How Susan Merrill got to the bottom of her anxiety and depression

Susan Merrill had the perfect life on the outside – intact, midwest family growing up, straight-A student, married Mr. Wonderful right out of college, and a perfect job. But she was depressed and anxious. “My awakening started when I had my son,” she says. “I started to realize that here was this human being I brought into the world and in so many ways, I had been faking my life. I wasn’t that in love with my husband, I didn’t really like my job, but I was being what the American dream is – good job with benefits, marriage, buying a home in California – yet it was all kind of false. “It was the love for my son that made me realize I didn’t want to pretend any more. I wanted a more authentic life. I had no idea what that meant, but I knew at some level I […]

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If you’re tired of being stressed and anxious….

I decided I’d rather love than divide. Loving keeps my stress way down and dividing makes my stress go way up. But sometimes choosing to love rather than divide is not so easy, such as right now during our country’s current political state of affairs. People feel very, very strongly one way or the other, and I’m no different. But in the midst of a heated argument with someone I care about – each one of us taking a different political side – I stopped and took a breath. I hated the way I was feeling by being all heated up in an argument. Hated that I was getting angry with someone who means a lot to me. I really hated the way I could see this argument dividing us from each other. So I took a big breath and stopped. I said to him, “I’m sorry for not listening […]

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Why perfection can’t make you happy – but this will

Our culture of perfection is bringing up more insights for me. You know, we’re supposed to have perfect hair, perfect bodies, perfect kitchens, perfect homes, perfect relationships, be fabulous foodies and cooks, and we’re even supposed to have perfect thoughts. You’re probably like me in that you hardly notice what’s going on because we’re swimming in this culture. For me, once I started paying attention, I realized I was telling myself stuff like this: “If I just exercise more, I’ll have a perfect body. If I take some cooking classes I’ll be able to be a foodie, too. If I get more spiritual, I’ll have more perfect thoughts,” and so on. Our consumer culture feeds this stuff to us constantly and it’s hard to ignore. We’re being told all of the time that we can do more and be more. We’re inspired by blog posts about the latest exercise routine, […]

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Donald Trump has lit a fire in me

Donald Trump has inspired me. Lit a fire, to be exact. I know we’re up to our eyeballs in angry, divisive, political rhetoric and we can’t stand it for one more minute.   But Mr. Trump’s Access Hollywood tape has stirred me to write about something deeply important  –  to all of us. I’m talking about the tape where Mr. Trump brags about sexually assaulting women. And I’m talking about the way he has demeaned both both women and men all throughout this political season. The put-downs, the threats, the demeaning talk. As human beings, we can do so much better than this. So, why would this inspire me –  light a big fire? Because I write about how to simplify your life, and Mr. Trump’s demeaning talk has awakened in me the true meaning of simplicity – the heart of it all. Let me explain. Most people think that simplifying your […]

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