Posts

Is boredom the problem

Humans are a problem solving species. We are wired for it, beginning perhaps with the evolutionarily imperative to find food. And boredom is a problem we are driven to solve.

In modern times, boredom can mean many things. Generally there are plenty of things to do, just nothing you want to do, or feel like doing. It’s the uneasy feeling of being unstimulated with nothing to occupy your mind. It’s one reason social media thrives. It’s the fastest feel-good balm we can turn to for that ping of instant gratification.

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Facts about feelings

I thought that today would be a good one to round up a few simple facts about feelings, so here goes. This image is a feelings wheel that can expand your emotional vocabulary. The purpose of feelings and emotions is to get you to act. However, sometimes we don’t choose the best course of action.

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why is assertiveness important

“I hate confrontation.”

That is what I hear at least once a day in my therapy practice. And it is usually from women. I wish I could give every woman who thinks this a short lesson on assertiveness, which is often what they mistake for confrontation or conflict. It does not mean you must alter a quiet demeanor, become bold and brassy, or the even worse expression— “a real ball breaker.” Why is assertiveness important? First you have to understand what assertiveness actually means.

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blushing

First, why do we blush? The feeling accompanied by blushing is an exquisite sensitivity to the feeling of embarrassment. Embarrassment is often tied to shame. Blushing is an automatic, uncontrollable response to these feelings. It happens in humans because our facial veins react to this adrenaline. So when the limbic system is triggered, the blood rushes to the face causing the redness to appear. There is a lot of basic (scientific) info on this reaction here, here and here if you are interested.

But what you really want to know is how to control blushing. Right?

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social anxiety

A concerned mother wrote and asked me for suggestions for her son who was in his first semester at college in a different state. She was feeling helpless from afar, and wanted to know how to advise him about his long-standing social anxiety and depression, which had flared in his new environment. This is what I told her.

Dear Worried Mom,

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Don't give up

Do you like cheeseburgers? Boy I do, but I also like a lot of other foods. I don’t want to eat the same thing everyday. The same idea applies when you end up with a therapist who relies on just one approach to help you. Some forms of therapy demand a sort of “workbook-stick-with-the-program” pre-packaged approach that can leave a client feeling oddly out of sync with the therapist. It feels forced. Or the person doesn’t feel like the therapist “gets it” even when they are kind and supportive. This can actually worsen your situation by making you feel as if you did something wrong. Don’t give up. There are actions you can take that will help.

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healthy boundaries

In addition to my degree in clinical social work, I have a masters degree in public health. We prevent. That’s what public health is about. In this post I want to help you see the hidden costs of poor boundaries, and prevent those costs for yourself. First you need to understand that prevention is often invisible unless you first look at the prevented costs. Here’s an example of that.

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self-deception

Lies come in two large categories. One is to save face and the other is manipulation. You could also call these categories white lies and strategic lies. I’m primarily interested in self-deception, which comes under the heading of saving face. Or maybe hiding, or disguising, your true face, into one you believe is acceptable. Read more

sunk cost fallacy

What the heck is the sunk cost fallacy? We worry about things we’ve already lost. Humans have evolved to worry about scarcity. It is how we stayed alive. But now, it has evolved into the idea of always getting our money’s worth. 

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inner critic

What do I mean by your inner bully? Simply put, it is self criticism. And why would you want to put a cork in that beast? And furthermore, why bother, since no doubt you think being self critical is a valuable habit that will improve your performance and keep you safe. The paradox is that the self criticism will stop you from doing something that you fear failing at, or that might result in a painful consequence like rejection.

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