Author, psychologist, & blogger
MELISSA BURKLEY is an author, psychologist, and blogger. Her scientific research has been featured in The New York Times, Cosmopolitan and Men’s Health, and she has appeared on Oprah Radio and Martha Stewart Radio. She is author of the book Motivation Science and her writing has been featured in Poets & Writers Magazine and Hinnom Magazine. Her agent at McIntosh & Otis is currently shopping her book on the fascinating ways that conservatives’ and liberals’ brains are wired differently, a topic also covered in her blog www.RedBrainBlueBrain.com. Melissa also runs The Writer’s Laboratory, a blog that teaches writers how to improve their craft by incorporating psychological principles into their work.
My specific daily goal changes but in general, I strive to pursue the activities that feed my soul (for me, that means writing and being in nature) and avoid the ones that drain it. Easier said than done!
Live in the present, be mindful of each moment, and live life without regrets.
Write. Write. Write some more.
What do you love most about Your City?
As a psychologist, I am essentially a professional people watcher. But what I really love are the quiet, uninhabited pockets of nature in my city.
Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?
I’m not a big breakfast eater, so usually a slice of wheat toast with nut butter is my go-to.
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – Even though I’m still in bed asleep at this time, it is my most creative hour of the day. I usually wake up around 7, so at 6am I’m typically fading in and out of wakefulness. That’s when I rely on something called “hypnagogia” to fuel my creativity and inspire my day’s writing. Hypnagogia refers to the sleep-ish state that exists between wakefulness and sleep. It is a wellspring of creativity, one used by Edgar Allen Poe, Salvador Dali, and Thomas Edison. Unfortunately, most people jump out of bed and immediately check their phone or rush to the gym, thereby failing to capitalize on this creatively rich ore.
10:00 AM – Writing. Research shows nature boosts creativity so I always write on my laptop, seated on my back deck beneath the trees. When it’s too cold to go outside, I sit by a window and listen to nature sounds to simulate the experience.
12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal?
I like variability so I don’t have a regular lunch spot. But no matter where I’m eating, I always have lunch with my husband. He’s also a psychologist and writer, so we often use that time to share what we are reading/writing. Those hearty conservations feed my soul as much as the hearty food feeds my body.
7:00 PM – By this time I have already eaten a light dinner and am winding down. This might include taking my dog for a walk in the park, reading, or doing a little Netflix binging.
11:00 PM – Sleeping, and perchance dreaming.
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
It sounds boring but plain water is pretty much all I drink.
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?
I don’t have one. I find that social media is a major time-suck, so I avoid it when possible.
What should everyone try at least once?
Travel to another country. Most people have no idea how much their life experiences and their culture have shaped their minds, in good ways and bad. The truth is, you don’t really know what it means to be American until you’ve immersed yourself in another culture and learned how differently people do things.
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
For me, being in nature is like going to church. It’s where I feel most like myself and also where I feel most connected to the universe. My parents instilled in me a love of national parks at an early age, and I have continued that legacy into adulthood. I’ve been to Yosemite, Yellowstone, The Grand Canyon, Zion, Arches, Rocky Mountain National Park, The Smokey Mountains, Acadia, and more. My goal is to eventually visit all of the U.S. parks.