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What's there to eat if you can’t get out to the grocery store? The Basic Shelf Cookbook from the Canadian Public Health Association is a practical guide to nutritious, simple meals. It’s also useful for people who are learning to cook. The following list is a slightly condensed version of their basic ingredients, which keep well if stored properly.

A 10-fold increase in depression in our society is caused by a culture of individualism. This is the view of psychologist Martin P. Seligman, and it makes sense to me. Our pleasures, our pains, our successes, our failures – all are seen as significant concerns of the individual, rather than concerns of the group or community.

Optimism and pessimism are familiar terms, but Martin P. Seligman has given us a richness of understanding in his book, “Learned Optimism”. And what about “cheerful pessimists” and “realistic optimists”? Consider three aspects of these approaches to life. 

Do you still put on your shoes and boots standing up, or have you noticed yourself sitting down to do this? What about getting dressed in the morning – on your feet, or sitting down? These are subtle clues about your ability to balance. Better balance translates to greater confidence, better posture, and a longer period of independence as we age.

We can’t always rely on our willpower for every situation or temptation. You might have also noticed yourself having a lot of willpower over one stretch of time, and then almost no willpower over another stretch of time. There are ways to maintain willpower year after year, and also to have your willpower more evenly sustained day by day, week by week, and month by month.

When you have a job to finish, is it better to motivate yourself by looking back at the part you’ve already done, or look ahead at what’s left to do? If you want your willpower to kick in, it’s better to look ahead at what is left to do. What do you usually do to finish something – look back or look ahead? This is a small example of monitoring your behavior, to help you stay on track.

The brain needs tasks to be finished. If you have uncompleted tasks or any unmet goals in your life, they have a strong tendency to keep popping up in your mind. We can clear our minds by writing down a plan, because that gets the items out of the mind. Then you won’t be beating yourself up, thinking that you don’t have enough willpower to do whatever it is you’re wanting to accomplish.