

Be a Social Animal

Slipping into hermit mode is all too easy come Sunday, especially in the short days before daylight saving time kicks in. But there is plenty of research that shows that people who are less social tend to be less happy. And a Sunday already potentially mired in the blahs is when you’ll need contact with others the most. Can you stay in your pj’s and communicate on Facebook? “Perhaps,” says Mogilner. “But connecting over a computer isn’t as effective as connecting with living, breathing humans.”

Any regular Sunday social ritual—church for some, yoga or softball for others—can lift spirits. In fact, a 2010 study published in American Sociological Review found that people who routinely attend religious services were more satisfied with their lives than were those who didn’t. The reason, researchers determined, isn’t just related to faith; it’s also about having friends in the congregation who give people a sense of belonging and, in turn, higher levels of well-being.

You may get similar benefits without joining a formal group. Institute a standing date with pals to skip the exhausting back-and-forth of making plans, suggests Gretchen Rubin, the author of Better Than Before ($19, amazon.com), a book about mastering good habits. “Being accountable makes it much more likely that you won’t back out at the last minute,” she adds. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated. (Who wants to wash a fondue pot on Sunday night?) And it doesn’t have to involve many people. Something low-maintenance—like a scheduled phone call with your sister, margaritas with the neighbors, or even Yahtzee night with the kids—can make all the difference.

Volunteering is one more way to connect, but it has an unexpected perk, too. Giving away your time makes you feel as if you have more time, reports a 2012 study published in Psychological Science. Hence, it extends your weekend. “You get a sense that you’re doing a lot with your time,” says Mogilner, who worked on the study. “That inspires you to do more later on that day,” which leads to more satisfaction. It’s a tactic to fend off that “Where did the weekend go?” spiral.

Make Over Sunday Night

Why is it that 7 p.m. on a Sunday feels like 11 p.m., but on every other day of the week 7 p.m. is just the start of the evening? Maybe because our idea of “doing nothing”—say, binge-watching Game of Thrones—is not necessarily the best medicine for relieving the Sunday blues.

Active leisure—a book club, practicing yoga, or even going to the movies—will make you happier than choosing something that is passive. “If you’re engaged in an activity that keeps you moving, you’re absorbed in the moment and your mind has much less room to allow workweek worries to sneak in and take hold,” says Mogilner. So while we’re forever grateful to HBO for transforming Sunday nights, you may want to DVR your favorite episodes and watch them on a night less fraught with anxiety—say, hump day.

Source:
The above story is based on materials found on realsimple.com. The original article was written by Yolanda Wikiel. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

The 8 Commandments of Fighting Fairly

Quarreling with your partner doesn’t have to wreck the relationship—in fact, it can actually help. Just follow these expert ground rules.

Whether you’ve been in a relationship for a few months, a few years, or a few decades, you’re bound to fight with your partner at some point. But what constitutes “fighting” is different for every couple: Some only admit to having disagreements; others say they occasionally bicker; some seethe in silence, while others don’t believe they’ve had a real fight until someone yells. “There are negative and unhealthy ways to fight, but disagreeing is not unhealthy,” says Laurie Mintz, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of Florida and author of Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex. Since you’re going to squabble, try these eight ways to stay in fighting form without going down for the count.

Keep the goal of the fight in mind.

“The goal of the fight is to get closer, to understand each other better, to resolve an issue so you don’t have to face it over and over again,” says Mintz. Take a deep breath during the fight and think to yourself, “This is a person I love and respect and they probably have a valid point. I need to listen and to find a grain of truth in what they’re saying.” Nothing de-escalates an argument more than someone acknowledging the truth in what the other person is saying, even if they’re not in complete agreement.

Voice grievances the right way.

Before the fight even begins, couples should ideally share a culture of appreciation and respect so that they don’t resort to defamation of character, says Carrie Cole, M.Ed., LPC-S, Certified Gottman Master Trainer, Center For Relationship Wellness. If you want to have a difficult discussion before it becomes a fight, Mintz suggests saying, “There’s something I want to talk about, is this a good time?” Then start the conversation in a gentle way and take ownership of your issue, saying, “I have a problem with…[fill in the blank],” suggests Cole. Allow yourself to accept input from your partner and try to see things from their point of view. Remember, part of the reason you’re with this person is that your value systems are aligned.

Know when it’s okay to go to bed mad.

You probably heard that “you should never go to bed angry,” but experts say there are times when you might need to sleep on the issue. If you or your partner is exhausted—or one of you drank alcohol that escalated the fight—it’s okay to say, “I love you, let’s talk about it in the morning.” By then, hopefully the intensity will have dissipated, and one of you might realize you were just tired or feeling sensitive. “You have to judge the situation,” says Mintz. “If you’re too exhausted to resolve a fight, stop it before it goes downhill fast.” Just be sure to address it within 24 to 48 hours, before you get wrapped up in life again. Because if you just “move on” but aren’t emotionally connected, the next argument that comes up will likely include this fight in it as well and be too overwhelming to deal with, says Cole.

Don’t have a “kitchen sink” fight.

If you and your partner are arguing about finances, don’t throw in “everything and the kitchen sink,” meaning other grievances you have about parenting, in-laws, sex, or anything else that isn’t immediately relevant. Keep the fight focused on what you’re fighting about. Resolve one issue at a time and don’t bring everything into it. If there’s an issue from the past that keeps resurfacing when you argue, set aside time to deal with it when you’re not mad, or consider addressing it in couples counseling.

Be a master communicator.

While you might be tempted to unleash fury on your husband when he’s late picking you up, it’s better to start with “I” statements and own your feelings. We know it’s not easy to speak calmly and share your emotions when you’re fired up about something, but yelling, “You left me waiting for 20 minutes and are so inconsiderate!” will elicit a different response from your partner than, “I was left waiting for 20 minutes and it made me feel uncared for and hurt.” Describe yourself rather than your partner. “Instead of calling your partner a liar, say something like, ‘I need transparency and honesty,’” says Cole.

Put yourself in timeout.

If things are getting heated and the fight isn’t going well, take a break. When you get very upset, your heart rate goes up and stress hormones are released, says Cole. Not only that but the brain’s frontal lobes, which handle logic and communication skills, shut down. What is activated in the brain is the “flight or fight response” that our cavewoman ancestors used to deal with life-threatening situations. The bottom line: When you’re angry, you might be in danger of engaging your mouth before your brain and saying something hurtful, so tell your partner that you need a timeout to think it through, suggests Mintz.

Remain emotionally trustworthy.

Avoid saying things like “I’m done,” “Let’s end this,” or “I want a divorce” when you’re in a fight. “Someone might say this because they want to grab their partner’s attention,” says Cole. “But it makes their partner feel unsafe and insecure in the relationship.” If those kinds of things get said often, then the partner either stops believing them, or feels that sharing feelings will “end” the relationship. “Bad words are like bullets—you can’t take them back once they’re out,” says Mintz. Fighting fairly is about slowing yourself down and asking yourself if you’re arguing to get closer or to hurt your partner. If you did say something that hurt your loved one, stop and say, “I messed up, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that.”

Pick and choose your battles.

When you’re living with someone, it’s safe to assume they’re going to do things that you don’t agree with or that get under your skin. While you shouldn’t complain about every annoying thing your partner does, if one of them truly hurts or upsets you and you can’t let it go, make sure you address the issue so it doesn’t appear in other fights, suggests Mintz. And be willing to “give in” on some things. Decide what you are willing to be flexible with (perhaps not griping out loud about dirty socks left on the floor) and work to resolve things you feel more strongly about (like if your partner makes fun of you in front of friends).

Story Source: The above story is based on materials found on realsimple.com. The original article was written by Diana Kelly.
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.