Life is so busy. Most of us are working full time, commuting, managing family obligations, and on and on, taking up our time and making it difficult to take back control of the day.
We also have goals for ourselves that will improve our quality of life, our happiness, our health, and more. But when the days get busy, it’s so hard to set aside any time to achieve these goals.
Eliminating and Replacing the “Time Sucks”
One of the first things that we notice, however, is that the truth is a bit more complicated. It is not always that we do not have time. It is often that we prioritize things that are not productive to our day. Easily the #1 example of a “time suck” (an activity that dramatically reduces the amount of time we have in the day) is the time we spend on our phones. The average person spends 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phone every day. That is roughly an entire day (24 hours) on our phone every week.
Yes, of course, if you lose an entire day a week to your phones, you’re not going to have much time to do your daily activities. The reality is that you’re losing even more than that, because most people are only awake 16 hours of the day. So, you’re really losing almost 2 full days out of a 7 day week browsing your phone.
Of course, that is not the only “time suck” we have in any given day. We waste time on commuting, or on unnecessary errands, or on working longer than we need to work just to make things perfect. We may also find ourselves watching TV shows we barely enjoy, or “vegging” on the couch for longer than we need to. Yes, our days are stressful, and many of these provide an escape. But an escape that adds additional stress is not really an escape at all.
Getting Your Time Back
It is for these reasons that we need to make an effort to reclaim our time and use it on our goals. We can do this in a variety of ways:
Eliminating the Time Wasting Activities – See if your phone offers limits, or delete any apps that waste time. Most social media apps, for example, can be safely deleted without it affecting your personal and social life. You can keep your profile, even check it once in a while on your computer, but removing it off your phone can help. For non-phone related time wasting activities, set reminders (using your phone for this one purpose) that tell you to stop what you’re doing and focus on your goals instead.
Make Your Goals Public – It’s one thing to eliminate time wasting activities, but it is quite another to replace them with activities that help you achieve your goals. One effective way to do this is to put your goals in a prominent place in the house so that you’re always reminded of them, and then make sure that you set a plan to knock out different activities every day. Doing so also helps fulfill that sense of satisfaction that can fuel you to reach your goals even more.
We are busier than ever before. But, for most of us, there IS time available to help us achieve the things that we want to achieve. Look at your life and figure out where your “Time Sucks” are, and then make every effort you can to cut them out and replace them with more fulfilling activities.
We are thrilled to introduce a new therapist here at Flourish Psychology: Keshia Webb-Lavergne.
Keshia is a profoundly gifted therapist capable of addressing common concerns with anxiety, depression, stress, grief, and relationships/couples. As a woman of color, she is also both intimately familiar with and trained to provide support for issues such as race-related stress, racial identity, and an understanding of the unique needs of black couples in today’s environment.
Keshia views therapy as a “collaborative journey.” She is warm and comforting, and will create an environment where you feel seen, welcomed, and supported. She also strongly believes in moving you forward and helping your progress. She views patients not as diagnoses, but as people that are looking to improve their life and take control of their wellness.
Together, the two of you will work to accomplish your personal goals and learn more about yourself in the process. Keshia is amazing, and we are so excited to have her as a part of Flourish Psychology. Start working with Keshia by contacting Flourish Psychology, today.
The human brain is fascinating. We like to think of ourselves as logical – believing that our thoughts and emotions are based only on our knowledge and experiences.
That is anything but true.
One amazing example of this is with what are known as “avoidance behaviors,” which play a big role in CBT and anxiety therapy. To understand the effects of avoidance behaviors, let’s use a common fear that many of us have: a fear of spiders.
An Irrational Fear
Most spiders are not dangerous. They rarely bite, they’re afraid of humans, and their toxins are not powerful enough to cause any real damage. The most common spiders in NYC, like the house spider, do not even have teeth that can break skin.
Even the black widow spider bites are never fatal to anyone over the age of 5 and under the age of 65, and rarely fatal to those age groups, and there are essentially no black widow spiders in all of Brooklyn or New York City for this to be an issue.
Yet, many of us still fear spiders. We can discuss the origins of this fear at another time (irrational fears are another reason the human brain is so fascinating) but in this case, let’s talk about what happens when we have this fear:
We see a spider and we run away.
We avoid places that have spiders.
We ask other people in the house without a fear of spiders to get rid of it for us.
These are examples of avoidance behaviors. They are very common for those that have anxiety. As anxiety therapists in NYC, many – if not most – of our patients will show some type of avoidance behavior when they come to us with an anxiety issue.
Now, you would think that avoiding spiders is a natural reaction to fear. You would also think that avoiding spiders is an emotionally-neutral reaction. Meaning, that avoiding something you fear isn’t going to make you fear it any more or any less. But study after study has shown that this is not the case.
In fact, what studies show is that when we avoid something, we *reinforce the fear*. Avoiding something tells the fear part of our brains that it is correct to fear the subject, and the result is that you are *more* likely to fear it in the future.
Why this occur is not entirely clear, but it is called “negative reinforcement.” Taking away or avoiding a bad thing reinforces an idea, thought, or emotion that we have. It’s why logic alone often isn’t enough to get rid of a fear. You might know that spiders are not dangerous, for example, but the more you avoid them, the more your brain thinks that they are.
Anxiety Therapy with CBT in NYC
Flourish Psychology, a Brooklyn-based private practice, works with many patients that are struggling with anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. Identifying avoidance behaviors is part of the process for treating anxiety, and one of the many core components of CBT. If you struggle with anxiety, contact Flourish Psychology, today.
We are only a few days from the new year, and while we hope that 2022 was one of the best years in your life, we also know that, for many of us, there are things that we want to work on and ways that we want to personally improve.
That is why, so often, we take January 1st of a new year as an opportunity for resolutions – new changes that we’ve set out for ourselves that we plan to continue through 2023 and beyond.
Making Resolutions is Easy
Making resolutions is very easy. It’s keeping the resolutions that is the problem. Anyone can make a resolution. But keeping the resolution is the most important part of the resolution.
On that front, most of us fail. Even the most noble of goals tends to be easily forgotten or put off after January or February. We promise to exercise more, eat healthier, or engage in some type of activity, and then life catches up with us and we get back into our own habits.
No one can force you to keep your resolutions. But there are strategies and techniques that can help you make resolutions that last. This year, consider the following:
Choose Genuine Resolutions – Yes, you may want to exercise more. Yes, you may want to eat healthier. These are things you may want to do. But how badly do you really want to do them? Do you want to do it because you think you should, or is it a genuine interest? Choose only resolutions that you have a very strong interest in, so that you are passionate about pursuing them.
Be Specific – Do you really want to “exercise more” or is there something specific you want to do? Maybe you want to go hiking more, or train for a marathon, or lose exactly 15 lbs. The more specific you are, the easier it is to make progress towards those goals. The more generic the goal, the harder it is to feel focused or accomplished.
Create Sub-Goals and a Plan – Once you have resolutions in mind, turn them into smaller goals and make sure they’re scheduled into your calendar. For example, if you plan to eat healthier, set a goal of cooking dinner 5x a week, make a list of healthy foods, and plan them on your calendar in advance so you know what to do and when.
Create Habits – Let’s say you plan to floss every day. Saying “I’m going to floss” doesn’t always work. Instead, you need to turn it into a habit – a regular part of your routine. You can do this by tying it to another habit (for example, brushing teeth at night), making sure you do it before you brush your teeth, keeping floss visible at all times so you never forget, and setting alarm reminders. You can do this with many other resolutions that you’re considering.
Find a Buddy – Accountability plays a strong role in the ability to keep resolutions. You are far more likely to continue with one if you know that someone is waiting on you or depending on you. For example, don’t join a gym alone, but go with a friend, and make a plan to schedule it in together. Instead of meals for yourself, share meals with a friend, where you both take turns eating them together.
Above all else, make sure that you’re also addressing any issues in your life that may be keeping you from achieving your goals. Stress, anxiety, relationship issues – these are all things that can create challenges that affect your ability to keep your resolutions and make the changes that you’re looking for in your life. If you haven’t yet, let self-care and therapy be a resolution that you strongly consider keeping this year. Learn more by contacting Flourish Psychology today.