Psychology

These articles feature psychological topics.

How to Deal With Negativity

Little Kidbit comes home from school and declares, “School sucks.” Carl Coworker looks over the agenda for the upcoming meeting and sighs, “This is going to be a total waste of time.” Spouse comes home from the grocery store and growls, “That grocery store has the worst parking in town.” How do you respond? It’s …

How to Stop Obsessing Over Things You Can’t Control

We’ve all heard how bad it is to ruminate — that is, to chew on something troubling, turning it over and over in your mind. Doing this makes you feel worse instead of better, so according to traditional wisdom, you’re supposed to watch your thoughts. You’re supposed to just STOP if you find yourself ruminating. …

Why We’re Ashamed of Ourselves

A hundred thousand years ago or more, on a chilly April evening in Portland, Oregon (I know — it wasn’t called Portland or Oregon then) (or April), two cavemen sat together near a fire. Gak made a pithy but insulting remark, and Trog got angry. So Trog killed Gak. Later Trog was sorry because there …

Feeling Defensive

I’ve become aware of a subtle but persistent defensiveness inside me. It’s not like the protesting defensiveness when I’m attacked for my opinion or my personal hygiene. It’s not that loud or obvious. It’s less relational, more personal. Like a constant whisper inside that perhaps only I can hear. Now that I’m aware of it …

How to Feel Whole

What’s so great about feeling whole? Everything! When you’re a whole person, you’re empowered. You’ve got access to all your resources, especially motivation, interest and energy. You can accomplish what you set out to do. More importantly, being whole means you’re ready to live the life that’s meant for you. Wholeness is your passport to …

Knowing Something vs. “Getting” It

When it comes to personal development, there are no new ideas. There are only ideas we’ve had in our heads for a while, that we finally “get” and start living by. Is there a saying or a principle you’ve always known, that you only just recently “got”? It’s kind of frustrating when you have an …

The Truth About Anxiety, Part 2

In my last post (The Truth About Anxiety, Part 1), I mentioned that anxiety typically has two common causes. The first was insecurity. Makes sense, right? Feeling insecure is a simple recipe for anxiety. Especially when bad things have happened in the past, or could realistically happen in the future. The second common cause is …

The Truth About Anxiety, Part 1

I’m on an email list consisting of hundreds of counselors. We write to each other with referral requests, and recently someone sent out an email to the list looking for a counselor to work with a young woman with “clinical levels” of anxiety (read: significant). The young woman’s family was described as not being committed …

Self-Acceptance: Don’t Make This Mistake

Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m all about self-acceptance. Not just me accepting myself, but you accepting yourself and everyone in the world accepting themselves with love and compassion. So it might come as a surprise when I suggest there could be any “don’ts” with such an empowering idea. The problem isn’t with …

“I don’t want to be mean”

Picture the scene: I’m in the grocery store (yes, again) and I’ve just gone through the self-checkout. I’m on foot; no car or bike waits for me outside. It’s pouring rain, I’m a good 25 minutes from home and my purchases don’t seem to fit in my waterproof backpack. Because of the city’s ban on …

Forgiveness Can’t Be Forced

I’m at the self-checkout at the grocery store with my partner, Mike. He passes our rewards card in front of the scanner, and an electronic female voice addresses us. “Welcome, Valued Customer,” she intones, with all the warmth an industrial recording can muster. Mike is disgusted. “Do they really think they can manipulate us with …

How We Change

I’ve been thinking about some personal changes I’d like to make, and it’s reminding me of why change is so hard. A good friend recently pointed out some things about my behavior that I could have sworn were really about her. That is, I thought she was judging my actions through a lens clouded by …