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Equanimity, Impermanence, Non-Duality, and Emotional Balance

A stream-of-conscious contemplation into the nature of equanimity and emotional balance.

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Know Your Passion: 5 Identifiers of What Makes You Really Tick

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How do you know when you’ve found a passion of yours? Maybe you just feel it, or maybe it’s not always clear. Sometimes you need to dig in a little, try it out, and see if it fits. Other times you know immediately.

Here are 5 key identifiers that are true for almost any passion:

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Money On My Mind: Tips for Financial Wellness


One clinical psychologist in Atlanta recently wrote a call to action (PDF) saying money has become an unhealthy taboo in psychotherapy.

The main point of the essay was to say that financial troubles, especially in a rough economy, can become great sources of stress, anxiety, and depression for many individuals; and this can often be an overlooked aspect of mental health. In addition to stresses and anxieties, many individuals develop dysfunctional attitudes toward money, some of which could be considered forms of mental disorders, now coined “money disorders.”

Klontz and Klontz suggested a range of possible money-related disorders in their book Money Over Mind. These included money-worshiping, rooted in the belief that more money provides the answers, which can lead to such behaviors as overspending, compulsive buying, unreasonable risk-taking with money, pathological gambling, hoarding, and workaholism; and money-avoidance, which includes “behaviors such as financial denial, where denial is used to defend against or minimize money problems, or financial rejection where feelings of guilt or unworthiness are associated with money.” Avoidance disorders can also include under spending and excessive risk-aversion.

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This Is Just Who I Am


So often I hear people say the phrase “This is just who I am.” I have to admit I have a love-hate relationship with this idea. On one end of the spectrum, it is an act of acceptance, which can be incredibly useful for acknowledging those aspects of our life that we have no direct control over.

Say you have a chronic illness that there is no known cure for, it is important to acknowledge such conditions without having unrealistic expectations, which can often only lead to more unnecessary suffering.

At the same time, recognizing the limitations we have to deal with doesn’t mean we need to identify with these limitations completely. I was recently browsing a forum for individuals with bipolar disorder and someone commented on how they hate people who say “I’m bipolar,” because it’s too identifying (“I am bipolar.”) He felt that it would be more accurate to say, “I’m a human being with bipolar.” It is important to be cautious not to let one attribute of our lives define our whole being. Remember, if you have life-long condition like bipolar disorder, you aren’t just “bipolar,” you are also a human being, a friend, a husband, a painter, or whatever.

On the other hand, many of us who say “this is just who I am” don’t say so because we have some intrinsic condition. We only say so because we have a poor track record with certain habits or patterns. When something seems to be happening again and again to us, it can often feel as if it is an intrinsic part of our existence, even if it isn’t.

The truth is we are always changing. When I look back on my life, I am not the same person today as I was 10 years ago. Furthermore, I doubt I will be the same person 10 years in the future as I am today.

It’s misleading to say “this is just who I am” after I recognize that my life is multidimensional and in a constant state of flux.

As the philosopher Heraclitus once said “You can never step into the same river twice.” And the same is true for our experience. We can never duplicate an experience, because conditions are always changing and we are always adapting in new ways.

I personally find this belief empowering. Because once we acknowledge the idea that change is an intrinsic aspect of existence itself, we are in a much better position to influence that change in positive and effective ways. The same cannot be said if we only identify to a static state of conditions.

So my big point here is to be more mindful when you think or say things like “this is just who I am,” as many times it can be a very limiting belief. Instead, embrace self growth and change. Look at the evidence of change that has already occurred in your life, and use that as a motivation to propel future personal development.


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Quick Tips for Reframing Your Perspective

reframing


Reframing is our ability to look at a situation or experience from another perspective so that we can learn something new or think and feel better about a past event. Some ways we can reframe include:

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