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

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 Psychological Syndromes You've Never Heard Of

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?

When people tell us they’re happy, we automatically assume we know just what they mean.

Mindsets

A mindset is a belief that orients the way we handle situations. Our mindsets help us spot opportunities but they can trap us in self-defeating cycles.
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Seven Lessons I Have Learned in Therapy with Men

What is involved in a man exploring his inner world? Hint: it looks different than a woman exploring hers.
Courtesy of Theonlynewnumber via DeviantArt

Psychedelic Drugs and the Nature of Personality Change

A recent study found increases in openness to experience following a dose of LSD. More detailed studies on psychedelics may lead to a deeper understanding of personality change.
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Living a Fear-Less Life

By Mel Schwartz L.C.S.W. on April 13, 2016 in A Shift of Mind
Does excessive fear overwhelm and consume you? You can dismantle fear by changing your relationship with it.

Is “You Can’t Change People” True?

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on April 12, 2016 in Ambigamy
"You can't change people" is self-contradictory, like saying "let me persuade you that people can't be persuaded." Like all self-contradictions it's good food for thought.

Rate Yourself on the New Motivational Pyramid

How do you differ from your friends, and coworkers in the motives behind your everyday decisions? A new scale measures individual differences in Fundamental Social Motives.

Are You an Optimist or a Pessimist?

Did you know that optimists are healthier, have happier relationships, get less depressed, are more successful, make more money, and are healthier than pessimists?