Longing for Lasting Happiness? Avoid this ONE Word!

By Gloria Arenson • 3 min read

Happy young woman with flower

Quit “should”-ing all over yourself.

I should get my car washed. I should pay my bills. I should eat less. I should wake up earlier on weekends.

We fill our lives with shoulds and shouldn’ts. Shoulds keep us on the straight and narrow path of responsibility, but do they simultaneously derail us from finding real happiness?


Before and After: An Obliger Figures Out How To Exercise Regularly

By Gretchen Rubin • 3 min read


Occasionally, I post an interesting before-and-after story submitted by a reader, about how he or she successfully changed a habit.  I love to hear people’s stories about habit change. We can all learn from each other. If you’d like to share your story, contact me here.

This week’s story comes from someone who wants to remain anonymous:

“Between my and my husband’s full-time jobs, work travel, and 2 young kids, I’ve often felt I had very limited time to exercise in the last few years. My favorite form of exercise is to run or hike outdoors with a good friend. I happily trained for and ran several marathons with friends before having kids. For the longest time I thought the ‘friend’ part of the equation was because I’m a fairly sociable person and often have to work alone.

“It’s nice to combine chatting and exercise. Also, meeting a friend is often the key to getting me out the door. If I don’t have a plan to meet someone, I tend to prioritize something else (work or family) even if there is no deadline for that other thing. Until reading your Four Tendencies framework and realizing I was an Obliger, I really didn’t know why.

“I began to have concerns in the past year or 2 when my previous exercise partners moved away or changed schedules, and I could not seem to make myself exercise consistently alone. I tried signing up for gym classes, large group training programs, or running events like 10Ks, but it didn’t work — I …


Practicing Non-Attachment: How to Live in the Now

By JC Peters • 2 min read

woman budding flowers bigst“Live in the now!” Garth exhorts Wayne as he fawns over a beautiful guitar he can’t afford in the film Wayne’s World. This is a message that we get over and over again in many Eastern philosophies: live in the present moment, not for the past or the future. Further, we learn to practice non-attachment: avoiding clinging to things in a world whose nature is constant change.

It all makes an intuitive kind of sense. When I’m sitting in meditation or flowing through my yoga practice, I get it. Go with the flow. Feel what’s in front of you. Release the past and the future.

But then I leave my yoga mat and the theory sort of breaks down: what about in relationships?


The History of Psychology Roundup: From LSD to Lobotomies

By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. • 3 min read


It’s been a while — like a few years! — since I’ve shared the latest links on the history of psychology. But I think it’s important to take a look back. In order to know where we’re going, it’s important to know where we’ve been. Plus, the journey is rarely boring.

This month’s pieces cover everything from playing tourist at asylums to using LSD to treat alcoholism to reading letters from lobotomy patients.


3-Step Plan for Your ‘Why Me?’ Moments

By Mrs. Nancy Philpott • 2 min read

A young beautiful woman stressed because of bills.

With a single sentence, life can knock you down. Here’s how to get back up and keep swinging…

Have you ever noticed how a single sentence can feel as if a bomb exploded and life as you know it is irrevocably transformed?

A single sentence like:

  • “It’s cancer.”
  • “You’re fired.”
  • “I’m pregnant.”
  • “I’m leaving you and filing for divorce.”

Suddenly that single sentence, uttered by someone you love or care about, changes your life — derailing your sense of purpose and direction — in an instant.


Take, Take, Take and Never Give

By Linda Sapadin, Ph.D • 2 min read

money 2 billsMike was grumbling about his daughter Crystal.

“She told me she was in ‘desperate need’ of a state-of-the-art computer only six months after she ‘needed’ a ‘loan’ because the lease on her Lexus had expired. Crystal wasn’t even apologetic when she asked me to foot the bill. She just rattled off a bunch of reasons about why she couldn’t pay for them and why I should.”

Mike continued. “When Crystal was younger, I used to think she’d outgrow this pattern. But she’s 25 years old now and I don’t see anything changing. She wants what she wants and doesn’t care how her wants affect me or her mother. We try to reason with her or tell her no but she’s an expert at wearing us down.”


Introducing Bipolar Out Loud

By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. • Less than a min read

Introducing Bipolar Out Loud

We know that living with bipolar disorder — just like living with any mental health concern — is rarely an easy road to walk.

That’s why it takes a gentle yet deft hand to share one’s own experiences with bipolar disorder, in order to help others with their own journey.

So I’m pleased to introduce Bipolar Out Loud with LaRae LaBouff. LaRae was diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder, and works to help others understand this concern with compassion and knowledge. You can learn more about her here.

Please give LaRae a warm Psych Central welcome over at her new blog today!

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5 Steps to Increase Motivation

By Laura C. Meyer • 2 min read

runningI hear it all the time: “I’m not motivated.” For many of my clients, they are referring to not having the motivation to perform basic life responsibilities such as paying bills, cleaning the house, making calls, and taking care of their health.

When do they get motivated? When they are in the danger zone. A late fee motivates them to pay bills. When friends come over, or when the house is so disgusting they can’t take it, is when they get motivated to clean. They get motivated to make a call just minutes before a negative consequence, and motivated to take care of their health in times of sickness.


Transforming Failure

By Alicia Hoffman • 3 min read


My heroes are the ones who survived doing it wrong, who made mistakes, but recovered from them.

- Bono

I agree with Bono. Surviving a mistake or a perceived failure and transforming it into wisdom or a life lesson is inspiring. If you do an Internet search for quotes or articles on failure, there seems to be a never-ending supply. Like love, heartbreak, or jealousy, failure is a natural and challenging part of the human experience that none of us is exempt from.

Failure can be bitter and hard to swallow. We often cannot accept it very easily. It is a strong and intense experience that we may hide from, or refuse to admit to others because we are embarrassed, shamed, or defeated. However, like other bitter things found in nature, such as the coffee or cocoa bean, we have to process it to extract its rich gifts and reframe it into an insight, strength, or life lesson.


5 Mistakes So Many of Us Make When Navigating Anxiety

By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. • 4 min read

Don't Panic! 7 Ways To Overcome AnxietyEvery one of us experiences anxiety. And we can experience anxiety about anything in our lives. Anxiety expert Marni Goldberg’s clients struggle with everything from worrying about the future to feeling like they’re not good enough to being overwhelmed by daily demands.

Many of psychotherapist Tracy Tucker’s clients struggle with a fear of the unknown. Much of the anxiety couples therapist Christine Holding, LMFT, sees in her office has to do with abandonment, rejection and failure.

Maybe you can relate to experiencing the above fears. Or maybe your anxiety is of a different flavor.

Whatever your worries, you may be unwittingly approaching your anxiety in ways that actually increase it. Many of us do. Below are five unhelpful approaches and what can help instead.


Kaiser Continues to Improve, But Can Do Better for California

By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. • 1 min read

Kaiser Continues to Improve, But Can Do Better for CaliforniaApparently a $4 million stick wasn’t big enough to encourage Kaiser Permanente in California to offer residents better mental health care in the state. While Kaiser fixed two of the deficiencies originally identified by the government agency charged with oversight of care in California, it still didn’t fix two others to the agency’s satisfaction.

The two issues still a problem for Kaiser are: providing timely appointments for behavioral and mental health services, and Kaiser’s inability to share information with patients.

What’s the point of offering mental health care if nobody can access it?


Psychology Around the Net: February 28, 2015

By Alicia Sparks • 1 min read

1 brain light goo

Check out this week’s Psychology Around the Net to learn more about smokers and their relationships to anxiety and depression, how your state ranks regarding the five aspects of life satisfaction, neurons that predict how we might react in particular situations, and more.

Neurons That Help Predict What Another Individual Will Do Identified: Scientists have located two groups of neurons in primates that: one that activates during cooperation situations and another that predicts how one will react.


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