My Most Popular Posts From 9 Years Here
Here are my "most-read" pieces from each year I've written for Psychology Today.
Posted Mar 11, 2020
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 2020, I thought I’d share the most-read piece from each of my nine years, along with a few thoughts about each one.
I put the names the pieces into a link so you can access them easily. I hope you find some helpful and inspiring ones to read.
- 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 been read by more people!
- 2013: "Impatient? Why and How to Practice Patience": I’m glad that so many people have read this piece because I still have 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 mailed me a copy of the magazine from Dubai to California. Since then they’ve reprinted five other pieces of mine and they always send me the magazine!
- 2014: "Three Things the Chronically Ill Wish Their Loved Ones Knew": Of the 256 pieces I’ve posted in the past nine years, this is now my third-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 one person understood the challenges they face every day. That feedback made me feel so good.
- 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 over 1,350,000 page views. That number astounds me. I had no idea it would be so well-received. I’m so 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 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: "It’s Time 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 a 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.
- 2020 (so far): "How to Help Manage Your Everyday Fears": I didn’t realize how much this piece would resonate with others. I initially started on it to help myself (as is the case with so many of my pieces). It’s hard to get through a day without some fear arising (or, certainly, some worry). I hope my suggestions are as helpful to you as they’ve been to others.
So that’s it. Nine years is a long time. I still sometimes 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 of my pieces 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