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On Spirituality and the Good Life

Article Summary:  How spirituality and the good life are related, including the benefits of having a spiritual practice and examples of it. +++ We all want to live a good life, but are we living in such a way as to make it likely? In many cases, the cultural influences around us aren’t helping. Think about it. How many of us feel anxious and stressed much of the time? To what degree are we influenced by cultural messages and forces related to consumerism and materialism, status and ego, fear and greed, manipulation and division? How many of us feel time-starved and struggle

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The Importance of Service in Living a Good Life

These days, it’s easy to become self-involved. So much is coming at us so quickly. We live in a world of speed and busyness in an age of social media, celebrities, and influencers. These cultural influences are strong, pulling our egos toward a certain way of living that can become superficial and materialistic. We can be obsessed with climbing professionally, with chasing success. And we can take all that we have for granted, as we’re so focused on chasing more. This may keep us occupied (if not overloaded), but it’s not a recipe for good living. In all the chase,

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Journaling: Benefits and Best Practices

We humans have been journaling, writing diaries, or otherwise writing down our thoughts, feelings, and experiences for centuries. It’s a practice that dates back to the ancients. And it’s a tool that’s been used by pilgrims, explorers, soldiers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and artists. People journal for different reasons. Some people journal to engage in deeper reflection, while others do it to help manage stress or process difficult experiences. Some journal as a way to reinforce their strengths or accomplishments; others focus on gratitude. Many therapists, counselors, and coaches recommend journaling, and many teachers assign it in schools. Those who journal are

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meditation illustration

Why We Need Meditation and Mindfulness Now More than Ever

With the way we’re living in the world today, many of us struggle with stress, anxiety, and other harmful mental states. Many people struggle with worrying, overthinking, or ruminating. Some struggle with “monkey mind,” with thoughts swinging wildly in different directions. In some cases, we’re too frazzled to have a rich inner life, and our hearts are heavy with the burdens of the day and concerns of the world. Enter meditation. With meditation, we can train our minds to become more present, focused, and still. We can train our attention and awareness, helping us feel calm and clear. Meditation is

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What Reflecting on Death Can Teach Us about Living

Death. We have a tendency to avoid thinking about it, talking about it, and planning for it. For many, death is their greatest fear. So much left behind. So many mysteries. It doesn’t help that so many of us are cut off from nature in the modern developed world. We have so many amenities and conveniences and so much sheltering that we rarely encounter the natural phenomenon of death all around us, from the animal and plant kingdoms to the birth and death of galaxies and stars. Because of our anxieties and fears, we revert to avoidance and denial. It

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Why Self-Awareness Is So Important–And How to Develop It

Article Summary:  Self-awareness is critical in our life, work, and relationships, but many of us struggle with it. How to develop self-awareness. +++ To be self-aware is to have a good understanding of ourselves, including conscious knowledge of our feelings, motives, and desires. Self-awareness (also known as self-knowledge) involves having a clear, accurate, and deep understanding of our emotions, values, strengths, and weaknesses. It also involves having a realistic view of ourselves, including a good and true sense of how we’re coming across to others. In her book, Insight: The Surprising Truth About How Others See Us, How We See

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reframing

The Power of Reframing to Change Our Outlook

Article Summary: Many of us suffer with a large volume of negative thoughts. Reframing is a powerful practice that can change the way we see the world and ensure that we’re responding intentionally and not reacting automatically (and negatively) to things. On the power of reframing. +++ Many of us are walking around much of the time in a mild state of anxiety, frustration, or negativity, and it colors almost everything we think and do. Our thought-streams are heavy with negative self-talk, worrying, rumination, and harsh self-judgment from our unhealthy propensity to engage in flawed and superficial comparisons. According to

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Nature – path by water trees and mountains

The Benefits of Nature and Getting Outside

How much time do you spend inside? How about staring at a screen? These days, we’re spending more and more of our time indoors and online. Many people don’t get outside enough. Too many of us are nature-deprived. It’s part of a larger historical trend from the Industrial Revolution. With bigger cities and factories and more office work and indoor living, more and more of us have started feeling separate from nature—or even alienated from it. This has real implications. Richard Louv, an author and co-founder of the Child & Nature Network who coined the term “nature deficit disorder,” noted:

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Great Sleep for Health, Wellness, and Great Work

Good nutrition, exercise, and sleep are three key drivers of our health and wellness. No surprise there, but that doesn’t mean we’ve got them covered. In this article, we focus on great sleep for health, wellness, and great work. (We covered nutrition and exercise in previous articles.) Sleep is the “sleeper” of the three—often overlooked but hugely important. I used to focus mostly on exercise and nutrition but have recently come to see how sleep really is the linchpin. “Sleep is the most underrated health habit.” -Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer, Wellness Institute, Cleveland Clinic   Many People Struggle

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Exercise and Movement for Health, Wellness, and Great Work

There are three key drivers of our health and wellness: good nutrition, exercise, and sleep. They may seem simple and obvious, but that doesn’t mean we’ve got them covered. In this article, we focus on exercise for health and wellness. (We cover nutrition and sleep in separate articles.)   The Problem of Not Enough Exercise Many people struggle with not getting enough exercise—and with too much sitting and sedentary behavior. Adults between age 20 and 75 (from a sample of more than 2,600) reported spending an average of 9.5 hours of sedentary time each day, not including sleep. It’s been

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Good Nutrition for Health and Wellness

Three things can rev up our health and energy engine: good nutrition, exercise, and sleep. They may seem simple and obvious, but that doesn’t mean that they’re easy to implement consistently over time. Here, we focus on good nutrition for health and wellness.   The Problem of Poor Nutrition Unfortunately, many people struggle with poor nutrition. The “standard American diet” as they call it is, well, SAD. In his book, How Not to Die, esteemed American physician and author Dr. Michael Greger notes the following: “Our diet is the number-one cause of premature death and the number-one cause of disability.”

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The Incredible Grounding Power of Self-Acceptance

The Incredible Grounding Power of Self-Acceptance

We humans just want to fit in. A big part of our sense of security comes from feeling accepted by the group. But what about accepting ourselves? Many people struggle with self-acceptance. That means acceptance of all of our attributes, positive or negative. It means accepting our strengths and faults without judgment. For us to enjoy life and thrive, we must learn to embrace all aspects of ourselves, not just the positive or admirable. We must get better at accepting our thoughts, feelings, intuitions, values, preferences, and actions. Can we acknowledge our faults, weaknesses, and mistakes without beating ourselves up

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Getting Good at Asking for Help

Many people struggle with asking for help. It just doesn’t feel right, or it goes against their nature. This fits with a narrative we’ve been fed all our lives. In our culture, we tend to worship the self-made man or woman. We’re told to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps (a truly ridiculous phrase, if we stop to think about it). Perhaps we grew up admiring the Lone Ranger, Superman, Ironman, or Wonder Woman. It’s part of U.S. history, with the rugged individualism and self-reliance inherited and lionized from the frontier days of the Wild West.* We value being independent

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Setting Boundaries—Why It’s Hard and How to Do It

Article Summary:  Setting boundaries is one of the hardest things for many people to do but it’s a powerful and empowering personal development practice. And costly if we don’t do it well. This article addresses why it’s hard, its benefits, and how to do it well. +++ Boundaries are dividing lines that mark the limits of an area. If we pause to notice, we can see boundaries all around us. The boundary of our body. Our apartment walls or home and property line. State and national borders. The boundaries of sports. In soccer, it’s sidelines, penalty areas, goals, and goal

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The Powerful Practice of Acceptance

The Powerful Practice of Acceptance

We all face challenges, uncertainties, and disappointments. These are features of human life. The question is how we react to them. Often the way we react to something ends up being worse than the thing itself—causing us more pain for much longer. We wallow in resentment or bitterness, adopt a victim mentality, or ruminate and complain, extending the cycle of misery. When we take something difficult and add resistance to it, it only adds to our suffering. One powerful practice to break this cycle is “radical acceptance,” accepting situations outside our control without judging them. The idea is to reduce

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