During this stage you become aware of what is happening but seem unable to do anything about it. This is the awareness stage: for example, realizing the ways in which you make yourself feel anxious by seeing everything in all-or-nothing terms but not being able to stop. You now have a range of strategies to use but you still have to think about what you are doing as it does not feel natural. The more you practise your new skills the more your behaviour feels `natural'. You are now working off your automatic pilot - doing things without thinking about them. Change happens over time and it is persistence, practice and the belief in taking one small step at a time that wins the day. Optimists think more positively about life, seeing the good in situations and minimizing the bad. Pessimists think that optimists are foolish and optimists think that pessimists are depressing. Researchers believe that optimism and pessimism have a genetic factor. However, there is also evidence to suggest that it is the environment we are brought up in that shapes the way we think. We discussed earlier in the book the way that behaviours can be learned, and this is true for optimists and pessimists. There is research to suggest that there are advantages to being an optimist. For example, it would appear that optimists live longer, achieve more and have happier lives. When you suffer from anxiety, it can be hard to believe that you can ever become more optimistic about life. However, it is possible to relearn behaviours and ways of thinking. The following exercise will help you begin this process. You may find you have to repeat this exercise before it becomes fully effective. It would be helpful to keep a note using the 0-8 scale of the distress experienced of each nightmare. You may find that if the nightmares do not stop they may change in degrees of severity, and by keeping a note of this, you can see how your nightmares are weakening. On the list of negative side effects of excessive texting, you can add that it hurts your grades.

A study that examined the relationship between cell phone usage/texting and life satisfaction of a group of 500 college students found cell phone use and texting was negatively correlated to subjects' grade point averages. The students surveyed spent a jaw-dropping average of 278.67 minutes (almost 4-3/4 hours) per day on their cell phones and sent an average of 76.68 text messages. time. Every person you interact with impacts your mind positively or negatively, takes value or gives value, or they're wasting your time. There's no in-between and there's no way around it. The result of what you put in your mind is automatically reflected in every aspect of your attitude, thoughts, emotions, behavior, and habits. Put quality in you get quality out. Put trash in you get trash out. Your mind is a sponge, it absorbs anything it's exposed to, and you can't control the process. What you do control, however, is what you put in your mind so you can better predict what comes out - your own thoughts, emotions, behavior, and habits. The things you choose to read, watch, listen to, and who you spend time with create "you". They directly impact your level of having your act together. I said "choose" because IT IS a choice. You don't have to read, watch, and listen to negativity and stuff that is a complete waste of time. You don't have to spend time with victim-minded, negative, and lazy people. You can put the negative book and magazine down. You change the channel on the TV. You can choose not to listen to garbage music that gives you a garbage mindset. You can choose to not answer your phone and walk away from people who are a waste of your time. What are you ALLOWING to program your mind and what screening process can you implement to have more control of it?

How is what you're putting in your mind impacting your thinking, emotions, behavior, habits, and life? It turned out that high-frequency cell phone users tended to have lower GPAs and lower life satisfaction relative to their peers who used their phones less often. The researchers suggested this might be due to the fact that those using cell phones a lot are not focusing on academic work, or are using them during class or when they should be studying. As they put it, "In other words, high frequency users are more likely to be multitasking and task switching while in class or studying and these behaviors are known to lower academic performance." Each ping may distract you from the task at hand, so try silencing your phone altogether or keeping it out of sight to improve your overall performance--in class or otherwise. Technology is not always bad, of course. Anyone who has turned to their smartphone when lost in the middle of a city or to watch a cat video when they really needed a pick-me-up knows that having a high-tech device on hand has its perks. That's why Jo Mitchell, clinical psychologist and director of The Mind Room, a well-being center based in Melbourne, Australia, urges finding ways to elevate your smartphone usage, to turn it into a source of fulfillment instead of depletion. Facebook and social media can offer big social benefits, if used properly. "We know that the strongest predictor of happiness in life is the quality of our social connections, so anything we do to nurture those and to feel valued and appreciated by others is great for our health and well-being, and for theirs," as Mitchell puts it. Using mindfulness apps such as Buddhify, Headspace, or Smiling Mind can turn your phone into an oasis of calm. "Suddenly meditation practice is not location bound--it can travel with you wherever you are and fit in the gaps of your life," she says. "In an attention economy, learning to be master of your own mind, rather than slave to it, is key to happiness." Selfless acts and charity have been found to boost one's well-being significantly. Your mobile device can help you to do that more effectively. "Send a Touchnote postcard to a friend via your phone to their real-world postbox (remember them?)," says Mitchell. "Or donate to a cause using apps like Shout for Good." In the late sixties and in the seventies, inspired by a culture of "turn on and tune out," the ingestion of LSD (as well as other drugs) became popular. For a number of years urban emergency departments (EDs) were populated by young people in the throes of a "bad trip." A scare spread about the danger of LSD, and its potential to destroy the minds of its users. But then, a few years later, EDs would rarely see a bad trip. What happened? It was not the drug, it was the psychological state that people using had been in upon ingesting the LSD. Their fear and misinformation, their psychological set, produced the panic that infused their drug experience.

Over time, LSD subcultures educated users about how to use it, how not to panic, and to take the drug in environments conducive to calm and security, with guides to help smooth out the bumps. The set had been altered--and the drug experience went from what had been a nightmare to a pleasant reverie. I do not mean to suggest that anyone who is well prepared for the use of a psychedelic drug and takes LSD in a sweet setting with good and experienced drug-using friends can ingest it with impunity. Some people with latent or preexisting serious mental disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are at high risk of unleashing a psychotic state that may persist well after LSD has left their body. This exemplifies a biological set or disposition, different from a psychological set, where the mental state of the user will powerfully influence what happens when a drug is ingested. In 1971, Dr. Norman Zinberg, of Cambridge Hospital and Harvard Medical School, was asked by the Department of Defense and the Ford Foundation to go to Vietnam, where a deeply unpopular and deadly war was raging. He was an expert on drugs, whose work I greatly admired when I worked in the same psychiatry department, and his mission was to assess the degree to which combat soldiers were using heroin and advise on what might be done. A worry was that when the soldiers came home, they would bring their habits with them, outnumbering the estimated total of those already addicted to heroin in the United States. From reports by Zinberg and his collaborator Lee Robins, about 20 percent of the enlisted men in Vietnam were using heroin frequently, from daily to many times a week. They had access to potent, uncontaminated, cheap heroin, which they principally smoked or snorted. This psychiatrist and psychiatric epidemiologist, working together, forecast that the soldiers' drug use would be largely left behind in the jungles of Southeast Asia after they came back to the United States. And they were right. Eighty-eight percent of the returning soldiers who used did not continue to do so. Though 12 percent did, in excess of the rates of the general population, these men had battled in a guerrilla, tropical war that lacked support at home and from the people they were ostensibly trying to "save." Many were seeking a means to "make time go away." Moreover, we know today that up to 30 percent of battle-exposed veterans develop PTSD, clinical depression, traumatic brain injury (TBI), or all three--coupled with high rates of alcohol and drug use related to these conditions. All this is what is meant by setting, in which the context, the environment, and the circumstances are fundamental to a person's use, abuse, and dependence on a drug. We are in the dark unless we shine a light on the setting in which a psychoactive drug is employed. The same study found that that while high cell phone usage hurt GPAs, it also ratcheted up anxiety. The researchers theorized that this may be due to the fact that the ever-present mobile device makes it difficult for users to disconnect and "find the solitude necessary to temporarily escape these perceived obligations"--an important component of well-being and life satisfaction. Turn off your notifications--or turn off your mobile device altogether--for designated periods of time throughout the day in order to allow yourself breaks to be present in the moment.

If you want to help increase the happiness of your friends, stop "Liking" them. A study from Carnegie Mellon University looked at more than 1,900 Facebook users' activity logs over three months and how they corresponded with their self-reports of psychological well-being. While comments with a personal touch corresponded with improved happiness, "Likes" and similar one-click communications made no improvement in the subjects' well-being. Next time you're about to click that "Like" button for a friend's post, think of something more personal to say and write it in the comment field--or say it to them in person. A positive relationship was found between Facebook use and the building and maintenance of all three of these types of connections. Interestingly, general internet use didn't help build capital, except in the case of maintained social capital. Students reporting low life satisfaction and low self-esteem gained bridging social capital when they used Facebook more heavily. The researchers pointed out that using social media does not remove one from the real world, but "may indeed be used to support relationships and keep people in contact, even when life changes move them away from each other." One of the biggest reasons Facebook and Twitter negatively impact happiness is the social comparisons that you are likely to make when scrolling through your newsfeed. You may be feeling pretty good with how your day is going only to see that a friend is relaxing on some Caribbean beach or just got a big promotion at work. Or you just bought a new bike you're excited about--and a high school buddy posts a photo of her fancy new car. The fact that such "upward comparisons" push our mood downward has been established through studies going back to at least the 1950s. Without fail, everything you read, watch, and listen to impacts your mind positively or negatively, it takes value or gives value, or it's a complete waste of When you don't have your act together, you are not prepared. You are not trained. You are not battle-hardened and ready to fight whatever life throws in your direction. U.S. Navy SEALs, and once again, I talk about them a lot because they're very good at what they do and have their act together beyond comprehension, constantly train to become better and to prepare for anything. In times of war and peace, they focus on becoming better. They focus on finding weaknesses and turning them into strengths. They simulate harsh environments, situations, circumstances, and prepare for dealing with those difficult threats and predicaments. They constantly ask themselves, "What can we train for next and get more prepared for?