We wrap mistakes up in "I'm an idiot and I'm not good enough." Instead of learning from the pain and welcoming it, we push it away find things to numb it or make it go away - like avoidance, complaining, blaming, drugs, drinking, denial, etc. We're not asking ourselves, "What sequence of events or thinking led me to make this mistake? What minor errors, when added up, led up to this mistake? What am I not seeing? What's the lesson to be learned here? What did I do wrong that I'll make sure not to do again? Where did I lose my focus? Where was I not paying attention?" Over the past few years, if you would have placed your focus on only one or two really important things, where would you be now? We focus on "fun", pleasure, getting everything we want NOW, avoiding pain, and remaining entertained. It's all we care about. Our potential, desire, and need for becoming better and having a better life is going down the drain because we're too comfortable. Rather than focusing on working to improve our current situation and future, we're focused on things that don't improve the quality of our life and push us closer to our goals. We're spending, on average, 4 years of our lives looking down at our phones, on social media, watching TV, and being entertained by what doesn't matter - and it's a very safe bet to say the number of years we spend doing these things will only increase as time goes on. Some of us are even spending up to 7, or more, years of our lives playing video games! We're focused on maintaining our social media reputation, going out, going on vacations, getting home to relax, do nothing, and be lazy, watching the game, going to parties, going to barbeques, going to the mall to spend money, going to see the latest movie, getting the latest video game, etc. We're so focused on chasing our next Dopamine release that we're failing to plan, prepare, and take action for a better future. If you're feeling overwhelmed with life, brighter lighting may help alleviate negative emotions, and potentially restore positive feelings. Add a few more lamps around the house and increase the wattage of the bulbs in them. Use multiple sources of lighting and dimming switches for ceiling lights. Research has shown that the corrosive effect of stigma is higher now than ever before, with the general public being twice as likely today to fear a person with mental illness.10 Studies show that 70 percent of people are unwilling to have someone with mental illness marry into the family, 60 percent are unwilling to work with someone with mental illness, and nearly 40 percent are unwilling to be friends with someone who has mental illness.11 Much of the public's perception of mental illness is shaped by mass media.

Unfortunately, scores of advertisements, newspapers, and broadcasts, as well as films and television, portray mental illness in an unfavorable light. At its worst, media perpetuates misinformation about mental illness, often condoning the use of stigmatizing phrases and labels. For example, a recent commercial for Burger King used the following dialogue, "The king's insane for selling hamburgers so cheap." The advertisement involved men dressed in white lab coats chasing down the Burger King while a person enjoying one of the hamburgers replies, "You're the one who's nuts." Another area of concern for public stigma may come from your own country. Here in the United States, prejudicial tendencies about mental illness were seen in the fight for mental health parity. Signed into law in 2008, the long battle for equal mental-health coverage showcased how deeply engrained stigmatizing views of mental illness were in many elected officials.17 If our own government devalued the need for mental-health coverage, why wouldn't that seep into the public's perception? How about when branches of your country's military deny the existence of mental illness? Case in point is the Department of Veterans Affairs' denial of posttraumatic stress disorder in veterans returning from war. Dr. John Grohol, CEO and president of PsychCentral, wondered how the undersecretary of health for the Department of Veteran Affairs could advocate for mental-health care but deny the legitimacy of particular disorders at the same time.18 I wonder too. How exactly does that work? These suggestions are offered in the overall spirit that, when you feel afraid of your emotion, you can learn that it's not dangerous and that it might actually give you useful information. The more you can sit with the emotional experience without acting on it, even if just a little bit to start, the more it will naturally dissipate on its own. These suggestions are meant to help you be a little kinder to yourself and more compassionate with yourself. Regardless of how you would like your ideal self to be reacting, can you extend a little bit of the understanding that you naturally give to others? When your emotions spike, can you to turn to yourself and say, "Given that I'm experiencing this strong emotion, I want to take the time to ask what it's telling me. What is triggering me to heat up? How can I use this response to inform future decisions?" Then, when needed, take a break from the endless thinking and imagining that comes with the emotion so you aren't robbed of your ability to participate in life. No one wants to feel they're just going through the motions, and there are some strategies you can try to turn off the autopilot of your overactive mind. If the first splash you make in someone's mind is a big one, you're sure to stick around. Of course, a big first impression must also be a good first impression to be effective, so don't go in spouting expletives or walking on your hands to get attention.

According to a study conducted by psychologists at Sonoma State University and the University of Texas at Austin in the United States, one of the strongest indicators of a first impression is appearance. People instantly judge you based on how you look. And in a lot of cases, the judgment is accurate. There are a few reasons for this. If you dress poorly and don't take care of yourself, you probably don't have a lot of confidence and the image of an introvert will likely prove to be accurate. If you dress well and are clean shaven with a slick haircut, you project an image of confidence and you will work to fulfil that image. Here are some specific things found to affect the first impression of someone: Smile - A full, bright smile is item number one on the positive impression checklist. By smiling when you meet someone you invite them to get to know you and show that you are a positive person interested in developing a relationship. Posture - How you stand can have a big impression on someone as well. For example, your posture can basically tell someone how tired you are, how confident you are among other people and whether you are eager to meet and get to know them. Dress - Clean, neat dressers are those who have their lives together and know what they want. Those who don't change clothes or wear baggy clothes to hide themselves in are not comfortable in their own skin and it shows. Tension - Tension can be relayed in a number of ways. How often you move, the way you stand, how quickly you respond to questions, and more. Stress and tension, either because of meeting someone new or due to an outside factor can instantly make you appear less interesting and can force someone away before they can make a lasting impression. None of us chooses perfectly each time. Instead, awareness, trial, and error can help you feel confident in your ability to respond to your ever-changing environment in ways that value yourself and your goals. Enhancing your ability to cope with life's inevitable triggers sets you up to live in ways that maximize your capacity to thrive. When you can acknowledge that you're freaked out about getting fired, and you sing your heart out to the Hamilton soundtrack and show up to work anyway, then you give yourself the opportunity to keep moving toward the stability you want in your life. Similarly, you can acknowledge that you are lonely, zapped of energy, and all you want to do is stay in bed--and in response you hold a plank and do some pushups.

Or you tell yourself you'll show up to your friend's dinner party, stay for 45 minutes, and then reevaluate how you feel. When you respond effectively to your inevitable triggers, you foster the opportunity to keep moving toward the social connection, engagement, and laughter you want in your life. When you think you have a strong handle on TRAP monitoring and coping with TRAPs in healthy ways that value your needs and goals, then Principle 4 awaits to help you identify additional values-driven goals and then make consistent effort toward those goals. You can make choices you feel good about and draw on natural sources of rewards in your life to increase moments when you feel LP and HP. You can do this by creating a daily schedule and exploring what else you'd like to accomplish. I'll help you use your values to create a meaningful daily schedule and to navigate the micromoments in ways that ensure you show up for what matters. If you want to be productive, you will be more successful if you have activities planned ahead of time on your calendar. It is a universal truth that the less you must do, the less you do, whereas the busier you are, the more efficient and productive you are. In this chapter, I'll help you draw upon your values to brainstorm additional activities you'd like to work into your daily schedule. Afterward, I'll teach you skills to plan, track, and follow through on i nitiating these activities. To put this principle into action straightaway, I first encourage you to focus on the behaviors that served you well during Principles 2 and 3. You can look over your previous monitoring forms for clues on how to answer these questions. Remember Craig? I'll refer to his situation to illustrate. What Did You Learn About the Consequences of the Self-Care Habits You've Initiated? There's little that's as effective at boosting mood as natural light. Studies have found that exposure to natural light throughout the day is more likely to improve your mood, help you sleep better, and better your quality of life as compared to artificial light. A key reason natural light is so healthy, particularly for your sleep, is its impact on melatonin production, which contributes to both your sense of drowsiness when it's time to sleep and how alert you are during the day. The pineal gland that produces melatonin is highly sensitive to light: It's triggered by darkness or dim light and suppressed by bright lights--including artificial "blue" light from smartphones, tablets, and energy-efficient bulbs. And, it turns out, this blue light can trick your body into thinking that it's daytime when you should be sleeping, leading to disruptions in your sleep and causing all types of emotional and physical trouble.

As a Harvard Medical School newsletter noted, "Blue wavelengths--which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood--seem to be the most disruptive at night." And with smartphones and tablets everywhere, including the bedroom, we are more exposed than ever to these blue wavelengths. Keep mobile devices out of the bedroom, especially at night. Use a dim red bulb--which is least likely to depress melatonin production--for your reading light. In the morning, it's a different story. If your home, or just your bedroom, doesn't get a lot of natural light, you'll be happy to hear that even just simulating the sun can benefit your well-being. A team of Swiss researchers tested a group of people over a forty-eight-hour period using three different light conditions: a blue monochromatic LED, a dawn-simulating light, and a dim light. The researchers measured subjects' mood and well-being--including melatonin and cortisol levels--every two hours. They found that the light simulating the dawn had a positive effect on cognition, mood, and well-being far more than the other lights. Your body is surprisingly gullible. If your bedroom doesn't get much natural light, pick up a dawn-simulating lamp to fake yourself into thinking the sun is shining in. 80% of everything you're focused on throughout the day will never matter in the long run. You're only focused on temporary conveniences so you can have fun and avoid boredom, stress, and work. Start asking yourself throughout the day, "Is what I'm focusing on right moving me closer to my goals?" and, "Is what I'm focusing on right now going to help me become a better version of myself?" U.S. Navy SEALs have a fierce reputation for being the world's most elite, high-caliber, and high-impact individuals - organized into teams of highly-trained men who have their act together beyond comprehension. One of their secrets - meticulousness and attention to detail. No detail is too small for them to get right. That's what makes them the best. The little details you're paying attention to are adding up to a bigger picture, like having your act together, and when your life is a mess, it's because you're overlooking and missing the smaller details that matter. In school, if you fail regular assignments but get a perfect score on important tests, you still fail. The little grades are just as important because they make up most of your grade.