Relaxing with Rob

Relaxing with Rob

Learn strategies to reduce stress and increase mindfulness.


May 31, 2020 9 mins

There’s enough criticism in the world without targeting yourself. Jess Glynne’s 2015 song, “Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself” expresses this nicely.

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You might be less anxious if you recalibrate your stress meter and consider some problems as simply “inconveniences.”  

Here’s a non-affiliate link to Robert Fulghum’s book that inspired today’s topic. I also encourage you to support local booksellers and borrow from your public library.

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May 17, 2020 7 mins

A simple but challenging experiment could produce gratitude in the short term and creativity in the long term.

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May 10, 2020 8 mins

Aging may be inevitable, but holding a negative stereotype about it is not. Research from Harvard psychologist Ellen J. Langer shows that we can actually turn the clock back in surprising ways through shifts in our expectations. Here’s a non-affiliate link to Langer’s book on mindful health.

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May 3, 2020 7 mins

It’s normal to worry about others’ opinions of you, but it’s not necessary. Two ways to break free from this are: 1) desensitize yourself by assuming that it’s always going to happen; and 2) recognize that their critiques are directed at your “social self,” not your “essential self.” 

Here’s a non-affiliate Amazon link to Martha Beck’s book that I reference in the episode.

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April 26, 2020 7 mins

You don’t have to attend a graduation ceremony to benefit from commencement speakers. 

Here’s a link to Anne Lamott’s 2003 address at the University of California, Berkeley that explores mindfulness and compassion with humor and insight. I believe that in 2020, her comments have become even more relevant.

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April 19, 2020 9 mins

Simplifying our lives can reduce our stress.

Here are three suggestions:

  1. Donate stuff.
  2. Let go of draining relationships.
  3. Act as if you already have more than enough.

This is a non-affiliate link to Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s book, Gift from the Sea.

And here’s a longer passage (pages 17-18) from the 50th anniversary edition:

“I want first of all . . . to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a c...

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April 12, 2020 8 mins

Research on happiness from social psychologist Daniel Gilbert can help us in surprising ways.

Here’s a non-affiliate link to Gilbert's book on happiness. I also encourage you to support your local booksellers and borrow from your library.

And here’s a link to one of Gilbert's TED Talks.

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April 5, 2020 8 mins

In circumstances that don't require snap decisions, consider three ways of tolerating stress in order to improve your judgment.

For your convenience, here's a non-affiliate link to the Malcom Gladwell book Blink that I mention.

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March 29, 2020 10 mins

Our beliefs about illness may sometimes help in our healing. These authors share insights on how this occurs:

Rilke's book (Stephen Mitchell translation for Kindle)

Jerome Groopman's Amazon page

Kate Bowler's book

The PLOS ONE study on placebos for IBS

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March 22, 2020 8 mins

Although you may not claim full authorship credit for your life, you can freely edit any time. Here's what might help from Donald Miller's book, A million miles in a thousand years: What I learned while editing my life. And if you'd like more, this is a non-affiliate link to his book list.

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March 15, 2020 7 mins

Joy can be sustained in average lives more readily than in exceptional ones. Why not experiment for just a day, and then see how you feel?

Here's the link to Michael Neill's article on which this episode is based:

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March 12, 2020 5 mins

During a pandemic, calm rational action is far more effective than fear-based behavior. This Centers for Disease Control site is an excellent source of guidance. 

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March 8, 2020 7 mins

Since change is the only constant in life, here are some ways to manage it gracefully.

  1. Acknowledge its reality.
  2. Stay present and mindful.
  3. Learn from past changes.
  4. Control your reactions.
  5. Focus on what comes next.
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March 1, 2020 7 mins

Our genetic structure is fixed, but we can influence how genes express themselves, and thus improve our health.

To slow (and in some cases reverse) cellular aging:

  1. Eat healthfully.
  2. Exercise regularly.
  3. If you drink, do so in moderation.
  4. Quit tobacco products.
  5. Reduce stress.

Here’s the independent nutrition site I mention:

This video summarizes research on the power of a plant-based diet (s...

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February 23, 2020 8 mins

Overthinking (especially about the future) is rarely worth its price. Although learning from the past and planning for the future are essential, the real action is in the present.

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Learn evidence-based ways to feel happier and more engaged. Although what you do for a living matters, how you do it is even more important.

If you would like to learn more, here are some resources:

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper Perennial.

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Try this guided imagery exercise to help prepare for an important event (e.g., interview, exam, or presentation). For an excellent resource on guided imagery, I recommend this book by Martin Rossman, M.D.

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February 9, 2020 7 mins

Since expecting perfection leads to disappointment, why not use your imperfections to connect better with people? This reduces anxiety and builds interpersonal bridges.

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February 2, 2020 6 mins

Being yourself is not easy, but it’s worth the risk. The song, “This Is Me,” by Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble, might inspire your effort.

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