Surrender is not giving up.
Surrender is not giving in.
It’s trusting in something bigger than yourself.
Something you can’t quite see.
Behind the scenes.
How I Surrender: The God Box
Something you can’t quite see.
How I Surrender: The God Box
I was motivated to write this post and film an accompanying video after witnessing so many students overwrought by thoughts of inadequacy about how they looked.
In reality, there was no doubt that they were healthy and whole, but in their minds, they believed the opposite.
A phenomenon heightened by imaginary audience and social anxiety, which reaches its peak in adolescence.
Imaginary Audience Video: Click Here
Body Image Video: Click Here
These articles provide insight into why body dissatisfaction continues to be an issue, despite countless campaigns to turn the tide.
The Image in the Mirror and the Number on the Scale
The Effects of Social Media on Body Image and Mental Health
Body Weight and Self-Perception are Associated with Depression
The First Step Towards Change is Awareness
The 15 questions below challenge cognitive distortions and perceptions using reality itself.
This inquiry is not limited to body image and weight and thus can be applied to areas of life where you find yourself overthinking and ruminating.
Source: Challenging Cognitive Distortions
Related: The Stories We Tell Ourselves
In addition to spending time in self reflection and reality testing, it is important to open up the conversation to the community at large.
In doing so we move into collective problem-solving, empowering solutions, and public health education.
“In this episode, Stephani and Dr. Dinardo speak about what positive psychology is, turning your perceived flaws into strengths by moving from self-criticism to self-compassion, posttraumatic growth and how adversity can be beneficial to us, boundaries around social media use, the magic of prevention work and maintaining hope”. Bulimia Anorexia Nervosa Association (BANA)
Listen to Interview: Click Here Watch Video of Post: Click Here
The following video is an excerpt from my resilience keynote speech at the Healthy Workplace Awards Ceremony.
Psychology Reflection Questions
How do you see resilience?
What helps you bounce back and move forward?
For me, it’s the belief that setbacks are temporary.
And the internal power it creates lasts forever.
Link to full resilience video — https://youtu.be/8VvwITnvrhs
Watch 3 min Video of Post: Click Here
Mirror Exercise: Waking Up with Love
F45 "Live" Event: Community Resilience with Dr. Andrea Dinardo
Community members asked stress, wellness, and psychology questions in real time.
Throughout the resilience seminar, I also shared daily habits and thought patterns keeping me healthy during the pandemic.
Optimism, hope, and humour are key factors in health, happiness, and resilience.Optimism Bootcamp The Drive Magazine
Since then, I have been interviewed virtually by:
In the past, online interactions were “an extra” to everyday conversation.
Now “the virtual life” is a necessity for both our personal and professional lives.
An important and crucial way to stay connected to both our dreams and each other.
PSYCHOLOGY TEACHING ONLINE - BEHIND THE SCENES: 1. What It's Like to Be a Professor During Global Pandemic 2. "Live" Online Psychology Class
“Adapt or Die” may sound harsh.
But adaptation is truly what’s being asked of us in every area of our lives right now.
So I figure I might as well jump right in!
Because I would rather ride the wave, than have the wave ride me. 🌊
An analytic (below the surface) strategy originating in the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.
Freud’s Iceberg Analogy : Click Here
With the ultimate intention of enhancing inner peace and understanding.
To Learn More
Watch my in-depth interview on situational anxiety with Dr. Katherin Garland: https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=N7ttX6h_D8o
Watch Video Of Post: Click Here
With time, I have come to realize that failure has always been my greatest teacher. Each failure pointed me in a better direction and helped me to develop strength and authenticity, ultimately unveiling who I was and what I was destined to become
F. A. I. L. = First Attempt In Learning
• The failing grade I received on my first exam in graduate school taught me how to ask for support when I needed it most, no matter how shameful I felt or embarrassed I was.
• The end of a long-term relationship taught me how to value my time alone and make tough decisions for myself, no matter how weak I felt or lonesome I was.
• The layoff from a job I loved taught me how to let go, look forward, and trust in something so much bigger than myself, no matter how scared I was or irrelevant I felt.
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
Is it possible to see failure in a positive light?
Under the right conditions, failure strengthens us, adds to our self-knowledge, and enhances the quality of our lives
• If it weren’t for failure, I would not have met my husband John.
• If it weren’t for failure, I would not be a psychology professor.
• If it weren’t for failure, I would not have written three textbooks.
• If it weren’t for failure, I would not be the person I am today.
“Failure is the opportunity to begin again.”
Read My Article in The Drive Magazine: https://thedrivemagazine.com/posts/failure-as-feedback
Watch Video of Post: Click Here
Especially at the start of a brand new day.
Step One: Awareness
Begin by WAKING UP to your inner dialogue tomorrow morning.
Is it loving? Is it kind?
Step Two: Mirror Affirmations
Write an encouraging quote for yourself on your bathroom mirror.
Pick any one of the quotes you’ve shared with the world on social media this past year and post it for yourself on your bathroom mirror.
It only takes one thought, one word, one smile, one song, to change a life.
You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.
Thoughts. Emotions. Actions. People.
Some drain. Others invigorate.
Awareness is the first step to enhancing vitality.
The goal is to identify the source of energy leaks and peaks.
My recent interview on FM 105.9 The Region was designed to help people become more conscious of what depletes their energy and what lifts them up.
A health psychology practice that benefits mood, motivation, and productivity.
Because when we feel energized, we can do twice as much in half the time.
Rather than focusing on time, which is finite, I suggested to radio host Candace Sampson that we turn our attention to energy management, which in turn expands the amount of time we have.
What She Said Talk on FM 105.9 The Region
|Tip #1: Debits and Credits |
Daily Tracking System of Who and What Depletes You
|Tip #2: Put a Time Limit on Negativity |
Conscious awareness of how much time with friends and family is spent on complaining (draining) versus solutions (energizing).
|Tip #3: Energy is Everywhere |
(Combat Boots Anchoring Exercise)
Energetic grounding rituals before interacting online.
|*All 3 tips described in detail in both a) the August 20 energy video above and b) the extended September 1 podcast interview below.|
Video of Blog Post: Click Here
WHY ARE WE SO HARD ON OURSELVES?
One that I’m asked often. And one that I often ask myself.
The answer is multifaceted and includes several factors including how we were parented (when internalized superego and conscience first develops) and eventually how we parent ourselves.
When something goes wrong, how do you respond?
1. Self Criticism versus Self Compassion
2. Self Control versus Self Love and Understanding
How do I make the shift from self criticism to self compassion?
1. Pay attention to where your self judgements originated.
Is this your personal measure of worthiness or society’s expectation of success?
2. Investigate how truly arbitrary the standards you set for yourself are.
For example, who said you had to weigh 125 lbs, have a million dollars in the bank, and be married by 30?
3. Don’t Believe Everything You Think!
Everyone experiences time differently.
Because time truly is relative.
Taken one step further, time defines who we are, and ultimately who we become.
How we live our days is how we live our lives.
Moments → Hours → Days → Months → Lifetimes
Which is why the more conscious and aware we become about how we spend and prioritize our time, the more meaningful and satisfying our lives will become.
Concrete Examples of Time Usage
Identify 5 ways you spend 100 units (dollars) of time each day. (As illustrated in the video)
Compare and contrast your “money time sheet” with family and friends.
Are you more influenced by external measures of time?
Has your use of time changed since COVID?
The trouble is, you think you have time.
Change your life.
Acceptance and peace go hand in hand.
When we accept the things we cannot change, we save our energy for the things we can.
Consciously accept the good and the bad that exists in your life.
The rain and the sunlight.
Quite the opposite.
Strengths that were fostered in the eye of the storm. ☔️
Courage. Creativity. Wisdom. Perseverance. Faith.
And it’s that good feeling that motivates you to strive for more of what’s right for you. Instead of fighting against what’s wrong for you.
Begin by accepting what is.
Moment by precious moment.
Your wellness depends on it.
The 3 to 1 positivity to negativity ratio is one way of applying this post in your everyday life.
Specifically, each time you criticize an area of your life (or something about yourself personally), write down three positive aspects about the very thing you condemned. Hence, the 3 to 1 positivity ratio.
For example, each time you get down on yourself for not working during the COVID-19 pandemic, write down three benefits of sheltering in place. (E.g., more time for fitness, the space to try out new hobbies, meaningful conversations with family members). This daily practice helps to dampen the adverse impact of negativity bias, a type of cognitive distortion, common to all of us.
Likewise, stop comparing your lowlights to other people’s highlights. You never know what’s happening behind the scenes in another person’s life. Good or bad. FOMO is “a story” fabricated in the mind based on snippets of observable behaviour (video below).
You Can’t Add More to Your Life Without First Letting Go
Three Ways ~ 2020 graduates ~ can bridge the gap between what was ~ and what will be.
All three resilience strategies described in full detail in the 8 minute video below:
Growth happens in the s p a c e in between.
Watch this short video on my own experience with peer pressure, alcohol, and behaviour change and answer the questions below.
I also encourage use of this video and reflection questions as an opportunity to talk openly with friends and family about the powerful impact of social influence on substance use. Open conversations empower youth to think for themselves and in turn, reduces their susceptibility to coercion.
Watch Psychology Video → Click Here
Alex’s video for Windsor Updates is one of the best examples of how crisis and adversity create innovation and ingenuity. In both our community and in ourselves.
This video is a compilation of news, announcements, and local community members discussing the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic taking place in Windsor-Essex Ontario and around the world. Including offers of support, advice, and information.
Research on Social Support & Psychological Health
Being surrounded by people who are supportive helps individuals see themselves as capable of handling stress and adversity. Research has also shown that having strong social support in times of crisis can help reduce the consequences of trauma-induced disorders including PTSD.
Original Source: Click Here
How are you coping with our universal global event?
After socially distancing and working full-time from home as a psychology professor (now online), I had never felt more appreciative and grateful for all the simple joys in my life.
In this video created for Windsor Updates I share how our family is thriving instead of merely surviving the COVID-19 crisis.
Including counting our blessings like never before.
In the next video I share pandemic resilience techniques with our local Windsor Essex community.
An interactive virtual experience hosted by F45 fitness studio owner Samantha Piercell:
Video of Post: Click Here
Judged and scrutinized.
Like all eyes are on you and every potential error you make?
Think back to the first time you gave a dinner party, swung a golf club, wrote a college exam, or posted your first blog online.
Individuals with social anxiety experience this sense of being watched (and thought about) significantly more than the average person.
Independent of skills and expertise.
One potential explanation is a psychological phenomenon called imaginary audience experienced frequently in adolescence.
Think back to how easily embarrassed you were as a teenager.
Resulting in perpetual self-consciousness, distorted views of how others saw you, causing in a tendency to conform for fear of sticking out.
Two studies explored imaginary audience phenomenon among college students.
Imaginary audience behavior was found to be related to measures of social anxiety, self perception, and personality.
Furthermore, imaginary audience scores were more strongly related to anxiety than abstract reasoning.
These results suggest that imaginary audience experiences that persist into early adulthood have more to do with social anxiety than with cognitive development.
Original Source: Click Here
The next time you imagine you are being watched, talked about, or judged by others, remember that imaginary audience IS AN ILLUSION heightened by social media, physiology (eg., lack of sleep), and overthinking.
This is a very good thing!
Live like nobody’s watching. Love like nobody’s watching. Succeed like nobody’s watching. Fail like nobody’s watching. Write like nobody’s watching!
Video of Post ⇒ Click Here
Merely an idea 5 years ago.
Again and again and again.. 🙏💛 🚀💫
Video of Blog Post ⇒ Click Here
A map for transforming stress into strength
The following is a video and activity overview from Part 2 of the 2020 SRC Leadership Development Workshop. Click Here for Part 1.
Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don’t.
I believe that (self) control is the foundation of effective leadership because in order to lead others, you must first learn to lead yourself.
CONTROL – Part 1
In the initial control exercise, participants met in groups to reflect and share their answers to the following questions:
CONTROL – Part 2
Next, participants applied the C-P-R Model of Sustainable Mental Health Habits to their own experiences as both students and student leaders.
1. Student leaders first identified their triggers. Including emotional, cognitive, situational, and physical stressors. CATCH
2. Then they practiced taking a time-out (long deep breath) during high pressure moments. PAUSE
3. Finally, they shared both self-care (fitness, sleep, nutrition) and professional resources (counselling) that help them replenish unmet psychological and physical needs (as outlined on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs). REPAIR
Control Video ⇒ Click Here
TEDx Talk ⇒ Click Here
On January 11, 2020, I had the opportunity to work with the student leadership team at St. Clair College in Windsor Ontario.
The goal was to strengthen the bonds between team members and harness the power of their mission for the 12,500 students on campus.
We talked about the many ways challenges can be transformed into opportunities.
CHALLENGE is the first “C” in the “Stress to Strength” model from my Thriving Under Pressure TEDx Talk. Photo below.
Listen in for more:
More videos and learning moments from the leadership event to come. Stay Tuned! Dr. D 📚❤️
Special thanks to UWSA VP of Advocacy Arop Plaek Deng for being the photographer and videographer at the SRC Leadership Event 📸
Challenge Video ⇒ Click Here
TEDx Talk ⇒ Click Here
My number one intention for becoming a psychologist and psychology professor has always been to help people live a better life, no matter their life circumstances. And since there are only so many hours in a day, I’m always looking for new ways to reach and teach as many people as I can. All at once, if possible.
Which is why I created a Psychology Tips Playlist on my YouTube Channel that I contribute to often.
The purpose of my psychology YouTube Channel is to share key lessons from my three hour psychology lessons in as little as three to five minutes.
Giving people far and wide access to virtual classes, especially those who don’t have the money or means to an undergraduate education. I know how busy everyone is. And I love a good challenge! I also include videos of psychology interviews, workshops, and keynote speeches.
This was the case for Sarah and Jack, two unique individuals with vastly different circumstances. But they each experienced the same emotion: loneliness. An emotion that is heightened during the holidays.
Original Source: The Drive Magazine
Sarah was a 42-year-old recently divorced woman who was about to face her first holiday season alone. Living in a new town, miles away from friends and family, she was waiting to begin a new job in January. Hours felt like days.
Days felt like months. Sarah had tried everything to fill the void inside. The mistake she made was running away from the one thing that would help get her to the other side: loneliness itself.
We need to first understand an emotion before we jump to the conclusion that it’s either good or bad, because in reality, emotions are almost entirely physiological in nature.
There’s not a negative or positive to them. It’s in our mind that we make it one or the other. This concept is supported by Schachter-Singer’s theory of emotion:
This theory of emotion explains why two people can experience the exact same event and have completely different emotional reactions to it.
What matters most is the person’s interpretation of an event, not the event itself. After all, as they say, one person’s glass-half-full is another one’s glass-half-empty.
In Sarah’s situation, she interpreted her physiological response to idle time as loneliness, while another person might label it as much-needed relaxation. Ultimately, Sarah has a choice. One interpretation debilitates; the other empowers.
Now that Sarah understands the interpretative power she holds over her environmental triggers, the next step is to witness loneliness in a neutral, curious state rather than fighting it at every turn.
In doing so, Sarah neutralizes the intensity of her emotions, allowing them to flow through her, rather than getting stuck in a repetitive loop of pain.
Taken one step further, each time that Sarah experiences a challenging emotion during the holidays, rather than running from it she needs to lean in and ask that emotion, “What are you trying to teach me?”
The final step for Sarah is to learn how to reframe the situations that trigger her loneliness, and understand why sometimes she overreacts, while other times she lets go without a second thought.
Solitude is perceived as isolation by one person and freedom by another.
Watch Video of Post: Click Here
At 55 years of age, Jack was also feeling the pangs of loneliness. His wife of 25 years died suddenly of a heart attack two years ago.
Unexpected was an understatement. They had run in three marathons together and had spent their weekends sampling new vegan restaurants in their local community. Ever since his wife had died, Jack struggled to face the holidays alone.
Jack’s story is as much about him as it is about the family around him. His family and friends’ automatic response was to feel sorry for him, a response that compounded his feelings of disconnectedness and misunderstanding.
As much as Jack missed his wife, he also missed his ability to connect authentically with friends and family. Having been treated with kid gloves since his wife died, Jack longed to be seen as a victor rather than a victim
As such, I encourage Jack to connect with like-minded individuals who had been through a similar situation: widows and widowers. Specifically, ones who had been on their own for several years.
The benefits are twofold. One, Jack would learn new ways of relating to friends and family. And two, he’d be given the green light to grow and acclimate to his new circumstances.
The other component missing in Jack’s life was fun. Simple, cheerful, good-time fun. Everything had become so serious since his wife died, with almost every conversation beginning or ending with his wife’s death.
There was no doubt that he missed her with all his heart. But equally, he longed for moments where he could be free of the loneliness and pain.
I recommend that Jack reintroduce sports into his life. Something non-competitive that would get him out of the house on a Wednesday night. Better yet, if it involved people that he had never met, it would allow him to continue his journey of reinvention and rediscovery.
Equally therapeutic for Jack would be joining a cinema group or regular euchre meetup—both would offer him a chance to be in the moment and enjoy the simple pleasures in life.
Finally, I advise Jack to examine the memories and traditions that he wanted to keep alive during the holidays—and, equally, the ones of which he was ready to let go.
Jack took the practice one step further. Declaring December a month of renewal and reinvention, he revived a strength and peace inside that radiated out to his entire family.
Jack and Sarah have a lot to teach us about loneliness and how important it is to honour the unique ways in which we process adversity.
One size does not fit all. Fellowship and fun were vital for Jack’s growth and recovery, while Sarah needed a more analytical approach to processing difficulty.
Disclaimer: This post and article are for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. To protect the privacy of individuals, names and identifying details have been changed.