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 your core personality traits (e.g., 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

Prisoner 819 did a bad thing…Prisoner 819 did a bad thing…

By Kevin Bennett on November 16, 2015 Modern Minds
What happens when you lock a group of college males in the basement for a two-week experiment? Find out this week on DVD.

Do You Feel Misunderstood?

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on November 16, 2015 How To Do Life
Ways to address misconceptions about you.

The Hundred Kinds of Silence

By Sam Osherson Ph.D. on November 11, 2015 Listen Up!
Do you wonder how to deepen your conversations? How to connect more fully with yourself? A few well-placed silences can make all the difference.

Why Try to Change Me Now?

It is commonly assumed that we love someone even though we know his flaws—as love is essentially not about the partner’s characteristics, but about the lover’s attitude. Accordingly, it is not fruitful to try to change the partner’s characteristics; it is the lover’s attitude that needs to change. There is some grain of truth in this view, but the story is more complex.

Can the Experience of Awe Open the Mind?

People who are open to experience are more prone to experiencing awe. Is it possible that profound experiences of awe could also induce greater open-mindedness? Mystical experiences under the influence of psychedelics can increase openness to experience. Perhaps such experiences are so awe-inspiring that create a deeper and lasting appreciation for the mystery of life.

The Motherhood Constellation

Does motherhood change how a woman views the world?

How Long Does Adolescence Last?

By Fredric Neuman M.D. on September 21, 2015 Fighting Fear
Adolescence, the stage between childhood and adulthood, involves progress along a number of developmental pathways.

Attractions That Go Sour: The Good & Bad of Complementarity

By Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W. on September 11, 2015 Fixing Families
What we're most attracted to in another is often what eventually can drive us crazy. Some of the whys and ways to sidestep such reactions

Can You Change Your Personality?

By Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on September 07, 2015 Media Spotlight
A recent research study shows that people are able to make significant personality changes in just sixteen weeks. For example, people who wanted to become more extraverted tested as being higher in extraversion by the end of the study period. These changes can be measured by personality testing as well as behaviour changes.

How Much Brain Tissue Do You Need to Function Normally?

Brain injuries typically lead to a loss of function. But sometimes people manage to recover fully, and some even develop new skills and personality traits. This raises the question: How much brain tissue do we really need to function normally?

Is There Any Hope for Relationships With Narcissists?

By Peg Streep on September 01, 2015 Tech Support
It's true enough that most of us hang in far longer than we should in toxic relationships, especially with a narcissistic partner. Some of that has to do with hopefulness that our partner and relationship will change. Is that magical thinking? Looking at recent research....

The Traumatized Brain

A new blog about brain injury from the authors of the upcoming book, The Traumatized Brain: A Family Guide to Understanding Mood, Memory, and Behavior after Brain Injury.

Personality Challenges, Perfectionism, and Self-Compassion

Having compassion for oneself means that we can honor our humanness by accepting ourselves—even during those times when we inevitably come up against our limitations and fall short of our ideals.

LSD, Suggestibility, and Personality Change

A recent study found that LSD increases suggestibility. Research suggests that psychedelic drug use can increase openness to unusual ideas, such as spiritual and paranormal beliefs, in the long-term. Could this be be due to a long-lasting increase in suggestibility and related personality traits?

The Bundy Effect

The Bundy Effect is the ability to create multiple impressions, fluidly and effectively, to achieve a goal.

Suffer From Social Anxiety? Doing Something For Others Helps

Social anxiety diminishes when you serve others in some way. Research finds that doing something that helps another person pulls you out of self-absorption, which is a part of social anxiety.

Bicycle Days

By David Ludden Ph.D. on August 13, 2015 Talking Apes
We, as a society, have convinced ourselves that we have to ride a motorized vehicle everywhere we go. Even when walking or biking would be faster, we tell ourselves that driving is safer. Yet our love affair with cars—as well as our dread of physical exertion—underlies our national epidemic of obesity and depression.

Three Paradoxical Ways for Coping With Romantic Abundance

Romantic love is often characterized as involving a great deal of sensitivity, excitement, and closeness. However, our cyber society often provides an overabundance of these features. Hence, a few opposite principles are proposed: (a) Indifference is the new romantic sensitivity; (b) Calmness is the new romantic excitement; and (c) Distance is the new romantic closeness.

Does Change Come from Within?

The environmental location of causality—change comes from without rather than from within—is awfully convenient for therapists, who happen to find themselves in their patients’ environments.

Worried About a Midlife Crisis? Don't. There's No Such Thing

The midlife crisis is one of those urban legends that refuses to go away, no matter how much evidence question its universality. The latest evidence to refute the midlife crisis myth shows, yet again, that there are no massive personality upheavals when the decade marker strikes four-zero.

Relational Activity as Therapeutic for the Mentally Ill

Freud indicated that love and work are the elements of happiness in life. Too often, the mentally ill receive little relational activity that would have a substantial impact on their functioning. This article emphasizes the need to bolster relational skills in mentally ill individuals.

June 26 and the LGBT Phone Explosion

News was on fire on June 26 with the Supreme Court announcement of making same sex marriage legal in all states. So were the phones of many therapists. This was a day for coming out, not just saying "I do". And for some it was a day of wondering if they were LGBT or if their children might be. How do you answer all these questions?

Orange is the New Bleak: What the SHU Can Do to Your Brain

By Jordan Gaines Lewis on July 03, 2015 Brain Babble
What happens to the inmates of Litchfield Penitentiary when they're sent to the SHU? Not much; that's why it's so terrible.

Creative Rehabilitation, Part 2: Severe Head Injury

Severe head injury is a family's worse nightmare. Are there ways to make the recovery process less stressful and even fun?

Hacking Hatred — What Drives People to Hate and Kill

Hacking hatred and what drives someone to hate and then to kill

Stories of Seclusion: A Person Became Reclusive As She Aged

By Marty Nemko Ph.D. on June 06, 2015 How To Do Life
An installment in a series on people who spend much time alone.

Conversational Courage

How can you summon your courage to engage in conversations that improve your relationships and your results? Here are three steps you can take to create quality conversations.

Can You Grow From the Loss of Love?

The painful experience of a lost love relationship can spur positive emotional growth, depending on how you deal with its impact.

Return of the King—LeBron James, That Is

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers' sweep of the Atlanta Hawks last night to capture the Eastern Conference title and earn themselves a trip to the NBA Championship Series is—certainly for Cavs fans—cause for considerable celebration. And what a vindication! . . .

12 Tips for Greater Psychological Health

Six personal qualities are considered "mature defenses" and can contribute to a happier and healthier life. This blog outlines these traits and some suggestions for how to develop them.