Tag Archives: personal growth

10 Reasons To Celebrate Your Wins

Posted on June 21, 2016 in Fulfillment by Sandra Bienkowski

When you are plowing through your to-do list, orchestrating the various demands of life, it’s likely that you will overlook what could be a major source of daily happiness: Your wins, your accomplishments, the things on your list (or off) that you have actually managed to get done. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, there is power in small wins, and it’s the fulfillment that comes from making progress on meaningful goals.

Each day you experience wins, both major and minor, but you could be moving too fast (or you are too hard on yourself) to notice. Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk acknowledges he has a hard time celebrating wins because he “loves the climb.” But he says there is danger in ignoring both incremental wins and wins of any size. To always be focused on “what’s next?” can deplete you. Once you make an effort to start noting and celebrating your wins, it can increase your sense of self-worth and your happiness. Plus, some people are motivated by celebrating stepping stones of progress.

Ask yourself if you gloss over any of these achievements without stopping to take notice:

Read the rest of my article 10 Reasons To Celebrate Your Wins on Live Happy.

Knowing Yourself Is The Key To Beating Depression

Posted on April 7, 2016 in depression, Personal Growth by Sandra Bienkowski

I like to analyze things. My desire to dissect what I’m thinking and feeling stems from growing up in a confusing environment fueled by alcoholism, mixed messages, and instability. When things got tense in our home, I’d retreat with my journal to escape. I desperately wanted to understand what was going on around me and how I was feeling. I wanted to think I had some control when I had none.

Yes, analysis paralysis does exist. But sometimes analysis (combined with action) is exactly what you need to live a productive, self-aware life. When you are willing to take a hard look at who you are, the choices you make, and how you feel, you constantly raise your self-awareness. Knowing yourself well is essential to wiggling out of depression’s grip and finding happiness.

Here’s how knowing yourself better can create a happier life:

1. It brings your needs clearly to the forefront.

My love for self-analysis led me to talk therapy. I wasn’t afraid of it because I desperately wanted to understand why my parents were the way they were and how to repair my damaged self-esteem. I wanted to know why I felt lost, angry, and empty. The process was life-changing for me. Talk therapy helped me realize I was strong and helped me practice turning adversity into insight. If you suffer emotional pain regularly, talk therapy could help you heal in a lasting way.

Read the rest of my article here on MindBodyGreen.


7 Steps Back From Depression

Posted on January 11, 2016 in Personal Growth by Sandra Bienkowski

Try my emotional toolkit for life’s ups and downs.

When I was in my 20s, I just wanted to stay in bed and cry. I had a journalism degree but worked as an administrative assistant and a waitress. A rough childhood with an alcoholic mother made me think I couldn’t do any better. I had an apartment that I shared with a friend, but depression left me feeling lost and hopeless. Desperately wanting to feel differently, I made an appointment with a psychologist.

My psychologist was funny and blunt. After a long psychological assessment, he described me back to me: “Chronic depression; fear of abandonment; angry but you have a difficult time expressing it; people pleaser.” That hurt, but it also hit home.

Talk therapy helped me because I finally felt heard and understood what was happening inside my head. I’d drive home from those appointments and write down everything I could remember. I wanted to study my way out of depression’s dark grip. Slowly, I started to feel strong. My solution wasn’t a quick fix, but I came away from therapy with an emotional toolkit that has stood the test of time. Here are some of the things I’ve learned:

1. Practice self-compassion

Would you treat a friend the way you treat yourself? When I was depressed, I condemned myself for normal human flaws. Start treating yourself in the same compassionate way you would treat a child or close friend. Give yourself a soft place to land when things don’t go right or something doesn’t work out.

Read the rest of 7 Steps Back From Depression on Live Happy.


10 Questions That Will Change Your Life

Posted on November 9, 2015 in Personal Growth, Self Improvement by Sandra Bienkowski

When we think about something that has the power to change our lives, we usually think big: a new job, a move across country, a relationship beginning or ending. Sometimes something small but meaningful can change the trajectory of our lives, such as a powerful book, a movie or even a gift.

It may be surprising, but even a question—complex, pointed, and mulled over with care—can change the direction of your life. Take a look at the 10 questions below and see if one or two of them resonate with you.

1. Am I really happy right now?

We have a tendency to put our happiness on hold by telling ourselves, “When I get married I will be happy,” or, “When I graduate, I will be happy,” when we could permit ourselves to be happy now and enjoy each day, says Dr. Srikumar Rao, author of Happiness At Work and head of The Rao Institute. As a second part to this question, he suggests asking yourself:What is keeping me from being happy at this instant?

Read the rest of this article on Live Happy:

10 Questions That Will Change Your Life


Why Therapy Saved My Life

Posted on November 2, 2015 in Personal Growth by Sandra Bienkowski

When I was a teenager, I told my parents I wanted to see a psychologist.

At the time, I was dating a guy who lived up the street. We had an exciting relationship but I was holding on too tight. With my shaky self-image, I pictured him breaking up with me and it felt like falling into a dark, bottomless well. I had no identity without him, and I knew the way I was feeling wasn’t healthy or normal.

I wanted help.

But asking for it wasn’t easy. I’d come home from school to find either a beautiful, kind woman at the front door or a drunk, disheveled, hateful monster (depending on whether my mom had started drinking vodka during the day). My childhood was filled with unpredictability, drama, screaming, and insults. My dad didn’t protect me — he was also lost in denial. My sister and I lived in fear for years.

But once my dysfunctional parents agreed that I should talk to someone (because I was adopted, they convinced themselves that I had “faulty genes”), I started talk therapy that changed the trajectory of my life.

Read the rest of this article on MindBodyGreen:

Why Therapy Saved My Life

Why Therapy Saved Me 2015-10-07 09.13.59


I Have Not Disappeared (Completely) into Mommyhood

Posted on June 14, 2014 in Happiness, Relationships, Self Improvement by Sandra Bienkowski

Yes, you might just find me in the morning picking up Cheerios off the floor and smashed banana pieces off my clothes. I turn my back for two seconds and my 17-month girls have found a way to dump water out of their sippy cups or make each other giggle by throwing food on the floor. Life is fun chaos … for sure.

With twins, my hubby, working from home, exercise, sleep (what’s that?) and all the usual life-maintenance stuff, I finally squeezed in a moment to share a bit of news with you! I recently started writing for MindBodyGreen. If you haven’t heard of MBG (say what?) it’s an awesome personal growth and wellness site! Check out my three latest articles below!


And thanks in advance for reading/commenting/sharing!

Gotta go now, I think I hear a baby waking up from an afternoon nap.



The 4 Best Lessons I Learned From Seeing A Therapist in My 20s

When I saw a psychologist for depression in my 20s, he told me I could win the hurt Olympics. My butt landed in that recliner chair across from him every Wednesday for an hour so I could stop the cycle of hurt. READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE: The 4 Best Lessons I Learned From Seeing A Therapist In My 20s

5 Signs You Are With the Wrong Person

Before I met my prince of a husband, I dated this guy I can’t even think about for two seconds without cringing. READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE: 5 Signs You’re With The Wrong Person

9 Tips to Save Your Marriage From Being Totally Boring

I heard once that people spend more time planning their wedding than their marriage. It stuck with me because it defies logic. Why spend more time planning a single day than the decades of marriage to follow? READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE:  9 Tips To Save Your Marriage From Being Totally Boring

Thanks for reading! Talk to you on the next send! – Sandra