What Is Personality Change?

We’ve all wished we could be someone else, whether it’s just polishing a few dull spots in our personality or fully rewriting the story of our lives, Jay Gatsby-style. If you're a procrastinator, you may have wished you could be more productive; if you're gloomy, you may have hoped you could be more optimistic; if you're shy, you may have longed to be the life of the party. Changing a core personality trait (such as introversion) is difficult. But what you can change is your behavior. It's never too late to do what you want to do, and with a little sweat and a little luck, you can break out of old patterns and be just who you want to be.

Recent posts on Personality Change

Canine PTSD

By Nicholas Dodman on October 25, 2016 in Dog Days
If a dog has a dysfunctional or traumatic past, it may set him or her up for C-PTSD when confronted by some terrifying, life threatening event

Personality and the Brain, Part 8

Knowing how the brain works, how it specializes for certain tasks and what triggers changes in the brain’s structural connections can help you change your personality.

The Couch Potato Problem

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on October 19, 2016 in Media Spotlight
Understanding how personality can influence lifestyle choices such as sedentary behavior can be useful in encouraging us to be more active.

Ghost Righter

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on October 19, 2016 in Shadow Boxing
A bit of Halloween fun, let's consider therapy in the afterlife for those who made poor choices while alive.

Major Clinical Depression: A Cause of Inadequate Nutrition?

It is a long established fact that decreased nutrition prevents a speedy recovery from depression.

The Halloween Costume as a Tool for Personal Growth

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on October 12, 2016 in How To Do Life
Trying on personas can be instructive and fun.

Does Preventing Male Baldness Cause Depression?

It reads like a Performance Enhancing Drug exclusion....

When You’re of Two Minds, Admit It

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on September 21, 2016 in Ambigamy
Is integrity being consistent or is it being honest about your inconsistency? It's both and the latter matters more.

Recovery Is a Process of Learning, Growth, and Healing

By Dan Mager MSW on September 19, 2016 in Some Assembly Required
Recovery from addiction is the process of sustaining abstinence, and learning and practicing the awareness and skills necessary to live a whole, healthy, and healed life.

A Weird Trick To Free Yourself From Your Identity

By Gleb Tsipursky Ph.D. on September 19, 2016 in Intentional Insights
Are you worried about your identity labels limiting your freedom? This simple reframing trick could be all you need!

Working With Rageful Couples: A "Free-Range" Approach

My very angry patient was making great progress, applying a range of new insights. The problem was that his wife became very angry as a result of these changes.
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The Ghost of Situationism and Why Personality Is Not a Myth

A recent podcast on the "myth" of personality trots out long discredited arguments against the reality of personality. Why do these ideas keep returning like a restless ghost?

The Overlooked Value of Early Recollections

By Arthur J. Clark Ed.D. on September 04, 2016 in Dawn of Memories
An Unknown Proposition: Early Childhood Recollections Serve an Essential Purpose in Life.

Treating Road Rage: A Free-Range Approach

How a hawaiian shirt, the music of Gabby Pahinui, and a lump of coconut-scented surf wax helped cure a case of road rage

The One False Belief Holding You Back

Metacognition is a key skill necessary for self-improvement.

What’s the Most Powerful Way to Raise Your Self-Esteem?

Most advice offered to raise self-esteem eventually falls flat. To raise your self-esteem, you must learn to cope with what you now prefer to avoid.

5 Rare and Unusual Psychological Syndromes

How many of these rare psychological afflictions are you familiar with?

4 Reasons to Give Someone a Second Chance

The idea of giving someone a second chance is central to the notion of forgiveness; new research shows how forgiving someone benefits both of you.

How Your Personality Traits Predict Your Love Life

By Noam Shpancer Ph.D. on August 02, 2016 in Insight Therapy
In love and sex, character is destiny; research points to a significant predictive association between the big five personality traits and romantic life.

The Power of Calm

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on July 25, 2016 in How To Do Life
Equanimity is an underdiscussed key to success.

Do We Become Less Optimistic As We Grow Older?

Research shows that optimism declines with age, but not for older Americans.

We Psychologists Ignore Our Responsibility to the Public

The challenges, tumult and interdependence marking today's world calls for a new understanding of what psychological health looks like for individuals and society.

When the Narcissist's Bubble Bursts

Whether you intend to or not, it’s very easy to get swept into the narcissistic bubble where you feel unusually special and entitled. When that bubble bursts, how will you survive?

Identifying Alcohol or Drug Abuse in the Work Place

By Indra Cidambi, M.D. on July 06, 2016 in Sure Recovery
Substance abuse (alcohol, prescription drugs and illicit drugs) at work is a serious issue with negative consequences for employers and co-workers alike.

8 Common Myths (and 1 Truth) About Intimacy in Relationships

Without your realizing it, your beliefs about intimacy may be based more on myth than reality.

Helping Your Shy Child

When they’re around other kids, shy children feel like outsiders looking in. Here are ways to help your child feel more comfortable and confident in social situations.

Am I Really This Selfish, or Is It Just the Anorexia?

By Emily T. Troscianko on June 30, 2016 in A Hunger Artist
Anorexia turns people into less nice versions of themselves. What does this mean, exactly, and does that nicer person you used to be really resurface during recovery?

Cultivating Charisma Redux

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on June 30, 2016 in How To Do Life
Lessons from our most charismatic leaders

The Myth of the Addictive Personality

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on May 11, 2016 in In Excess
The concept of 'addictive personality' is often used to explain addictive behaviour. This article argues that the concept of addictive personality is a complete myth.

What Do People Mean When They Say They're Happy?

By Jonathan D. Raskin, Ph.D. on May 04, 2016 in Making Meaning
When people tell us they’re happy, we automatically assume we know just what they mean.