AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: self-help

    Why do we like the things we like? Why do we dig the music, art, movies and company we keep? It’s because of how these stimuli make us feel. All of these “things” are extensions of who we are. They help us express, emote and experience feeling. Everything we do is motivated by emotion. Whether you realize it or not, human beings desperately seek emotion. We thirst, hunger, long, yearn, all-that-kind-of-stuff for it. Emotions compel us. We are forever chasing emotion, and even if you think you are evading it, you are still running directly towards it.

    “Tiff, are you high? You sound like a baked spaceball from planet Weirdy. What are you talking about here?”

    Here is what I mean: Emotion motivates essentially all of life. The reasons underlying why we do just about anything is to feel. And what we want to feel is good. We want to feel good things like love, joy, happiness, connection, belongingness, acceptance, validation, support, significance, meaning, competency, purpose and…relief. This blog will discuss how all of us humanoids are relief chasers, and why it’s so important for you to acknowledge how your relief-seeking behavior plays out.

    ++ POINT #1 ++

    We want to feel positive emotions and when we’re not feeling them we seek relief.

    Relief can look like a lot of different things, such as getting plastered every night to numb or forget one’s feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, sadness, loneliness, misery, despair, guilt, remorse, defeat, dejection, depression, frustration, aggravation, rage, suffering and pain // OR // getting mega-aggro, calling your partner an “ass-butt” or “flaming diarrhea fire cunt,” // OR // causing physical harm to a living thing, including one’s self // OR // gorging on food, shopping, drugs, or sex. In all of the examples above, the person behaving in these hypothetical ways is seeking relief from the emotional difficulty, torment or pain they are experiencing.

    Coping with these types of painfully colossal emotions is difficult. When you strip it down to its simplest, most basic and fundamental form, your process of coping = fighting emotion with emotion.

    “I experience hopelessness [emotion] and I want to experience relief [also an emotion].”

    So, you’re trying to fight the dank stuff that really hurts you – in the depths of your heart and soul, with relief. But dealing with it in the ways I mentioned up ‘ehr is like fighting a wild fire with a squirt gun. It will not work. In fact, it perpetuates toxic coping styles and drills the severity of your problems further. If your goal is to be better, healthier, happier and more fulfilled in life, you need to adopt alternate strategies for experiencing relief. This is reality.


    ++ POINT #2 ++

    You can trade in your squirt gun for an ocean.

    Relief can also look like: crying, talking to a friend, family member or mental health professional, writing, drawing, sculpting, cooking, walking, meditating, praying, exercising, lifting weights, doing yoga, working in your yard, engaging in your favorite hobby, volunteering, watching a movie and, of course, listening to music. Listening to Jeff Buckley, or any other musician you feel a connection to, can help you cope because the pain you’re dealing with can feel as though it is being mirrored back. Hence: validation (ok, so I love Jeff Buckley and wanted to give him a shout). When you are able to get the relief you seek in ways like these, you are fighting that raging fire of pain with an ocean of water. This will work.

    “This is lots to digest. Can you put it in a hairless little nutshell for me @tifftutts?”

    Human behavior is motivated by emotion. We seek to experience positive emotion.

    When we’re not experiencing positive emotion, we are trying our hardest to do so. That “trying” part is where life gets tricky (or, supremely fucked up). If you want to be healthy, happy and live fulfilled, you must spend time reflecting on whether the relief you get supports or stymies your wellbeing. Be accountable for yourself and take responsibility for the behavior you display. We’re all in the process of growing and evolving and owning your shit is not a bad thing. It signifies strength and wisdom, so please don’t be defensive about it.

    A big part of my work in psychotherapy is to help people understand how their emotions and behaviors are connected. Yes, experience is subjective. What I feel when I hear Miles Davis, or see Holy Motors, might be entirely different than what you feel, but experience is much less subjective when it comes to the fundamentals of emotion. When you or I, or the Queen of Sheba, or Joseph Gordon Levitt, or Ruth Buzzi feel dank, chances are we will try to feel less dank by seeking relief. I believe that individuals, whether they are coping maladaptively (the bummer ways I mentioned) or adaptively (the healthy, posi-ways I mentioned), have a unified purpose, which is to feel good. This is why people deserve empathy. Folks who struggle a bit more with coping in “good” ways are suffering too. But empathy can take you only so far, and eventually people have to make themselves accountable. No matter your past, you are capable of getting your emotional needs met in healthy ways (including feeling relief). Developing a greater connection between yourself and your behavior requires that you cultivate a deepened understanding of yourself. So start asking and answering the question: “Am I getting my needs met in a healthy way?” If not, make a change. We all have free will, choice, and amazing capabilities. We can exercise them to become the awesome people we were destined to be.

    For your health! Thank you for reading my blog!!


    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: self-help

    I am getting more bananas with each blog title, but hey, what can you do?

    This entry will borrow 5-7 minutes of your time to discuss risk. What I hope to show you is that sometimes taking risks, in all their horrifying, terrifying, “this makes me feel like piranhas are swimming in my stomach and slowly moving out of my intestines” glory, is necessary in order to achieve personal growth. I also hope to show that you are capable of surviving and recovering from a risk gone badly. In other words, when you take a risk and it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted/hoped/expected/thought, you can pick yourself up, dust your sweet ass off and get back to standing tall.

    Risks are scary to many of us because of the uncertainty inherent within them. The reality is, we don’t know how things will turn out, and not knowing is fucking frightening. Not knowing means it could turn out badly. People sometimes/often/frequently have the tendency to catastrophize in situations of uncertainty. Catastrophizing is basically what we do when we think the worst. In part, we do this as a defense. It’s our psyche’s way of attempting to prepare for, and survive, the ultimate worst-case scenario. Another part of it is insecurity. Dealing with the insecurity part is an issue I would help a psychotherapy client work on, as in, “Well Tiff, it could turn out badly, and I don’t know if I could handle that.” Short answer is, “Ya damn right you can handle that.” My job as a therapist would be to help a person see this for him or herself.

    Not knowing how something will turn out also induces anxiety. How many of you like feeling anxiety? You know anxiety, that agonizing feeling of dread, wrapped in fear, wrapped in worry, wrapped in excrement. Maybe there are some anxo-masochists out there, but I’m guessing most of us ain’t. Anxiety BLOWS! Actually, somehow, it sucks and blows at the same time (there’s a whole chapter in my book about helping you with it, so don’t worry, it’s going to be fine).

    So, you can see why when it comes to risk, uncertainty does the dirty with anxiety, and it can work to deter you from leaving your comfort zone and going for that “thing” you really want to do but have reservations about.

    How can a person overcome this?!

    (1) Identify at least 3 truthful statements that provide you with the reassurance you’d need to recover from a worst-case scenario. In other words, if you take said risk and the world takes a supreme dump on you in response, what could you remind yourself of that would comfort and console you?

    I’ll give you my 3 because in light of having my book come out in August (which is taking a risk and makes me feel nervous and scared and vulnerable and all that) I have them ready:

    #1 – My family loves me and accepts me.

    #2 – My friends love me and will not turn their backs on me.

    #3 – I’m a pretty good person (~ 88% good / 12% ass-holey sometimes) with good intentions and I genuinely want to help people.

    For me these 3 statements resonate loudly and this helps give me the reassurance (and courage) I need to expose myself, take a risk, and do “it.” So, if you want to have more courage to take risks, prepare some of your own statements, which will reassure you that you’ll be okay if you put yourself out there and things don’t turn out the way you wanted.

    (2) Don’t frame things not going your way as a failure.

    You ask a girl out who you think is pretty and she rejects you. You tryout for a band, or a play, or a commercial and don’t get it. You write a blog and only 10 people read it. If you frame these events as a failure you are reinforcing a negative belief that it’s not good to try, not good to leave your comfort zone, or not good to put yourself out there. This is false. Just because you don’t get the reaction you want does not mean you failed. REPEAT: Just because I didn’t get the reaction I wanted does not mean I failed. This is a reality. You succeeded at taking a risk and that is very important to acknowledge. Yes it burns when you get rejected. It stinks butt, but if you frame it positively you can cope with the disappointment better, recover faster and be more inclined to not give up. This means you’ll be more inclined to keep on keepin’ on. If you frame it as growth, as in, “Sucks nard it didn’t turn out the way I wanted, but HELL yeah, I did something that was out of my comfort zone and I survived,” then you did not fail. If you let yourself feel defeated, then failure wins.

    (3) Take calculated risks.

    “Calculated” in the sense that you really should put some thought into the risk you want to take. The tricky thing here is not to over think it. You have to find the right amount of thought to vest into something, but too much can leave you feeling flooded and overwhelmed. Think in terms of a recipe as you try to determine how much thought you should put into a risk. If the risk you’re contemplating will effect a very large portion of your life (you, your family, your kids, your friends, etc.) then you might need a few hefty cups of thought. If, on the other hand, you’re trying to decide, “Hmmm… do I want Sriracha on my vegetables or not?” Just a pinch of thought is needed. So, the bigger the chunk of life that will be affected, the bigger the amount of thought needed.

    *People sometimes struggle with the level of thought they put into things (i.e. 5 cups when only 1 teaspoon is really required) and this is yet another topic that comes up in therapy.

    (4) Have realistic expectations.

    This means you’re in touch with reality and aware that things could go this way, OR that way. Things could go the way you want, hope and expect, but they may not. It’s not guaranteed. I want you to stay hopeful with beautiful bright eyes, but you also have to keep your feet on the ground and remember that the universe grants you no certainty when it comes to risk taking. This will minimize the devastation you feel if things don’t turn out the way you wanted and help you recover from the disappointment of a risk that turns out shitski. Hope for the best indeed, but be prepared for things not exactly working out the way you envisioned.

    That’s all she wrote this time! Thanks so much for reading this and as always, I truly, deeply, sincerely hope you found something useful from it. I love people and my goal is to give you something meaningful that you can apply to improve the quality of your life. You matter. You are precious and beautiful to behold.

    And… A BOOK UPDATE! Oh man, it’s really happening. My book, “Being and Awesomeness: Get Rad, Stay Rad,” is finished, printed and ready for the public… kind of. I will be having a book release/rock show/party at the Loving Touch, in Ferndale, Michigan on Friday August 29th. It will also mark the very first show of my husband’s new band Malo Konjche (the spazzy excitement I feel to see this performance keeps me smiling at all hours. I think I even sleep with a smile knowing I get to see it soon). Also appearing will be The Thornbills (swoon, swoon, SWOON) and our hometown hero’s, Touch the Clouds (who’ll probably be on SNL in 2015). Everyone is welcome. It’s the Friday before Labor Day and I hope you can come.

    In the meantime, I will be in San Francisco (July 19 + 20) and Los Angeles (July 26 + 27) to participate in the Renegade Craft Fair, where I’ll be selling my metal designs (search “Spazz Happy Line Design” if you’re curious to see what I make). Since I’ll be there, I decided to try selling some books too. Please don’t be mad East Coast. I’m forever your girl, but wanted to make it available to the West Coast buddies too. So, West Coast can pick it up in person at the fairs, East Coast at the party on August 29th and the rest of the world can get it on August 30th.

    You’ll be able to purchase and download it right off this site. It’s going to be $5 for the actual book, but also available as a totally free PDF download. It’s a little different than my original plan but still pretty A-ok I think. Many sincere thanks to those of you who have encouraged, supported and expressed genuine excitement for me. I hope you like LOVE the book! Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!! THANK YOU!!!


    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: self-help

    It’s been a while guys, but I’m back like the Terminator… or that armpit rash you thought was gone. Hopefully I’m less like an armpit rash to you and more like the Governator himself (without the whole boinking of the housekeeper part, that is). This post will be about attitude and why it’s more badass than a donkey riding a motorcycle through a ring of fire.

    Attitude is important because it’s related to coping. And coping is important because it’s related to how you manage/respond to your thoughts and feelings. And thoughts and feelings are important because they make up experience.  And experience is important because experience is life.

    Attitude as it is used here, by me @tifftutts, refers to the way your thoughts and feelings intermingle and form the lens by which you ingest, interpret and experience life. Basically what I’m saying is: Attitude represents the way you think and feel about everything!!!

    TRUTH BOMB #1- As a grown ass adult, you have the power to control your behavior. You are in control of your attitude. You are in control of the thoughts you allow that magnificent psyche of yours to generate. You have the power to choose how you respond to people and things in your environment.


    Being mindful of the thoughts and feelings that influence your attitude is a step in the right direction. Mindfulness is a whole blog post in itself, but for now, just know that it has to do with bringing your awareness to the present moment.

    Your general attitude is not something that developed overnight. It was born out of the depths of your past and it developed as your ability to think and reason took shape. Our attitude may be heavily influenced by our history and the environment(s) we were exposed to when we were youngins, but as adults, we are responsible for the mindset we adopt, AND for the ripple effect said mindset has on our life.

    TRUTH BOMB #2 –You can’t always control what happens to you in life, but you can control how you react to it.

    If you can grasp this idea, then you’re at an advantage for sprucing up your attitude. I’m not trying to take away your sucky feelings and replace them with only shiny bright ones. No way. There is a continuum of emotion that we have the capacity to feel and we should not deny our feelings. Feeling sucky is not always a bad thing. It’s normal and ok and necessary to help us get through the difficult things in life. The “Ya gotta feel it to heal it” thing I’ve mentioned before. But getting stuck feeling sucky isn’t so good. To avoid this, you need to use that attitude of yours to pull yourself up-and-out of that doo-doo mood you may find yourself in.

    ACCEPTANCE and GRATITUDE are two muscles that you need (need, need, need, neeeeeeeeeed, NEED!!!) to develop if you want to have a positive attitude and get out of shit moods when they come around. Having a positive attitude simply means incorporating acceptance and gratitude into your everyday life. Readily doing so will reduce your stress and increase the feelings of happiness and meaning you are able to glean.

    The beauty here is that the application of acceptance and gratitude is supes easy. Acceptance comes with understanding the first part of truth bomb #2- realizing that you cannot always control what happens in your life. This means that you need to LET GO OF THE THINGS YOU CAN’T CHANGE if you want to exercise your acceptance muscle. Then, there’s gratitude. Ahhhh, sweet, sweet, glorious gratitude. It’s such an easy and cost-free way to generate a personal sense of validation. It’s kinda like a mini-orgasm for your mood. Finding things to be grateful for does the body oh, so good. It relieves stress, enhances coping skills and promotes optimism and wellbeing. So why wouldn’t you want to do it? The answer is because sometimes when we are in emotional pain, we develop a narrow view and can’t see beyond its limits. Having such a narrow/small/closed point of view limits our ability to experience gratitude because we are so self-focused and unable to see outside of ourselves (at the time). That’s okay; sometimes that’s just part of the process. BUT, if you want to get unstuck, you have to broaden your scope. Finding things in your life to be grateful for will do just that.

    TRUTH BOMB #3- If you have a pulse and the cognitive capacity to understand this blog, you have a lot to be grateful for.

    When you feel bad, or notice yourself having a negative attitude about something, train yourself to realize how lucky you are to have all that you do (that’s mindfulness). At the very least, having all 5 senses is absolutely cause enough for gratitude, not to mention having a roof over your head, a refrigerator with food- or a taco bell down the road maybe, clothes to keep you warm, friends and family that love you… etc. Somewhere right now, there is someone in a position that would love to have the “problems” you do, or the stressors you have. Realize that and your view will go from narrow to wide. I’m not criticizing you for losing sight of all the things you have to be grateful for. I’m really not. I’m just reminding you that if you feel like dung, exercising your gratitude muscle is a remedy to change your shit mood into a better one. The title says, “When Life Gives You Lemons… Make Lemon Grenades and Destroy Anything That Stands In The Way of Your Awesomeness,” and often times it’s you creating your own obstacle. So be mindful and aware of the times when your crap feelings impair your ability to see the big picture (i.e., the things outside of yourself). Don’t pound yourself with lemons, just realize that you’re in control of the happiness you extract from life.

    Acceptance + Gratitude = Positive Attitude. And Positive Attitude = RAD’ITUDE!

    If you want to get rad you need to cultivate your rad’itude, So, get those sweet cheeks of yours in gear and hop on the trolley to your positive destination! You-are-the-driver!

    I really hope you found this little ditty useful. Please let me know what you think and send me a (sh)email or (h)email.

    And last… a book update: I wrote a self-help book called “Being and Awesomeness: Get Rad, Stay Rad,“ and I am SO excited to share it! I’m pretty much a spazz 85% of my waking hours, and my plan is to have it ready for release by spring or early summer 2014. I’m putting it out myself and will have it for sale on my website, as well as available as a free pdf download. I want everyone, everywhere to be able to access this baby. Stay tuned and stay golden you beautiful, amazing, wonderful human being you!