In an earlier post, Dr. Culbert discussed more about motivation and apathy and some very practical ways to deal with these concerns. In this article, I want to offer you some ways you can apply a mindfulness perspective to help you when you just can’t get yourself going.
First, a confession: I’m not always very motivated. But, neither are you…or anyone else! The reality is that motivation is a transient state. Sometimes you have it, and sometimes you don’t. That’s an invitation to stop seeing yourself as bad, broken, or lacking when you feel unmotivated or apathetic. You are human, and like everything else that you desire, motivation is impermanent.
It’s also helpful to know that motivation exists on a spectrum. You have varying degrees of motivation that are constantly in flux from one moment to the next, from one day to the next. On the days that motivation is low, try to remember that yesterday, a month ago,...
Do you struggle with low energy, decreased physical activity, or feeling like you just don’t want to do much, even though you have things you should do? Understanding your motivation and the role of apathy can help you tailor strategies to help you get back to feeling and moving more like you. Let’s dive in...
Motivation waxes and wanes naturally for all sorts of reasons. Those fluctuations are normally no big deal. Humans are complex and life is complicated, so lots of things can cause temporary decreases in excitement, energy, and the ability to get things done. Stressful events; a bad night’s sleep; or even subtle seasonal changes in activity, light exposure, and lifestyle habits can reduce motivation in ways that may just require a day or week of patience and recovery.
But, what if motivation remains MIA for too long? When does a lack of motivation or productivity become worrisome or represent something that needs to...
It makes sense that if you remain active you are likely to experience less physical and mental decline. But what if you’ve been a bit reluctant about exercise throughout your life and now you think it’s too late. Is there still hope for you?
Like most everything else in the body, the heart stiffens with age: it gets smaller, less pliable, and less efficient at filling and dispersing blood to the body. However, a recent study showed that exercise, even if you start later in life, can actually make your heart “younger.” The researchers divided a group of sedentary people between ages 45-64 into two groups. One group did non-aerobic exercise like yoga, stretching, and weight training. The other group did moderate to high-intensity aerobic activity 4 days or more per week. After 2 years, the second group showed dramatic improvements in heart function and overall health. It was as if they got younger.
That’s good news, but...
Last month's theme aimed at simplifying your obligations and space so that you can give more time and space toward healthy habits that nourish your body, mind, and heart. This month, you can take inspiration from nature and begin growing some new, healthy habits.
The focus this month is to incorporate more movement in your day that you enjoy and that nourishes your body, mind, and heart. With this in mind, the intention this month is:
Here are three strategies to focus on:
Note: After reading, click the play button above for the Journey to Your Heart Meditation.
I grew up in a family that saw feelings as a foreign language. We didn’t talk about them. We didn’t express them. We usually pretended we didn’t feel them. We loved each other, of course, but we weren’t that comfortable saying so. In our tribe, the path to recognition was paved with achievement. Talking about the heart? Not really a thing.
But if we don’t talk about the heart – the very core of who we are – we’re not living fully. This is how it was for me, at least. I spent my young adulthood in the corporate world – the world where doing and thinking count for a lot – and always knew something was missing. I longed for deeper connections with people. I realize now that I wanted a life of meaning, purpose, and feeling. I sometimes feel grateful for my near-drowning experience while...
“There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time.”
The above quote is from the 1740s. Today it is uncommon to get even one hour of truly uninterrupted, focused time. While working on your computer you might occasionally check your Facebook page or Twitter account, receive a text or voicemail, read or respond to an email, or be interrupted by a colleague. How often are you able to complete even one task without another message popping up and demanding your attention?
So, does it really matter if you’re distracted? Yes, it does if you care about your mood, stress level, sleep, brain health, and longevity. Human beings, it turns out, are not very good at dividing their attention.
No matter how great the demands placed on you, the idea of multitasking...
Spring brings with it the desire to declutter, simplify, and cleanse. This craving usually applies to the physical spaces we occupy liked packed closets, overstuffed junk drawers, and tucked away spaces. Cleaning out those external spaces can be very freeing (tip: take the “Pick and Purge” and/or “Clean Up” challenge from the April newsletter). However, extending that effort to your internal landscape can help identify and release unwanted emotions that have become burdensome and which clutter up your mind and heart. Shame and guilt are two very common emotions that could likely use some spring cleaning.
Guilt and shame are self-conscious emotions, often brewed up in response to a perceived transgression or shortcoming. Though similar in many ways, these emotions are different. Shame is particularly characterized by the desire to hide and escape. It’s usually about the “self” and can even take shape...
Most folks are overscheduled, overcommitted, and undernourished. Time for self-care can feel exhaustively absent. This over-taxed state of being can make goals for better health seem like impossible dreams.
The focus this month is to live more simply to create space for better health and resilience. This focus can help you prioritize effort, stay more motivated, and more confidently invite your health goals in and take action toward them. With this in mind, the intention this month is:
Here are three strategies to focus on:
Sound is an important sense that has a profound effect on the mind. Listening to soothing, soft music or nature sounds can quickly balance mind and body.
Tune Your Brain. It's possible to actually “tune” your brain in response to rhythmic, repetitive sounds embedded in music or natural noises. Therapists have developed special music that contains these repetitive beats or rhythms that can synchronize brain wave frequencies in the listener. This process is called brainwave “entrainment.”
Brain waves are a reflection of the electrical activity generated by brain cells, just like our heart generates electrical activity each time it beats. Brain waves come in five different varieties or “frequencies,” depending on their speed. Below, the five frequencies are listed from slowest to fastest:
The Calming Breath Technique addresses anxiousness and stress by emphasizing the exhalation. When you're anxious or agitated, your breath is shallow and rapid. On the other hand, when you're in a relaxed state, exhalation is easy, long, and full, with no sense of needing to rush to the next breath. You can cultivate a state of calm that can also help you fall asleep by consciously lengthening the exhalation. Here's how to do it:
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