Author Archives: Jennette McCurdy

Pay Attention

Hey team,

I can be such a scatterbrain. My mind will wander, my thoughts will race, I’ll forget where I set my keys when they’re right in my hand. I have these and also every single other classic example of a short attention span, including the fact that I have gotten distracted 47 times already during the course of writing this one single paragraph.

Ugh! That’s not what I want. I want a nice, long, perfect attention span that allows me to perform my tasks wonderfully and exceed every goal I set for myself…

…Too bad literally nothing works out the way I want and also I am going to die one day.

Jokes! (I’m testing the temperature of the humor of my readers.)

Anyway, lately I’ve been really wanting to work on my attention span/focus/concentration. I feel it’s an area that I can afford great improvements in and I’m curious to see how those improvements might affect my life.

After reading a few articles (links below), here are some basic tips I found on improving attention span.

1. Reduce distractions.

This means limiting use of technology while studying/working on a project (sometimes I’m not great with this one, but it’s most helpful when I absolutely cut myself off. For me, that means writing at a cafe but not turning on wi-fi, or putting my phone on airplane mode so I can’t hear the pings or be tempted to check social media.) It also means avoiding menial tasks, phone chats with gabby friends, or whatever else you may be doing to avoid doing what you really need to be doing (only you know your weaknesses! Home in!)

2. Jot it down!

YES to this one. It helps me out so much. Carry a little notepad and pen/pencil with you (keep it small so it fits easily into most compartments/bags/large pockets) exclusively for your random thoughts. As they come up, you can jot them down and get them out of your system so they don’t continue to cycle in you loop of thoughts.

3. Mindfulness meditation.

You can either get on board now with meditation or be way behind the times. It really is a movement and I think it’s one for a reason. If the word “meditation” makes you think of standing cliffside with a contrived serene look on your face while you spoon hemp seed into your mouth, avoid the term and use a replacement one like “thoughtfulness” or “contemplation”. Terms aside, taking a few moments to be present and check-in with how you’re feeling and the speed your mind is operating at can work wonders for your focus. You can essentially see “what you’re working with” and then work from there.

4. Have a cup of joe!

There’s so much information out there about caffeine and its positives/negatives for you. I happen to be an anxious person who LOVES coffee, so figuring out the right relationship with it is something I’ve been working on for a while. The fact that caffeine helps with focus is a great argument in favor of coffee and one that I will always keep in my back pocket. Perhaps if you’re anxious, keep the coffee to a small like I’ll be trying to do. (Trying.)

5. A good environment

If it’s within your control, make sure that your environment serves your focus. That means if a little chatter and ambience works for you, awesome – go to a cafe and get the thing done. If you need total silence, set yourself up for success by spending time alone in a quiet place. If music you like helps you, keep that playing in the background. The tricky aspect of having a good environment is that you need to know for sure what works best for your mental aptitude. If you don’t already know the answer, take a project of relatively low-urgency and try working on parts of it in different environments. Take note of when your mind and concentration feels best, when you do your best work, and when you feel happiest.

Let me know if you guys try any of the tips and which are your favorites. What would you say your current attention span is like? Are you able to focus pretty well or do you struggle? Are there certain subjects you’re able to focus on better than others?



serotonin and how it helps you feel happier

Hey team,

I’ve been interested in the hormones/neurotransmitters responsible for happiness for quite some time. Whether I’ve been interested in them because I’m a completely miserable person and want to be happy OR because I’m a completely happy person and want to know why is a question that I will leave up for debate. 😉

For the sake of this post, let’s just focus on serotonin. We don’t want TOO much happiness all at once now, do we? (I have such an urge to post another wink-face. I am hot on the winks today.)

So serotonin is a neurotransmitter (brain chemicals that communicate information throughout our brain and bodies) that contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness. It’s also largely responsible for the regulation of your appetite (90% of serotonin is located in the gastrointestinal tract). It’s fair to say serotonin is pretty important.

You can get serotonin through your diet (amino acids in healthy proteins), sunlight, or massage. Exercise – particularly aerobic – is also thought to increase both serotonin production and release. You can also reduce sugar intake and try including fermented foods in your diet – I knew I liked kombucha for a reason other than to feel hip!

I’ve tried all of the above (curbing my sweet-tooth is the most challenging) but what I have yet to try is supplementation.

I have a friend who regularly takes 5-htp and SAM-e and says they work wonders. Another friends takes magnesium and seems to like it (but doesn’t that one, like, loosen your stools and cause you to fall asleep?). I’m also interested in trying zinc but that’s just cuz I like the name.

I’m curious to know if you guys have taken serotonin supplements and, if so, how they have worked out for you? Are there any that you would recommend? What about the other natural methods for boosting serotonin levels – have you tried those? If so, which work best for you?

Here’s to happiness,



Uncomfortably Vulnerable

Hey team,

In the past I have struggled with vulnerability. I have faked vulnerability, I have confused love with vulnerability, I have supported others in their vulnerability. Yet I didn’t always know how to be vulnerable myself. It was like the very idea of what that meant was a bit murky to me. “Is vulnerability telling someone all my thoughts? Is it letting someone have the ‘power’ in a dynamic? Is it ‘giving up’?” I wasn’t sure.

I’ve put a LOT of thought into this, and watched very helpful videos on the topic of vulnerability, like this one and this one.

Here’s what I think so far.

I think a huge obstacle in my ability to be vulnerable with others was that I needed first to be vulnerable with myself. I believe it’s impossible to be able to discriminate what vulnerable information we should dispense in our interpersonal relationships and to have the judgment necessary to do so if we aren’t first completely and entirely vulnerable with ourselves.

And what does being vulnerable with ourselves look like?

Well, for me, it looks like acknowledging my emotional reality. It looks like being utterly frank with myself about how I’m feeling about whatever I’m thinking about. It means accepting my feelings for what they are and working with them, acknowledging that there’s no point in trying to hide/cover up/mask my emotions to myself.

This might sound silly or obvious, I don’t know. Maybe it’s easy for most people to acknowledge their feelings for themselves. All I know is my experience, and my experience is that I’m SO guarded with some parts of myself that I will try to protect myself… from myself! I’ll attempt to keep my own emotions at arm’s length with a multitude of useful tools I’ve developed through the years – humor, avoidance, distraction, etc.

If I had to guess, I’d say this deep-rooted belief (protecting myself from my emotions is smart) developed because I FEEL so intensely. Emotions are so overwhelming sometimes, they can seem to just consume me and envelop me in their magnitude. I think I was worried that if I felt them, they would control me.

In retrospect, exactly the behaviors that I thought were stopping my emotions from controlling me were causing my emotions to control me. Funny how that works out, huh?

Because I so often refused to acknowledge my REAL feelings toward things and instead tried to wedge my feelings into a version of myself that I wasn’t, my emotions were in fact controlling me. It’s like I was in a constant game of cat-and-mouse between my head and my heart, and it was exhausting.

Realizing that my emotions will always have power and I might as well accept them has been hugely liberating for me. <- This is what being vulnerable with myself looks like for me.

Being vulnerable with myself allows me to be able to show up for myself. I can protect myself, push myself, be as easy or hard on myself as I need to be in a given moment, and essentially be a better judge of myself ONLY when I am vulnerable. If I’m blocking and refusing vulnerability, I have no chance at being an accurate judge of myself/my character/my behaviors and actions, and that just sounds awful.

Looking forward to your thoughts,

Tackling Nighttime Anxiety


Something great happened for me last night and I’m really excited to share it with you.

I was having a bout of nighttime anxiety. My thoughts were racing, my heart was pounding a little faster than normal, and I couldn’t figure out what exactly I was worried about yet I was undeniably worried. (Geez, even WRITING about anxiety makes me anxious. Regardless, I must press on, for the sake of humankind!)

Over the past year, since learning some helpful and healthy ways to to cope with my anxiety, I have often referred to my various lists around my house to try and utilize one of the items. Go for a walk, shower, deep breathing – the old standbys that you can find on any anxiety blog post that has ever been written in the history of ever.

Sometimes, these techniques help. But honestly sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the anxiety seems to have too much control over me and I just can’t rein it in. Then it’s almost like the anxiety makes itself worse because I become anxious about not being able to not be anxious. COME ON!

Well yesterday, I tried a few techniques and they helped perhaps more than they ever have before. I went from what I would call (for my anxiety range) a 9-level anxiety to not only no anxiety, but a state of enjoyment.

You guys, are you hearing me?! ENJOYMENT.

I wish I could pinpoint exactly why this time was different. Is it the repetition and how many times I’ve tried the anxiety-reducing techniques in the past? Did they finally just click like muscle memory? Was this a random occurrence? Will it happen again? How can I ensure that it does?

I’m hoping it’s possible to reduce anxiety like I did yesterday again and again. If it’s something that can be improved upon, then man do I want to improve upon it. In an attempt to do just that, I’m gonna write out exactly what I did last night and I’ll try a similar combination in the future to see if it still works. I’ll keep you posted!

Here’s what I tried:

  • Deep breathing in a warm bath. I didn’t count the seconds to my breath which I know some people say is very effective, but it honestly bores me and reduces my chance of focus. I did, however, make sure the breaths themselves were full and deep. I even put my hand on my belly, which apparently aids in mind-body connection.

  • I watched a brief youtube video of a Berkeley professor speaking on the vagus nerve and its instrumental role in mind-body awareness. I think this helped me because it intellectualized something that was frustrating me, which feels like progress. I love to know people are solving problems!

  • I put on a face mask. It was one of those charcoal ones that dries on your face and makes you feel like you just had a face lift. Fun! While it was drying, I stretched. It was nice to know that I was combatting my anxiety with self-care as opposed to self-destruction.

  • I laid on my back for 5 minutes and deep breathed. That’s it. I was doing nothing but lying down and breathing. Super simple.

I think some key differences in this routine versus past attempts is that I DID NOT distract myself. I didn’t turn on a tv show, meet a friend for a drink, run 3 miles as fast as I could, or anything else that feels remotely like avoidance. I tackled the thing head on.

Also, I didn’t try and be productive, which is usually my go-to with anxiety. I assume that because I’m feeling an urgency I need to DO something. I need to be efficient, harness the bubbling energy into SOMETHING. I challenged this instinct and it paid off in a big way.

Do you experience night-time anxiety? How have you been handling it recently? Have your efforts been effective? What tools work best for you?

Looking forward to your thoughts,


Think For Yourself

This is just a quick post reminding you to think for yourself and empower your mind.

With the wild amount of information that is constantly coming at us, something I believe is more important than it’s ever been is the ability to turn our minds into filters – using our best judgment to determine the information we let influence us and point us in a certain direction.

While I consider myself a non-conformist inherently, there are certain times where I am strikingly susceptible to influence. I’ll hear something someone says or read something someone wrote or watch a video someone made and think, “by damn, that’s the answer!” Then, later on upon reflection, I’ll realize that it was just another example of a moment where I let an outside voice act as my inner voice. I’m usually able to shake off whatever line of thinking that piece of information took me down (after a certain amount of processing) and i’m usually more set in myself because of the departure, but I can’t help but wonder what would be the case if I just blindly accepted certain sources of information as truth without thorough questioning.

I SOUND SO SNOBBY!! Let me see if I can clarify and make myself more likable…

Don’t get me wrong, I think the vast quantity of art, reading materials, information – it’s all great! It feels like there is an opportunity to learn more than ever before. At the same time, however, if we don’t sift through the information as it comes and keep our eyes and ears open for the, well, bullshit (for lack of a better term) then we are at serious risk of being sheep without even realizing we are sheep. This is legitimately scary to me.

If there’s one thing I’m incredibly passionate about, it’s encouraging people to think for themselves and respect their individuality/opinions/mindset without fear of being palatable or likable for others.

It takes constant work for me to remember to follow my own inner voice. To listen and pay attention to the world around me but to not let it be my compass.

What do you guys think? Is it easy for you to think for yourself? Do you find you are very influenced by the information that comes into your life, or are you able to clearly compartmentalize it and follow your own trajectory?

Looking forward to your thoughts,

My Values Project

Hey guys!

Reading all of your comments, posts, instagrams, and tweets, I come to realize what a diverse group of people you all are. It gave me a thought to work on a short little video about all of our values!

So here it is!  My Values Project.  I want to hear your top three values that you live by and believe in deeply.  I want to know who you are and why they are so important to you.  Just tweet a link to your three values and why, along with a photo of yourself. Use the hashtag #JennetteMcCurdyMyValuesProject so I can see you!

For complete rules and information, please visit here.

Confidence Flexibility

Confidence is something I think about a lot. Sometimes I feel full of it and other times, not so much. I wonder if there is sense to be made of the fluctuation, or if it just is what it is. I lean toward the latter, maybe because I’ve tried enough to make sense of it and can’t, or maybe because this option makes me feel more in control. (See: I am a control freak.)

Regardless, “it is what it is” is the option I like better because ultimately I think it’s a lot more freeing and conducive to happiness. It’s not about shrugging off your low/high confidence or pretending it’s something it isn’t. It’s about having a sense of humor about it. It’s about having what I like to call “confidence flexibility”. I hate that I just said confidence flexibility. I am judging myself so hard! In fact, I’m judging myself so hard that I have no other choice than to own the term even more and title this post by its very name.

Moving on…

If our happiness is attached to our confidence, that just seems unhealthy. Naturally, our happiness will pendulum in tandem with our confidence if it’s hinging on it, which just seems emotionally exhausting. Allowing our confidence to go up and down and having a more removed relationship from it seems like the best way to go.

I think this idea of confidence flexibility falls right in line with the “mindfulness” technique of psychology, which I LOVE and have found so helpful for me and my life over these past few years.

Mindfulness means stepping outside of a behavior in order to be aware of it. You notice it for what it is and allow it to exist without trying to curate or direct it. This allows the emotion/feeling/etc to be diffused and de-personalized. As a world-class personalizer, I have found mindfulness so effective in helping me normalize my emotions and handle them in a healthier way.

If we apply mindfulness to our confidence, then our confidence can be high or low or anything in between and it doesn’t dictate our sense of self-worth. It no longer has the power to affect our level of productivity or our efficiency in regular life tasks. We can simply notice “eh I’m having a low confidence moment” and just recognize it for what it is while continuing to push forward with our day, whatever we need to get done, and putting our energy into the things that make life better.

It really bothers me to think that low confidence affects the great possibility in so many people. I am passionate about seeing what people are capable of and I think the very real confidence-struggle can singlehandedly rob people of realizing their potential. I’m hoping this post helps the confidence issue in some way, and I plan on doing more posts like it in the future if you guys gained something from it. Let me know.

Have you struggled with confidence issues or do you feel like you have a pretty sturdy handle on yours? Do you have any examples? Who in your life do you assume has the most confidence? Would you ever have a conversation with them and see if they really have as much confidence as you think?

Looking forward to your thoughts.

The Drive Behind Motivation

A simple google search of the word “motivation” yields two definitions:

  1. the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.

  2. the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

The reasons somebody has for behaving in a certain way are up to them to decide. I think that definition of motivation falls along the lines of meaning/purpose, which everybody’s gotta figure out for themselves (good luck!).

The second definition, however, is something I find to be more universally applicable and less of a personal thing. It’s that sliding scale of an internal drive factor that varies from person to person. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot these past few days and have been wanting to write about.

Why are some people more motivated than others? Why are some people endlessly driven while others just… aren’t?

These questions drive me nuts and they have since I was little. I’ve always felt like a driven person and I sometimes become frustrated if I’m surrounded by people who aren’t the same way. I try and figure out what the difference is between the two types of people, which is probably not great because I should just accept others for how they are. Maybe in 3 years when I am the perfect, amazing person I’d like to be (due to apple product that infuses perfection into humans via touchscreen), that can be my reality. Alas, that is not my current situation and all I can offer you is my current situation.


My current situation involves me being super curious about why some people are motivated and some people are lazy.

Is it a personality thing? A mood disorder thing? Is it seasonal? Is it dietary? Is it dependent on whether your childhood was good or terrible?

I don’t know if any of these questions are even answerable. I DO know, however, thanks to google and CrashCourse’s “The Power of Motivation” youtube video, that there are four basic theories of motivation, and they are as follows:

  1. Instinct theory. This theory assumes that biological/genetic makeup cause motivation, which means that all humans have the same bottom-line motivation: survival.

  2. Drive reduction theory. This theory states that deviations from homeostasis (layman’s terms aka my terms: basic human level of comfort) create physiological needs that create a psychological drive to behave in a way that moves toward homeostasis.

  3. Optimal arousal theory. This theory suggests that humans are motivated by arousal and their general behaviors will push them toward slightly elevated arousal (not exclusively sexual – get your mind out of the gutter!)

  4. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This theory is a five tier model of human needs displaying that some human needs take precedence over others. The bottom tiers are said to be deficiency needs, meaning that people are motivated to fill those needs if they are unmet. The higher tiers are self-fulfillment needs and they’re driven by a motivation for growth.

If I think about these four theories and apply them to my personal experiences, I’d say that optimal arousal is likely the biggest indicator of my motivation. I say this because I can think of instances where I’ve forsaken some pretty basic human needs in exchange for a more elevated level of arousal. I can also think of times where I haven’t necessarily been experiencing homeostasis, but I HAVE been experiencing some level of creativity or meaning that was more rewarding to me and subsequently more motivating to sustain.

I wonder if a person’s “driven” or “lazy” nature has to do with which theory of motivation they most relate to.

Does this make sense? What do you guys think? Which theory do you think most applies to your life?

I want to do some more posts on motivation in the future. In order to do that, it would be so helpful to hear about what motivates you. What drives you to do the things you do every day? What drives you to do the things you do more occasionally, the more challenging feats that you’ve accomplished? Think of whatever you’ve done in your life that you’re most proud of – what motivated you to do that thing?

Looking forward to your thoughts,


Second Post

Now that the anxiety of a first post is behind me, my 2nd post is going to be about the anxiety of my first post.

I’m serious.

For my first “Going Mental” post, I was stuck on it being “something”. A real SOMETHING, you know? I wanted it to be important. Impactful. I wanted it to MEAN something…

…And then I remembered that nothing means anything and I softly cried to myself.

After the tears subsided, the first post came out of me with exactly the ease that was intended for it. It was a matter of shifting my thinking from ‘I NEED TO FINISH THIS AND IT NEEDS TO BE AMAZING’ to ‘I’m just gonna say what I want to say and make it super simple.’

That’s the thing about results-based anxiety. It’s so common to put pressure on what should be, could be, might be, might not be, NEEDS TO BE, that the damn thing can hardly even snag a chance to “be” period!

Anytime I’ve been able to actually MAKE something, whatever it is, it hasn’t come out of that place of tense pressure, that baited breath demanding nature, rigid and objective-driven and forced and gross. Anytime I’ve been able to make something, it’s come from a simple, light-hearted place of ease. It almost sounds counterintuitive, but it’s not. This more creative, fun way of thinking actually has a name, and it’s called…

Process thinking.

Process thinking, also known as ‘”the process”‘ is a philosophy that emphasizes preparation and hard work over consideration of outcomes or results.

I first learned about process thinking in January and since then I’ve increasingly utilized the style of thinking more and more in my own life.

As a naturally goal-oriented, list-making, creepy-level results-driven lady, process thinking can simultaneously feel liberating and terrifying, like a free fall through your own mind.

I found that when I switched from results/objective based thinking to process thinking, I was initially anxious and doubtful. How could I POSSIBLY get anything done if I wasn’t fixated on the objective of making every single thing THE BEST THING THAT’S EVER BEEN MADE?!

(I think I need to cool it with the caps, it’s getting to be a little much…)

Anyway, after the initial process thinking growing pains, I found that the ideas coming out of me were less judged, more suited for my point of view, and frankly, way more abundant.

When I was exclusively results-oriented, I’d get frustrated with my progress (or lack thereof), quit goals frequently, assign new ones, beat myself up for not finishing, and the negative cycle would continue.

With process thinking, I noticed I started finishing more of my projects, taking less time on projects because I was so passionate about what I was working on, and I didn’t have as much worry or negativity toward myself. I couldn’t come up with a downside to process thinking if I tried.

I think that difference in thinking is a key to creativity and a better quality of life. Chasing outcomes and results can cause the process of whatever it is you’re working on to feel arduous and frustrating. Encouraging and focusing on the process itself can cause the process to feel rewarding, fun, and motivating.

Have you heard of process thinking? Do you use it in your own life? Are there other styles of thinking that you find helpful for you?

Looking forward to reading your thoughts.

– Jennette

Welcome to Going Mental

Hey guys,

Welcome to Going Mental.

I started GM because I really wanted a place where I can continuously explore my interest in the mind, thinking, and just finding ways to stay sane in this crazy world!

You can expect… well I’m not exactly sure what you can expect because this is my first post.


Maybe my first post should be me finding ways to not take my anger out on others?

Just kidding! Anger is fun.

Anyway, welcome to Going Mental. I’ll figure this out.

– Jennette