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Author Archive for Linda Sapadin

What Was I Thinking?

What Was I Thinking?

Ever wonder, “What was I thinking?” when an action you took did not turn out as expected? What you did or what you said, which you thought was no big deal at the time, had serious unintended consequences!

  • What made you buy that stock at the high price and sell at the low? Damn, that was dumb!
  • What made you say “yes” to that invite when you knew you shouldn’t have gone to a party with so many people mingling? Damn, I hope I didn’t catch the virus! That was stupid!
  • What made you lose your cool and say such hurtful things to your kid, just because you were upset? Damn, he’ll never forgive me! I hate myself!

You know better, yet you screw up. You’re smart, yet you make stupid mistakes. Your brain doesn’t always do what you want it to do. If it were up to you, you’d replace it with a better brain – one that can fire on all cylinders to make the best decisions at any moment in time!

But alas, you’re stuck with your brain – a brain that has momentary lapses of attention; a brain that finds it hard to stay on task; a brain that’s often led astray by emotions; a brain that’s notorious for zoning out, a brain that only pays attention to what’s staring you in the face at any moment.

Yes, it’s true. We’re all stuck with imperfect brains. Still, we can increase our ratio of smart decision-making to dumb decision-making. Here’s how.

  • Revisit your decision.

Negative emotions like fear, sadness, and anger as well as positive emotions like excitement, enjoyment, and entertainment can hijack your brain. Sure it’s good to feel your emotions but don’t allow them to dictate the roll of the dice. Let time pass. It could be a few moments, a few days, a few weeks. During that time consult both your head and your heart, as you ponder what to do. Then decide and notice how your decisions are turning out to be pretty good!

  • Expand your options.

You may be thinking in binary terms. It’s this, or it’s that. It’s good or it’s bad. You’re smart or you’re stupid. You’re scared or you’re brave. If you’re having trouble deciding between options A and B, expand your options to C and D. Can’t imagine any other options? Ask the smartest person you know, whether he’s 5 or 50, whether she’s 7 or 70. I bet your chosen whiz will come up with some good ideas!

  • Slow down.

We live in a fast society. We make impulsive decisions without thinking them through. We live in a busy society, with many distractions, with multiple choices. So, when it’s time to make an important decision, it’s essential to slow down and focus on what you’re facing at the moment. Tired of kicking yourself for all the stupid decisions you’ve made? Then give your decision the time and attention it deserves!

  • Remember that nobody is perfect.

Every regrettable decision is not a dumb mistake as it’s impossible to bat 1,000. Maybe you made a stupid decision, but it’s not so stupid if you’ve learned from it. So, judge yourself kindly. Nobody experiences life without any regrets. Just make sure you don’t keep making the same mistake over and over again.

We live and we learn. Or, at least, some of us do. If you wish to minimize the times you ask yourself, “What was I thinking?” follow the guidelines above. Then notice your regrets are few and far between. Time to rejoice!


Linda Sapadin, Ph.D. is a psychologist, coach and author in private practice who specializes in helping people become the best they can be. You can reach her at Visit her website at


How to Get Back on Track!

How to Get Back on Track!


Many of us have been vaccinated. Springtime has arrived. After a year of quarantine, we’re ready to move forward. Get back on track. Get outside with others. Make positive changes in our lives.

With so much optimism, they’ll be days when you feel that whatever you want to do, you’ll do! You’ll get to the gym, you’ll see friends, you’ll work on that new project, you’ll eat healthy, you’ll get organized. Yay!


Then there are the other days.

On those days, you don’t take baby steps toward your goals. You’re too tired to get to the gym; you don’t feel like calling friends; you lack the desire to work on your new project; the hell with eating healthy, and the clutter in your space will just have to wait!

Laziness, listlessness and lethargy rule the roost. Attempts at get-up-and-go have gotten-up-and-gone. You are, or so you believe, beyond redemption. The prior year has made it easy to give up working toward your goals. Why even try?

You shrug your shoulders. You tell yourself that it’s a losing battle to fight the fickle finger of fate. Just admit that in the DNA lottery, you won the idle and inertia genes. So wouldn’t it be a good idea to stop torturing yourself and accept yourself as you are – warts and all?

I agree. Stop torturing yourself is a great idea. Accepting yourself is also. But, if you’ve lapsed into old habits, do not despair. You can still take steps to reach your goals. Indeed, when people start a change program, the norm is to fall off track. Only a few very well-disciplined folks are so consistent that they never falter, vacillate or backslide. The rest of us are more inconsistent.


We don’t feel motivated every day. We don’t respond to self-imposed schedules. We dawdle with tasks we know we should do. We go for immediate gratification rather than long-term goals. We have days when it feels too difficult to do anything constructive. Such days challenge our confidence and belief in ourselves.

But remember, we’re not machines. We’re human beings. And human beings are imperfect. When we’ve gone through a challenging year, we may not want to do anything that feels burdensome. The key to getting back on track, however, is not to be perfect but to view your setback as temporary.

One morning you wake up and remind yourself why you want to change. You picture how proud you’ll be when you achieve your goal. You begin by focusing on little steps, easy stuff you know you can do. Accomplish a simple task…organize your desk …send that text…make that call.  Take care of these things and you’ll get renewed energy and determination. Then, more significant steps become less challenging.

You might dream of having an understanding, energetic coach alongside you, motivating you every step of the way. Good idea. But if you don’t have one, consider becoming your very own coach.


  • Start by giving yourself a pep talk. You’re good! You’ve got the energy, you’ve got the smarts! Now, get going!
  • Psych yourself up to do what needs to be done.  You can do it! You know you can do it, so get started now!
  • Reward yourself for taking action. You did it! I’m proud of you!


What matters is not how fast you reach your goals, but maintaining the energy and fortitude to work toward them day by day.


Linda Sapadin, Ph.D., psychologist, coach and author specializes in helping people overcome procrastination and debilitating anxiety and fear. Contact her at Visit her websites and .


Are You Living a Crazy Busy Lifestyle

Is your life “crazy busy?”  Of course if you are working full time and your kids are young, it’s understandable. But what if you’re not working full time? Or your kids are grown? Or almost grown? Or you are unemployed or retired?

These days, the overextended life is the norm for many. People who gab about their bustling, buzzing, on-the-go life are rarely ashamed of it; indeed, there is a bit of boasting (despite the occasional sigh) about how insanely busy they are.

Is being so busy a secret code to reassure yourself (and others) that you must be doing something right? Is it the exact opposite of the 50’s housewife who was going nuts with frustration and boredom because she didn’t have enough stimulating activity?

Is the new normal all-American family one in which mom, dad, kids (toddlers to teens) and grandparents are all dancing as fast as they can? And taking psychotropic meds to help them do so?



It’s time to consider the cost of this crazy busy lifestyle. Being busy on occasion is not particularly costly. You rev up your energy to take care of what needs to be taken care of and then you relax. But running on all cylinders all the time? Well, I think this is an appropriate time for an ominous drum roll.

Why? Because being busy all the time means giving up what we used to hold dear. A few examples:

Free time to do nothing but relax.
Free time to be with your favorite people without having to do anything.
Free time to let your mind wander.
Free time to take a nap.
Free time to get a good night’s sleep.
Free time to ponder your thoughts.
Free time to feel your feelings.
Free time to daydream.
Free time to unwind.
Free time to listen to uninterrupted music.

Crazy busy people have given up the above. Free time is a luxury they have no time for. And they don’t encourage it in their children (Stop daydreaming. Start moving. We gotta leave soon.)

At first blush, it may seem like, so what? Isn’t it more interesting to be involved in an abundance of activities rather than doing those passive things listed above? Isn’t it incredible that your digital device can instantly relieve you of a moment of boredom?

Yes, but haven’t you noticed how this crazy busy lifestyle is taking its toll? Are you aware of how exhausted (not exhilarated) you feel at day’s end?

People often speak about feeling increasingly anxious, agitated and apprehensive. And instead of taking the time to figure out what’s bothering them or how they might alter their activity, they now pop a pill -or two or three or four- to keep their lifestyle going.

May I suggest that if you are living a “crazy busy” lifestyle, you re-read the list above that delineates the many things you have given up. Then ask yourself – is it worth it?

“Crazy busy is a great armor, a great way for numbing.
We stay so busy that the truth of how we’re feeling
and what we really need can’t catch up with us.”

Brene Brown