Pay attention to the subtle red flags.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

During my first few weeks at college, I made friends with a guy who seemed really smart and proactive. We barely knew each other but we got along well — we exchanged notes, drank coffee between lectures, I lent him some of my CDs (yeah, those were still a thing at the time). But there was one thing about him that kept pecking at the back of my mind and I couldn’t quite make sense of it.

Whenever I asked him about the time, he would give a vague approximation. For example, if it was 3:20, he’d just say it was 3. If it was 6:35, he’d say it was 7. …


I still need them in 2021.

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Photo by Madison Inouye from Pexels

2020 was rough. That is an understatement.

I used to have a pretty solid morning routine but when we went into lockdown — the first of several long stretches of confinement — my routine was the first piece of normalcy to go out the window. I no longer had the time or solitude for elaborate morning rituals.

But there was one habit I managed to hold onto.

Every morning, I read a few pages while sipping a cup of freshly brewed coffee. And it wasn’t just any kind of reading.

“Your body adapts to what you eat. Your mind adapts to what you consume. What you feed yourself today is who you become tomorrow.” …


And how to fix them.

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Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

“Hey, hun, did you take the trash out?” — “No, I didn’t, but I didn’t see you taking the dog for a walk either!”

“But you promised to take the kids to the park today!! — “Well, you promised to vacuum the car but that didn’t happen so…”

Do these toxic conversations ring a bell?

Poor communication affects a huge number of couples and is, perhaps, the biggest predictor of marriage problems.

But how do you even know your communication is bad?

Passive-Aggressive Behavior

One of the tell-tale signs is that there’s a lot of passive-aggressive communication going on. Frequent silent treatments, jokes that are actual thoughts, condescending retorts, shifting the blame, yelling and screaming over insignificant things — all of this points to poor communication. …


Which one are you?

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Having a high IQ means you’re great at certain kinds of problem-solving. But this won’t always lead to greater joy and success in life.

Some extremely smart people keep making self-defeating choices. They get stuck in unpleasant situations and see no way to improve the situation.

I’d like to share five stories, with some details changed to protect anonymity.

1. The Constant Worrier

Andrew is a charming guy, he’s often the life of the party. He prides himself in being rational about everything, and he’s quick to make fun of superstitions or irrational thinking.

His friends don’t know that Andrew keeps losing sleep because of anxiety. He can’t stop worrying about his loved ones, and he keeps thinking about worst-case scenarios. He also worries about silly, inconsequential things, like small verbal gaffes and misunderstandings. Andrew’s wife believes he needs help with his anxiety — but Andrew dislikes the idea. He’s “the rational one” in their marriage, so he thinks his fears are rational too.


I seem to be keeping it together but I’m a ball of nerves inside.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

I never thought I was anxious because I was always able to cross out the majority of items on those ‘Tell-tale Signs of Anxiety’ lists.

Never have I ever had a panic attack, avoided social interactions, or had trouble sleeping. I never thought I was anxious until I read about something called high-functioning anxiety.

Unlike typical anxiety, high-functioning anxiety lets you handle anything that comes your way. In fact, you’ll probably do it impeccably.

It’s for this reason that people with high-functioning anxiety are often viewed as extremely poised, enthusiastic, and successful. But there’s a storm of insecurities brewing underneath it all. …


And make it a new habit in the new year.

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Photo by awar kurdish on Unsplash

After you’re done with the worries of the day and you’re snug and warm in bed, take 20 minutes or more to enjoy a book. Don’t check your phone, don’t let your mind wander to work, finances, or other ongoing problems. For a little while, give yourself over to reading.

Introducing this habit into your life is easy, and it is sure to improve your life. The benefits of bedtime reading include:

1. Stress-Relief and Improved Physical Health

Reading is a great way to stop ruminating before bed. You can stop or prevent the anxiety spirals that keep you up all night.

I used to try to meditate before bed, but I found it challenging — I can empty my mind but then it fills back up again. This is why reading is a godsend for me. It calms me down but it also gives me new things to think about. …


Don’t hesitate to rewrite your life script

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Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Earlier this month, I got to see this viral video of a former prima ballerina with Alzheimer’s moving her frail limbs to the sounds of the Swan Lake. It showed the immense power of music and its role in lighting up the forsaken neural pathways in our brains.

Awe-stricken as I was by her transformation, another thing caught my attention. It was the grace of the old lady’s body, as she was following the music in a reverie. Although she looked like a shadow of her old self, with her face and arms shriveled, this woman still had a formidable and powerful presence when she danced. …


This holiday season, I’m embracing sincerity.

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Photo by Mariana Kurnyk from Pexels

With the end of 2020 just around the corner, I’m reading retrospectives.

People keep talking about what they learned during the pandemic and how the experience changed them for the better. I keep seeing a bunch of positive spins on the situation — and some of them make me want to scream.

It’s not that I’m a hardcore pessimist. In fact, it’s my life philosophy to appreciate the opportunities life gives me. But I know people who are struggling with every aspect of life right now (which is understandable!) …


How I’m teaching my kids to be brave.

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Photo by Nick Bondarev from Pexels

As a dad, I want to keep my children safe from all the dangers of the world. When they’re distressed or scared, I want to be the one to protect them. But according to all the parenting advice I’ve ever read — as well as my own common sense — overprotective parenting makes it harder for kids to adapt to the challenges of growing up.

I don’t want to be one of those parents who never let their kids make mistakes. I want them to be confident and try new things. I also don’t want to fret about them spending time outside, even if they get their clothes dirty. Lockdown showed us exactly how bad it was when they were cooped up for weeks on end! …


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“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.”
Peggy O’Mara

If you have children you’ve probably heard the following questions a few times:

  • How long until you die, Dad? What will happen to us when you do? Where do people go when they die?
  • Why do wars happen? Why do people do bad things?
  • If animals feel pain, why do we eat them?
  • Are you and Mom going to get a divorce? How can you be so sure you won’t? Everyone keeps getting a divorce.

Your kids look to you for guidance, and your job is to help them understand what’s going on in society (and in your family, too). But the world’s messy, and you don’t always have easy answers. …

About

Eric Sangerma

Dad, Husband, Entrepreneur, Co-Founder of Wholistique. Connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericsangerma/

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