If you sit down expecting grinding drudgery, that is probably what will occur. So set up a daily pattern that you can live with. Make it reasonable. Make it fit with the rest of your life. And if it starts to feel like you're on an uphill treadmill toward liberation, then change something. First thing in the morning is a great time to meditate. Your mind is fresh then, before you've gotten yourself buried in responsibilities. Morning meditation is a fine way to start your day. It tunes you up and gets you ready to deal with things efficiently. You cruise through the rest of the day just a bit more lightly. Be sure you are thoroughly awake, though. You won't make much progress if you are sitting there nodding off, so get enough sleep. Wash your face, or shower before you begin. You may want to do a bit of exercise beforehand to get the circulation flowing. Do whatever you need to do in order to wake up fully, then sit down to meditate. Do not, however, let yourself get hung up in the day's activities. It's just too easy to forget to sit. Make meditation the first major thing you do in the morning. The evening is another good time for practice. Your mind is full of all the mental rubbish that you have accumulated during the day, and it is great to get rid of that burden before you sleep.

Your meditation will cleanse and rejuvenate your mind. Reestablish your mindfulness, and your sleep will be real sleep. When you first start meditation, once a day is enough. If you feel like meditating more, that's fine, but don't overdo it. There's a burnout phenomenon we often see in new meditators. They dive right into the practice fifteen hours a day for a couple of weeks, and then the real world catches up with them. They decide that this meditation business just takes too much time. Too many sacrifices are required. They haven't got time for all of this. Don't fall into that trap. Don't burn yourself out the first week. Make haste slowly. Make your effort consistent and steady. Give yourself time to incorporate the meditation practice into your life, and let your practice grow gradually and gently. As your interest in meditation grows, you'll find yourself making more room in your schedule for practice. It's a spontaneous phenomenon, and it happens pretty much by itself--no force necessary. Seasoned meditators manage three or four hours of practice a day. They live ordinary lives in the day-to-day world, and they still squeeze it all in. And they enjoy it. It comes naturally.

It should come as no surprise that alcohol abuse is a massive problem worldwide. Alcohol abuse disorder can be diagnosed in nearly 5 percent of the population worldwide (240 million people).[5] In the United States, one in eight (12.7 percent) "meets diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder."[6] Not only is alcohol use legal for adults, but it is also widely accepted as a normal part of everyday life. Drinking is how we celebrate good days and commiserate over bad ones. It's easy to see how its use can spin out of control, especially among people who are looking for a way to numb the pain of toxic emotions like shame, guilt, fear, and anger. Alcohol is a depressant. Addiction not only invites myriad negative consequences into a person's life, but over time it also rewires the brain so that having a drink is necessary just to feel normal. One of the most addictive substances known, nicotine is a stimulant that triggers a rush of adrenaline in the bloodstream, along with dopamine, sometimes called the brain's "happy chemical" because of its association with pleasure and reward. However, research indicates a direct link between smoking and depression, in part because nicotine disrupts mood control by altering the brain's natural ability to regulate these chemicals. That's on top of other well-documented negative health effects of prolonged tobacco use. The misuse of legally prescribed medication is nothing new. However, a flood of cheap and accessible opioid painkillers in the United States has made the problem many orders of magnitude worse. Overdose numbers justify naming this an "epidemic." Mike Stobbe, a medical writer for the Associated Press, reported in 2017 that there were fewer than 3,000 overdose deaths in 1970, when a heroin epidemic was raging in U.S. cities. There were fewer than 5,000 recorded in 1988, around the height of the crack epidemic. More than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses [in 2016], according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's an increase of more than tenfold, and the vast majority of those deaths were caused by opioid drugs. Still, these numbers don't begin to quantify the devastation opioid addiction causes well before overdose claims a person's life. The name calling can begin. The physical or emotional threats can ignite a whole new standard for fighting--now and for the future of your relationship.

The sense of respect, admiration and appreciation your partner felt is now gone. Perhaps worse of all, it sets a new standard for your relationship--that at any time, you can declare war on your partner, and for any reason because contempt is an emotional, irrational state to be in. Contempt can be anything degrading, such as comments like, "You're a moron. Why would you think I would want you to do that?" or eye rolling after your partner says a grammatically incorrect sentence. The undertone of that is a clear message of, "You're stupid, and I'm smart," or "You're right and I'm wrong." You can change how you talk, communicate and address your feelings in a relationship before they have a negative impact. Even when you're in disagreement, you can contribute something positive, and help mend the `disconnect' without name calling, threats or negative body language. Learn to be aware of your micro body expression that tell your partner what you're really thinking, before you even say a thing. It could be learning to monitor an eye roll, or a frown that you make every time you see your partner doing something you don't approve of. Or, it could mean taking a deep breath before you speak, so that you give yourself a second to sensor what you want to say in order to assess what you should say. Stonewalling. If you haven't heard of the term, stonewalling, before, there's a good chance you've participated in it a time or two. So why do we believe predictions that have no basis in reality? As with many of the topics discussed so far, we believe we can predict the future because we want to believe it. We abhor uncertainty. We like to feel in control, and the thought that we can predict the future gives us a better sense of control. Also, we are easily influenced by people who are in authoritative positions. We attribute expert status to economists, meteorologists, and stock analysts because they've had years of training in their respective disciplines. But as we've seen, some things are essentially unpredictable, no matter how much training a person has. As William Sherden says, "The theories of chaos and complexity are revealing the future as fundamentally unpredictable. This applies to our economy, the stock market, commodity prices, the weather, animal populations (humans included), and many other phenomena."64 In effect, some things are just not knowable.

We would be well advised to follow the lead of Winston Churchill, who gave up trying to predict what was to come, complaining that the future was just one damned thing after another. The sooner we realize that many things in our environment are essentially unpredictable, the sooner we'll be able to make more informed decisions on what to believe and how to use our resources. In 1941 Admiral Kimmel, commander in chief of the Pacific fleet, was repeatedly warned about the possibility of war with Japan. On November 24, he was informed that a surprise attack could occur in any direction. However, Kimmel didn't think the United States was in any great danger, and since Hawaii was not specifically mentioned in the report, he took no precautions to protect Pearl Harbor. On December 3, he was told that American cryptographers decoded a Japanese message ordering their embassies around the world to destroy "most of their secret codes." Kimmel focused on the word "most" and thought that if Japan was going to war with the United States they would have ordered "all" their codes destroyed. One hour before the attack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese sub was sunk near the entry to the harbor. Instead of taking immediate action, Kimmel waited for confirmation that it was, in fact, a Japanese sub. As a result, sixty warships were anchored in the harbor, and planes were lined up wing to wing, when the attack came. The Pacific fleet was destroyed and Kimmel was court-martialed.1 Our desire to cling to an existing belief in the face of contradictory evidence can have disastrous effects. We have a natural tendency to confirm. That is, we selectively attend to information that supports our existing beliefs and expectations. Studies have shown, for example, that when we view a presidential debate, we pay more attention to information that's consistent with our political point of view. When believers in ESP are shown experimental results contrary to their belief, they remember less of that data than if the results had supported ESP.2 As I write this, President George W. Bush is under attack for starting a war with Iraq based on questionable intelligence. Although United Nations inspectors could find no evidence of weapons of mass destruction prior to war, and some intelligence and policy advisors thought that Iraq was not an imminent threat to the United States, Bush (and Vice President Cheney) wanted to eliminate Saddam Hussein. Consequently, many experts now believe that Bush and Cheney "cherry-picked" the evidence, focusing on anything that supported a war, and discounting evidence that did not. After the invasion, we found that most all of their supporting evidence was wrong.3 Using a confirming strategy can lead to dire consequences. Confirming strategies maintain consistency in our beliefs. How does that happen?