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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Mental Health

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From the mother to the teacher to the waiter, we have had enough

LOIC VENANCE/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

We are Simone Biles. And Simone Biles is us. A day after the Olympian announced her withdrawal from the women’s gymnastics team final — and later the individual all-around — the Internet devolved into ridiculous chatter about the star athlete’s “toughness.” (Jesus, the woman has four gold medals.) Stepping back instantly re-ignited the debate over whether Tokyo 2020–2021 should have even happened — is the world ready? Are the athletes prepared? Should we be doing this yet? It also made Biles the poster girl of a very acute American identity crisis that is playing out all over the nation —…


None of them have anything to do with money, fame, or success

Licensed from Shutterstock // Ostanina Anna

How do you compare to the person you were ten, twenty, or thirty years ago? Are you kinder, braver, more principled? I’m fifty now, and those metrics matter to me. But that wasn’t always the case.

In my twenties, I lusted after money, job titles, and sex as trophies of a successful life. Those success criteria now seem laughable and childish. Yet, many of my peers still chase after the same cravings that drove them in their twenties. They’re frustrated with life. They feel left behind even though they’re rich. They’re aggrieved despite being blessed and privileged.

That’s what happens…


What a computer game about life has taught me about life

(Illustrations — Mark Starmach)

The turn of the 20th Century to the 21st Century was marked with many things — Y2K, the Sydney Olympics, Beanie Baby hysteria and ill-fitting jeans.

But none have impressed themselves as deeply into my psyche than the computer game franchise, ‘The Sims’.

First released in 2000, ‘The Sims’ was conceived by American game designer Will Wright, the mastermind behind a slew of highly successful simulation games in the 1990’s like ‘SimCity’, ‘Sim Theme Park’, and the oft-overlooked ‘SimAnt’. In each game the objective was to build, monitor and maintain the simulation of a complex system with many moving parts…


A neuroscientist is discovering that time in nature is one of the best ways to reduce stress and increase happiness and productivity. Here are the specific doses that work the magic.

Photo by Silvestri Matteo on Unsplash

In my new book The Comfort Crisis, which looks at the benefits of engaging with forms of mind-and-body-enhancing discomfort our ancestors faced every day, I spend a section unpacking all the benefits of the outdoors … of which, I found, there are a metric shit-ton.

The problem: Most of us today rarely experience the natural world. We spend 93 percent of our time indoors. More than half of Americans don’t go outside for any type of recreation at all. That includes the simple stuff like walking and jogging. The time we spend outdoors has declined over the past few of…


A therapist explains how to stay calm without trying to control others

Source: Canva

As we all relearn how to interact with other humans, many are finding other people’s emotions more contagious than ever. If you’re not paying attention, you might begin to feel over-responsible for their anxiety.

One of the first lessons I learned as a therapist was that the more quickly you try to calm someone down, the less effective you become at helping them. This is because quick reassurance or advice are often more about managing our own distress than they are about being a resource to someone.

So how do you stay in the room with an anxious person without…


At a recent press conference, an interviewer asked how he keeps his mind right

Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

In the midst of the NBA finals, following a string of awe-inspiring performances, 26-year-old Giannis Antetokounmpo was asked during a press conference how he keeps his mind right. His three-part answer, in his own words: “Focusing on the past is ego. Focusing on the future is pride. Focusing on the present is humility.”

What zen-master Giannis is saying, I think, is that when you are fully (or at least close to fully) in the present moment, you are automatically humbled.

Whatever happened in the past does not matter.

Whatever might happen in the future does not matter.

All that matters…


A 10-minute exercise that can help you get a handle on everything that’s happening in your life

Photo by Fakurian Design on Unsplash

There’s a drawing by New Yorker cartoonist Liana Finck that I think about often. A cross-section of a woman’s brain reveals partitions containing everything from thoughts about the climate disaster and work deadlines to what to have for lunch and the prospect of kangaroos going extinct.

It’s funny because it’s true: Our brains comprise so much, from the utterly inconsequential to the terrifyingly existential, all day every day.

But when life feels overwhelming — and truly, when does it not?—I’ve noticed that my brain’s system for allocating real estate can go a little haywire. I will start to make space…


A simple rule to help you overcome burnout

Photo: MicroStockHub/Getty Images

The other day, a close friend and I were texting about something hard happening in her life. I asked how she had been doing lately, and she gave it to me straight: “I feel like I’m doing everything I can to stay sane, but no matter what I do, it doesn’t balance the scales.” Enter distressed emoji.

My friend’s insightful (and extremely relatable) observation reminded me the Belgian researchers Isabella Roskam and Moïra Mikolajczak, who study parental burnout and effects. While burnout can feel a lot like stress and even anxiety and depression, it’s not just about the presence of…


Why slower and smaller is often better

Photo: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

For myriad reasons, the culture of the past two decades has been obsessed with growth. I am going to call this the growth era. In the growth era, it doesn’t so much matter what you are growing — your company, your audience, your income, your network, your muscles, or the size of your house — but just that you are growing. Growth is good, the story goes, and growth is an end in and of itself.

Perhaps it is time reconsider this convention. What if smaller is better?

In my coaching practice, very rarely do I help people get and…


There’s real power in minimizing your choices

The more choices we have the better, or so we think. But that’s not always the case. Constraints, that is, artificially minimizing choices, are becoming increasingly important to our mental health. We should embrace them in more areas of our lives.

Here’s why: In a world where technology is accelerating, you have access to what, for all intents and purposes, is infinity in more areas of your life. …

Forge

A publication from Medium on personal development.

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