Today is National “Talk to a Stranger” Day


trucktimpI just got home from a long trip, flying one way across the country then driving back (to help my sister move from Florida to Idaho <- there’s me driving the moving truck into Provo Canyon), and one of the best things about the trip was talking to strangers.

There were casual chats with stewardesses, asking directions to the beach (when my ride from the airport was a few hours late), sunbathers who agreed to watch my bag while I wandered through the surf, a kite surfer who offered to let me use his other kite (unfortunately, my ride was arriving in a few minutes so I couldn’t accept), other travelers in truck stops and restaurants, one of whom borrowed my phone since she forgot hers at her daughter’s who she had been visiting in St Louis, and so on. They usually seemed surprised and pleased to enjoy a brief conversation with someone they had never met and will never see again.

kidswendysI know, I know, your mom taught you not to talk to strangers; but you were a child then. Now you’re an adult and talking to strangers is usually safe (so this advice may not apply to my niece and nephews, though everyone they talked to along the way smiled especially big). It also brings our world a bit closer together – and that’s a good thing: studies keep showing that connection is one of the greatest sources of happiness and it’s steadily fading from our social-media-infected world. Continue reading


A Plea for Pluralism


Unity, Pluralism, The Divided States of AmericaPLURALISM. That’s what’s on my mind, Facebook; thanks for asking.

Pluralism means THERE ARE A LOT OF DIFFERENT LIFESTYLES and opinions in our society and if we want to run a successful society, then WE NEED TO RESPECT EACH OTHER and GET ALONG.

This DOES NOT MEAN stamping out all differences! It means CELEBRATING them.

The Great Seal of the United States includes the phrase, “E Pluribus, Unum,” which means, “Out of many, one.” Are we even trying to be one anymore? Or will we eventually change our name to “The Divided States of America”? (“Amer,” means “bitter” in French, which seems appropriate to point out here.) Continue reading


How to See Yourself


How would you like to be a happier, more confident person and a better friend and family member? This post contains a few chapters from the 99¢ ebook “How to See Yourself and Others” which reveals the easiest and most effective way to make your life and connections far, far closer and more rewarding than you can probably now imagine.

afroThe Human Experience

Once upon a time, seven billion people woke up, went to work and school and play, walking and running and driving, sitting, standing, buying, selling, eating, talking, bumping into one another, hugging, kissing, laughing and crying…and no one saw them.

They sort of saw each other. They saw their bodies and expressions, their clothes and hairstyles, their cars, homes, titles and activities.

But no one saw their souls. No one saw who they really are.

“It’s okay,” one of them said, “I didn’t want to be seen anyway. If people knew who I really am, they might not like me.”

“I’m lonely,” admitted another. “I wish someone understood and loved me for who I am.”

“Who am I?” asked a third, “and what am I doing here? How can I find out?”

The seven billion people went to sleep, then woke up and did it all over again the next day. Continue reading


How to Repulse Energy Vampires



“Mmmm,” the vampire thinks to him/herself while looking over your glowing aura, “that much energy could sustain me for months!”

Your happy smile slowly fades as dark clouds creep across the bright morning sky. You don’t understand why you’ve begun feeling more down than usual lately. Nothing is actually wrong, nothing you can name; life should continue going great! But it’s just…not, exactly. You feel more tired and less optimistic than usual. If only you could shake off this miasm, then you could get back to being your normal, cheerful, productive self.

Some energy vampires are overt and obvious. They complain. They undermine every effort with negativity and pessimism. They criticize, blame, and argue. Such incessant actions create a heavy iron anchor that you must drag behind you if you can’t avoid them. “See?” they ask as you grow weary and irritable from carrying their load, “didn’t I tell you how awful the world is?” Continue reading


Depression is Simple


Depression is when your favorite feelings go on vacation without you.Here’s the simplest & most helpful explanation of depression you’ll ever read:

Depression happens when life tips too far away from the light for too long, and your heart and mind take a partial vacation.

Depression is a safety valve, like when you turn on too many appliances in your home and blow a fuse. If your system didn’t partially shut down, your overloaded circuits would have experienced a worse melt down later on. Continue reading


Thinking Distortions


seeclearlyIf you ever find yourself feeling frustrated that things aren’t working out better or suffer from any degree of anxiety, depression, or low self esteem, then there’s a strong chance it has something to do with Cognitive Distortions. If you’ve never heard of these pesky bad habits, then you’ve been missing out on a huge opportunity to make your life better and easier!

To be concise, thinking distortions are ways we sometimes think that – when you actually think about them – make no sense and often destroy your mood, motivation, and chance at living a happy, successful life.

Read through the list below and see which patterns you recognize in your life. Sometimes merely recognizing irrational thoughts when they happen provides enough clarity for you to stop thinking that way.

In case that’s not enough, we’ll also provide examples of more accurate, balanced perspectives. Get in the habit of correcting your own thinking distortions each time you catch yourself making one. It may seem difficult at first, but turns easy as soon as you create some new neural pathways in your brain.

If you want even more help to correct your thought habits, then order The Feeling Good Handbook, by Dr. David Burns, who pioneered this topic. He provides a helpful worksheet where you:
1. Write down your thought/perception.
2. Write how much you believe that thought (for example, 85%).
3. Identify which of the following thinking distortions apply.
4. Write how much you believe the thought *now* (for example, 15%).
This is a surprisingly effective exercise. You can usually buy the book for a few dollars on Amazon.

  1. All-or-nothing thinking: seeing things in black or white as opposed to shades of gray; thinking in terms of false dilemmas and false dichotomies. Often involves using terms like “always”, “every” or “never” when this is not true.
    Example: when an admired person makes a minor mistake, the admiration is turned into contempt.
    Reconsider: does that sound realistic? Maybe you saw one example where that seemed to happen, but did all the admiration vanish? What about all the others who make mistakes and are not despised? Look around and gather more evidence.
    Correction: we all make mistakes
    (haha, there’s a harmless all-or-nothing thought that empowers instead of disempowering!) and just because I made one today doesn’t mean I didn’t do a lot of other things well and come out ahead for the day! I’m a fabulous person! Continue reading