Boundaries for Your Soul

When you need a rest from your inner task manager

By Alison Cook | November 21, 2018

A need isn’t always your personal call to action. My dad wrote this on a sticky note once and pasted it to his bathroom mirror. At the time, I didn’t really understand – I was a young kid. I just knew that my dad – a bastion of encouragement and helpful support – thought enough...

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Overcoming Perfectionism poppy flower

4 tips for overcoming perfectionism

By Alison Cook | November 14, 2018

If you struggle with overcoming perfectionism, please understand:  I know how hard you work to be good. I know that you have the highest standards for yourself. . . that you value excellence. . . and that for the most part you are harder on yourself than you are on anyone else. You are cautious,...

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When your shaming inner critic meets gentleness

By Alison Cook | November 7, 2018

What is the club you beat yourself with? Take a moment and consider your internal dialogue. Do you ever notice thoughts like these: You should be more like her. He’s so successful. If you were better, you’d be where he is. You deserve this bad thing that’s happened. You’ll never be as good as other...

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Guest Post at AnnVoskamp.com

By Alison Cook | October 29, 2018

Thanks so much to the lovely Ann Voskamp for featuring my story—adapted from Chapter 5 of Boundaries for Your Soul —on her blog this week. It’s about how my journey to becoming a psychologist was disrupted when I had to face my own overwhelming emotions and learn to befriend them. If you’re anything like me,...

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How To Calm Your Worry

How to calm your worry

By Alison Cook | October 17, 2018

My, friend, Nicole, could not calm her worry. She worried about everything: she worried that if she didn’t marry, she would grow old alone—and that if she were to marry, her husband would end up cheating on her. She worried that if she stayed in her job, she would burn out—and that if she left...

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4 ways to shift from overthinking to courageous risk-taking

By Alison Cook | October 10, 2018

Are you guilty of overthinking? I’ve had a few nicknames in my day. Most of them felt loving, but in my early twenties one took hold that really stung— “Analison.” Get it? Analyze + Alison = Analison. Ouch! If a friend or loved one is pointing out your tendency to over-analyze, you might want to...

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Controlling others or confident leadership?

By Alison Cook | October 3, 2018

Would you rather lead by controlling others. . .or by empowering them? The answer to this question is pretty obvious. Controlling others gets a bad rap, and for good reason. Controlling behaviors can lead to manipulation, abuse of power, and boundary violations. On the other hand, we do want to have “self-control” and we also...

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The 5 signs that your desire to please others has become extreme

By Alison Cook | September 26, 2018

The desire to please others isn’t all bad. But when the desire to please becomes extreme, it keeps you from tending to a more vulnerable part of your own soul in need. When you focus always on the needs of others, you risk neglecting your deepest desires. You also may be avoiding your fears and...

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an extreme emotion

How to Identify a Part of Your Soul in Need

By Alison Cook | August 8, 2018

If you’re struggling with an extreme emotion, a hurting part of your soul might need your attention. Typically, an extreme emotion, such as anger or anxiety, or an overwhelming compulsion, such as over-thinking or people-pleasing, is a cue that some other more vulnerable part of your soul needs your attention. Let’s say you’re feeling irritable,...

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thriving in chaos

You can thrive in summer, even when your schedule is falling apart

By Alison Cook | July 30, 2018

I always struggled to thrive in summer, even before I had a family. On one hand, I enjoy the happy chaos, but my soul tends to take a beating without the natural rhythms of a school year. In the absence of a set structure, I default to adapting my day-to-day routines around the needs of...

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How to bring peace to others

When you want to bring peace to others

By Alison Cook | July 24, 2018

We want to bring peace to others. Unfortunately, our loved ones’ struggles often trigger our own troubling emotions, making it difficult to be of real help. When someone shares a need or frustration, the following four types of responses are common but not always most helpful. Do you recognize your own go-to method here? Agreement....

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