Category Archives: Psychology

Father’s Day with no Dad

Sharing an excellent post from Will Wheaton today. He grew up, as I did, in a dysfunctional home, and presents some strong insights in this article:
No Child Deserves to be treated the way the man who was my father treated me

“I wrote this two years ago, and a lot of my fellow survivors said it was helpful to them, so I reposted it last year. I heard the same thing, so I’m reposting it this year.

To all my fellow children of shitty fathers, I see you, I love you, and I’m so sorry we’re in this club we don’t want to be in.

“Today is hard for me. I see pretty much everyone I know celebrating their awesome dads, who loved them unconditionally, the way a child deserves to be loved. I see them sharing memories of time spent with their dad, which I never got, because the man who was my father never made the effort. I’m doing my best to focus on how happy my friends are, and how lucky their children are, but it’s really hard for me to do that without feeling the massive black void where my father’s love and affection should be.

“I want today to be a reminder of all the joy my own kids have brought me. I want to celebrate my own existence as a dad, to stand up and say that I did the work, I broke the cycle. I am not the selfish bully I had the misfortune of being born to. I’m a good man, and a good father. I love my sons, and we have a close and loving relationship. We don’t need a Hallmark holiday to celebrate and acknowledge the love we share, and my wife and kids know what a bastard my father was, so they’ve never imposed a celebration on me. But it still feels good when my boys call me their dad, and it still feels good when they tell me they love me. Being their dad is such a privilege, and I choose, every day, to be grateful for it.

“Today, I’m going to make a deliberate choice to focus on my own children, my own experiences being the dad I never had, and I’m going to give a very special shoutout to my fellow children of bastards, who have the same complicated relationship with fatherhood that I have. This is a tough day for us, and if you grok what I’m saying, I’m so sorry. I see you, and I know.”

Dopamine and happiness

We call it magick or the praxis of tantrik yoga…

“…adventure, love, prosperity, prestige…anything we aspire to at all…is really just the currency we use to buy the four things that really matter:

Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins.

Realizing that even that kiss that melts your heart… only melts it because those four fairy godmothers waved their magic wands and turned your brain into a freakin princess.

But if our brain hits us with a really shitty exchange rate, if suddenly winning that Academy Award only buys us a day’s ration of serotonin, then how the hell are we supposed to stock up for our whole lives?

What can I do to get more joy out of everything I’m presented with, big or small?

How does anyone do that?

I guess there begins one’s lifelong quest for God, psychedelic drugs, transcendental meditation, or whatever the hell else you need to do to bring true value to the external pleasures of the world.

Anything that promises, not pleasure, but perspective.

There’s a good case to be made that those are the things worth seeking first, before even love and success.

Because watching my little boy flood his brain with happiness because he found a cool stick on the lawn is all the evidence I need that “how you experience” is so much more important than “what you experience.”

– excerpted from a really great 3 minute read, here:

tips for managing depression

DEPRESSION TIPS:

Shower. Not a bath, a shower. Use water as hot or cold as you like. You don’t even need to wash. Just get in under the water and let it run over you for a while. Sit on the floor if you gotta.

Moisturize everything. Use whatever lotion you like.

Put on clean, comfortable clothes.

Drink cold water. Use ice. If you want, add some mint or lemon for an extra boost.

Clean something. Doesn’t have to be anything big. Organize one drawer of a desk. Wash five dirty dishes. Do a load of laundry. Scrub the bathroom sink.

Blast music. Listen to something upbeat and dancy and loud, something that’s got lots of energy. Sing to it, dance to it, even if you suck at both.

Make food. Don’t just grab a granola bar to munch. Take the time and make food. Even if it’s ramen. Add something special to it, like a soft boiled egg or some veggies. Prepare food, it tastes way better, and you’ll feel like you accomplished something.

Make something. Write a short story or a poem, draw a picture, color a picture, fold origami, crochet or knit, sculpt something out of clay, anything artistic. Even if you don’t think you’re good at it. Create.

Go outside. Take a walk. Sit in the grass. Look at the clouds. Smell flowers. Put your hands in the dirt and feel the soil against your skin.

Call someone. Call a loved one, a friend, a family member, call a chat service if you have no one else to call. Talk to a stranger on the street. Have a conversation and listen to someone’s voice. If you can’t bring yourself to call, text or email or whatever, just have some social interaction with another person. Even if you don’t say much, listen to them. It helps.

One more thing. If you can, go look in mirror and smile.

May seem small or silly to some, but this list keeps people alive.

* At your absolute best you won’t be good enough for the wrong people. But at your worst, you’ll still be worth it to the right ones. Remember that. Keep holding on.

* In case nobody has told you today, you are worth your weight in gold, so be kind to yourself and most of all keep pushing on!!!!

***People don’t fake depression.. they fake being ok.

Find something to be grateful for!

US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish.

800-273-8255

easy psychological test

𝗣𝗜𝗖𝗞 𝗔 𝗠𝗔𝗡 𝗜𝗡 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗧𝗥𝗘𝗘
𝗕𝗘𝗙𝗢𝗥𝗘 𝗬𝗢𝗨 𝗥𝗘𝗔𝗗 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗥𝗘𝗦𝗧 𝗢𝗙 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗣𝗢𝗦𝗧.

“Which number of the 21 little people in the tree do you resonate with? Look at the picture before reading below.

This simple psycho-emotional test inspired by Pip Wilson’s method can reveal interesting points about you.

Pip Wilson is a psychologist and trainer known worldwide for the very simple method in which he manages to help people find their maximum potential and balance in life. Pip Wilson also invented the Blob Tree method.

If you chose the little man 2 or 3, then you are an ambitious and confident person. You know that you will succeed all the time and that convenient situations will always come up to help you in your progress.

Little man number 1 is a self-assured person, content with his life and optimistic. He is an intelligent person, the capable should see in perspective.

Little man number 21 is a person who tries, but does not know how to find the best solutions for his life. He is a little man who must learn to ask for help from those around him and to give up his suspicious nature.

If you chose the little man 9, 19 or 4, it defines you as a non-social, suspicious and confident person. The number 19 man can have narcissistic inclinations and is envious of the success of others.

The number 4 little man gives up too quickly, does not trust his extraordinary potential. And the number 9 little man will do anything to prove that he is wonderful too, but it is easier to keep his lonely side, because in this way he justifies his mistrust in others.

Little people 7, 11, 12 characterize communicative people who know how to offer support to their friends. These people are characterized by a high emotional intelligence that helps them successfully deal with life situations. They have team spirit, they see the bright side and they find solutions all the time.

The number 5 little man is creative, loves life, enjoys every moment, love and knows how to be grateful to all the good things around him. This helps him to maintain a positive outlook and so he always has open doors to all the best!

The number 6 little man needs to feel loved, protected and safe. He is the kind of person who always falls in love with the wrong person, because of his unwed need for affection and love. This little man must learn to look more carefully for those who can help him in his evolution, and not those who do not understand his vulnerability.

The number 13 little man is filled with despair and the loss of hope. He must do his best to recalibrate himself to the tree of life and he can easily regain confidence in himself again, seeking the support of his loved ones!

The little people 16, 17 and 18 are optimistic, full of life, with team spirit, perform in any field and look at the challenges with detachment. The number 18 little man likes to feel loved and appreciated, and when he feels it, he becomes your best friend!
The number 14 little man is a soul, a philanthropist, he would do anything to help others. He is characterized by a lot of empathy and a ′′ great soul “. This little man should learn to take care of himself, not just others!

The 10, 15 and 20 men are winners. I love the taste of success, even if everyone has different ways to achieve it. The number 20 man is ambitious, confident and full of life, is an innovator and is not afraid to take risks. His detachment and passion bring him many achievements and satisfaction.

Little man number 10 is ambitious, but also very cautious. He is hardworking and determined, that’s why he is successful, pretty much anything he wants. His ideas always stand out and he is appreciated in any environment. And the number 15 little man is motivated by the beauty of the road to success rather than the success itself. He is curious to know new things, to have new experiences, to meet people and to learn something from each one.

The number 8 little man is a dreamer and romantic. He likes to have some moments just to himself. This is how he regains his energy and the mood for life and socialization. It is good for the loved ones to understand their need for isolation and not to misconstrue it, to understand it and to leave the space it needs.”

~ Emily Bender 

Five Things to Quit doing Now

Here are the five things everyone needs to quit right now:

1. Trying to please everyone.

You’re never going to make every single person in your life happy. So stop trying. Focus on trying to please yourself first and then help others do the same.

2. Fearing change.

Being afraid of the unknown is very common. We are naturally resistant to change. However, change is also very necessary for growth.

Don’t be afraid of things changing in your life. You never know what doors might open.

3. Living in the past.

“To get over the past, you first have to accept that the past is over. No matter how many times you revisit it, analyze it, regret it, or sweat it…it’s over. It can hurt you no more.”

Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

4. Putting yourself down.

“Turn down the volume of your negative inner voice and create a nurturing inner voice to take it’s place. When you make a mistake, forgive yourself, learn from it, and move on instead of obsessing about it. Equally important, don’t allow anyone else to dwell on your mistakes or shortcomings or to expect perfection from you.”

Beverly Engel, The Nice Girl Syndrome: Stop Being Manipulated and Abused — And Start Standing Up for Yourself

5. Overthinking.

“Thinking too much leads to paralysis by analysis. It’s important to think things through, but many use thinking as a means of avoiding action.”

– Robert Herjavek

Handling stress

“Wednesday, April 22
Coping With Stress – from the “Language of Letting Go

Inevitably, there are times of stress in our lives. Sometimes, the stress is outside or around us. We’re feeling balanced, but our circumstances are stressful. Sometimes, the stress is within; we feel out of balance.

When the stress is external and internal, we experience our most difficult times.

During stressful times, we can rely more heavily on our support systems. Our friends and groups can help us feel more balanced and peaceful in spite of our stressful conditions.

Affirming that the events taking place are a temporarily uncomfortable part of a good, solid plan can help. We can assure ourselves that we will get through. We won’t be destroyed. We won’t crumple or go under.

It helps to go back to the basics to focus on detachment, dealing with feelings, and taking life one day at a time.

Our most important focus during times of stress is taking care of ourselves. We are better able to cope with the most irregular circumstances; we are better able to be there for others, if we’re caring for ourselves. We can ask ourselves regularly: What do we need to do to take care of ourselves? What might help us feel better or more comfortable?

Self-care may not come as easily during times of stress. Self-neglect may feel more comfortable. But taking care of us always works.

Today, I will remember that there is no situation that can’t be benefited by taking care of myself.”

Dopamine fasting

Profile of man with symbol neurons in brain. Thinking like stars, the cosmos inside human, background night sky

Everyone has dopamine in their brains as a neurotransmitter. It gives you the desire to pursue pleasure and feelings of reward and happiness. Apparently, video games and scrolling social media, (and cocaine) flood the brain with abnormal amounts of it, and you can build up a “tolerance” which requires you to play more games and do more scrolling.

And some folks are now engaging in “dopamine fasting”, which can bring down your tolerance. This enhances focus and gets emotions on an even keel. Here’s a very interesting article about it.

Activities that flood our brains with the feel-good-reward neurotransmitter dopamine are:

scrolling on social media
playing video games
listening to music
watching TV
eating junk food
playing on our phones

… basically anything that doesn’t take a lot of work. Reading, learning something new, and math puzzles are things we’d rather not do because they are hard. But in the end they give us healthier levels of dopamine, AND they ward off dementia (along with exercise). I know I’m personally happier when I’m giving my brain a work out.

Sunlight exposure also activates our dopamine receptors, and any type of light activates dopamine release in our eyes! That’s why we stay hypnotized by our screens.

This video gives some great information about dopamine, and how to balance it’s levels in your brain:

An Adult’s Guide to Social Skills, for Those Who Were Never Taught

This is the most important thing a person an learn in their lifetime, and if you were never taught, you can learn it. Mastering this will make your life much better – in every possible way. If you struggle financially, or with loneliness, this could be part of it.

“It’s a shame so few of us are taught the basics of how to interact constructively with each other. If you never were, we’re here to help.

Learning social skills can be difficult if you weren’t exposed to traditional group dynamics as a child, if you struggle with a mental illness like anxiety or depression, or even if you just didn’t have a lot of positive role models when you were growing up. Young people tend to learn how to manage their own emotions, recognize those of other people and manage them both effectively by socializing. If these weren’t skills you developed growing up, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Before we get to specific social situations, we should discuss the concept of emotional intelligence (or E.I.). Put very simply, E.I. is your ability to acknowledge your own emotions, recognize emotions in others and use that information to guide your behavior. This is a relatively new area of study in the field of psychology, and developing your own E.I. can help you understand and improve your social interactions.

There are several models of emotional intelligence, but for our purposes, we’ll look at the author Daniel Goleman. He outlines five general categories of E.I. that complement and support one another.

  • Self-awareness: This simply means being able to identify your own emotions and how they work. Are you anxious in loud environments? Do you get angry when people talk over you? If you know these things about yourself, then you’re practicing self-awareness. This can be more difficult than it sounds, but simply being aware of yourself is all it takes for this step.
  • Self-regulation: Taking it a step further, self-regulation deals with your ability not just to know your emotions, but manage them. Sometimes that might mean handling them as they come up. If you get angry, knowing how to calm yourself down is important. However, it can also deal with managing the emotions you will face. If you know that stalking your ex’s Facebook is just going to make you feel bad, self-regulation would help you go do something to better your own life instead.
  • Motivation: External factors like money, status, or pain are powerful motivators. But in Goleman’s model, internal motivation is a key component. This means that you know how to manage your own motivation and create or continue projects because you choose to, not because something outside yourself demands it.
  • Empathy: It’s just as important to be aware of the emotions of others. This might mean developing the skills to recognize how people are expressing themselves — can you tell the difference between someone who’s comfortable versus someone who’s anxious? — but it also means understanding how other people may respond to the circumstances they’re in.
  • Socialization: This area deals with your ability to steer your relationships and navigate social situations. It doesn’t mean controlling others, but understanding how to get where you want to be with other people. That might mean conveying your ideas to co-workers, managing a team, or dealing with a conflict in a relationship.

Every social situation is different and there isn’t always a “correct” way to handle any of them. However, when viewed through the lens of these core competencies, most social situations become a lot more manageable. We’ll go over some common scenarios even adults might struggle with, but keep in mind how these principles can apply in all situations.

Confronting someone when you have a problem with that person can be scary. If you’re the type to avoid conflict, you might rationalize it away by saying you want to keep the peace, or you don’t want to upset anyone. However, this can be a way of avoiding your own feelings. If there wasn’t something bothering you, there would be nothing to confront anyone about.

Dr. Ryan Howes, a clinical psychologist, explained to Psychology Today that it’s our own fears that keep us from confronting others. Our fear that we’ll lose something we have, that we’ll hurt someone we care about, or that it will hurt but accomplish nothing. One of the first steps to constructively confronting someone is to recognize that fear in yourself and identify the real issues that led to the conflict in the first place. If you’re annoyed that your partner forgot your birthday, for example, ignoring how you feel about it won’t resolve the conflict.

Once you’re ready, Gregg Walker, a professor at Oregon State University, recommends having the conversation when there’s time to discuss the issue, focusing on “I” statements like “I feel hurt that we didn’t do anything for my birthday,” and describing behavior and your reaction to it, rather than hurling accusations. Healthy confrontations require a fair amount of awareness of your own emotions, so this is a good time to practice that skill.

Whether it’s a meeting or a party, any time you get more than a couple of people together in a group, it can become difficult (if not impossible) to get a word in edgewise. While most tricks on how to combat this involve managing how you talk — pausing in the middle of a sentence rather than the end, or finishing your sentence even if someone tries to interrupt — an often overlooked issue is managing how you react to being talked over.

It would be great if everyone was polite and let you finish or paused to ask what you’re thinking. This doesn’t always happen. If someone interrupts you and you become annoyed, that can kill your motivation to speak up again. Or you might become visibly agitated and demand to be heard, which can be off putting and make people less likely to want to listen to what you have to say.

Instead, Chris Macleod, counselor and author of “The Social Skills Guidebook,” suggests accepting that group conversations are a “vortex of noise and chaos” and going with the flow. Don’t spend all your time trying to fit in that one thing you badly wanted to say. Instead, go with the flow of the conversation and look for new opportunities to jump in. When you do, speak loudly and with confidence. More practical tricks like keeping your stories short or framing a complaint as a story can smooth over the experience, but regulating your own frustration and annoyance is the foundation these tricks build on.

When you’re young, making friends can be relatively easy. School often means that there’s a group of people you’re required to hang out with who are your age. You may share some interests, and you’ll see one another almost every day. As an adult, it can be harder. Everyone’s busy, everyone’s tired, and time feels in short supply. Or so it seems. What really may be lacking is motivation.

As Vox explains, one of the most important keys to developing a new friendship is, well, showing up. You both say, “We should hang out sometime!” but for some reason you never do. Why? Sure, you have things going on, but you still managed to binge watch the latest “Stranger Things.” There’s nothing wrong with a little “me” time, but it’s also O.K. to spend some of it reaching out to someone new.

When making new friends, you have to start with some internal motivation. Decide for yourself that you’re going to make friends and then put yourself in situations where that can happen. Take a class, join a club, or just talk to people you know but aren’t friends with yet. More important, follow up. If you find someone you want to be friends with — and especially if there are indications that person wants to be friends with you, too — put it on the very top of your to-do list to follow up. You’ll be surprised how easy it is when you do it on purpose.

Talking to a stranger for the first time — whether it’s at a party, a work event, or just on the street — can be complicated. You never know less about someone than when you first meet them. That’s also something you can use to your advantage. People like to talk about themselves. So much so that, according to research from Harvard University, people will sometimes even give up money to be able to talk about themselves.

You might feel awkward or uncomfortable when you’re out on your own, but practicing a little empathy can reveal a powerful truth: So does everyone else. Research from the University of Chicago found that less than 47 percent of its participants believed a stranger would be willing to talk with them. In reality, every attempt was successful. Most of us are willing to have a conversation, we just don’t always want to be the one to make the first move.

However, not everyone is open to a conversation with strangers all the time. An easy way to check is to pay attention to what they’re doing at the time. Are they wearing headphones? Do they seem in a hurry? Are they at their job and only making conversation as part of their duties? If so, you might try again later (or with someone else). If they’re not busy, start by saying hello or opening with a compliment. From there you can keep the conversation going with the “insight and question” method. Simply offer an observation or insight, follow it up with a question, and let the conversation flow naturally.

These are far from the only social situations you might find yourself struggling with, but the principles that can be applied are nearly universal. Acknowledge your own emotional state and manage your needs and feelings in a constructive way. Take the initiative to pursue the social outcomes you want, and empathize with others who are dealing with the same struggles you are. With practice, the rest of the complex nuances of social interaction will flow a lot more naturally.

Technology is the gateway to Hell

…because it allows us to live our lives virtually. That’s what I’ve decided this morning. Our phones keep us plugged into social media, and divide us from real, human connection at the same time. It’s coming out that screen time is yet another addiction… instead of alcohol or drugs it’s cell phones and computers. Americans spend 10 hours a day in front of a screen! When you think of how our ancestors lived, in small villages of about 30 people, with no technology, the change in our world is overwhelming. Our brains and bodies are the same as they where hundreds of years ago.

Technology also complicates our lives. It contributes to us comparing ourselves to others and feeling like we are not enough. It adds to the urgency of getting things done. I’ve found if I stay on my computer too long, the laundry doesn’t get done and important, creative projects don’t receive my attention. True work, conquers all things 🙂

I just turned my TV off, put my cell phone in the other room, and now I’m enjoying the sounds of kids playing across the street. I like it 🙂

I came across a great article this morning on simplifying life, and I LOVE it!! I want to share it in case it helps someone else out there. Then I’m putting my computer down for the day lol.

Article

Move On And Grow Stronger

7 Signs You Need To Simplify Your Life

Steve Jobs put it well:

“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” ­

“When our lives become too complicated, we enjoy life less. We consume too much. We have too little time and too much stress. What are other signs that it’s time to simplify?

1. Clutter clutter everywhere.

And none of it is particularly useful. Every drawer is full, every closet stuffed, every hanger in use, and ever tabletop is covered in clutter clutter clutter.

When you feel like you’ve gotten to this point, it’s time to take some time and go through everything. Pick it up, look at it, and ask yourself, “Do I need this?” Once you’ve finished, your life will be simpler.

2. You have a hole in your pocket.

Figuratively. You find yourself spending so much on food, fun, and everything in between. At the end of the month, the purse strings are pretty tight, right?

If this is the case, it’s time to set a budget. Ask yourself if an expenditure is something you want or need.

3. You’re buying too much stuff.

Stuff on top of stuff on top of stuff. The garage is full, every shelf covered, but do you really need all of it? Consider what your money is worth to you.

It may be time to put a lid on extra purchasing and maybe throw some things up on Craigslist.

4. You’ve lost your spirituality.

Let me guess, you were more religious or spiritual when you were younger and now it’s fading away, right? Maybe it’s time to rekindle that spirituality.

Spend 10-15 minutes of the morning in meditation or reading scripture. Reconnect with your beliefs.

5. You use technology too much.

Hell, I’m guilty of looking at my phone for a half hour in the morning when I wake and in bed before sleep. I know it’s a dumb thing to do but I do it anyway.

In times like these, it might be time to restrict yourself. Or myself. It’s good to be connected, but maybe it’s time to shut down for a few hours every day and at night.

6. You feel like you’re rushing.

Always rushing! Rushing through the day, the week, the year, and in the end, your life. We need to make the conscious decision to slow down and prioritize what we do! When we do that, we become more productive.

7. Your multitasking is out of control.

When you multitask, the effectiveness of your work is more limited than it would be if you focused in on one thing at a time.

If you simply can’t sit down and give one thing your full attention, it’s probably time to re-evaluate what it is that you’re doing and simplify your day.”