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Everyone gets stuck at times, and once you’re at midlife you may find yourself in a deep rut. The aspects of your life that you thought were most important now feel like dreary obligations.
Something needs to change. And if you want to change your situation, you first have to change yourself.
That means we first have to change our perspective. We use mental maps as a frame of reference by which we navigate the world. And more often than not, they’ve been shaped by outside influences that are no longer as relevant to who we are and who want to become.
To get unstuck, we need to be able to redraw the mental maps inside our head; to look at the world through a new lens. Because without this vital shift in perspective, we’ll merely continue down the same path that is causing us to be discontent in the first place.
By developing a new set of mental maps your understanding of what’s possible grows, and your life will begin to change for the better, all by itself. So how do we make this shift?
The first step is to start getting to know ourselves better. From there, we can take a series of steps that not only get us out of the rut, they raise us up to new heights.
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Let’s Weight Awhile
Heavier weights vs. more reps is as hot a debate as sweet vs. salty. So, you’re not alone if you’ve ever wondered which is better for building strength. This article attempts to settle things so you win the strength-training game.
Your sense of self is a story. If you find yourself repeatedly telling yourself a critical story, you’d be well served by changing the narrative. To be effective, though, the story must be realistic by your own standards of what you believe.
It’s Not Just for Ketchup
Looking forward to something can be almost as good as experiencing it. Which is nice.
You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat
Two years ago, Harry Weidman and his partner Ann Stockton were visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands, where they were thinking about buying a condo. A friend they were sailing with suggested they buy a boat instead.
How Just a Few Friends Help You Flourish
By Trudi Roth
Recently, a friend lamented to me about a pandemic-related demise of a friend circle. Ironically, the falling out was instigated by a Heather – both the woman’s name and a perfect example of a best friend/greatest enemy.
Losing friends is always difficult, especially nowadays. Research shows COVID-induced social distancing contributed to a “loneliness epidemic,” although it didn’t create it. In 2018 the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 22% of British and American adults often or always feel socially isolated or lonely.
Now, put this in the context of longevity research that says close social connections are essential to a long, fulfilling life; notably a landmark Harvard study launched in 1938. Researchers followed a sampling of men for eight decades and found the top predictor of health and happiness at 80 wasn’t professional success — it’s the level of satisfaction in relationships at 50.
Turns out you really got to have friends.
Benefits With Friends
You don’t need fancy studies to know a close friend is a joy in good times and a lifeline when things are rough. However, the research is compelling, as close friendships are correlated with better health, less stress, and greater happiness. According to Marisa Franco, psychologist and author of the upcoming book Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make – and Keep – Friends, even one good friend can make a difference.
The biggest return we get in friendship is going from zero to one friend in terms of its impact on our mental health and well-being. If you can get that deep with one person, it’s going to be powerful and it’s going to be impactful, and you don’t need to have a ton of friends.
“One” and “not a ton” are vague amounts, so how many friends do you really need?
In 1993, British psychologist and anthropologist Robin Dunbar theorized humans could cognitively manage about 150 connections simultaneously. He used a series of concentric circles to represent friends, from the widest outer rings of casual acquaintances to an inner circle of around five intimates. Later studies validate Dunbar’s work, with most people reporting four to six BFFs as the magic number.
Now, people aren’t surveys, and the number of close friends you need is subjective. According to Dr. Franco, a better assessment is whether you feel part of your identity is being restricted by your current besties.
Different people bring out different parts of us… If you feel like your identity has sort of shrunk, or you’re not feeling quite like yourself, that might indicate you need different types of friends.”
Making good friends gets more challenging as we age, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle. If you need advice, ask a confidant. After all, that’s what friends are for.
How Many Close Friends Do You Really Need? (New York Times)
Everybody Wants to Rule the World almost didn’t make it onto Songs from the Big Chair, the second album from Tears for Fears. Luckily it did — the song became the band’s breakthrough hit in the United States, topping the charts along with the album itself. (YouTube)