Loneliness, according to researchers, is more dangerous than obesity. But, of course, we can't cultivate close friendships if we're constantly distracted. Consider our children. How can they flourish if they can't concentrate long enough to apply themselves? What example are we setting for them if our loving faces are replaced by the tops of our heads as we constantly stare into our screens? Many of those in your world may readily embrace the changes in you and respond in kind. Those who truly want the best for you will welcome what you slowly begin to reveal. Partners and friends may have watched with great concern as you took on more and more projects, rarely seemed to slow down and breathe, or never talked about what was going on in your own heart and mind. They may have felt your love but also felt shut out, suddenly cut off if they got too close. What's important to remember is that even positive change in relationships can be stressful. And we all have our most comfortable and familiar strategy for handling stress, whether it's healthy or unhealthy. For the folks who can hear you and are overjoyed that you're opening up, their response will likely be welcome acceptance; they will wait to absorb this new information and ask what they can do to help you and build your relationship into a much stronger, better one. That's obviously what you're hoping for. As your partner or your friend begins to understand more of what you're saying, their response can become even more secure and healthy. Remember, there's much about you they don't know, as you've kept your more painful memories locked away. As they become more comfortable with new information about you, as they begin to put the pieces together in their own understanding, as they begin to feel more comfortable with increasing their own vulnerability, they'll be more than willing to build a new normal with you. If you've been suicidal, please know that that information can be very difficult to hear. You may need to reassure even the calmest of people that you're getting the help and support you need. Internal dialogue is the real-time conversation that you have with yourself about everything that's going on in your life. It encompasses all of your self-talk--every syllable of it, whether positive and rational or self-destructive and negative.

Internal dialogue is what you are saying to yourself, about yourself, and about the world, right now; everything you were saying to yourself before you picked up this book; and everything you will say to yourself once you put it down. In other words, your filters are actually a voice, a voice that no one hears but you. For future reference, that also means that no one can control it except you! Your internal dialogue is really a subset or portion of your overall thinking. Here's what I mean. Taken as a whole, your thinking includes any number of necessary thoughts, but thoughts that are not necessarily relevant to your concept of self: for example, puzzling over a math problem or processing the printed instructions for a VCR or a swing set that requires "some" assembly (yeah, right!). That kind of mental activity, by itself, does not influence your self-concept and it's not the kind of thinking that I'm talking about. What we're concerned with here is the more pointed conversation you have with yourself that might very well run parallel to that other thinking, or just below the surface, when you are trying to put the swing set together or program the VCR. Dressing and grooming ourselves with care, without fixating on our appearance, is not only a sign of our respect for ourselves, it is also an expression of our reverence for a sense of occasion in daily life. In my eyes, every day is worth celebrating. When we make the effort to present ourselves thoughtfully we bring a heightened sense of respect and appreciation to the various events, relationships, opportunities and pleasures life continually grants us to enjoy. To help you look great, feel great and sparkle on each day, you might like to ask yourself the following questions when choosing your clothes daily or dressing yourself for a particular occasion. You might even like to explore them as journal prompts in your own quiet time. Essential oils and crystals are dazzling gifts from nature: magical resources drawn upon for their therapeutic benefits since ancient times. The materiality and energy of crystals connects us with our earth. Crystals sparkle with us, sharing the same fragments of stardust from which we too are created. Exploring the healing, protective and energising powers of essential oils and crystals can bring immense pleasure, comfort and sparkle into our daily lives. A high level of emotional acuity is becoming more and more valued. Companies want leaders with the emotional intelligence to make wise business decisions. Schools want teachers who know how to coax positive results out of children.

Emotional awareness and a high IQ do not necessarily go hand in hand, but they are not rivals. When you have the power to express, control, and regulate your emotions, it is almost like illuminating a room with a new and brighter lightbulb. When IQ and EQ are used together, a new world comes into view, allowing you to use your intellectual intelligence to get ahead, and to sue your emotional intelligence to stay there. Let's think back to the tale of Tantalus. What was his curse exactly? Was it never-ending hunger and thirst? Not really. What would have happened to Tantalus if he had just stopped reaching? He was already in hell, after all, and dead people don't need food and water, last time I checked. The curse is not that Tantalus spends all eternity reaching for things just out of reach, but rather his obliviousness to the greater folly of his actions. Tantalus's curse was his blindness to the fact he didn't need those things in the first place. That's the real moral of the story. Tantalus's curse is also our curse. We are compelled to reach for things we supposedly need but really don't. We don't need to check our email right this second or need to see the latest trending news, no matter how much we feel we must. Fortunately, unlike Tantalus, we can step back from our desires, recognize them for what they are, and do something about them. We want companies to innovate and solve our evolving needs, yet we must also ask whether better products bring out our best selves. Distractions will always exist; managing them is our responsibility. Yet there can be problems in sharing--problems that you can prepare for so as to not overreact. Choosing someone who'd rarely take the time or make the effort to know you more deeply or intimately could've seemed the perfect choice for a partner in the past.

If that's what you've done, you may get pushback when you talk about wanting a deeper, more real connection. Let's focus briefly on three common relationship patterns that you may have inadvertently created. First, the two of you may have been acting out what's called an approach/avoidant dynamic. They emotionally sought you out: they approached, sometimes in anger or disappointment, sometimes in love and tenderness. And the more they approached, the more you avoided, which only served to ramp up their approach into an even more intense emotional stance. You beginning to open up may be something they've desired for a long time. But they also may have become accustomed to doing the approaching and not quite know what to do when the roles are changed. This dynamic is one of the easier to identify; with a growing recognition on both parts, it's very workable--if resentments haven't festered and responsibility is taken on both sides for problems created. Second, you may have created a dynamic whereby most of the giving has been from you to your partner. You may have settled for what you could get and basically overfunctioned in the relationship. And they've underfunctioned. They've walked through the relationship, accepting what you had to offer and not worked on their own emotional maturity or sense of responsibility for creating a healthy relationship. An even more difficult scenario occurs if the receiver has a pattern of manipulation or abuse, or suffers from narcissism or other destructive personality traits. This can be difficult to assess when you're intimately involved. Third, you might've chosen someone who avoids conflict and likes emotions tucked away, out of sight. The two of you don't fight or rarely argue. They may be very much like you were and prefer things to remain emotionally neutral. You've functioned well as a team but haven't shared on an intimate level. Maybe you've lived separate lives in many ways--except when you both show up at community functions looking like the perfect couple. Your internal dialogue is constant.

The time you spend with other people, even those who share most intimately in your life, cannot compare with the time you spend with yourself. You are with yourself twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. And throughout your waking moments, your internal dialogue is active; you never stop saying things to yourself. Your internal dialogue happens in real time. Unlike those lightning-fast, overlearned, automatic thoughts that I will discuss in detail later, your internal dialogue happens at normal speed. If it could be somehow "broadcast live," you'd hear your internal dialogue unfolding at the same rate as any other conversation. It's just as though someone were standing by your side and talking into your ear while you were doing whatever it was that you were doing. This may be a conversation that you don't "ponder" or deliberate upon or it may be so real that you actually speak it out loud! Its messages may be low volume, almost like a whisper, or they may come crashing in like a high-voltage current that is always "on." Its power can be deceptive: Its constancy and relentless flow can mislead you into thinking that you have no control over it. As early as 3000 BC, Ancient Egyptians would add certain herbs and flowers to their baths, knowing them to offer therapeutic benefits. Botanical oils were transformed into medicines for health and healing, mummification and perfume. Ancient Egyptians were also renowned for using stones such as lapis lazuli, turquoise and carnelian in their jewellery to express status while also offering protection and health. Ancient Greeks and Romans would perform bathing rituals including scented oils, elevating the spirit through the nourishment of the physical body. While the healing benefits of essential oils and crystals are best understood intuitively, we can be guided by ancient wisdom around the power of certain essences and stones, exploring their ancient significance to touch our modern lives with magical energy. Stones and crystals are energetic compounds of natural elements, forming when liquids cool and start to harden. Stones and crystals are as ancient as our earth, dating back billions of years. They can be found within the crust of our earth, her rocks and soils. They appear to us in breathtaking formations and palettes of truly spectacular colour. What makes crystals so beautiful and mesmerising is the way light moves through them. We human beings are the same.