5 Steps to Increase Motivation

First time I’ve heard the term “Adrendlin dump,” but in pretty sure that’s how I’ve lived all my life. Basically what this article is saying is yo utilize mindfulness and avoid procrastination and doing things at the last minute due to the stress induced adrenaline dump. I am going to try this. Do things on a steady incremental fashion and be grateful for all I have. Great article and very helpful advice!


5 Steps to Increase Motivation 
By Laura C Meyer 

I hear it all the time: “I’m not motivated.” For many of my clients, they are referring to not having the motivation to perform basic life responsibilities such as paying bills, cleaning the house, making calls, and taking care of their health.

When do they get motivated? When they are in the danger zone. A late fee motivates them to pay bills. When friends come over, or when the house is so disgusting they can’t take it, is when they get motivated to clean. They get motivated to make a call just minutes before a negative consequence, and motivated to take care of their health in times of sickness.
What is really happening is that procrastination has trained the brain to dump adrenaline right before the event, and we get energy to take action. Adrenaline does give us energy, so we wait for the adrenaline dump to get motivated.
Things eventually get done; however, it comes with a huge physical cost, and low-level living that can lead to depression, anxiety, and lack of enjoyment. The undercurrent of daily living is a negative environment. Motivation to get things done comes from the danger zone of fear, worry, and anxiety. This can make life feel dull and hard, keeping the stress cycle of procrastination going and flooding your body with harmful stress hormones.
The good news is that you can change the undercurrent. Here are five steps to increase positive motivation for a healthier, happier life:
1. Educate yourself.
Know that the same human brain that dumps adrenaline has the same to potential to dump happy hormones such as serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine.
Serotonin gets released when you feel significant and important and have a sense of internal satisfaction. Endorphins (endogenous morphine) are the body’s natural opiates designed to relieve stress and enhance pleasure. They get released with certain foods, social connections, and light to moderate exercise. Dopamine motivates us to take action toward goals and desires, and gives us pleasure when achieving them. But you have to actually taking some action to release dopamine, even in small increments.

 2. Stop the adrenaline dump.
Pay at least one bill every week. This is not about the timely manner in which you pay bills; it’s getting your brain away from the danger zone to stop the adrenaline dump. Clean 10 minutes each day and maybe an hour on the weekend instead of the adrenaline-rushed four-hour “motivated” cleanup. Your brain will have no reason to dump adrenaline at the last minute if you do small increments and you get the benefit of helping your brain release dopamine more often.
3. Become aware of perceptions.
Simply observe thoughts while doing your small increments. Do you perceive the event as dreadful, painful, and boring? If so, you perceive the event as an emotional danger zone, and of course you procrastinate. Your brain also has potential to change thoughts toward perceived mundane activities which make up about 80 percent of daily life — such as eating, showering, cleaning, driving, and walking.
4. Be truthful.
Draw into the truth of the actual experience, not your creative stories about how dreadful it is. When you wash the dishes, feel the warm water. See the suds. Smell the dish soap. Pick up a cup and plate. Lift the cup into the drain board. Clean the cup. Is this really so dreadful?
When you pay bills, go to the bank website. Look at your balance. Open an envelope. See the amount owed. Pick up the checkbook. Reach for a pen. Write letters and numbers. Affix a stamp to the envelope. Walk to the mailbox. Or, lift your fingers a few times to pay online.
5. Tap into gratitude to finalize new perceptions, and know that there is more truth.
You are glad to have children who track mud in the house. You are glad to have a house to clean, to pay for, and for a cell phone bill that keeps you closer to friends and family. You are grateful to have a house that friends want to come to, and glad you have friends. You are glad to have the food that you are cleaning off dishes.
You are glad that you have a body that hugs and kisses, and is able to speak, see, and hear words of gratitude. You are grateful to have all these things, and you are motivated to take care of and appreciate them.

How Anger Affects the Brain and Body

Very informative. May be very helpful in dealing with anger. 

How Anger Affects the Brain and Body 

Anger can be one of the most challenging emotions that we work with.

Clients are sometimes afraid of their anger. Or, maybe they consider it inappropriate to even feel this way at all.

Not only that, when anger is misdirected, it often leads to poor choices, damaged relationships, and even violence.

But anger can actually be an asset to our clients . . . as long as it’s channeled properly.

So how can we help clients express their anger more effectively?

Here’s a tool you can use to help clients understand the impact of anger on the brain and body. 

It begins by helping them understand how anger is triggered, and what happens in the body and brain at the first spark of anger.

So we thought it would be helpful for you to have a way to illustrate this for your clients. (And please feel free to make a copy of this to share with them.)

(When you make copies to share, please be sure to include the copyright information. We put a lot of work into creating these resources for you. Thanks!)

Must start blogging

I’ve been gone a long while. Must start blogging again. Anxiety, adverse events in my family’s life, these have prevented me from writing my 2-3 posts daily. Well, I’m back. Will be on task. And I must start reading and commenting on all  the wonderful blogs of which I am a member. I simply must. This is my passion, I will not let it go. And lovely readers and friends, who have stuck by me through this difficult period, I thank you profusely. 

This One Skill Can Immediately Transform How You Feel

This is a wonderfully instructive and simple article to end your suffering, your bad moods, catastrophizing, ruminating on negative things and move your thoughts to more positive things, events in your life. 

After what happened to my precious son, as you can imagine, I have been in a very dark place myself. All manner of anxiety, fears, dark thoughts, questioning everything. I’ve been stuck in hell. Awful vivid pictures in my head, fear, anger, regret swirling in my brain. Ascawful a thing as happened when my son got mugged by about 10 people and had to use his bare hands to fight for his life, as unimaginably horrifying and disgusting a thing that was, the fact is that he is healthy, whole, and still my beautiful, adorable, loving and adored  son. What could have happened, can’t go there. But what is, is good. He is carrying on with his legal career. His girlfriend is visiting him. Today’s their 3rd anniversary! He just got roses for her 😄

So these are the things I have to redirect my thoughts to when I mired down in the horrifies of the situation. 

So glad I found this article. I’ll read it over and over again till my brain stops paying attention to the myriad negative things associated with this awful, awful incident. 


Psychology TodayJennice Vilhauer Ph.D. Jennice Vilhauer Ph.D.
Living Forward

This One Skill Can Immediately Transform How You Feel

Why learning how to shift your attention can change your life.

Posted Mar 29, 2017

Our emotions are often less complex than we think imagine. Most people think that the things that have hurt you are what cause you to experience emotional pain, and that in order to heal and experience real happiness you must resolve those old wounds. The reality, however, is somewhat different.
You can only feel emotions, including the painful ones, in the present moment. And what you feel in the present moment is determined by what you give your attention to. Nothing can hurt you unless you give it your attention. Most people can make themselves cry in just a few minutes by simply pulling up a vivid memory of something that was, at that time, painful. So why would you give your attention to things that cause pain? Some negative events can hold your attention if you perceive them to be a threat, but most people who ruminate on a negative past are simply unaware that they are doing it or that there is any choice in the matter. Things you are unaware of are outside your control. Learning how to become aware of what you are paying attention to, and more important, how to shift your attention to something that makes you feel better, is one of the most powerful tools there is for improving emotional well-being.  
As far back as the 1890s, William James wrote extensively about the relationship between selective attention and experience, making the profound observation that “my experience is what I agree to attend to.”[1] Modern cognitive psychologists have demonstrated through research that we are active participants in our process of perception,[2] confirming that what we think and feel is determined by what we pay attention to. Not only do we have the ability to shift our attention away from painful things and give our attention to more pleasant thoughts or memories — but as we do this, it inhibits our ability to think about the unpleasant painful things. This happens because attention works on an activation/inhibition model:[3] When you give attention to negative things, it literally inhibits your ability to see positive things; that’s why psychologists often say that people with depression see a more depressed world. The more you start to give your attention to things that feel good, over time, the more you will start to see a more positive world, and find yourself noticing fewer of the negatives in life.
Once you are aware you can do it, shifting your attention is something over which you can exert complete control. You can choose what you want to pay attention to, and as a result, how you want to feel. The results are almost immediate. Try this with a friend: The next time you are talking with someone who is telling you about something negative happening to them, ask them to tell you about some positive experience instead. Then, notice the change in their facial expressions. When people start to talk about positive events that feel good, they start to smile; it is an almost involuntary reaction.
Does that sound too easy? Here is a tip that will make it even easier. There are only two things in life that you can pay attention to that cause you to experience emotion: Things you want and things you don’t want. Every single thing that you can think of that causes any type of significant emotion can be sorted into one of those two categories. Breakups, job loss, betrayal, death of a loved one — all things you don’t want. Pets, best friends, birthday parties, getting a raise — all things you do want. 
You will always know when you are giving your attention to things that you don’t want in life; your emotions will tell you. Paying attention to things you don’t want generates negative emotions, while paying attention to things you do want generates positive ones. When you realize that you are experiencing a negative emotion, recognize in that moment that you are giving your attention to something unwanted and consciously choose to shift your attention to something you want instead. You will start to feel better almost immediately.

This type of proactive avoidance isn’t unhealthy: Joseph Ledoux, an NYU neuroscientist and expert on Emotional Intelligence, refers to it as a positive coping strategy that can give you greater control over your life.[4] Attentional control training has been shown effective in the treatment of depression and anxiety.[5] One way to shift your attention to the positive that we know works very well is to practice gratitude: Things that you are thankful for are all wanted things. 
One of the most self-sabotaging things that people can give their attention to is an unwanted future. Nothing in the future has actually happened, yet many people spend a good deal of their time experiencing negative emotions like anxiety, fear, and self-doubt, because they are giving their attention to things they don’t want to occur. Doing this not only robs them of their present-moment happiness, but also prevents them from thinking about the positive experiences they could be creating in their future instead.

Our attention is the gateway to what we experience in life. Learning to notice what you are paying attention to, and how to redirect your attention to things you want, can change not only your current experience, but also the life you create for yourself going forward.
Jennice Vilhauer is director of the Outpatient Psychotherapy Treatment Program at Emory Healthcare and the author of Think Forward to Thrive: How to Use the Mind’s Power of Anticipation to Transcend Your Past and Transform Your Life.
1. James, W. The Priniciples of Psychology, Volume 1. Holt and Company: New York. 1890.
2. Kanwisher, N. and P. Downing, Separating the wheat from the chaff. Science, 1998. 282(5386): p. 57-8.
3. Pribram, K.H. and D. McGuinness, Arousal, activation, and effort in the control of attention. Psychol Rev, 1975. 82(2): p. 116-49.
4. Ledoux, J. For the Anxious Avoidance Can Have an Upside. New York Times. April 7, 2013.
5. Browning, M. et al. Using Attentional Bias Modification Training as a Cognitive Vaccine Against Depression. Biological Psychiatry, 2012. 72(1): p. 572-579.
About the Author
Jennice Vilhauer, Ph.D.

Jennice Vilhauer, Ph.D., is the Director of Emory University’s Adult Outpatient Psychotherapy Program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science in the School of Medicine.





A most horrible and horrendous experience, one of the worst I’ve ever had in my life and that is saying something. My son went to a convenience/gas store around 3:30 am to get chips. He got jumped by 10-15 African American “boys”. Didn’t know who they were, he had to defend himself against their assault. Luckily he has taken some Kung fu and is, mashallah, a strapping young man, so he defended himself successfully, jumped in his car and came home. No one did a thing to help him or called the police while this shocking assault was taking place. My husband said a pack of hyenas met a lion last night and it truly is the case. He could have been severely injured or worse. A senseless occurrence, he was minding his own business, just trying to buy chips. They jumped him. Apparently this is a thing in Louisville, it’s called “Wilding” and it happens at the very gas station where he went. We didn’t know. The press used to cover these incidences but stopped a while ago. These misguided, dangerous, awful people, I wish them NOTHING good. I am angry, I am worried to the hilt, I am disappointed that this could happen, my son, my precious son.

And so it goes

Sometimes I feel the burden of life is too much. What have I done to deserve this heavy, hellish life? Where is my luck? Good luck? The luck I see so many people possessing. Some people can skate through life without getting a concussion. They can grow up without suffering abuse. They can have siblings, all of whom live to old age. Their families do well. There is not some crisis or other every few days. I am tired. I am exhausted. Lately, things had been looking quite rosy, had been looking up. But once again, it did not last. Someone extremely dear to me was physically harmed by hoodlums. I feel sick, nauseous, not knowing what I do next. How to survive, indeed why survive when there will only be another calamity sooner or later?

And again I sit here and wonder. When does it stop. Does it ever stop? Will me and mine always be used as a cosmic punching bag?

Literally sick and tired. The fight inside me ebbing away, seeping away. 


Fluffin, our adored kitty, will be 22 years old in June! That in itself is amazing! That she’s been deaf for years, at least five years, didn’t stop her. Last December, she had a stroke and lost her sight as well. For two weeks,  she didn’t move, but then slowly started getting up, eventually walking all over the house just by her sense of smell, which is prodigious (!!) and sense of touch on her whiskers and ears and fur. It was unbelievable, she walked the length of our condominium. She found her food, water, litter, her summer residence and her winter one. She was doing so very well. A week ago, she had another stroke. Again, it’s affected her left side. She is getting up with difficulty, but persisting until she’s up and drinking water on her own. We’re feeding her, mostly baby food, every few hours. She is recovering. At almost 22 years of age, every day with her is a bonus. 

I can mourn and be sad and I am. I can also think how lucky I’ve been to have this remarkable being in my life. How sweet she is and has always been.  Rest and recover, my baby girl.