A Mindful View of Motivation

focus foundations joy May 22, 2018

By Henry Emmons, MD

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,...

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Apathy: A Common Barrier to Motivation

By Tim Culbert, MD

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...

The Flow of Motivation

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...

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Living in a World of Distraction

focus Apr 17, 2018

By Henry Emmons, MD

“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.”

-Lord Chesterfield

 

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?

The Side Effects of Multitasking

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...

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Emotional Spring Cleaning

calm focus joy Apr 10, 2018

By Tim Culbert, MD

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

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...

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Dr. Culbert on Childhood ADHD: "The Kids Are All Right"

Excerpt. Mpls St Paul Magazine; January 30, 2015

The Kids Are All Right

Who’s fighting America’s childhood ADHD epidemic? Dr. Tim Culbert, one deep breath at a time.

Culbert winces and shrinks when he describes the pressures on doctors to diagnose ADHD in kids.

“A lot of characteristics we are supposed to medicate these kids for would be positives in another context: High-energy people who can shift focus easily—that can describe Albert Einstein just as easily as it can describe a kid who can’t sit through six hours of lectures in a classroom. Someone who makes frequent loose, tangential associations? You could call that person unfocused, or a good musician or marketer. Yet if you give a kid a label, you’re going to leave him thinking he’s a lousy thinker,” Culbert says, adding that people tend to give up more easily after the diagnosis has been made.

“A lot of schools say: If you can’t sit in a classroom for six hours and...

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