Marisol Dahl

Reading Resolutions for 2019

BooksMarisol DahlComment
nonviolent_communication_book.jpeg

One late night in August, I sat down and wrote a “2018 Closing” list.

I was feeling overwhelmed—mind brimming with to dos, goals, and the fear of missing out with time passing too quickly. So I wrote a list of things, mostly practical, that I wanted to accomplish before entering 2019.

Things like, refreshing my LinkedIn profile, cleaning out my desktop, updating our home budget, paying taxes, answering old emails and letters. Tasks that would help me feel like was “going in clean” in 2019—no lingering things that would bog down my mind.

The fourth item on this list: three good books. Because I knew a major root of my dissatisfaction came from not having made proper time to read, and fulfill my mind in an intellectual way one can only achieve from sitting alone with someone else’s words and world. There really is something truly horrible about leading a busy lifestyle on an empty mind. And I had been feeling like that for too long.

So, three good books. Book that would fill me up. That I would have no hesitations to recommend to others in the future. Totally doable.

I am writing this post on December 15, 2018, and I haven’t completed even one. I’ve started several, and have added dozens to my to-read list. But none complete.

I am at my best when I have a good book—a go-to place for my mind to wander, and a more thoughtful way to fill in the spaces in between. So here’s how I vowed to do it differently in 2019. Three simple rules:

  1. Always carry a book.
    Habits are built and ingrained in the unexpected times, when life tests your values and priorities. So I have gratefully adopted my boyfriend’s Kindle Paperwhite and taking full advantage of living across the street from the public library. And sure, it’s another thing to pack and carry around. But if it means more intentional escape during unoccupied moments, then it’s totally worth it.

  2. One at a time.
    I used to have this thing where if I started a book, I needed to finish it—no matter how much I didn’t care for it. But that’s just a waste of time and self-sabotage. My rule of thumb now is to commit to one book at a time and find closure with each before I turn to the next, whether that closure is to finish the book completely or lovingly close its covers mid-way if it’s just not for me. Commit, decide, move on.

    The exception here, at least for me, is when you have a really long book. A book that you know you will enjoy and are excited about, but also know that it will just take a lot of time to read. Maybe it takes more focus than your average book, or perhaps it’s a book not meant to be read for prolonged periods. Examples would be a textbook, or a short story or essay anthology, where the power of each piece is best preserved when read individually in their own time. My current example is Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton. It’s dense, rich, and I love reading just a few pages at a time.

  3. Be guided by pure enjoyment.
    No more guilt and no more forcing it. My reading liberation comes in part from saying no to: the “should” books that are not a hell yes; the best-sellers that everyone else is reading but I’m just not that into; the “smart” books during moments my brain is fried and just wants a good adventure or romance. Follow reading moods and phases, and entertain the paths of curiosity.

2018 Twitter Reads

Marisol DahlComment

As much as I love my Twitter feed, I rarely partake in socially oriented posting. Instead I engage what I like to call “selfish social media.” I use my Twitter feed almost exclusively as a log of my past favorite reads, particularly online articles, but sometimes posting books too.

It turns into an interesting timeline, revealing author or topic binges, patterns of interest, and bursts of reading activity and hibernation. I love looking back. So cheers to 2018 and all its teachings (even if I’m posting this three months late) 🥂

On Reading

Bustle:

Inc.: How to Read a Lot More Books (Especially If You Don't Like to Read)

Quartz: How to make better use of everything you read

The Atlantic: Why We Forget Most of the Books We Read

On Writing

Jane Friedman: How to Write Your Memoir with Fun, Easy Lists

Man Repeller: 5 Authors on How, Why and Where They Write

NY Times: What’s All This About Journaling?

Ryan Holiday: Want To Be The Best Writer On The Planet? Do These 27 Things Immediately

Signature: Anya Yurchyshyn on the Difficulties of Writing an Honest Memoir

The Write Life: How to Write a Book in 3 Weeks: This Plan Makes It Possible

Vogue: 46 Years Ago, I Left Yale for J.D. Salinger—This Fall, I’m Returning

Business, Creativity & Productivity

Aeon: Say goodbye to the information age: it’s all about reputation now

Alexandra Franzen: Technology, peace, and sanity.

Andrew Chen: 10 years of professional blogging – what I’ve learned

Austin Kleon:

Benjamin Hardy: 23 Smart Ways To Increase Your Confidence, Productivity, and Income

Cal Newport: On Analog Social Media

Derek Sivers: “Marketing” just means being considerate.

Digital Agency Network: Stabilo’s “Highlight The Remarkable” Campaign Keeps Taking Credits On Social Media

Farnam Street: The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals

Harvard Business Review:

James Clear: Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.

Jocelyn K. Glei:

My Domaine: 24 Things to Do on a Plane When You're Bored

NFX: The Next 10 Years Will Be About "Market Networks"

NY Times: The Busy Person Lies

Seth Godin: Magic + Generosity = the brand crush

Signal V. Noise: Outlasting

The Creative Independent: On how to grow an idea

The Hollywood Reporter: Ellen Pompeo, TV's $20 Million Woman, Reveals Her Behind-the-Scenes Fight for "What I Deserve"

Thought Catalog: Here’s The Technique That Ambitious People Use To Get What They Want

99u: 7 Pieces of Wisdom That Will Change the Way You Work

Money

Cupcakes & Cashmere: The Funny, Small Things We Avoid Spending Money On

Ellevest:

Girlboss: 8 Money Habits You Really Should Try And Break

Harper’s Bazaar: Stop Shaming Women for Spending Money

Mr. Money Mustache: My $3500 Tiny House, Explained

The Cut: I Stop Celebrities From Blowing Their Money

The Worth Project: Combining Finances: 5 Ways To Manage Money In A Relationship

Health & Personal Development

A Pair & A Spare: Ideas for Your Travel Journal

Becoming Minimalist: How Digital And Physical Clutter Are More Similar Than You Think

Bon Appetit: How to Go On a Wellness Retreat Without Leaving Town

Brené Brown: The Midlife Unraveling

BuzzFeed: 39 Simple And Doable Ways To Use A Lot Less Plastic

Coveteur:

Cupcakes & Cashmere: My Recent "Identity Crisis"

Eric Barker:

Gala Darling:

Goop: The Dark Side of Self-Improvement

Grub Street: The Last Conversation You’ll Ever Need to Have About Eating Right

NY Times:

The Atlantic:

The Cut: Ask Polly: Am I a Boring, Empty, Soulless Fake?

The Everygirl:

The School of Life: The Importance of Having A Breakdown

Thought Catalog: This Is What ‘Self-Care’ REALLY Means, Because It’s Not All Salt Baths And Chocolate Cake

Time: 5 Science-Approved Ways to Break a Bad Habit

Toltec Spirit: Living the Four Agreements: A life changing Journey

Well+Good: The Ultimate Way to Practice Self-Care, According to Emma Roberts

Working Mother: 8 Ways Minimalist Moms Have This Whole Working Mother Thing Figured Out

Relationships

Aaron FS: The 6 Qualities of Successful Romance I Learned from Teaching Class and …So You’ll Marry the Wrong Person. Then What?

Eric Barker: How To Make Friends Easily And Strengthen The Friendships You Have

Mark Manson: 6 Toxic Relationship Habits Most People Think are Normal

Man Repeller: My Fiancé and I Look Forward to Couples Therapy More Than Date Night

NBC Better: Why this marriage therapist says a 'good enough' relationship is one that lasts a lifetime

NY Times:

The New Yorker: Love in Translation

The Cut:

The Gottman Institute: Turn Towards Instead of Away

News, Identity & Culture

Atlantic: How It Became Normal to Ignore Texts and Emails

Bustle: We Asked Young Women To Fantasize About Their Lives As Old Ladies — Here's What They Said

BuzzFeed:

Glamour: My Boyfriend Is White and Rich. I'm Neither.

Jason Kottke: Old memories, accidentally trapped in amber by our digital devices

Man Repeller: Why Everyone Is Obsessed With Celebrity Airport Fashion

McSweeny’s: 17 Real-Life Would-You-Rathers I, A Woman, Have Had to Ask Myself

NPR: The Dark Origins Of Valentine's Day

NY Times:

Roxane Gay: ‘Tiny House Hunters’ and the shrinking American dream

The Cut:

The New Yorker:

The Numinous:

Vogue: This is 40—And Pregnant

Fast Company: As Millennials Demand More Meaning, Older Brands Are Not Aging Well

FiveThirtyEight: Americans Are Shifting The Rest Of Their Identity To Match Their Politics

Washington Post: Self-help gurus like Tony Robbins have often stood in the way of social change

Coming Home

Creativity, WritingMarisol DahlComment

It seems only fitting that my last post, before an unplanned 2-year hiatus, was about digital minimalism. I just turned 26, and I'm back to posting again (I think). 

That last blog post was published in haste—partially from a desire to get my thoughts out, as well as an eagerness to wrap up this one piece of lingering writing before a trip to Tulum a few days later. 

And ever since then life has sped up. The universe took control, and for the most part I learned that it was all so unpredictable, so serendipitous, and so crazy and wonderful in so many ways. I was suddenly convinced a new interpretation of my 2017 tarot spread was revealing itself. I had to sit back and let it unfold. And I am still emerging with completely new goals, dreams, worries, and plans.

I've been blogging on and off since 2011. And only now has guilt from inconsistent posting completely washed away. It's not that I haven't thought about my online space. It's that I simply didn't let it negatively pressure me.

Three Reasons It's Ok to Go Ghost (and what I've been doing instead)

  1. It honors your evolution. Our priorities change, and our expectations for ourselves and for our work should adapt and accommodate. Don't force an activity, no matter how habitual, that comes to feel more disruptive than additive.

    Of course, that's not to say writing, or more broadly "creation," wasn't a priority. A break from a typical medium of your creativity does not equate to total abandonment of your passion or interest. In the time I have been away, I have been able to dive into more editorial roles, writing book proposals, editing books, crafting website copy, communication strategy drafting, micro-journaling, and embracing the art of capturing fleeting thoughts with vague words in my iPhone notes app. I have also grown in my work roles elsewhere, and extended myself in the areas of health and relationships. I am proud of the work I have done, even if it may not all live in this digital space.

  2. It makes you appreciate what’s going on beyond. Whether that’s in your mind, in your personal life, or simply behind the scenes. Sometimes it’s nice to give that undivided attention to those private aspects of our lives—the sacred moments and the deep impact we are making in the ‘real’ world that we choose not to share so publicly.

    Writing, in any form, is a reflection of the self. What is written on the page is a reflection of the life we are living, so it's important to take time to live that life, to take in the day to day, and to come back to writing when it feels most supportive and complementary. Step away from the lens of content creation, fill your cup with experiences, and let your thoughts mature.

  3. It brings clarity to your why. There have been so many moments these past two years where I ached to get back to my online space. The ache was good. It meant I wasn't completely done, that I still wanted this blog to play a part. That old saying applies here (and I am groaning at the cliché): what is meant to be will come back.

How to Be a Digital Minimalist

MinimalismMarisol DahlComment

At its most basic, digital minimalism is about applying the principles of minimalism to our tech-centered lives.

A digital minimalist approach encourages the thoughtful curation and use of digital tools that add the most value to your life and that work in service of the things you truly care about. Digital minimalism seeks to relieve digital overwhelm, limit excess, and bring a sense of balance and authenticity between your online and offline worlds.

Digital minimalism has become a particularly relevant topic to me because of my work. Since college I have run a digitally based business, with my computer as my workplace more so than any physical location. And for the most part my work has been in digital marketing and digital platform building. I love the online world, and am fascinated by how it is shaping our culture, relationships, and sense of selves. 

But less than a year in, dread and anxiety hit. I hated the constant race to produce more content, be active on all social media platforms, and master the latest strategies for greater audience reach. Everything seemed so fleeting and results-driven. I missed the joy of the process and the mindfulness that comes when you carefully consider how each online activity contributes to the whole. 

I ended up taking a break from everything—a year and a half silence on my blog, passive social media interaction, and bowing out of work commitments that just didn't intuitively feel right (even if at the time I couldn't put my finger on it).

I didn't realize that the concept of digital minimalism existed, but I was in the beginning stages of practicing it. I'm still working my way through it all, but I've noticed three major aspects of digital minimalism. 

Digital Mindset

I'm still figuring out how to put this in words, but the overall idea here is to lay the foundation for a minimalist approach that works for you. How do you want your digital activity to contribute to and impact your life as a whole? How do you approach your digital world in the first place?

We all have different reasons for wanting to engage digitally, and digital minimalism encourages us to be particularly cognizant of our goals, and how we can best leverage technology to those ends (no more, no less). Staying true to these goals—and even acknowledging when our goals change—helps us approach the digital world with authenticity as priority. 

Define your goals. Think about how you want to present yourself to the world. And then curate what you do digitally in a way that reflects the person that you are and the person that you want to be. 

A few other thoughts for this stage:

  • There is enough space for everyone to carve their own place online.
  • Let go of the fear of missing out: trust that the activities you engage in are bringing you the most value. Doing everything else would be like running on a hamster wheel. 
  • Do it for you. Why must online activity always be so focused on the validation and attention of others? 
  • Your digital world is a blessing of modern times. But it by no means replaces or de-prioritizes your physical world. 

Digital Environment

This facet focuses on the structures of your digital and online lifestyle and is guided by the questions: where is there unnecessary overwhelm? Where can I declutter to optimize the devices, tools, and platforms for my goals? 

These questions apply to all areas of the digital/online lifestyle: the technological devices you use, how you store your data, the apps you use, the social media platforms you engage in, etc. 

The action steps here are pretty concrete. Clean out the files in your computer. Close out email accounts that just add to confusion and overwhelm. Delete iPhone apps that you don't use or that sabotage your ultimate goals (this is the reason I don't have any games on my iPhone). 

For more ideas to jumpstart this phase:

Digital Behavior 

This feature of digital minimalism focuses on being intentional in your patterns of behavior online. It goes beyond the digital cleansing and decluttering, and offers an opportunity to see how your actions help you stay aligned with your goals.

The major underlying questions here are: how do you want to spend your time online? What will you consciously engage in? What will you consciously disengage from? 

My favorite way of exploring digital behavior is through the "rules" I set for myself, in honor of the ultimate impact I want my digital lifestyle to have. Things like:

  • Only use social media platforms you enjoy using. And don't feel pressured to engage in them in "traditional" ways or in ways that are excessive. 
  • Limit the number of tabs in your browser at any given point in time, so you can stay focused on your task and keep the overwhelm at bay. 
  • Opt out of digital "norms" that are just not personally meaningful. 

Above all, consider how you best achieve certain digital objectives, like keeping up with friends and staying informed on the news. For instance, my friends and family are spread across many social media platforms, but I've chosen to stick with Facebook for social interaction online. Another example: I may use Twitter and Facebook, but I find it best to follow online figures I admire through their newsletters and RSS feeds. Major hat tip to Cal Newport for his emphasis on scrutiny for best minimalist solutions. Quantified less does not always result in the highest desired impact. 

Ok. This is it for now, but I expect to constantly be refining these thoughts—especially since I alternated between saying "digital" and "online" which are not perfect synonyms and don't always capture the whole picture. I'd love to hear from you: what did I miss? What do you agree with? What do you disagree with? 

Book Notes #1: Love Style Life by Garance Doré

BooksMarisol DahlComment

Highly acclaimed style photographer, illustrator, and blogger, Garance Doré is quite the charismatic writer. Her book, Love Style Life, is a bible for the modern woman looking for sound fashion advice and peace of mind regarding the crazy twists and turns of life. She offers an honest and funny take on what it really means to be the effortless, elusive "Parisian Woman" that society is so captivated by.

On Style

I loved the author's method for finding your personal style, which lies at the intersection of four key truths:

1. What you know about yourself. Be realistic about your daily needs. 

"I adjust and adapt not only to suit my tastes but also to suit my lifestyle. Knowing yourself is knowing the distance between your dream self and your real self." 

2. What you know about your body. Keep in mind what best flatters your body type. 

"Try, try, try, and cross things off the list. In other words, edit. That's how great style is revealed." 

3. What you want to say. How can your clothes communicate how you want others to see you?

"Our clothes carry the message we want to convey to others, and it changes, depending on what we're going through in our lives." 

4. Who you want to be. Style let's us stay connected to our aspirations. 

"Go on and dress for it. Borrow from your dreams. Of being a movie star. A great lover. A great mother. A respected teacher. A free spirit. An astrologer. An artist. A painter, a sculptor." 

On Business

"If you know how to create emotion, you can create a business."

On Elegance

"But what she radiated was not only self-assurance—it was simpler than that: she didn't think anyone was above or beneath her. ... She just was who she was and instinctively knew that was the only way she could be. ... 

If I make people feel good, if I encourage them to be themselves and be at ease, then I feel happy and present. 

To me, that's the heart of elegance." 


Full citation:
Doré, Garance. Love Style Life. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2015. 

Three Alternatives to New Year's Resolutions

Happiness, ProductivityMarisol DahlComment

When we have a whole 365 days ahead of us—12 months of mystery, growth, excitement, and change—making traditional resolutions for the new year feels strange. It's hard to set concrete, long-term goals for a future self whose priorities and interests evolve. 

I believe new year's resolutions, however future-oriented they are, are inherently grounded by who we are in the present. And while it's wonderful to honor our present wishes, it seems unfair to hold our future selves accountable to a past, often fleeting, idea of happiness. 

At the same time, I freaking love setting goals and intentions. Here are some substitutes to resolution-making that, I hope, take into consideration the things we can't foresee. 

Three Alternatives to New Year's Resolutions

Choose a Word or Theme

Let a particular word or theme guide how you make your way through 2017. Your word might reflect an energy you want to exude, something of which you'd like greater abundance, a result you want to achieve, and more. I particularly like this practice because a single word seems so simple, but holds so much possibility. You may choose a word with some particular actions in mind, but you'll be surprised how this theme shows up and guides you in different, unforeseen ways. 

Set Monthly Challenges

Month to month, our worlds are a little more predictable. Consider using the first of each month as a time to check in, set particular goals, and maybe try out a few new things that align with your current priorities.

You might even want to adopt a "formula" for this. For instance, each month this year I'm going to pick one thing to fast, one new thing to try, and one new topic to learn more about. Instead of making all my choices in January, I can be assured my decisions for each month will reflect my interests and needs. 

Leave It Open

If the pressure of setting New Year's intentions or thinking about how you want to improve is overwhelming, maybe that's a sign to pause. In the midst of making lofty New Year's plans, it's important to acknowledge where we are now, everything we've accomplished, and the things we love about ourselves that we don't want to change. In the spirit of this, skip the resolution-making altogether. Embrace how the year unfolds naturally. 

A Three Card Tarot Reading for 2017

Holidays, SpiritualityMarisol DahlComment
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While I am not an expert in reading the tarot, I do enjoy pulling out my deck every once in a while. I find the tarot to be a wonderful channel for mindfulness, with each card a prompt to contemplate where we are, what we have, and how we might focus for the future. 

One of my favorite traditions is to do a three-card spread on New Year's Eve as a way to reflect and align for the year ahead. The first card represents the past—maybe the big lesson or dominant energy of the year that is concluding. The second card signals where one is right now: how we're feeling and what's top of mind. The third card sheds light on the future. 

Here's my three-card spread:

Past: The Magician 

Representing "self-empowerment, action, and expansive energy." This year may have been quite tough in terms of public and political affairs, but personally it was oh so sweet and powerful. I felt many things come into greater harmony and alignment, which lent me the strength and ability to confidently take action on some personal projects. 

Present: Father of Pentacles

A "steady, entrepreneurial" figure. The past few weeks has seen me returning to side projects with a renewed passion, as a way to gain a sense of stability. Things have definitely been quiet outwardly, but on the inside ideas are brewing. And with the holidays, this past month (especially this week) has seen a shift towards family, home, and personal nesting. Right now I am focused on nurturing my entrepreneurial side and setting strong foundations for the new year. 

Future: Daughter of Pentacles

"Hard working, responsible, and vast amounts of inner strength." This card is fairly spot on in describing my role at work and with my clients, as I am a behind the scenes figure and seek to provide a sense of calm and stability. The future will have me rely on the strengths and skills that have already taken me so far. I'm more than happy to keep going. 

_________

If you're interested, I am using The Wild Unknown tarot deck and guidebook. This year I also performed a 13-card spread. It's a rather future-oriented set-up, but a nice reminder of the mystery and thrill of everything to come. Happy New Year! 

Infusing The Holiday Spirit

Happiness, HolidaysMarisol DahlComment

During my senior year of college, I wrote a whole term paper on the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I spent a good chunk of my finals period talking about Starbucks and copy-and-pasting Tweets with emojis into my paper. As a complete holiday nut, that was fine by me. 

In my study, I found that the Pumpkin Spice Latte has become a substitute for age-old traditions we don't really have time for. In our crazy-busy lives, we can't always manage the fall festivity line-up: pumpkin carving, pie baking, walking in parks surrounded by the beautiful fall foliage, jumping in leaves, decorating for the holidays.

But the Pumpkin Spice Latte saves us. Its smell is comforting and nostalgic. It brings us back to relaxed childhood days. We incorporate it into our morning coffee ritual easily, so holiday merry-making is effortless. The PSL is "fall in a cup" and provides just enough break with the ordinary routine to make one feel as if he or she is having a nice holiday treat without threatening regular work and life duties.

And okay. Maybe Instagramming a Pumpkin Spice Latte instead of going on a family hayride is just another way that we are being lazy and "busy" and self-important.  Maybe we really are just blindly buying into the crazy Starbucks marketing ploy.

It's important to be mindful of that—those things that we lean on with maybe a little too much importance. But we should also honor the role these little things play in our lives. After all, we just want to join in on the festivity of the season however we can.

In a world plagued with fear of missing out, a culture of "busyness," and just a pinch of commitment-phobia, maybe we should be more embracing of the small things we can do to brighten our days and infuse a little holiday spirit.

Personally, Starbucks syrups leave me sick. So while I happily enjoy watching others delight in the red cup festivities, I find other ways to get in the holiday mood and soak up as much of this time of year as I can. 

How to Infuse the Holiday Spirit Into Your Day

Listen to Spotify holiday playlists. No need to labor over compiling the perfect playlist. Have it softly playing in the background as you work, do laundry, shower, and get ready for the day.

Burn a holiday candle. Make the house smell like fresh-baked Christmas cookies, a real fir Christmas tree, or fall spices. 

Wear that one red sweater you have in the back of your closet. Everyone will think you put so much thought and effort into your holiday season style. And this simple change-up will help you feel much more festive. 

How do you (effortlessly) keep in the holiday spirit?

A Post-Election Game Plan

Intelligence, PoliticsMarisol DahlComment

Three Articles to Read

Because while I have no doubt our President-elect has tapped into the racist and sexist sentiments of some people in this country, that's not the whole story. We have to do better at understanding the over 60 million people who voted for this person. 

Cracked: How Half of America Lost It's F**king Mind

J. D. Vance: Life Outside the Liberal Bubble

New York Times: A ‘Dewey Defeats Truman’ Lesson for the Digital Age

Three Ways to Move Forward

Education: Read. Talk to people. Peruse the Facebook feeds of people who do not share your exact views. Lean in to conversations and lines of thought that aren't immediately comfortable. 

Self-care: Let your emotions run through. Don't mind the people who scoff at these "dramatic" reactions. If your body and mind is responding to this election (or any major event for that matter) in a certain way, take time to honor what's happening internally. These feelings and gut reactions are signals of what you need to do next, and how you can best go about recovery to come out stronger. 

Action: I'll hand it over to the people at Man Repeller for this. Post-Election To-Do List: How to Take Action, Donate and Help

Three Things I Know For Sure

1. I feel more patriotic than ever. The day after the election was, for me, a day of solitude and reflection. I felt sad and shocked. It was tough to see the immediate world around me go through this first phase of devastation.

But sometime midmorning I was overcome with a sudden drive to throw myself into my work in service of others.  

My biggest question this week is not, how did this happen? It's: how can I grow to best make a positive impact on other people? 

This is our country, and we collectively decide its narrative. Let's show up in the best way possible. Let's show the ultimate form of love by demonstrating unwavering loyalty as we face some daunting challenges ahead.

On top of that, we can't forget to be proud that we had our first woman nominee from a major party. And she won the popular vote by over two million. #Hillyes

2. We have to give Trump a chance. This is our duty and the courtesy we must afford to our lawfully elected leaders.

He may have won the presidency but we can still hold him to the moral, ethical, social, and political standards that we have expected from all other presidents. We must still expect him to represent the absolute best of America, and nothing less. 

3. This is what change feels like. Progress is almost always punctuated with setbacks. In the pursuit of our ultimate vision for this nation, we have to be willing to take these risks and embrace what comes. 

Questions to ask yourself when...

Happiness, HealthMarisol DahlComment

Thinking itself is quite a mystery when you really consider it. Psychologist Charles Fernyhough has spent time investigating inner voices and notes that on average about 25% of our days are occupied by thoughts in the form of language directed at ourselves. We don't always visualize—we have conversations with ourselves.

This internal dialogue is powerful, because it brings together different perspectives. It's an opportunity to acknowledge different sides of ourselves, like rational/emotional and hedonistic/restraining. Thinking to ourselves also allows us to explore, mimic, and anticipate the perspectives of those we know (see: theory of mind). 

It's no secret that how we manage our thoughts is a cornerstone of self-care. But given this new research and understanding of internal language, I've been much more mindful of the dialogues I have with myself and the purpose they serve. 

We might also consider how we can introduce even more of this dialogue into our daily lives, to better take care of ourselves. 

Questions to ask yourself...

When you’re just not feeling well: If I were my own doctor, what would I prescribe? Sometimes we need the push to engage our more rational and tough love sides. For me, the answer is often to drink more water, eat more greens, or walk away from something that is currently stressful. 

When you’re conflicted: What would _____ do? Pick someone you admire and would like to emulate. What decision would she make? How would he carry himself? What would she say? 

When you’re happy: Why do I feel so wonderful? We tend to focus on the times we feel upset and try to combat those moments. But it is equally important to pause during the times of day when you feel good: happy, relaxed, excited, positive, joyful. Notice the conditions and variables that create those wonderful moments, and try to recreate them as much as possible.