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Relaxing with Rob
10 minutes | May 31, 2020
Be Kind to Yourself
There’s enough criticism in the world without targeting yourself. Jess Glynne’s 2015 song, “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself” expresses this nicely.To offer feedback on my podcast, please write to: email@example.com
7 minutes | May 24, 2020
Distinguish Problems from Inconveniences
You might be less anxious if you recalibrate your stress meter and consider some problems as simply “inconveniences.” Here’s a non-affiliate link to Robert Fulghum’s book that inspired today’s topic. I also encourage you to support local booksellers and borrow from your public library.
7 minutes | May 17, 2020
Be More Grateful & Creative
A simple but challenging experiment could produce gratitude in the short term and creativity in the long term.
8 minutes | May 10, 2020
Turn Back the Clock
Aging may be inevitable, but holding a negative stereotype about it is not. Research from Harvard psychologist Ellen J. Langer shows that we can actually turn the clock back in surprising ways through shifts in our expectations. Here’s a non-affiliate link to Langer’s book on mindful health.
7 minutes | May 3, 2020
Worry Less about Others' Opinions
It’s normal to worry about others’ opinions of you, but it’s not necessary. Two ways to break free from this are: 1) desensitize yourself by assuming that it’s always going to happen; and 2) recognize that their critiques are directed at your “social self,” not your “essential self.” Here’s a non-affiliate Amazon link to Martha Beck’s book that I reference in the episode.
7 minutes | Apr 26, 2020
You don’t have to attend a graduation ceremony to benefit from commencement speakers. Here’s a link to Anne Lamott’s 2003 address at the University of California, Berkeley that explores mindfulness and compassion with humor and insight. I believe that in 2020, her comments have become even more relevant.
10 minutes | Apr 19, 2020
Simplifying our lives can reduce our stress.Here are three suggestions:Donate stuff.Let go of draining relationships.Act as if you already have more than enough.This is a non-affiliate link to Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s book, Gift from the Sea.And here’s a longer passage (pages 17-18) from the 50th anniversary edition:“I want first of all . . . to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact—to borrow from the language of the saints—to live "in grace" as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, "May the outward and inward man be at one." I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God.”—Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea
9 minutes | Apr 12, 2020
Rationalize for Happiness
Research on happiness from social psychologist Daniel Gilbert can help us in surprising ways.Here’s a non-affiliate link to Gilbert's book on happiness. I also encourage you to support your local booksellers and borrow from your library. And here’s a link to one of Gilbert's TED Talks.
9 minutes | Apr 5, 2020
Avoid Snap Judgments
In circumstances that don't require snap decisions, consider three ways of tolerating stress in order to improve your judgment.For your convenience, here's a non-affiliate link to the Malcom Gladwell book Blink that I mention.
11 minutes | Mar 29, 2020
Return to Wellness
Our beliefs about illness may sometimes help in our healing. These authors share insights on how this occurs:Rilke's book (Stephen Mitchell translation for Kindle)Jerome Groopman's Amazon pageKate Bowler's bookThe PLOS ONE study on placebos for IBS
9 minutes | Mar 22, 2020
Edit Your Life
Although you may not claim full authorship credit for your life, you can freely edit any time. Here's what might help from Donald Miller's book, A million miles in a thousand years: What I learned while editing my life. And if you'd like more, this is a non-affiliate link to his book list.
7 minutes | Mar 15, 2020
Joy of an Average Day
Joy can be sustained in average lives more readily than in exceptional ones. Why not experiment for just a day, and then see how you feel?Here's the link to Michael Neill's article on which this episode is based:https://www.michaelneill.org/mnct829.shtml
6 minutes | Mar 12, 2020
SPECIAL -- Calm in a Crisis
During a pandemic, calm rational action is far more effective than fear-based behavior. This Centers for Disease Control site is an excellent source of guidance.
8 minutes | Mar 8, 2020
Working Through Change
Since change is the only constant in life, here are some ways to manage it gracefully.Acknowledge its reality.Stay present and mindful.Learn from past changes.Control your reactions.Focus on what comes next.
7 minutes | Mar 1, 2020
Change Your Genes
Our genetic structure is fixed, but we can influence how genes express themselves, and thus improve our health.To slow (and in some cases reverse) cellular aging:Eat healthfully.Exercise regularly.If you drink, do so in moderation.Quit tobacco products.Reduce stress.Here’s the independent nutrition site I mention: https://nutritionfacts.orgThis video summarizes research on the power of a plant-based diet (specifically in reducing saturated fat intake) to slow cellular aging.This video on stress management research highlights well-designed studies, including one showing that just 12 minutes of daily meditation for eight weeks can lengthen your telomeres—helping reverse cellular aging.
8 minutes | Feb 23, 2020
Not All Thoughts Are True
Overthinking (especially about the future) is rarely worth its price. Although learning from the past and planning for the future are essential, the real action is in the present.
10 minutes | Feb 16, 2020
Increase Optimal Experience (a.k.a. "Flow")
Learn evidence-based ways to feel happier and more engaged. Although what you do for a living matters, how you do it is even more important.If you would like to learn more, here are some resources:https://positivepsychology.com/what-is-flow/Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper Perennial. https://psycnet.apa.org/buy/1999-11644-003
13 minutes | Feb 12, 2020
BONUS exercise -- Guided Imagery for Success
Try this guided imagery exercise to help prepare for an important event (e.g., interview, exam, or presentation). For an excellent resource on guided imagery, I recommend this book by Martin Rossman, M.D.
8 minutes | Feb 9, 2020
Embrace Your Imperfections
Since expecting perfection leads to disappointment, why not use your imperfections to connect better with people? This reduces anxiety and builds interpersonal bridges.
7 minutes | Feb 2, 2020
Being yourself is not easy, but it’s worth the risk. The song, “This Is Me,” by Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble, might inspire your effort.
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