8 Years of My Most Popular Posts

Here are my most-read pieces from each year I've written for Psychology Today.

Posted Apr 14, 2019

Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons

I always celebrate my anniversary of writing for Psychology Today with a post that offers some of my past pieces for reading (or re-reading). For 2019, I thought I’d share the most-read piece from each of my eight years, along with a few thoughts about each. I hope you find something interesting to read here!

2011: Four Qualities of Mind that Alleviate Suffering

This piece is one of my personal favorites, so I love that it’s been read by almost 250,000 people. I’m not sure how this happened, since most of my popular pieces are about chronic pain and illness. This piece covers four qualities of mind that are essential to our well-being—kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. In my book, How to Wake Up, I refer to them as the awakened states.

2012: What Those with Chronic Illness DO Want to Hear

I’d written a piece on what those with chronic pain and illness DON’T want to hear and this was the follow-up to it. Both pieces did well, but I like that the one with the more positive title has more readers!

2013: Impatient? Why and How to Practice Patience

I’m glad that so many people have read this piece because I admit that I recently re-read it to remind myself why and how to be more patient. I have a little story about this piece. A fellow who publishes a magazine in Dubai called Yogalife read it and asked for permission to use it in the magazine. He said it was the first magazine of its kind in Dubai. I said “sure” (I own the copyright to my pieces) and so he reprinted it with some lovely photos and sent me a copy of the magazine. Now they’re going to reprint another piece of mine on alleviating worry. 

2014: Three Things the Chronically Ill Wish Their Loved Ones Knew

Of the 242 pieces I’ve posted in the past eight years, this is now my second most popular one. Almost 300,000 people have read it. This piece reminds me why I write: to educate friends and family about chronic pain and illness, and to help us feel less isolated by sharing how much we have in common with others who are trying their best to cope with health problems. Many people have told me that reading this piece made them feel that at least somebody understands the challenges they face every day.

2015: Ten Indispensables for Those with Chronic Pain and Illness

People loved this piece because it gave them the chance to compare their “indispensables” with mine and with others who left comments. I think all of us were surprised at how many indispensables we shared. Reading everyone’s comments made me certain that my own indispensables are entirely reasonable! 

2016: Ten Things to Try When You’re Feeling Lonely

I was feeling lonely one day and wrote this from my bed, using my laptop. It’s now my most-read piece with almost 1,000,000 page views! I had no idea it would be so well-received. I’m grateful that my suggestions were helpful.

2017: How to Put a Stop to Catastrophic Thinking

Catastrophic thinking is one of the ten most common “cognitive distortions” that make life so much harder for us than it need be. The fact that this piece has been read by so many people even though it’s not about chronic pain or illness tells me that I’m not alone in looking for ways to tame my unruly mind!

2018: How We Can Learn to Stop Taking Things Personally

In this piece, I wrote about another one of the ten cognitive distortions. As I said above, engaging in this painful thinking can make life much harder for us than it need be. And again, the fact that so many people have read it is a sign that all of us are looking for ways to change our stressful thinking patterns. I plan to write about more of the cognitive distortions in the future.

2019: How to Cope with “Brain Fog” When You’re Chronically Ill

I’m so glad I wrote this piece because the large number of readers tells me it’s a topic that people want to read about. Much of the feedback I’ve received has been about how Brain Fog is a hidden aspect of chronic pain and illness that healthy people rarely understand or even know about. I’m glad I could bring it front and center since it’s a debilitating problem for so many of us.

     So that’s it. Eight years is a long time. I often worry that I’ll run out of ideas for things to write about, but life keeps throwing challenges at me, so I keep thinking about ways to turn lemons into lemonade. (Faithful readers will know that it can’t always be done: Sometimes we just have to wait a tough time out.)

     With heartfelt gratitude to all of you, 

     Toni