For example: "In a sense, my habitual lateness, just like my habitual procrastination, was my way of refusing to be tied down by a demanding world." Avoid being a perfectionist. "Still, in spite of whatever losses I had incurred, as far as I was concerned, having an appointment diary was a sign of weakness." Take the pressure off yourself by developing patience from within. If only I had seen my co-workers' appointment books in a more positive light, I might have had an opportunity to reflect upon how well they were organized and how they didn't seem to suffer from the low moods that came upon me. Unfortunately for me, I was not willing to change my long-held ways at that particular time, as well as for some time to come. For people dealing with depression, mindfulness training can be especially useful in accepting negative emotions and the self-talk that can influence mood. Since people have an innate need to avoid painful situations and seek out pleasurable sensations, dealing with cravings is a perpetual problem for substance abusers who might otherwise want to stay clean. Research looking at the effectiveness of mindfulness-based treatment has shown that it can be especially beneficial in reducing depression and other mood disorders. Researchers examining the effects of mindfulness meditation on brain functioning have found evidence of significantly increased activity in the prefrontal cortex during meditation. This can help with negative self-talk and emotional regulation and can make coping much easier during depressive episodes. One of the advantages of mindfulness training is the way that it can be combined with other group and individual treatment approaches and even included as part of family or couple therapy. Mindfulness training seems to work especially well when combined with CBT, which can reinforce the benefits this kind of treatment can provide. A recent research review of nine clinical trials of people with severe depression showed that MBCT helps reduce the risk of relapsing in depression regardless of age, sex, relationship status, or level of education. Mindfulness-based therapy has also been found to be as effective as medication in many cases, and in one recent study, many of the patients completing a mindfulness therapy program felt confident enough to stop their medication completely. While mindfulness-based therapy is hardly a cure-all for people dealing with depression, it is a promising treatment tool that is likely to become more widely used in future. The words others use against us have power. But the words we use against ourselves are infinitely more powerful: "I am not worth it." "I can't." "I give up." We have all used those words against ourselves at some point in our life, and the results can be devastating. On the flip side, words of joy and confidence help us achieve our dreams: "I am beautiful inside and out." "I love myself." "I am so worth it." How do I know this? I know because of my own journey and talking to literally thousands of people who are searching for the answers and actions to age with grace, health, and wisdom. I have physical ailments that could keep me in a life of pain and disability. I have left a spouse who betrayed our marriage vows.

I have uprooted my life to move to a place where I literally knew no one. I have weathered the storm of family disputes. But because of discipline and determination, I have taken the actions required to reclaim my physical, emotional, relationship, mental, financial, and spiritual health. At sixty-one years of age, I am thriving. I have tapped into my deep beauty and inner worth. Transforming occurs in two primary stages. The first is the aha moment when you recognize the need to change. The second stage is when you act with discipline and persistence. We all have aha moments. You know the moment when it hits you. Perhaps you want to start your own business, change your job or career, start a relationship, improve a relationship, travel the world. Perhaps you simply want to feel happier and more positive each day. Maybe you need some positivity to help you cope with a disappointment, setback or even a trauma or tragedy. Whatever it is, you may have decided that things need to improve and that what could help would be a more positive perspective and approach. You're right; a positive perspective and approach can help. But is there really power in positive thinking? Yes. The fact is, if you're not a positive thinker - if you don't have a positive attitude - there's not much that can make up for it. Money, education, talent and opportunities are all well and good but without positive thinking you can't really make the most of them. Other people can't be positive for you.

They can be supportive and encouraging but then it's over to you. There simply is no substitute for having your own positive attitude. It gives you the motivation, energy and ability to succeed, it enables you to be happy and keeps you going through the toughest times. While you're moving quickly and swiftly through each one of your targets, it's vital you keep your head on straight. If you were a Special Forces team member in the military and started freaking out in the middle of an operation, it would be bad news for everyone. The worst time to lose your head is during the day and in the middle of moving forward and hitting targets because it has detrimental effects on your focus, clarity, and progress. When you get your day going and it's time to get things done, emotions, micro emotions, and weak thoughts stay out of the picture. There's no place for them while you're trying to work and move forward. That's why it's important to calm your mind and body at the beginning of the day because it plays a big part in helping you keep your head on straight while you're trying to get things done. Obviously, if I was to overcome my condition of habitual procrastination, I needed a solid foundation upon which to build my new self. One of the greatest ironies of habitual procrastination is that in order to concentrate on getting just one task done, we need to mentally put aside the often tremendous number of undone tasks we've yet to deal with, all of which weigh heavily upon our minds. In order to veer away from our habitually negative way of thinking, we need a good tool. We'll go through a few practice examples using Barry, a fictitious habitual procrastinator. Once known as "high contact" therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT for short) was first developed by psychologists at Yale University as a brief intervention for the treatment of major depression and has since been adapted for a wide range of other mental health issues. Partly based on attachment theory (see Question 21), IPT focus on relieving symptoms by improving the way people interact with family, friends, and peers. One of the central concepts of IPT is that psychological issues such as depression and anxiety occur due to problems in the everyday relationships we all have with the important people in our lives. People undergoing IPT learn to focus on developing their relationship skills and learning better communication strategies to overcome those conflicts that can lead to emotional distress.With IPT, the first three treatment sessions usually focus on helping participants create a list of all their important relationships as well as identifying the problems they may be experiencing. Based on what is discovered during these early sessions, the therapist then prepares a treatment contract outlining what the therapy is intended to achieve as well as how long the treatment will take. While a standard IPT usually runs from twelve to sixteen treatment sessions, the therapist may well decide that additional sessions will be needed based on the kind of relationship problems that need to be addressed. Participants are encouraged to examine their important relationships and determine the type of problem they may be experiencing.

This allows participants to work with the counselor to decide on what relationship issues they may want to concentrate on in the following sessions. Let's say that a few nights ago, Barry watched a DVD and after placing the disc back in its case, instead of putting the case back on the shelf where it belongs, he left it on the coffee table in his living room. Maybe it is the straw that breaks the camel's back. I have a friend who was married to a guy with a drug habit. For years they did the dance of him relapsing and her forgiving. One day she came home to find that he had sold her vacuum cleaner for some crack. She loved that particular vacuum cleaner. At that moment, her whole attitude toward him changed, and she got off the hopeless hamster wheel of thinking she could change him. She found herself and started living her life. Who knew a vacuum cleaner could inspire an aha moment? Many of us have that aha moment when it comes to our weight. We see a picture of ourselves and feel embarrassed. We find out that we are suffering serious health consequences from our overindulgence in food and underindulgence in exercise. We get that wake-up call and immediately go on a diet and commit to exercising every day. True transformation requires the structure and control that makes you repeatedly do what needs to be done to achieve your goals--no matter if they are personal or professional. You see this bottomless discipline in world-class athletes like those in the Olympics. No matter what, they train and sacrifice because they want to be the best in the world. If they fall, they get up. If they are distracted, they refocus. They do what needs to be done every single day.

I also have witnessed this discipline in my ongoing work with caregivers. They structure their days so they can provide care to loved ones. They are intensely clear on their priorities and how they allocate their time and resources. They engage a support network to keep them motivated. Again, they do what it takes every day. Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will. Think positively and you're likely to enjoy positive results. Negative thinking, on the other hand, can lead to outcomes you'd rather not have. Negative thinking undermines your confidence. It contributes to indecision. It defeats you. It beats you. It creates the `bad luck' that you'll later lament. Think positively and you'll feel able to manage and do well. Think negatively and you're likely to feel overwhelmed and powerless. What you think and say to yourself can have quite an impact on what you can and can't do, as shown by this simple exercise. Try it for yourself. You'll need another person to help. Ask the other person to stand and extend their dominant arm out horizontally, at shoulder level so that their arm is parallel with the floor. Ask them to think of a time when they failed at something - a test or exam or job interview, for example.