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A minimalist home and lifestyle helps us put our focus on people, instead of on the stuff they have. There is more energy and space for people and relationships to flourish. We do not create connections that are satisfying around possessions but on shared experiences. I'm not saying that possessions have nothing to do with our relationships. This is a key skill in the program to get in touch with what's really driving you off the cliff cognitively and emotionally. It will help you analyze what's going on in any high-stress situation and assess whether your reaction is accurate or whether it's just a habitual response that's exacerbating the situation. The trick is to understand what you're feeling and thinking to see if it's helping or hurting you in that moment. Then you can respond accordingly from a place of calm, with a cool head and clear thinking. This method will show up quite a few times throughout the program in different ways. It's very potent and surprisingly easy to employ. Whenever a strong surge of negative emotion threatens to derail you, follow these three steps: Early detection is key. What are you feeling exactly? Use your physical sensations to identify the emotion as soon as you feel one coming on, using the Emotion Radars chart on this article. Eight retarded readers were selected for therapy from a class of twenty-two third grade children. Although this was a class for slow learners, four of the children were of superior intelligence and four of average intelligence, as measured by Form L of the Stanford-Binet. These children were chosen on the basis of discrepancies between their mental age scores and reading age as measured by the Gates Primary Reading Tests of Paragraph Meaning. Five of the eight children received six individual and three group play therapy contacts; All sessions were phonographically recorded. The study covered three periods of six weeks each.

The first of these was a control period; The second period was the experimental one, during which therapy was offered; The third period was a follow-up period, during which no therapy sessions occurred; Thus, instead of comparing an experimental group with a control group, a single group was compared with itself during three intervals. But when we use a lot of our finite time and energy on possessions, we're spending time connecting to our stuff and our schedules more than we are connecting to other people. Minimalism is making a conscious choice to use things and love people, because the opposite will not bring us the connections we really long for. Less stress about finances A minimalist approach to money management will free up valuable resources of time and energy as well as money. When we disengage from comparing ourselves to others and keeping up with our neighbors, we free up time and money. When we build our financial life on consuming, we're bound for discontent. Turn off or tune out advertising that encourages you to buy what you don't need. Less to take care of means less stress and more time to devote to other things. In addition, minimalism is a path to getting out of debt. There's no need to spend money on things to impress the people around you. We're better at detecting our feelings than our thoughts, so although thoughts produce emotions, we have to look downstream at how we're feeling to get a handle on our thinking. We need to become very aware of what our pet emotions feel like in mind, body, and behavior so that as soon as they begin, we can trap them. To find the thought, connect the feeling to the thought that is causing it (until you can quickly do so on your own, you can use the Emotion Radars chart on this article). For instance, I'm getting angry right now, so where am I detecting my rights being violated? Try to be as precise about the violation thought as possible. Here's where you'll challenge the thought.

Ask yourself, is this feeling warranted, or is it my emotional radar pinging on something that isn't really there? Each thought feed has a corresponding thought zapper to help you decipher what's truly happening. Nine times out of ten, you'll discover that the thought has no validity and it disappears, and the negative emotion right along with it. Do this enough times and the challenge becomes as automatic as it once was to become angry or sad or guilty. Each child therefore served as his own control, in an experiment in perfectly matched pairs. The assumption here is that the control and therapy periods were comparable with respect to reading experiences. Bills therefore had three judges with teaching experience visit the classroom in order to determine whether reading instruction was alike for the three periods of the study. They concluded that the three intervals were equivalent with regard to reading instruction. Comparison of reading gains during control and experimental periods by means of the t test of significance indicated the superiority of the latter. The results were significant at the . Comparison of the control period gains with those of the combined experimental and follow-up periods also favored the latter. This difference was significant at the . Thus, marked reading gain was made by the experimental group during the period of therapy, and this gain was maintained during the post-therapy period. Bills asked also whether improved reading was due to improved personal adjustment. A streamlined home Imagine having a home filled with no more than what adds value to your life. When you declutter, you're more likely to know what you have in your home. Finding what you need when you need it becomes an easier task when you develop clutter-free habits. Less frustration means less stress. Having less stuff covering our floors, furniture, and kitchen counters has cut my cleaning time in half.

Less time cleaning is more time to do something we enjoy more. Deeper spiritual life Many of us make a journey of faith to discover what we truly need and who we are meant to be. A spiritual journey can be interrupted by having too much and by having too little. You've slowed down the mechanism enough to spot the faulty thinking, neutralize the negative emotion, and restore your ability to think clearly and problem-solve effectively. Take meQuilibrium member Eric, age forty-eight. Eric is an anger guy; Eric travels frequently for business. On a recent trip to Chicago, he could hear the television set in the adjoining hotel room loud and clear. Annoyed because the television was distracting him from getting work done, Eric called downstairs to request a room change but was politely told the hotel was all articleed. In the past, Eric might have stormed down to the front desk and demanded to speak to the manager, huffing and puffing until he either got his way . In other words, making a stressful situation even more stressful for himself. EMOTION THOUGHT FEED THOUGHT ZAPPER Anger My rights have been violated. To answer this question, he conducted a study (25) of play therapy with well-adjusted retarded readers. The design was similar to that of the project just discussed, except that cases were selected for good adjustment on the basis of projective and objective personality tests. In this study, gains were not significantly greater during the therapy period. Therefore, it appears that play therapy may improve reading where retardation exists together with emotional maladjustment. Therapy is not necessarily the method of choice for remediation of reading difficulties per se. Fleming and Snyder (60) have conducted a study of the effects of nondirective group play therapy upon personality test performance.

They used three measures before and after psychotherapy. The first of these, Rogers' Test of Personality Adjustment, is an objective paper and pencil test. The second, a Guess Who test, invites children to name others described by its items, such as, Who brags and boasts about things that you know aren't so? This allows a rating of children by their peers. Minimalism nurtures growth and discovery of who we are meant to be. We might not call it materialism when we post our pictures and stories with the hashtag #blessed on Facearticle, Twitter, or Instagram--we probably want to express our gratitude and highlight our moments of happiness. But we can express our gratitude and contentment by giving what we don't need to someone who does need it. We can pursue and share our true purpose when we say no to commitments that don't serve it. Be happy now Of course, happiness is all about `feeling good', right? Well of course it is. But one must understand that it doesn't mean that there will be no negative states at all in the mind. In fact, happiness is most loosely defined as the presence of more positive states than negative ones, in the mind. Another interesting point to note is that unlike earlier, it is now well established that the pursuit of pleasure might not necessarily result in making one happy. Have my rights truly been violated? Have I been cheated out of something I'm honestly entitled to? Anxiety Something bad is going to happen. What is the bad thing I think is going to happen to me? Is this really likely to happen, or is it just my emotion radar pinging on something that isn't there? Frustration I don't have the resources I need.