As the saying goes, it is about the journey, not just the destination. Absorbing this attitude can help you create an optimal psychological environment for success. Recognize that positive expectations create a virtuous cycle and a self-fulfilling prophecy! Whether you like it or not, delivering and getting results is how the world works. It is how you build a better future, so you cannot ignore it. If you keep raising your expectations and using them to motivate yourself, then you will see positive payoffs. Earlier, I talked about the downside of anxiety and unrealistic expectations. However, the beauty of focusing on effort is that you don't create apprehension, set yourself up for failure, or start with drastically unrealistic expectations. Effort-based expectations help you to keep a positive mental attitude and retain your emotional equilibrium. The world has many significant problems, and it needs creative people to solve them. Approaching challenges from an effort-based perspective lends itself to motivation, imagination, and confidence. While we can't control the feelings and thoughts that pop into our heads, we can control what we do with them. Bricker's work using acceptance and commitment therapy in smoking cessation programs suggests we shouldn't keep telling ourselves to stop thinking about an urge; instead, we must learn better ways to cope. The same applies to other distractions like checking our phones too much, eating junk food, or excessive shopping. Rather than trying to fight the urge, we need new methods to handle intrusive thoughts. When similar techniques were applied in a smoking cessation study, the participants who had learned to acknowledge and explore their cravings managed to quit at double the rate of those in the American Lung Association's best-performing cessation program. Liminal moments are transitions from one thing to another throughout our days. Have you ever picked up your phone while waiting for a traffic light to change, then found yourself still looking at your phone while driving? Or opened a tab in your web browser, got annoyed by how long it's taking to load, and opened up another page while you waited? Or looked at a social media app while walking from one meeting to the next, only to keep scrolling when you got back to your desk?

There's nothing wrong with any of these actions per se. Rather, what's dangerous is that by doing them "for just a second," we're likely to do things we later regret, like getting off track for half an hour or getting into a car accident. Let's say your internal dialogue is stagnant in tone and message, telling you to just accept who and what you are. You may think you hate that kind of self-talk, but trust me: You wouldn't listen to it for one minute if you weren't getting something out of it. The question becomes, what is this payoff that has you doing that which you don't consciously want to do? Don't even bother telling yourself that you are the exception to the rule of payoffs. You're not an exception, because there are no exceptions. We need to talk more about this issue of risk. You perceive risks, and therefore talk about them internally, in almost any change you undertake. No wonder we are so stubbornly resistant to change. Your internal dialogue can become self-defeating even if your problem is as simple as being stuck in a job that you despise. Simply to consider going after that different job, a better job, involves risk: the huge risk that lies in admitting that what you have is no longer what you want. Once your internal dialogue acknowledges that, you can no longer bury your head in the sand and hide in denial. Instead, you're now faced with the stark reality that your work life is the pits. Your internal dialogue can force you to feel like you have to "jack it up" and do something about it--and that can create huge pressure. If you admit the problem, you are forced to either continue living an admittedly crummy life (pain) or reach for something more. If you're reaching, if you're stretching and striving for something more, you can definitely fail and you naturally fear failure. Some call it the blues or a storm in their head. William Styron called it darkness visible. Whatever the description, depression is a disorder of the mind and body that affects approximately 15 percent of the population at some point in their lives.

Mood disorders such as major depression and bipolar disorder are conditions of the brain that involve a disturbance in one's mood or frame of mind. These conditions affect a person's thoughts, feelings, behaviors, relationships, activities, interests, and other aspects of life. It can be quite overwhelming. The symptoms of major depression and bipolar disorder are often remitting and relapsing. This means that the symptoms come and go; they may improve or go away and then return at some later time. The pattern is unique for each person and difficult to predict. You may experience symptoms for a long time, just as people who have diabetes or high blood pressure often do. The important thing to remember is that mood disorders are treatable and that you can learn to manage yours. One of the most common symptoms of major depression and bipolar disorder is difficulty with concentration and focus. In his book, Styron eloquently described a state of confusion, failure of mental focus, lapse of memory, and muddied thought processes, familiar to many with depression. This may make it challenging for you to read, pay attention to a conversation or TV show, or remember simple things. Although advice on how to manage a mood disorder can be found in many textbooks, self-help books, and Web sites, a person with depression may find some of these resources difficult to follow and absorb. Books and articles with long, involved text can be overwhelming to a person in the midst of depression. These are symptoms of the disease, not indications of your intelligence. Because of these symptoms, learning to manage depression requires a different approach. This is where your internal dialogue can cause real trouble. When the possibilities that life presents are interpreted through your internal dialogue as being scary and painful, it is easy to become paralyzed. Instead of getting real and confronting your life, you can begin to lie to yourself and live a fiction. Your fictional dialogue becomes: This is really okay. I know it's not me, but hey, I should be glad I have a job at all.

I would like to contribute, but I don't believe very much in myself. There's your payoff: You get to hide from the truth and you avoid the fear, pain, and pressure of reaching. In other words, the low self-esteem that internal dialogue can generate and perpetuate is for many people a very handy excuse. It is a great excuse for playing it safe and not expecting very much from yourself: Gee, I'd love to be a player and contribute, but I'm just really shy and don't have any self-confidence. Oh really! Well, how convenient is that? You're scared, so we all get to drag your ass for seventy years? I don't think so. Hey, everybody has doubts; how about we challenge that internal dialogue, instead of letting it paralyze you? If your internal dialogue is about your self-esteem, ask yourself whether that dialogue is getting you closer to what you authentically want or not. This world needs participants, not passengers. If you are nervous and fearful about life, and your internal dialogue shows it, you will be compromised. Everybody is nervous about different aspects of life. Everybody has self-doubt; everybody has fear; everybody has anxiety. But if you passively accept the excuses of your own self-talk, if you let it speak to you unchallenged, you will cheat yourself and everyone else in your life. Have you ever watched a YouTube video or read a blog and thought, "I'd sure like to meet this person"? I think this all the time because I love connecting with people. I learn so much from interacting with individuals---the eye contact, touch, and inflections in people's voices add so much to a conversation! Whenever I meet someone, I always discover so much just by his or her body language, nonverbal cues, and other intangibles. Motivation and passion are both central to expectations because they are the fuel for the fire, powering us to meet our expectations.

Although they sound similar---they are both positive and drive action, after all---there is a fundamental difference between them. Motivation can be instilled by teachers, coaches, and other external sources. For example, books, speeches, and movies can provide motivation when we lack it. Passion, however, comes from deep within; you develop it based on your personal expectations. When you expect to be motivated at a lecture, it usually happens on a short-term basis. But when you are passionate about something, it comes from deep within your being (soul, heart, and mind). It takes little effort to be passionate about something because of how it's seeded in your essence. Becoming motivated about something is relatively easy. After all, you often hear people say, "What do I have to do to get you motivated about this?" You rarely hear, "How do I get you passionate about something?" Take my feelings about expectations: they have been burning within my heart and soul for so long. When I talk about expectations, I am filled and fueled by a passion for my topic. My enthusiasm feeds my curiosity, interest, and work ethic. As a result, I am always getting ideas, and my flurry of thoughts and theories often seem to organize themselves without much conscious effort. The word enthusiasm, originally translated from Greek, means "to be filled with the divine." Indeed, when you are passionate about something, it seems like you have a divine wind at your back. A technique I've found particularly helpful for dealing with this distraction trap is the "ten-minute rule." If I find myself wanting to check my phone as a pacification device when I can't think of anything better to do, I tell myself it's fine to give in, but not right now. I have to wait just ten minutes. This technique is effective at helping me deal with all sorts of potential distractions, like googling something rather than writing, eating something unhealthy when I'm bored, or watching another episode on Netflix when I'm "too tired to go to bed." This rule allows time to do what some behavioral psychologists call "surfing the urge." When an urge takes hold, noticing the sensations and riding them like a wave--neither pushing them away nor acting on them--helps us cope until the feelings subside. Surfing the urge, along with other techniques to bring attention to the craving, has been shown to reduce the number of cigarettes smokers consumed when compared to those in a control group who didn't use the technique. If we still want to perform the action after ten minutes of urge surfing, we're free to do it, but that's rarely still the case. The liminal moment has passed, and we're able to do the thing we really wanted to do. The Basics of Mental Health are the essential actions we all need to engage in every day to maintain emotional health and stability.