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The Surprising Upside to Wallowing in Despair

Despair figure with happy silhouetteWho is there among us who hasn’t felt the chill of despair at one time or another?

With the cold, gray winter enveloping so many of us, I thought this might be a good time to review some emotional survival tips, and underline the happy truth that wallowing in despair can bring rich rewards.

There is such a thing as severe depression. That’s what medication is for, and it can literally be a life-saver.

But for the millions suffering from losses in the past or the present while still going about their business, working through those sad, bad feelings with constructive wallowing can lift the dark veil and bring new life, just in time for spring. Read More

Almost All Problems Are Emotional

girl cryingWhen’s the last time you had a problem that wasn’t emotional?

Car broke down? You probably made a call or two and got it fixed; no real problem there except for the annoyance and/or frustration it caused you.

Couldn’t pay your mortgage? Losing your home to foreclosure would be an “oh, well” proposition without good old-fashioned fear, desperation and grief — emotional experiences, to be sure.

I recently wrote a post about how problems are almost always emotional (and so, therefore, are solutions) over at my new blog home-away-from-home on PsychologyToday.com. Read More

Should You Self-Improve or Self-Actualize?

There are two kinds of people in the personal development world. As a therapist, I’ve worked with both.

The first kind of person, let’s call him the Self-Improver, seems to be looking for specific changes in his behavior.

He seeks the kinds of changes that are hard to accomplish but, once in place, help him feel better about himself.

An example would be someone who suffers from anxiety but holds his own feet to the fire by making himself do the things that make him anxious. Read More

The Circle of Change: You End Up Where You Started (Kind Of)

Change happens in an instant, in a certain sense. But then again, it can take years for a change to really become a part of who you are.

I think of change as taking me around a circle. When the change is fully integrated, I’m the same person again, but different.

It’s as if I’m traveling around a clock face. I start at 6 and move clockwise through all the numbers until I end up back at 6. Read More