The Best Gift Ever

The best gift you can ever give those who love you is a healthy you. Sounds hokey (and selfish), right? Well, consider this: If your friends really are your friends, they will want you to be at your best and to be able to enjoy your company when you are at your best; and you will want to be fully there for them when they need you.

Preparing for Thanksgiving... And a Healthier, Happier You

Both personal experience and science tell you that being truly appreciative of the blessings or good fortune in your life is good for you. Here's exactly how it benefits you, and how you can increase your gratitude.

The First Step to Meeting Your Personal Goal

No matter your goal, personal change must include being able to manage your feelings; something psychologists often call affect regulation. Learn to manage your feelings, and you can achieve the "new you" that you strive for.

Quieting Fears of Personal Rejection

Social relationships can bring a sense of connection, happiness, and meaning to our lives. Unfortunately, for many people, they bring anxiety and worry; not to mention loneliness. Though it might feel out of reach, there are ways for them to nurture happy, healthy relationships.

How To Be More Compassionate Toward Yourself

Stop self-criticism by responding more compassionately to yourself. You can do it simply by understanding your thoughts, validating your feelings, and finally responding with a more compassionate alternative.

Stop Self-Criticism With Compassionate Self-Awareness

When the direct approach to getting rid of self-critical thoughts fails to work, there's no need to give up. Try refocusing on increasing compassionate self-awareness. Here's what that means and how you can do it.

How to Stop the Self-Criticism and Feel Better About You

Some very good cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) strategies can help you reduce self-criticism; and by doing so, improve self-confidence and self-esteem. When these strategies fall short, compassionate self-awareness can take you the rest of the way.

Open Your Mind And Say Ahhh

Self-awareness is an important part of developing an acceptance of who you are now, and making personal changes for who you would like to be in the future. Though not for everyone, meditation is one way to increase self-awareness. However, many people dismiss the idea without knowing what they are rejecting.

Those Darned Emotions! They can't be out-talked

So many people come to see me puzzled by their emotional state. When upset, they tell themselves how to proceed and that their emotions are irrational, unproductive, and unnecessary. Yet, they remain depressed, anxious, or distressed. What they don’t realize is that this kind of self-talk can be like speaking English to someone who only speaks Chinese.

Change Your Attachment Style To Light Up Your Life

When it’s pitch black, you are likely to trip over obstacles in your path. This is as true for your psychological life as it is for your physical one. People’s way of connecting with others is one important unseen cause of problems in their lives. Here's how you can turn the light on; and stop tripping.

Learning Your Attachment Style Can Light Up Your Life

Have you ever walked through your home when it’s pitch black and stumbled over something? Most likely, you would have stepped over that shoe or walked around that box if the lights were on. But they weren’t. The same thing happens for us psychologically. And one of the invisible obstacles is our style of relating to others.

Sit In The Belly Of Your Personal Dragon

A long time ago, in the middle of a great countryside, there was a village terrorized by a dragon. A young knight came to its rescue, charging the dragon on his trusted steed. But before he could even get close...

How to feel good - or at least stop feeling bad

We would all be like the population of Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon – “where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.” Instead, we are imperfect and always a work in progress. But this can be an exciting adventure as long as you continue to move in the direction of growth.

"User's Guide" to Personal Change

Learn what really needs to happen for you to improve.

It Takes Courage To Face Down Your Dark Side

"Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength." August Wilson, American playwright

Weight Loss Help: What To Look For

You've heard it before: Obesity is in epidemic proportions in the United States, and it is linked to numerous health issues. It's a serious problem that needs an effective solution. And, the solution is out there, but it's not what people think.

Positive Emotions; Building Blocks for Personal Growth

When faced with difficult circumstances, positive people are open to many possible solutions, rather than being overwhelmed and shutting down. As a result, these people are more resilient.

Compassionate Self-Awareness, A New Concept

Personal change begins by knowing what change you want to make. You think about what you are doing now and what you would like to be doing differently in the future. And, if you are like many people, you try to understand why you do what you do. How you go about all of this introspection is important because it's the vehicle you use for relating to yourself.

Confronting your fears with a 'friendly voice'

Sadness, anger, fear, and any other feeling of distress can be overwhelming and strike terror into the heart of anyone. To defend themselves, people often tense up as they try to block or fight those feelings. Sometimes this works, but - more often than not - it is a brittle defense. Eventually, it crumbles under the force of emotions, or cracks in places where the emotions pour through.

Feeling stuck? How to get free

Sometimes life just hands us metaphors to live our lives by; and I recently had such an experience. I was walking a main trail in New Hampshire's Franconia Notch State Park when a staff member pointed out a small path off to the side. He suggested that I check out the "wolf den." It consisted of a few boulders wedged together, leaving a small covered opening to squeeze through. When he mentioned that a number of people have gotten stuck in there, I asked how he gets them out. He chuckled and said, "Well, we can't move the rocks."

The Shame Game

Shame. It's a destructive emotion that I see all too often when people enter therapy. One frequent reason for it is that people feel ashamed of needing to seek out professional help. It says to them (and they fear it says to others) that they are weak.Along these lines, the advice to "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" is a vivid expression that conjures up images of strong, self-reliant people. But it's also a ludicrous recommendation. 

Work Out For Your Well-Being

 People usually think of the phrase ‘No Pain, No Gain’ as applying to their physical bodies. Exercise, like jogging or lifting weights, breaks down muscles—and you ache. But you know it’s a good pain associated with getting strong. Still, you have to be careful not to overstrain. Equally important is the need to rest your muscles so that they have the chance to rebuild. As it happens, a similar process occurs in your psychological self.    

The secret of success: Lower your expectations

Contrary to what you might think, sometimes you can actually benefit by lowering your expectations for yourself – at least that’s what the researchers Polivy and Herman (2002) say in an article that I recently stumbled upon. It’s an initially counterintuitive proposition that really does make sense once you look at it a little more closely.   

Self-awareness is vital to self-improvement

The first step in solving any problem is to identify and become intimately familiar with it. This is as true for overcoming depression and anxiety as it is for cracking cases on TV's CSI (Crime Scene Investigation), or even solving a crossword puzzle. Unfortunately, when people look at their personal difficulties, they often have blind spots that they don't even know are there.

Generating self-esteem, positive thinking, and other improvements

Has previous advice on how to improve yourself failed? Repeatedly? While this can be discouraging, it does not mean you are doomed to your present situation. You really can think more positively, lose weight, be more assertive, and whatever else it is that you want to do to be happier. The first step is locating a map for how to get there. Fortunately, that map to improvement is already inside of you.

Getting Advice? Here's how to make it work

 Are you unhappy? Want to be thinner? Stop smoking? Be more assertive? Have better self-esteem?...Want to finally make that change, now?Well, I can't tell you exactly how to do it (as so many people and programs claim to do), but maybe I can help you to make better use of the advice that's already out there... perhaps even advice that's previously failed to work for you.First, a little background...