Author: Matthew Valentine

How to Help Teens Build Their Self-Worth

Avoiding social comparisons that harm our sense of self-worth has become more difficult than ever with the growing culture of social media. Learn how to help your teens build their self-worth with key insights based on the latest scientific research. 

“I’ll never be able to do that.”

“I’m not pretty like them.”

“I’m not good enough.” 

Being a teen has always been challenging. 

There’s school work, drastic physical and chemical changes, social pressure, and the urge to compare ourselves to others, be it through our grades, intelligence, physical attributes, or other. 

But according to new insights, it’s growing even more challenging than ever before. 

The rise of social media and the effects on teen self-image

Over the past 25 years, rates of anxiety and depression have increased by a startling 70%.

And those rates continue to climb, with social media shouldering much of that blame in recent years.

According to recent research, college students across the U.S., U.K., and Canada are becoming more consumed with perfectionism, with social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat largely contributing to the perpetuation of unrealistic standards that cause it.

This, in addition to the atypical challenges of simply being a teen in grade school, means teens are under more pressure than ever. 

Fortunately, there has also been a number of powerful insights from similar research, offering knowledge into how you can help your teen manage those challenges and build their sense of self-worth in the process. 

Here are some ways to help your teens build their self-worth. 

1. Help them obtain mastery curve experiences

Social scrutiny is a big part of teen life, and knowing how to navigate those feelings of insecurity and “not-good-enough” self-talk is crucial. 

In an interview with Greater Good, neuroscientist Ron Dahl says that while our self-worth is shaped partly by what people tell us, it’s shaped more by our experiences. Specifically, our experience of feeling competent (or not). 

As parents, we often make the mistake of parenting exclusively through words. In other words, we like to talk at them a lot and expect them to take action on what we say.

But as in all things in life, kids learn more from the actual example we set and from their own personal experiences. 

You might tell your child that they’re smart, but if they fail their next math test they’ll place much more weight on that experience rather than your words.

To combat this, Dahl suggests encouraging mastery curve experiences. A mastery curve is where your child works at something, struggles (and sometimes might even fail), but gets better and better over time. 

How to Help Teens Build Their Self-Worth

A mastery curve creates one of the most solid supports for adolescents,” says Dahl. “And it’s rewarding, too. It’s part of the reason why kids who won’t spend three hours a day doing anything else will spend 14 hours a day playing video games.”

As a parent, it’s your job to encourage them when they make positive strides as those are key moments when your reinforcement can do wonders (as opposed to being discouraging and telling them what they did wrong or how they could do better). 

2. Encourage their unique talents (and show them the truth about skill development and the brain)

Everyone has natural talents and strengths, though what those things are might not be immediately clear to your child. 

In a world which encourages social comparison more than ever before, it’s easy for teens to look around themselves and think, “I’m not as smart as them,” “I’m not as good of an athlete,” or, “I’m just not that talented.”

But your teen has unique strengths and talents, they just need to find them. And doing so can help show them that they’re not lacking, just different. Maybe they’re not a great athlete or they’re socially awkward, but they could be incredibly resourceful, brave, or kind, all highly valuable attributes. 

Adolescent researcher Susan Harter explains in her bookHow to Help Teens Build Their Self-Worth, The Construction of the Self, that the concept we have of ourselves, which makes up our sense of self-worth, really breaks down to 8 major areas, with a 9th global self-concept that those areas form into:

  1. Scholastic competence
  2. Social competence
  3. Athletic competence
  4. Physical competence
  5. Job competence
  6. Romantic appeal
  7. Behavioral conduct
  8. Close friendship

In addition to this, each area has some 4-5 different sub-skills. For instance, one teen might consider themselves great at making friends but bad at getting their peers to accept them, each being one of five different sub-skills under social competence:

As a parent, you need to encourage exploration early and get them involved in different kinds of activities so they can find not only what they enjoy doing (which is an important factor in developing skill, which we’ll talk about later) but what they’re naturally skilled at. This is also important so that you might be able to identify those areas they’re less confident in and help them to build confidence in those areas.

Alternative: Use the VIA Character Survey

Alternatively, something like the VIA character survey is a great way of finding out more about your child’s strengths, which tests for 24 character attributes to help identify those natural strengths. 

How to Help Teens Build Their Self-Worth

Pay attention not only to basic activities such as drawing, mathematics, and writing but also to skills such as focus, creativity, and resourcefulness, all of which could be special valuable strengths and skills that your child might have. 

The truth about talent and skill development

While finding your child’s natural strengths and talents is important, it’s also important not to convince them it’s all about what they’re naturally good at. 

It’s a wide-spread misconception, and an easy one to fall into, that most things are based solely on talent. If you don’t “have it”, you just don’t.

You’re good at math or you’re not good at math. You’re an athlete or you’re not. Or you’re smart or you’re not. 

There’s only one problem with this: it’s not true. 

Years of scientific research in various fields– especially neuroscience– has proven that the brain can be developed like a muscle

The principles of neuroplasticity have shown that what we once believed were static abilities aren’t static at all but can be developed through practice. You can, quite literally, become more intelligent through practice.

Going beyond, “I’m just not smart enough”

For example, the old idea that some are good at math and others not has been thoroughly debunked. Research into neuroplasticity has shown that everyone is capable of learning math at a high level through adequate work: 

Think about what your own school experience was like, especially if you had a hard time in math or another subject. Everyone used to think that you were either good at math or not. 

That idea sticks with kids and makes them think that they’re inadequate, as if they’re not as good as other kids; like they’re lacking something. 

Chances are, your child may be struggling with something simply because they haven’t had enough practice. By explaining to your teen how the brain works and giving them the tools to improve, you can remove those blocks and show them that they’re not lacking but that some things simply take practice– and everything can be learned. 

3. Find age-relevant social support

You play a big role in your child’s support structure. However, it’s not always enough or ideal. 

High school is tough, and other kids aren’t always the nicest. Bullying is as big a problem as ever and cyber-bullying is unfortunately on the rise. 

You can be their rock at home, but if they don’t have anyone they can communicate with or relate to at school, they’re going to feel alone and unsupported. 

When interviewed by Empowering Parents, Josh Shipp, “The Teen Whisperer”, says that an important part of what helped him as a teen was finding somewhere he belonged outside the classroom where he could not only communicate with but relate to other kids. 

“I think a turning point was when I actively began to find places where I could belong at school,” says Shipp. “Eventually, I found a few activities that I felt I could be good at, where I could relate to the other kids. That gave me an incredible sense of self–esteem. School became not just a place for academics and books, but it was also a place where I could belong in something beyond the classroom.”

Josh says it’s difficult for other kids to make friends in class because it isn’t an environment that allows for free socializing. Teachers need their classrooms to be quiet and orderly, so often the only conversing that happens is by kids who already know one another. 

“It’s in extracurricular activities where your child can get to know other kids,” he continued. “Something parents can do is to encourage their kids to try out a bunch of new things. When teens find something they like to do, it helps them begin to feel like they have a group or a community at school—which then leads to being picked on less.”

Don’t fight human conditioning– use it to help build a sense of belonging and confidence

We’re hard-wired from thousands of years of conditioning to want to belong. During early human history, to be separated from the tribe literally meant death. As a result, we’ve developed strong emotional and psychological triggers to feeling isolated from the group. 

Instead of fighting this impulse, by helping your teens find others whom they relate to– a similar interest such as sports, art, the outdoors, science, literature or film, or an aspect of pop culture being good places to start– you help broaden their support structure.

It also gives them a strong reference point for bullying as well. Shipp says, “Think of it this way: even if three or four kids at school like your child and have his back, when he’s teased he’ll be able to say, “Who cares? Those other kids are jerks anyway.” 

4. Avoid social comparisons and teach them the power of loving themselves

It’s harder than ever to avoid the social comparison trap, with social platforms like Instagram encouraging teens to construct a “fake” life to look better in front of their peers. 

When they scroll through social, they often see kids their age who seem to have better things than them– who are smarter, prettier, more fun, a desirable boyfriend or girlfriend, lots of friends, a car or money, the list goes on, as seen in this video from the RSPH:

Social encourages social comparison and makes its perceived importance greater than ever– and can make your teen feel inadequate as a result. But it’s these kinds of comparisons that are poison to self-worth and confidence.

In a survey of over 1,500 teens, the RSPH found that Instagram, followed by Snapchat, are rated the worst by teens for mental health. RSPH CEO Shirley Cramer said, “It’s interesting to see Instagram and Snapchat ranking as the worst for mental health and wellbeing – both platforms are very image-focused and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people.”

Teach your teens to love themselves for who they are

As people, we’re naturally inclined to worry about what others think of us. It’s a natural defense mechanism in line with what we talked about earlier. 

To not be accepted, to be removed from the tribe, literally meant death in early human history when you depended upon the group to survive. As a result, we have a strong psychological need to feel accepted by our peers. 

Teach your child– and show them through your own example– the importance of loving who they are. Teach them that what they’re feeling is something everyone feels. We all secretly feel inadequate in our own way at some point in our life, but few of us choose to reveal it (even those kids they think are perfect).

But they have unique talents, skills, traits, and beauty which is all their own. Work to reduce media and other influences that encourage those kinds of social comparisons and show them examples of people appreciating themselves who look different and do different things. 

The more you can do this, the more their mind will be open to the truth: that their perception of the world and the reality that exists within each person’s mind are quite different things– and that they’re unique and worthy without having to change anything about themselves.

3 Lessons from Waylon Lewis on the Convergence of Politics, Spirituality, and Technology

Are spirituality and politics really so different?

Is sitting in meditation and standing up to take responsibility for the condition of the world part of the same practice? Can they– or should they– be separate?

And is mindfulness practice just about becoming more aware of your own thoughts and actions in daily life, or something much more? 

For roughly 17 years, Elephant Journal founder Waylon Lewis has been an advocate for social responsibility and mindful living.

Nowadays, when you hear the word mindfulness, it’s almost strictly in the context of mindfulness meditation. Even the word ‘mindful’ is only used in context to the sensory awareness you develop through that practice (or just the effort to become more aware outside of that practice).

But in Buddhist tradition (to which Lewis hails as, in his own words, a “1st generation American Buddhist Dharma Brat”), mindfulness has long been about much more than just the practice of mindful breathing that’s become so popular in the West over the last decade. 

According to Waylon’s bio, his aim is to “bring the good news re: ‘the mindful life’ beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care.” And that mindful life– something the world needs much more of now than ever– is all about social responsibility, political participation, and compassion. 

3 Lessons from Waylon Lewis on the Convergence of Politics, Spirituality, and Technology

Recently featured on the TFM podcast, episode 20, Lewis talked with TFM founder Robert Plotkin about everything from social responsibility to the role that mindfulness practice plays in connection with politics and global issues, and how we can use technology for the greater good without letting it control us. 

These are 3 lessons from entrepreneur and Elephant Journal founder Waylon Lewis:

1. Mindfulness is about more than just meditation

For nearly two decades, Elephant Magazine, now Elephant Journal, has been a source for opinions and information on mindful living. 

Elephant has been voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, but Lewis says the publication is about much more than just that. 

From love and relationships to spirituality, health and wellness, Yoga, green, and politics, Elephant covers the gamut on topics which center around one single idea: mindful living.

How does all this connect to mindfulness practice? Social responsibility is a form of mindfulness because it’s about stretching beyond yourself to the world at large, developing compassion for others, and realizing that you have a role to play in how all this turns out.

In a world which is more connected than ever as a result of the Internet and, by extension, social media, it’s become more important than ever to not sit idly by and allow the events of the world unfold without at least making an effort to stay informed. 

Mindfulness practice isn’t just about your own stress and suffering but about better understanding how your actions affect the world around you. 

When you see mindfulness practice in this way, you become aware of how interdependent everything is and the role you have to play in trying to make things better. 

2. There is no separation between spirituality and politics

“If spirituality is just for naval gazing I don’t want any part of it.”

Elephant Journal is known for its unique stance on politics: they don’t shy away from it. 

Lewis says you can’t live mindfully and stay out of politics. It just doesn’t make sense.

“We’re actually about life, we’re about the world,” he says of Elephant’s stance on covering politics. “You can’t stay out of politics. Politics affect food, politics affect infrastructure, politics affect education, politics affect war, or peace, or equality. And we’re about all of these things.” 

It’s a common– and damaging– misconception that meditation is about “blissing out” or “emptying your mind”. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. When you sit down to meditate, you confront the issues you’re facing: your stress, your anxiety, your depression, heartbreak, sorrow, despair, jealousy, and anger. 

To sit and meditate is to dedicate yourself to figuring things out on the inside so that you can stand up and go about life more effectively on the outside. Waylon says he didn’t understand this at first when he was a kid.

“I grew up in the Buddhist community and when I was a teenager. I was busy playing video games or playing basketball or, you know, chasing after girls (pretty ineffectually). And I would walk into the meditation room and I’d see a hundred people meditating on a beautiful Vermont afternoon. And in my mind I’d be like, ‘what are you guys hiding from?’ Get out there and live; Carpe Diem.”

He continued: “What I learned later is that people actually are dealing with reality. Meditation is important. They’re sorting themselves out. You call meditation practice meditation practice for a reason. It’s practice for life. And if you’re not going to then get out there and be of service to the greater good than it’s just selfish, right?”

Lewis says that if spirituality is selfish, that’s the opposite of true spirituality. True spirituality is one in which you turn inward to sort yourself out so that you might turn outward and help others. 

In this way, there is no separation between spirituality and politics. 

That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take a hard-line stance on a political issue, but it does mean that spiritual practice should naturally make you become politically active, at least in terms of informing yourself and voting when you have the opportunity. 

3. Discussing mindfulness online is inherently awkward– but important 

Waylon talked with Robert about the apparent contradiction in being an online publication about mindfulness and mindful living.

Lewis says, “There’s an inherent tension in being about mindfulness, living a mindful life, encouraging people to get outside and find their breath and all that kind of stuff and being online where 70% of our readers are reading on their phone while they’re on the toilet or walking and they really should be just, you know, looking at the trees and enjoying their life.” 

Elephant has at times been pegged as hypocritical for talking about mindful living online. But Lewis argues that’s exactly where discussions on mindfulness should be taking place.

“Well, you don’t want to talk about mindfulness to a bunch of monks on top of the Himalayas, right?” says Lewis. “You want to talk about mindfulness to crazy, speedy business people and college kids and parents. These are the people who need mindfulness and appreciate it the most.”

Mindfulness wasn’t just discovered. It’s been in the West for decades and, while recent scientific research sure has helped popularize it, that’s not the only reason it’s become a household term over the past few years. 

Now, more than ever we– as parents, students, and professionals– need to take steps to create balance by becoming more aware of our daily habits and how those habits impact our life. 

Technology and the pressures of modern life– and current events– are constantly pulling us this way and that and threaten to negatively impact our well-being. 

You need to be vigilant in not only balancing your technology use but changing how you use technology so that it becomes a tool that helps you live better.

Learn more about Waylon Lewis and Elephant Journal

Waylon Lewis is the founder of & host of the Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis

He’s been voted Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”. 

Check out his recent appearance on the TFM podcast (Episode 20).

His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available here.

3 Lessons from Nir Eyal on Building Positive Habits with Technology

For the past two decades, tech companies in Silicon Valley and beyond have competed for their share of a budding market.

More valuable than cold cash, gold, or stocks in the latest hot startup, this market doesn’t deal in any kind of traditional currency. 

It’s the attention market. 

With the advent of the Internet and handheld devices that allowed us to surf online at all times of day, a user’s attention– what app they’re using, how long they’re staying on that app– has acquired significant economic worth for anyone able and willing to build an app, service, or simply a website. 

And so the war for attention began.

Maybe that’s a bit over the top, but tech companies most certainly have a lot of muscle in the way of millions, even billions, of investor dollars being put towards figuring out how to capitalize on and hook more of people’s attention for the profitability of their venture. 

Is it really all that bad? 

But wait– is that all this is? Are tech companies just trying to profit from us and we’re being used by pawns for economic gain?

There are definitely some questionable practices going on. Some have criticized social networks for what could be seen as manipulative design practices. However, that’s only part of the story. 

Within this booming tech revolution are many bright spots as well, things that have made many of our lives better. Much of which many of us couldn’t imagine living without. 

Plus, as we’re about to find out from tech psychology and design expert Nir Eyal, techniques used for the purpose of drawing consumer’s attention are as old as Fruit Loops (Okay, maybe a little older than that), and no one’s ever seemed to mind them. That or the bright red stop sign on your street corner. 

3 Lessons from Author Nir Eyal on Building Positive Habits with Technology

Recently on TFM podcast episode #35, Nir Eyal is a writer, consultant, speaker, and expert on the intersection between technology, psychology, and business. 

3 Lessons from Nir Eyal on Building Positive Habits with Technology

He’s been dubbed “The Prophet of Habit-Forming Technology” by M.I.T. Technology Review, and for good reason.

Between his books, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products and Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life he teaches on: 

  • The science behind habit-forming products
  • The difference between ethical habit-forming product strategies and unethical ones
  • The effect of this technology on our well-being
  • And how we can take back our attention, develop more positive habits with technology, and lead a more intentional life

Here are 3 lessons from Nir Eyal on building positive habits with technology: 

1. Technology isn’t bad or evil, but we need to learn how to live with it in a healthier way

Eyal makes it clear in Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products that there are two types of psychological manipulation: 

  • Persuasion: Getting someone to do something they want to do. 
  • Coercion: Getting someone to do something they don’t want to do. 

Persuasion involves a kind of convincing nudge. Take a Coke commercial, for example. 

They always make that bottle of Coke look like the most incredibly delicious thing ever. You practically want to jump out of the house and go straight to the store to pick up a bottle. 

Coke is something you like. You’ve tasted it before and you enjoy drinking it. Coke knows this and they gear their advertisements in a way that entice you based on this knowledge. 

That’s persuasion, and it’s far more common than you think. 

Even the stop sign on your local street works the same way. It’s designed in a way to catch your eye when you’re driving by (the bright red color, reflective surface), influencing you to stop. 

Smartphone apps and other newer technologies are designed in a similar way. Colors, intuitive design, sounds (see: Pavlov’s dog), and other persuasion techniques are used to hook users and keep them coming back to the app, be it a social network, mobile game, or other. 

But coercion is different (and unethical) 

Coercion is when someone, or something, get you to do something you don’t want to do. 

Think about the pushy salesperson that’s so relentless you eventually give in and buy whatever they’re selling just to get them off your back. Afterward, you can’t shake that uncomfortable feeling– like you were just used.

Some argue that the persuasion techniques smartphone apps and other new technologies are utilizing ride dangerously close to coercion. 

However, we all get value, be it connection, entertainment, or functionality, from the apps we use. And we use them because we enjoy the value we get from them. And, well, software companies use them because they work

Using persuasion tech to build positive habits with technology

Ultimately, it’s unrealistic to think that we can just dump technology. Our smartphones and things like social media have become tightly bound to how we operate and communicate in daily life. 

You could argue that tech companies need to be a bit more compassionate with their design practices. However, your best bet of making a difference in the quality of your life as it pertains to your tech use is to look at your own habits.

The first suggestion many will make is a tech detox. However, a tech detox doesn’t work, says Eyal, as we just end up coming back and gorging before moving right back into our old habits with technology. 

Therefore, we need to learn how to use technology in a healthier way. We need to look at our tech habits.

Start paying attention to when you use what device, what you use it for, and how often you use said app or scroll through said website.

Get clarity about what your tech vices are– those things you just can’t seem to live without– and work on curbing your use.

Fortunately, you don’t have to do it all on your own. Companies such as Facebook have started moving away from measuring success based on time on app. Instead, they’re now beginning to measure user well-being (how they feel after using the app). 

2. Understand the internal and external triggers that cause distraction

It’s clear that we can, and should, use technology in a healthier way. The way that newer technology is designed, though, makes that difficult.

We’re being hit with constant distractions via our smartphone: social notifications, text messages, reminders, etc. 

However, while these should be dealt with, Eyal argues that it’s not these external triggers but the internal ones that are the real problem. 

According to Eyal, there are two types of triggers:

  1. External triggers: These include a ping from social or a text message, a phone call, or anything else that prompts you to take action now. 
  2. Internal triggers: These are the emotional states which cause us to want to distract ourselves such as loneliness, fear, frustration, boredom, and fatigue. 

External triggers, Eyal says, aren’t inherently bad for us. Rather, it’s how we respond to them that matters. 

Dealing with external triggers

“If you plan to pick up that phone call and that’s what you scheduled and then that external trigger moves you towards traction… it helped you,” says Eyal. “But if that phone call interrupted the focused work you were doing and now you’re doing something you didn’t plan to do now, it’s moved you towards distraction.”

The first step, he says, is to analyze these various external triggers– the pings and rings– to understand how they’re affecting you. 

“Two-thirds of people who own a smartphone never adjust their notification settings,” says Eyal. Simple actions like this can help us take positive action towards controlling these external triggers and living a more intentional lifestyle.

Getting to the root of the problem with internal triggers

“Internal triggers are these prompts to action that come from inside our own heads,” says Eyal. These, Eyal says, are the real issue and often the cause of our susceptibility to external triggers. 

“Distraction starts from within”

“The icky-sticky truth that we don’t like to acknowledge… is that so much of what we do is driven by these uncomfortable emotional states,” he continues. 

  • We run from fear by indulging in YouTube videos or scroll forever through Twitter
  • Binge on Netflix to distract from our loneliness
  • Seek out feel-good sensations when we’re bored, like mobile games or checking on our friends on Facebook
  • And we break down and succumb to virtually any vice when we’re exhausted. 

Distractions are a way for us to numb uncomfortable feelings, and we’re skilled at avoiding them at all costs. 

“You can’t call something a distraction unless you know what it distracted you from.”

The problem is, “If we don’t tackle these internal triggers and find ways to cope in a healthier manner,” Eyal says, “we will always be distracted.” 

3. Focus on traction vs. distraction

Discovering what your internal and external triggers are is a big part of the puzzle, but what else can you do to build more positive habits with technology? 

To be more mindful with your tech use, Eyal suggests focusing on traction vs. distraction.

Traction is intentional, it’s when you’re doing the things you planned to do. In other words, you’re moving forward (hence traction). 

Distraction is self-explanatory– it’s when your pulled away from intentional action (hence distraction).

How to move from distraction to traction

The goal, Eyal says, is to figure out how you can make distraction less likely and traction more. 

For example, one of the simplest things you can do to live a more mindful life and take control of your technology use is to plan your day. Surprisingly, “only about 1/3 of people actually plan their day,” says Eyal. 

Ultimately, if you don’t put down on our calendar what you plan to do, you can hardly say you were distracted. You need an intentional plan for traction before anything. 

In addition to planning your day, Eyal suggests you make a pact with yourself to remove distractions.

To that end, there are a ton of apps already on the market that can help you live a more intentional life, like work focus app Forest and Time Guard (Apple), both of which Eyal personally uses and recommends. 

“This is why I really bristle when people say that technology is addictive and that it’s irresistible or hijacking our brain,” says Eyal. “This gives us the impression that we’re all somehow addicted, that we’re all powerless.” 

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth, Eyal says. There are countless tools and techniques out there that you can use to take control and live more intentionally. 

Learn more about Nir Eyal

Nir Eyal writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of psychology, technology, and business. He is the author of the bestselling book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products and his new book, Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life, teaches you how to manage distractions, build more positive habits with technology, and live more intentionally. 

In addition to blogging at, Nir’s writing has been featured in The Harvard Business Review, TechCrunch, and Psychology Today

Find out more about Nir at and watch TFM podcast episode #35 with Nir Eyal here.

Robert Plotkin Talks Smartphone Addiction with the Early Risers Podcast

TFM founder Robert Plotkin, was recently featured on the Early Risers podcast

Listen as Robert talks with host Schuyler Diehm about using mindfulness to break smartphone addiction and establishing a healthier relationship with tech.

You’ll learn:

  • Dealing with FOMO and the need to constantly check your phone
  • A simple mindfulness exercise for managing tech habits
  • And an important step you can take to start creating a healthier relationship with technology

Listen to Robert on the Early Risers podcast (iTunes).

Robert Plotkin Talks Tech and Stress with The Stress Mastery Podcast

TFM founder Robert Plotkin was recently invited onto The Stress Mastery Podcast with Bill Cortright.

Listen as Robert talks with Cortright about the effect that technology has on us and what we can do about it, to not only better manage stress but take back control over your time to become more focused and productive.

You’ll learn:

  • Why it’s important to Impose structure that influences how you use technology
  • Techniques for taking back control over technology
  • And tips for dealing with binge-watching

Listen to Robert on The Stress Mastery Podcast (iTunes) or via

How to Take Back Your Health Without Putting Your Smartphone Down

Our smartphone helps us stay connected with those we love and can keep us safe.

It helps us navigate uncharted roads, light dark rooms, manage our to-do list, and keep up with world events.

It entertains us and gives us the ability to find an answer to virtually any question at a moment’s notice.

And the power of the handheld devices in our pockets grows by the day.

But while the benefits of 21st Century technology, especially smartphones, is undeniable, the conversation about our smartphone habits and their effect on our mental and physical health is becoming louder. Continue reading How to Take Back Your Health Without Putting Your Smartphone Down

How One Toronto School Teacher is Teaching Mindfulness Through Music

For the past decade, mindfulness has arisen as a valuable tool for educators.

But mindfulness’ value in the classroom has only just begun to become clear.

Now, it’s inspiring others to find new and creative ways to teach mindfulness and other related qualities.

One such example is a Toronto instructor who is using music to help students learn about mindfulness, kindness, and teamwork in a fresh new way. Continue reading How One Toronto School Teacher is Teaching Mindfulness Through Music

How One School Transformed Student Behavior by Replacing Detention with Mindfulness

“Meditation calms me down and stuff.”

– 4th-grade girl, Holistic Me program

Should we replace detention with mindfulness?

That’s the question now posed to schools all across the U.S. as a result of the work by the Holistic Life Foundation. Continue reading How One School Transformed Student Behavior by Replacing Detention with Mindfulness

Robert Plotkin of Mindfulness for Technology Featured on the AATH Laughbox Podcast

Our very own Robert Plotkin, Mindfulness for Technology founder, was recently featured on the Association for Applied Therapeutic Humor’s (AATH) Laughbox podcast.

Listen as Robert talks with host Chip Lutz about how technology affects our brain and how to integrate that technology into your mindfulness practice.

You’ll learn:

  • A simple mindfulness practice for learning how to use your smartphone more mindfully
  • How the “reptilian” brain affects our behavior
  • And a powerful tip for managing your technology use

Listen to Robert on the Laughbox podcast (iTunes) or via

The average cellphone user touches their phone 2,617 times a day.

The average cellphone user touches their phone 2,617 times a day.

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