Expand Your Mind and Life

Expand Your Mind and Life in 2014

By Dr. Melanie Greenberg, Clinical Psychologist, Speaker, and Writer

We look ahead to what we want to bring into our lives and how we can make positive changes for increased happiness and success. We seek to start afresh by clearing out the clutter, revising habits that no longer serve us, and healing our relationships.  Yet what many people don’t realize is that change starts in your own mind. Envisioning your goal, setting an intention to accomplish it, and believing that you can do it are the first steps that open the doorway to the rest of the staircase. Below are two practical and research-supported ways that you can develop a growth mindset and expand your possibilities for happiness and success.

Prioritize Your Own Needs and Goals

This is the time to take a fresh look at what it is that holds you back in life. For some of us it is being a people-pleaser. When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure that you aren’t saying ‘no’ to yourself and putting your own goals and needs on the back burner. Women in particular may feel guilty or anxious, if you don’t always put your family’s needs first or are not always able to be there for your friends.  Yet neglecting your own needs leads to resentment, which can poison your relationships.  Slowing down and taking time to meditate or exercise can often make your own needs clearer and give you the extra energy to advocate for yourself. Cultivating excitement and curiosity about your own goals and connecting with these feelings on a daily basis can help to energize and motivate you to schedule your own priorities first.

Cultivate Curiosity and Gratitude

Curiosity and gratitude are two personal qualities that have been examined in scientific studies and found to increase health and happiness.  Curiosity involves remaining open to exploring new possibilities and embracing change, rather than fearing it. Curiosity motivates us to learn new skills, connect with others, and push ourselves beyond what we have done before. Curious people are more creative and also report more meaning in life. They are more likely to experience states of ‘flow’ or optimal engagement in challenging or creative tasks, such that they don’t even notice time passing. Gratitude involves counting your blessings. It makes what you have into enough.  Cultivating gratitude means reining in your tendency to want what others have or see yourself as a victim.  Rather, you focus on savoring the positive aspects of life, such as the people who care for you and your own unique gifts and talents.  We each have our own journey and gratitude reminds us to think about how far we have come, not how far we still have to go.

Copyright  Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved

Melanie Greenberg

Dr. Melanie Greenberg is a licensed clinical psychologist in Mill Valley, California, a national speaker and author of the popular Mindful Self-Express Blog on Psychology Today. Born in South Africa, she obtained her Doctorate in Psychology from Stony Brook University in New York. She complete a Fellowship in Health Psychology in Manhattan, then worked for 15 years as a Psychology Professor in San Diego, teaching graduate students and mentoring their dissertations. In 2010, she began her clinical practice in the Bay area and began writing her personal blog. Her writing about Psychology, Mindfulness, Self-Compassion, and Mind-Body-Spirit Health soon attracted a large audience of loyal followers. She has over 30,000 Twitter followers and thousands of followers on other social media sites. She has spoken and given workshops to national and international audiences at meetings of the American Psychological Association, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and the like.  She is regularly quoted in national media, including CNN.com. Yahoo Voices, ABCNews.com, HuffPost Live and is currently writing a book on reorienting your mind from fear-focus to growth-focus.

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