Psychology

These articles feature psychological topics.

Read This ONLY If You’re Easily Embarrassed

Embarrassing moments can strike at any time. For example, many years ago, my brother and his girlfriend were enjoying lunch at one of those sushi places where the dishes come around on a conveyor belt. Whenever you’re ready for your next bite, boom! there’s fresh food floating by right in front of you. You just …

Forget the Past? Bad Idea!

As a therapist, I sit with many people who’d like to forget the past, along with its most piercing injuries and disappointments, but they can’t. The past won’t let go of them. Others have already forgotten huge chunks of their personal history, but they still feel stuck in it somehow, as if the past were …

How to Recognize When You’re Being Passive-Aggressive

Who among us can honestly say they’ve never behaved in a passive-aggressive way? When I’m not being assertive, passive-aggression is my go-to. I figure it’s better than outright aggression, and I don’t seem to be wired for passivity, so sometimes it feels like the best option. There are hundreds — maybe thousands — of subtle …

Can Reconnection Cure Boredom?

I’m not often bored these days, but I certainly have been bored before. I don’t like it. Not one bit. I’m curious about boredom. I want to know what causes it and why some people seem to experience boredom constantly, while others rarely or never do. Boredom feels bad, but it seems different from other …

Grow Your Child’s (or Your Own) Emotional Intelligence

Everyone pretty much agrees on the importance of emotional literacy, at least in theory. As a society, we want children to learn how to deal with difficult feelings, both their own and others’. But how exactly do we teach them that? Especially if we ourselves aren’t sure we’ve got a handle on our own emotions? …

Calling All Negative Nellies and Debbie Downers

There’s a lot of talk out there about “negative people.” You’re supposed to avoid them. Cut them out of your life. “Just Say No” to their negativity. But what if it’s you? What if you’re the Eeyore bringing everyone down? Are you a negative person, or are you simply being realistic? I wrote a post …

On Caring What People Think of You

I have a Google alert set up to fetch every new page on the Internet that contains my book title, Constructive Wallowing. Usually the automated search will find me quoted in an article that cites the book, which is what I’d expect. But sometimes it comes up with pages I never dreamed existed. I recently …

4 Tips for Dealing With Stubborn People

Have you ever offered perfectly good advice to a loved one and been baffled as to why it fell on deaf ears? I have. When the best course of action is clear and yet remains ignored by the person who most needs that knowledge, what’s going on? This week I had the privilege of reading …

What’s Behind the Fear of Failure?

Fear of failure may be common, but its roots don’t always look the same in every case. In a room full of people who identify as being afraid of failure, you’ll get to a roomful of different fears if you scratch the surface. If you suffer with a fear of failure that holds you back, …

Emotional Regulation Is Nonsense

Every time I hear the term “emotional regulation” (or “emotion regulation”) I throw a tiny fit inside my head. And since it crops up often in my field, I’m throwing little fits all the time. (If you ask me what time it is, and I stare blankly at you, it’s because I’m having one of …

Stop Sabotaging Your Own Goals

Recently, in a class I was teaching on goal-setting, someone raised the topic of self-sabotage. “Why do we do that to ourselves?” I asked the class. “Habit,” came the immediate reply from a participant. “We don’t mean to do it, we just do it,” said someone else. They are so right! The question is, why …

Please Stop Bashing Your Ego

I hate the word “Ego.” I have nothing against Sigmund Freud. He named those three conceptual pieces of us Id (child self), Ego (mediating self) and Superego (internalized authority figure). Freud wasn’t the first to perceive such a distinction, but he was the first to use those names. Everything seemed okay at first, but during …