Why I am no longer living according to a “plan”

Many of us grow up believing that milestones in life will happen in a certain order and at a certain age.

I grew up thinking that I had to go to university the moment I got out of high school and I had to graduate on time (both of which I did do). I also grew up having everything planned out in my head: university, career, marriage, kids etc. It’s as though this fairytale sequence of events was embedded in to my mind. It must have been from watching Disney movies as a child because I don’t know a single person who lives out a perfect fairytale in real life.

Believe it or not, I even used to believe that certain things would have an age limit, and if I didn’t achieve them then it would be too late for me. I didn’t want to be an “old mom”, or get married “too late”, I was afraid of being “behind”. Which really makes no sense as I’ve had classmates that were double my age in first year university classes.

I am consciously choosing not to live that way anymore. I don’t believe that setting time frames are healthy or reasonable to follow. By following the rigid timeframe I had in mind, I was making myself anxious and worried. Worried that I was behind and that I would run out of time.

I no longer have a desire to plan that way, although I have strong aspirations and goals, I do not want to set a time frame on when milestones must happen. Things will happen for me exactly when they have to and when the time is right. I have learned that nothing good comes out of rigid living and pushing to meet milestones according to some silly made-up deadlines.

Once I stopped controlling the way I live I discovered more of myself and my own passions. I learned more about what I want and don’t want. I learned that I want to just LIVE in my 20s and not put a date on everything that is going to happen.

It’s never too late to go back to school, to finish off that degree, to start a new career, to get married, to have kids, to buy/rent your first home or to buy your first car. Live with goals and dreams, work hard towards them, but do not put a deadline on when things must happen. Allow everything to unfold naturally.

If you made it all the way to the end of this post, I hope that all is well with you. I appreciate you for reading this and I apologize for being M.I.A for the past little while.

How to Overcome the Winter Blues

snowy forest winter blues
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Are the winter blues getting to you? It is definitely getting to me. Day after day, dark skies, frigid temperatures, piles of snow and on top of it all, no where to go!

After days of grey skies, a sunny day means sitting near the window for as long as I possibly can. Trying to soak up as much of the sun as possible is necessary, because the next few days or weeks could be filled with grey skies.

The winter months in Canada are already difficult enough, but with the added COVID mandates and lockdown measures, I’m sure many are feeling the winter blues a little bit more this year. Although lockdown measures are slowly lifting and things are opening up, a lot of recreational activities are still limited to a certain capacity or completely closed. So if you don’t have a reservation/appointment, you are bound to be left out especially on a Friday and Saturday night.

The winter months are so dreary that people living in Northern cold countries with harsh winters very often struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a type of depression that impacts people primarily during the winter months. Although less likely, symptoms can sometimes occur in the spring and summer months as well.

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder include feeling sad and down for most days during this period. Additionally, losing interest in the things that once brought joy and happiness. Having low energy and gaining weight can also contribute to the list of symptoms.

snowy pathway surrounded by bare tree winter blues
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Overcoming the Winter Blues:

Now I don’t have a perfect formula for overcoming the winter blues all together. However, I have a few ideas to suggest that seem to help me during the winter season.

1. Exercise

I feel like you saw this one coming. Exercise is important all year round. However, it is easy to become lazier and more disinterested in exercise during the winter months. When we exercise, our brain releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins trigger positive feelings that create a euphoric experience. That is why we very often hear about the “runners high”.

Exercising can bring about positivity to help push you through the winter blues. Additionally, exercising for 30 minutes daily is highly recommended for adults. This could look like a multitude of things and you don’t necessarily need to go to a gym at all. Exercise can be doing yoga, walking, dancing, jogging, stretching, etc.! Any movement of moderate physical activity counts. Sitting for long periods can negatively impact our health and longevity so be sure to get in some daily movement especially during the winter months when it can tend to be difficult!

2. Eat Healthy

Eating healthy is always key, but especially key during the winter when we are exposed to very low levels of sunlight. Ensuring that we eat foods enriched with the right nutrients, especially vitamin D can be crucial to maintaining good physical and mental health.

Additionally, I urge you to look for foods that are high in the amino acid: tryptophan. Tryptophan helps with the production of serotonin, melatonin and studies have shown that it has a beneficial impact on moods, depression, cognition, and much more!

It can be found in a variety of specific foods, such as: fish, cheese, chicken, peanuts, eggs, milk, tofu and much more! Check out the book Brain Food: The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power by Lisa Mosconi PhD, if you are interested in learning more about this.

3. Sleep

Getting enough hours of undisturbed sleep is probably the best thing you can do for yourself at any time of the year; not only during the winter rut. Adults should be sleeping for 7-8 hours per night and children for 9-10 hours (although this varies for specific age groups).

Waking up after a well-rested sleep is truly one of the best feelings in my opinion. I find that when my sleep is interrupted, I wake up much more tired and groggy in the morning. I also feel that same way if I oversleep, which I try not to allow myself to do.

I do my best to follow a routine of winding down and sleeping at the same time every day, even if it’s the weekend. Unless obviously I have weekend plans that require me to stay up later. In those cases, I still try to wake up at a reasonable time in the morning. Using the sleep focus on my iPhone has been really helpful, as it allows me to track exactly how many hours of sleep I get each night.

When we chronically don’t get enough sleep, our mental and physical health can be greatly impacted. Additionally, it can reduce our immunity, create hormone imbalances, as well as a multitude of other complications!

Please reach out to the resources around you if you feel like you need help or guidance this winter season! Attached below is a link to the provincial mental health resources where I live in Ontario, Canada. Thank you for reading this post and stay safe!

How to work from home effectively

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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have transitioned to working from home. We quickly adapted and learned that most of our jobs can be done from the comfort of our living room, home office, kitchen, you name it! As long as you have a stable wifi connection, working from home seems to be where our future is headed.

Working remotely definitely has its many advantages, the main advantage being the comfort. But, Is it too much comfort?

I would argue that at times it is too much comfort. The reality is that if you don’t have a proper routine in place, the work days can go by extremely slowly and make us feel completely drained by the end of it. Working remote can also cause us to form some terrible habits, such as, rolling out of bed 15 minutes before the start of a shift. I have definitely been victim to this (If my supervisors are reading this – I am a better person now).

Initially, I thought that if I had no commute I could wake up closer to when my shift began, comfortably log on and go about completing my work tasks. However, this resulted in me going from my bed to sitting in a chair for 7 hours, eating poorly and barely getting up to move my body.

I also noticed that I was not conscientious about taking my breaks. Instead, I would find myself to be sitting in front of my monitors for almost the whole day. I would get “into the zone” and have great difficulty getting out of it for a break. I would only begin to realize in the last hour of my shift that I had barely gotten up or eaten all day.

work from home
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Truth being told, I absolutely love working from home so I had to figure out how to make it work effectively.

Tips for working from home:

1. Wake up early, even if you don’t have to

Even though I don’t have a commute, I still try to wake up at least an hour or 45 minutes before my shift begins. This gives me more than enough time to build up a morning routine and get me pumped up for my day.

2. Take your breaks

Setting an alarm on my phone to plan out when my breaks are going to be has really helped me to be accountable and actually take them. There is an app call “Stand Up!” which is really amazing to help you move more during the work day and stay healthy. Since there is enough research showing that sitting for hours every day is unhealthy, this app is a great way to keep in check.

Instead of sitting at my desk for hours without moving I am motivated to really take my break as it is intentionally scheduled in to my day.

3. Create a pre-work routine

Creating a daily routine before work has allowed me to get prepared for the work day just as if I had to leave my home and drive to work. I look forward to my mornings and I am inspired to try to wake up even earlier and add in more to my list.

I enjoy getting in to the habit of doing a short morning stretch, eating my breakfast and getting a cup of tea ready all before my shift starts. Once those main tasks are done I sit down at my desk and begin my work flow.

Do you work from home? If so, what are your tips to stay productive? Let me know in the comments section below!

What are Cognitive Distortions?

Cognitive distortions
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In a previous post last year, I briefly wrote about three cognitive distortions: self blame, catastrophizing and ruminating. Here is the link in case you want to read about that: https://simplyywell.ca/2021/06/01/my-anxiety-is-dictating-my-life/. However, I didn’t do the topic of cognitive distortions justice as some of my readers requested another read on the topic.

So what exactly are cognitive distortions?

When people develop patterns of negative irrational thoughts, we refer to them as cognitive distortions. This can also be known as distorted thinking. Our brains are biologically wired to protect us from danger. However, sometimes you may want to think deeper in to what the brain is telling you.

It is very easy to create connections in the brain. This means it is easy to create connections between two events or thoughts when there may actually be no ties between them – sending us down a loop of distorted thoughts.

Aaron Beck was one of the first psychiatrists to examine this. He assessed the way his patients spoke about various obstacles they faced. He noticed that many people tend to warp their own reality and fall in to these patterns of distorted thinking.

For example, a student gets a D on a paper and overgeneralizes that a bad grade equates to failing everything else in life. This distortion specifically is called overgeneralization. A healthy thought would be to understand that bad grades happen sometimes and that does not mean that every grade after that one would subsequently be bad. Instead, someone who overgeneralizes automatically creates negative connections.

Cognitive distortions, such as overgeneralization, can truly distort someones reality far from what is real. It can take hours of cognitive behavioural therapy or other counselling methods to help someone create positive associations between thoughts again.

Another type of cognitive distortions are “should” statements. This is a popular one. For example, someone might tell themselves “I should call my friends/family more” or “I should workout more”. However, these statements can lead to negative feelings if they are not achieved. “Should” statements can be rephrased instead to be “I would like to call my friends/family more”, or “I would like to workout more”. By phrasing statements this way, they become more of a goal rather than something one should do which may not be achievable at times.

The list of unhelpful thinking styles doesn’t just end here, and is much longer than this. I hope this post was insightful, I intended to keep it short to mainly describe what cognitive distortions are.

I want to remind my readers that I am not by any means a medical professional. Even though I have an educational background in Psychology, and the information on my website is thoroughly researched and sourced scientifically, I still urge you to read more about topics yourself. If you would like to be directed to any resources, please reach out!

5 Ways to Protect your Energy

energy
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How often do you feel that your energy is low or completely depleted? Many people spend time getting swept away by the energy of others; spending time to make others happy, or putting unreciprocated effort in to friendships/relationships — all to eventually have their energy sucked away.

Being an empath and a highly agreeable person can cause for this sort of feeling. Having these traits can cause one to want to please and care for others more than what is reciprocated. Being highly agreeable, means that you are more likely to go with what others want and not really give an opinion of your own. When someone asks what you want for dinner, a person who is highly agreeable would most likely respond with “whatever you want is good with me”.

Being high in the trait of agreeableness has its pros and cons. However, in the regard of preserving ones energy, people who are highly agreeable are more likely to have their energy depleted quickly. People who are agreeable tend to have great difficulty saying “no” and are more likely to “go with the flow” rather than to put their foot down when they really should.

When efforts are constantly unreciprocated, we tend to feel drained. This can lead to greater feelings of sadness, anxiety, depression, and intense feelings of worthlessness.

Going in to the new year, it is time to protect your energy; because if you don’t, then no one else will!

5 Ways to protect your energy:

1. Try to be Less Agreeable

The next time someone asks you what you want for dinner, really think about it and choose what you want! Don’t always hide behind what others want and agree to go along with it. By speaking up about what you want, and saying “no” more often, you are preserving your own energy and only spending it on what you truly want. Learning how to draw the line with some people is very important as one cannot always be understanding and ignore their own needs.

2. Set Intentions

I have recently really gotten in to setting intentions for myself each week to follow and hold myself accountable for. Set an intention that you are going to protect your energy. Write it down or have this intention on your phone as a reminder to follow everyday. An example of this can be: “I intend to protect my energy and respond to others from a place of peace and power” or, “I intend to protect my energy by putting my own needs first”.

3. Trust yourself

Trust your own energy and power. Trust that you can make your own decisions, and put effort in to people/things that are worth it to you. Trust that you will spend time putting your energy in to people/things that will reciprocate your efforts. Trust that you will put energy in to your own growth and wellness before the wellness of others. By trusting yourself you are protecting yourself from feeling drained and depleted.

4. Reflect

Genuinely reflect on where your energy goes. Here are some prompts to help guide your self-reflection: How much time and effort do you spend trying to please others? How often are you understanding towards the needs of others whilst your own needs are ignored? How often are you reaching out to connect with someone when it is unreciprocated?

By reflecting on where your energy goes, you can identify certain behaviours and actions you take that should probably be protected instead.

5. Replenish your own Energy

Replenish your own energy! Take some time to indulge in self-love. At the end of the day, you are always going to be the one who is responsible to take care of and love yourself! Feelings of sadness and worthlessness because someone else wont reciprocate your efforts can only be rid by you! So take some time to do some self healing and remind yourself that you are worthy and deserve to protect your energy instead.

As we prepare for a new year, I realize it is imperative to protect my own energy, as sometimes it is easy to get drowned out by others. It is time to draw some boundaries and set limits on how agreeable we may be. By making our own thoughtful choices and understanding our own needs first we can maintain a certain level of powerful, peaceful energy. If you find that there are people in your life who don’t reciprocate your efforts, it is time for some change! Happy New Year, 2022!

Check out my previous post!

Holiday Season Stress

green christmas tree with orange bauble
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The holiday season tends to stir up many emotions, and various research shows how Christmas time can negatively impact mental health.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the holiday season has been portrayed to be a time that families should spend together and make memories with one another. Cliché holiday movies always show big families or groups of friends getting together to celebrate the season and exchange gifts.

In the popular movie Home Alone, the main character Kevin is left alone during Christmas; his family accidentally leaves him behind to go for a vacation together. However, the writers portray those who are truly alone and without family during Christmas as beat-up looking criminals (Harry and Marv). Although Kevin is technically alone during the Christmas break, he is shown to have a huge family who is desperate to get home to him.

Despite this movie just being a comical display of what happens when Kevin is left alone in a big house; one may analyze deeper to wonder if the writers had any meaning in how they portray those who are alone during Christmas time (Harry and Marv). In the second movie, they again show another woman who is alone during Christmas time (pigeon lady) as someone who is dirty, estranged, living in an attic and only talks to birds.

Enough of rambling on about Christmas movies… But on a real note, there are a lot of people who do spend the holidays alone that aren’t criminals or pigeon ladies.

green and white wreaths
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Numerous studies examine how there is an increase in dysphoric moods (broad feelings of depression & discontent) during the holidays. Many people don’t have big families or groups of friends to celebrate the holidays with. Additionally, many don’t have the savings or steady income to afford the holiday expenses.

Christmas tends to be a very expensive time of year. Based on a survey distributed by the Retail Council of Canada, on average, Canadians will spend close to $800 on Christmas this year. However, I am certain that there are households that will spend much more! Spendings on gifts, decorations and on holiday party festivities can add up very quickly; and don’t even get me started on the stress that comes along with planning a holiday gathering!

Some of us may be dreading being alone this season or dreading seeing their in-laws. Either way, Christmas has become much less exciting versus when we were kids.

With the holiday season beginning, I urge you to be conscientious about checking in with your friends and family. Some may be struggling silently with the overwhelming feelings that this time of year brings. Try to practice mindfulness during this season and find peace within whatever it is you do.

Wishing all a very safe and happy holidays!

Understanding Relationships Using Attachment Theory

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A relationship between a parent and their child is special like no other. A parent’s relationship with their child sets the tone for all other relationships in that child’s life. Romantic relationships, friendships to the way we interact with our teachers and peers. It all connects back to how we were raised and the way in which we connected with our own parents.

Attachment theory, famously researched by Mary Ainsworth identifies 3 types of attachment styles that are observed as early as infancy.

1. Secure Attachment

The securely attached infant sees their caregiver as their safe base. In times of distress, the infant feels confident to trust that they will be safe with their caregiver. These infants know that their caregiver will meet all of their needs and they are easily soothed by their caregiver when upset.

In adulthood we see secure attachment styles in romantic relationships as well. This can look like a couple who communicate well, have trust and are open with each other. An important piece is that both partners allow each other the space to do things separately from the other without the fear of being abandoned. Additionally, couples who are securely attached enjoy the closeness of their partner but also appreciate their time alone. Partners who are securely attached don’t feel a sense of being suffocated by their partner.

2. Anxious/ambivalent attachment

The infant who has an anxious/ambivalent attachment does not see their caregiver as their safe base and does not seek support from them when distressed. Unfortunately, this is usually the result of a caregiver who was not sensitive and rejected meeting their infants’ basic needs. During distress this caregiver was usually not there for their infant, causing their infant to be unable to rely on them for safety.

In romantic relationships, an anxious/ambivalent attachment style may look like a partner who needs a lot of reassurance about commitment and love. These partners may be worried about abandonment because they were very often abandoned of their emotional needs as an infant. Additionally, when these partners feel anxious about their relationship they will frantically try to get attention by calling or texting numerous times or obsessively thinking about their partner.

3. Avoidant attachment

This infant does not seek out emotional support due to constant rejection from their caregiver. Caregivers may have avoided their children’s needs when they were vulnerable, teaching the child to suppress their emotions. This infant tends to be more independent and does not depend on their caregiver for safety. Since this caregiver tends to be inconsistent with their infant, the infant learns to be avoidant towards them.

In adulthood, these partners in romantic relationships generally feel safer keeping their intense emotions to themselves. They believe they are better off dealing with things internally and have difficulty expressing emotional intimacy. This is a defence mechanism that is a result of not having a close emotional connection with a caregiver during childhood. Avoidant attachment styles result in more shallow relationships and a desire to avoid something too serious.

Reflecting on your attachment style with your parents can allow you to understand common behaviours that you may gravitate towards in friendships or romantic relationships. Additionally, for any of my readers who are new parents or thinking of becoming parents, it is important to keep this research in mind when raising your child as their attachment styles form as early as infancy.

References:

McLeod, S. A. (2018, August 05). Mary ainsworth. Simply Psychology. https://www.simplypsychology.org/mary-ainsworth.html

Mindfulness: The Future of Therapy

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Did you practice mindfulness today? Mindfulness is a technique therapists use to promote the practice of good mental and physical health. Mindfulness practice has been said to allow people to be in greater control of their thoughts and actions, rather than being controlled by them.

Mindfulness was first explored in Buddhism and has been spread across Western rituals. It is a process in which we are aware of our present moment experiences. In addition to being aware, it is the ability to maintain openness and acceptance of our thoughts, sensations, bodily states and environment.

Mindless states and mind-wandering has been proven to be maladaptive! Instead, keeping our minds focussed on the present moment is associated with higher psychological well-being (2010, Kilingsworth & Gilbert).

Can anyone practice mindfulness? … YES! However, it is a skill that truly must be practiced till mastered. I am still learning and trying to get the hang of it.

Lets explore 4 things we can do to be a bit more mindful each day.

1. Set an Intention

The most simple step to start is by creating the intention in your mind that you are going to be more mindful. You are making a commitment, so now stick to it! By creating this intention, you are more likely to be aware of your mind wandering and recognize that you should shift your awareness to the present moment.

2. Recognize shifts in awareness

Recognize when your awareness is shifting and your mind is beginning to wander. Correct yourself when your thoughts are beginning to spiral to think about anything but the present.

Many of us tend to think of the past or the future. However, studies show that thoughts that wander away from the present are maladaptive. It can be important to plan for the future, but maybe we don’t need to make “big picture” plans. Look for what we can control and work on presently, this will set ourselves up for the future success we desire.

Therefore, we must learn to recognize when our thoughts begin to shift and quickly learn to shift back and be mindful.

3. Listen to others attentively

How often do you find that when someone else is speaking you are already thinking of what you want to say next? How does that make you an active listener? … It doesn’t!

Listen closely when others speak, this will allow you to pay closer attention as you will truly be taking in what the speaker is saying. Just by listening more closely you will connect better to what is being said and will eventually become more aware of the responses you decide to form. Ultimately this will improve your bond with that person and your communication skills. Listening closely is an important skill for one to stay mindful.

4. Focus on your breath

Breathing is something we naturally do every second of every day without having to think about! When your present mindedness is lost, you may simply refocus by counting your breaths. Focusing on your breath can significantly improve your mind and body connection!

If distracting thoughts arise due to mindless thoughts, try counting your breaths as you inhale and exhale slowly.

Although these are just a few ways of keeping mindful, I do plan to return to this topic again. Let me know in the comments what you do to practice mindfulness and focus on the present!

References:

Hoffman G.S., & Gomez F.A. (2017). Mindfulness-based interventions for anxiety and depression. 10.1016/j.psc.2017.08.008

Killingsworth MA & Gilbert DT., (2010). A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. Science. 330(6006):932. doi: 10.1126/science.1192439.

Unmotivated: How to find motivation using Self-Determination Theory

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Have you ever had some of those days, weeks, or even months of feeling completely unmotivated to do anything? I know I definitely have times like this, it can be a terrible routine to get stuck into and is even more difficult to break free from.

The best place to start is to question what keeps you motivated. According to two psychologists, Deci and Ryan, we have two main types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation comes from within us and is based on the internal drive to reach our “ideal self” that can be based upon one’s morals, goals and values. Comparatively, extrinsic motivation is the result of external rewards, such as grading systems, employee rewards etc..

Deci and Ryan theorize deeper than extrinsic and intrinsic motivation and came up with the Self-Determination Theory. Self-Determination Theory has been cited in literature over thousands of times and defines three fundamental needs that facilitates our growth and leads to self-determination, which are competence, autonomy and relatedness.

What does it mean to be “Self-determined”?

In Psychology, self-determination is a concept referring to how people make choices and manage their lives. It allows people to feel in control of their decisions. Self-determination impacts motivation as people feel more motivated to take action when they know that what they do will effect the outcome.

The three fundamental needs as stated before that are necessary to achieve self-determination are competence, autonomy and relatedness.

Competence: is the need to experience our behaviours as effectively enacted which allows us to feel as though we’ve done a good job.

Autonomy: is the need to feel that we have control over our behaviours and what we do.

Relatedness: is the need to interact, connect and share experiences with others which can also be described as having meaningful relationships and interactions.

Therefore, if we fulfill these 3 fundamental needs, we will ultimately be self-determined and feel greater motivation and mental wellness.

A key factor to being self-determined is intrinsic motivation as stated before. An intrinsic reward can be described as intangible and for example, might be the internal feeling of respect and recognition. An extrinsic reward is tangible and can be seen as receiving a raise at work for your hard efforts.

Deci and Ryan said that extrinsic motivation can taint a person’s feelings about the basic worth of a project and can undermine the intrinsic motivation.

How can we use self-determination theory to support growth and motivation?

The social conditions in which we develop and function in, largely impact how human beings choose to be proactive and engaged. Social support tends to be key and through our relationships and interactions with others we can either have positive or negative well-being and growth.

Deci and Ryan theorized that when the three fundamental needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness are satisfied, humans will then support enhanced self-motivation and mental health. However, when these three needs are compromised, motivation and mental health are derailed.

Behaviours that are purely self-determined, tend to be supported and driven by intrinsic factors. Such as, completing tasks because you enjoy them, excelling at work because you love and take interest in what you do. Non-self-determined actions are performed because they must be done. There is not as much interest or passion in this case.

Feeling in-control, passionate and interested in the things you do will allow you to feel greater motivation and commitment towards your work, projects or goals.

This can explain why some people perform poorly at work, school or in various other projects. The passion and interest to complete tasks must be there and the motivation should be driven from an internal place.

I personally find that the fewer external rewards that are provided either by yourself, friends, teachers, parents, employers etc. can actually allow for one to feel deeper intrinsic motivation and satisfaction. When children or adults begin to expect external rewards for their work or behaviours is when the intrinsic motivation to complete them is slowly lost. The behaviours and actions completed will be less about passion, personal interest or values, and will instead shift towards needing an external reward in order to complete them.

As stated before, to achieve self-determination, one must fulfill autonomy, competence and relatedness as outlined by Deci and Ryan. So how can we improve in these 3 fundamental areas?

How to improve your self-determination:

  • Increase your Self-Motivation
    • Get out of the habit of expecting a reward every time you accomplish something. If you’ve achieved something great, celebrate it because you are passionate about it and create an intrinsic value within the things you accomplish. This will allow you to feel deep meaningful motivation from within.
  • Take responsibility
    • People who are high in self-determination will take responsibility for their successes but will also accept blame for their own failures.
  • Control
    • Believe that you have control over your life. Have a strong understanding that your behaviours will have an influence on outcomes. People who believe they have control over their lives understand that through hard work and good choices they can overcome challenges.
  • Social Support
    • Finding the right social support is very important in self-determination. Strong supportive relationships contributes to greater motivation and well being. Whereas, poor relationships with others contributes to weakened motivation and a poor sense of self.

Comment down below and tell me about some projects that you feel intrinsically motivated to get done. Also comment on some projects that you have felt low intrinsic motivation to complete and only did for an external reward.

Citations:

I’m Back!

Rocky Mountains, Alberta & British Columbia. Photographed by ME!

I’m back! My short hiatus has come to an end. I’ve been away from the blog for about a month, however, I had the opportunity to create some meaningful new experiences and memories.

I recently graduated from the University of Toronto and went on a wonderful trip with a close friend to visit Alberta and British Columbia. We spent the days hiking and trekking around the rockies till we became so tired and realized that our stamina is extremely poor. However, it was a good reminder that I need to get more active even during the work weeks. Also, an important lesson learned was that it is truly a lot of hard work to reach 10,000 steps daily (for all you fitness nerds that also count your steps).

If you have the time and can afford to, I really do urge you to take a break. You don’t have to go on a trip like I did, you could just take a break in your own home. Take a few days to reset, refresh and recharge; have some of that well deserved “me time”. Having some meaningful time to yourself can really help you hit that reset that we sometimes need.

Morraine lake , Alberta. Photo by ME!

This picture above is of Morraine lake in Alberta. I truly couldn’t believe the colour of the water! The water was still and clear; only the light ripple of the waves hitting the canoe could be heard. I closed my eyes and thought of the most brilliant things I had seen in my life so far and this really outranked them all.

As I floated there in the canoe, I took some time to take it all in and feel immense gratitude for the beauty and the opportunity for the experience. I’m not sure that many other views can bring me the peace of the mountains joined together by a valley with a crystal turquoise lake. It truly looked like something imagined in a dream.

Whilst I am so grateful for this relaxing time, I am back to my usual routine now, and will be back on schedule with my writing! If you are a reader of this blog, I thank you for your patience. If you are not a reader of this blog, what are you doing with yourself…? Join the conversation and start reading along too!

I will return to writing about topics that I am passionate about, so please stay tuned!

Sunset on Lake Minnewanka, Alberta. Photographed by ME!