How complaining only holds you back.

complaining angry mindfulness | Dr. Jason Winters | Therapy | Blogging on Squarespace

A great piece on the brain science behind complaining (and worry) and how we can re-train our brains to reduce the impact of negativity on our lives. It ties in nicely with cognitive behavioural therapy (restructuring the way that we think) and mindfulness (acceptance, living in the moment, and letting go of the past).


The Science of Happiness: Why complaining is literally killing you.
by Steven Parton
Sometimes in life, all the experience and knowledge simmering around in that ol’ consciousness of ours combines itself in a way that suddenly causes the cerebral clockwork to click into place, and in this fluid flow of thought we find an epiphany rising to the surface.
One such point for me came in my junior year at University. It changed the way I viewed the world forever as it catapulted me out of the last of my angsty, melancholic youth and onto a path of ever-increasing bliss. Sounds like I’m verging on feeding you some new-agey, mumbo-jumbo, doesn’t it? Well, bear with me, because I assure you the point here is to add some logical evidence to the ol’ cliches, to give you what I would consider my Science of Happiness. 

Read the rest here: link.

The Dude offers some sage advice.

The film The Big Lebowski is full of all sorts of wisdom that is directly relevant to therapy. I was first made aware of this by my mentor Dr. Mahesh Menon, who would occasionally quote The Dude in CBT group therapy at the hospital. If you haven't seen the movie, I recommend that you do. It's not for everybody, but there are tidbits in it that might help make it easier to let distressing thoughts, memories, and feelings go. The Dude just rolls with the punches. Two of my favourites.

The first relates to self-judgment, and rumination about our perceived past failures. These don't have to rule our futures. 

The second relates to negative thoughts. Thoughts are much like opinions - we don't have to buy into them or believe them, especially when they're trying to tear us down.

The Dude abides.

Introduction to mindfulness.

Mindfulness can be exceptionally helpful in alleviating the overwhelming nature of negative thoughts, beliefs, memories, emotions, and sensations.

The most crucial element of mindfulness is awareness. It is not about fighting off negative internal experiences; it's about recognizing and accepting them for what they are.

In the coming months, I will write much more about mindfulness. For the time being, this brief clip from Headspace, the most popular mindfulness app, provides a great introduction. Check it out:

Perfectionism and how to manage it.

When people think of perfectionism, the first thing that comes to mind is often work and achievement. Perfectionism can drive people to achieve great things, but it comes at a cost. Rarely is it possible to achieve absolute perfection, and for a perfectionist who sees themselves in a very black and white manner, anything less than perfect is experienced as a failure. And repeatedly feeling like a failure can take a toll; mental health can suffer (among other things).

Perfectionism impacts many domains of life, including relationships and body image, where it can have similar negative effects. This article discusses perfectionism in more detail, and provides some helpful antidotes.


From the Emotion Machine:

If you want to never be happy or satisfied with your life, one great way to do that is to raise your expectations to an unrealistically high standard that can never possibly be met.
This is the essence of perfectionism. It’s the inability to be happy with something until it is perfect, without any flaws whatsoever. Of course, the problem with this mindset is that perfectionism is often an illusion. 
Life rarely works out exactly the way we want, in any domain – whether it’s relationships, work, or goals. 
And many times being more happy with your life requires that you let go of these expectations and learn to be more content with how things are, rather than how you picture they should be in an “ideal world.”
Many studies are beginning to show the many ways perfectionism can destroy your happiness.

Read the rest here.