Happiness Articles

6 Tips for Building Emotional Muscle When Life Gets Tough

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Woman outdoors holding flower smiling

If your emotional muscle is damaged from the past, it’s up to you to build it back up.

The scenario happens so often, it’s practically cliche:

A woman or man in an “unhappy” marriage meets someone new. Instantly, there’s a powerful connection, and maybe even an affair occurs; and, instantly, this person thinks she or he now knows how to be happy again.

12 More Tips to Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

resolutions3It took me a long time to realize that what I thought of as “resolutions” could almost always be characterized as “habits.” Most often, when people want to make some kind of change in the New Year, they want to master some kind of habit. (If you want to know the Essential Seven of habits, look here.)

Since I started working on my habits for my book on habit change, Better Than Before, and since my resolutions-based happiness project, I’ve hit on many strategies to help myself stick to resolutions. 

So what are some more tips that may help you better keep your New Year’s resolutions?

What It Really Means to Be in the Present Moment

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

medication-adhd-treatmentThese days we often hear touted the importance of being in the present moment. We’re told that the “now” is all that exists and if we’re not here “now” then we’re not really living.

This makes a great deal of sense to me. Oftentimes, I find myself distracted by thought about the future. Or, I replay past experiences in my mind, often unproductively.

Being in the moment frees us to experience life more fully, which is a good thing. But might this edict have a shadow side? Like any rule or declaration, it has limitations and is prone to misunderstanding.

Working Out of a Creative Slump, Literally

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Working Out of a Creative Slump, LiterallyMore often than not the advice I’m given when I hit a creative slump is to do more creative things. Make a collage. Write in my journal. Draw or doodle. Read a book or watch a movie. Find a new way to reorganize or rearrange my workspace.

But when I’m not feeling creative, creative fixes don’t sound appealing. The more things fail to sound appealing, the less I do and the bigger the slump. It seems like it will never end, and I start to wonder if maybe I’ve already had all my best ideas.

Hitting a creative block leaves us lost and bored. It can make us doubt our abilities, our choices and our livelihood. You just don’t feel like yourself.

Feeling Down? Three Attitude Changers for a Happier Life

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

just-be-happy-positive-psychology-smiling-woman

Are you buzz-killing your own joy? Here’s how to tell…

Gift-giving time? Skip the over-priced mall-bought gifts forgotten the day after a birthday, an anniversary, etc. There is a better gift to give everyone — it will change their life and yours.

Embrace the concept that there is treasure in everything and fully trust that you are in the right place, at the right time. Decide that you are in charge of your life and your happiness. And the best way to share the gift of happiness with others is through gratitude.

Think you already have an attitude of gratitude? Well, think again.

No One Is Successful to Spite You: Being Happy for Others

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

No One Is Successful to Spite You: Being Happy for Others

“If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the world belongs to you.” – Lao Tzu

Have you ever found yourself in a funk about something and you weren’t sure why? Maybe your coworker just got a raise, your sister just got her Masters degree, your brother just bought the most lavish house or your friend is moving away to start a family in the suburbs. With all this great mojo going on around you, why can’t you seem to be happy yourself?

Being happy for others may not come naturally for everyone. After all, we all have a competitive spirit. But when you find you’re able to feel happiness simply because others are happy, you gain a fresh perspective on life.

Psychology Around the Net: January 10, 2015

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

Healing My Inner Child

Happy Saturday, readers!

As cliche as it might sound, we can’t help but think of new beginnings when we think of a new year, and what better way to welcome new beginnings than by keeping up with all the new mental health news, research, and even opinions as we launch into 2015?

After all, we want to stay as healthy and informed as possible!

This week’s Psychology Around the Net features research related to pets and their owners’ personalities, gut bacteria and how it relates to anxiety, how childhood guilt can affect adult mental health issues, and more.

The Power of Vulnerability to Create Intimacy

Friday, January 9th, 2015

classically_vulnerable_stockII_by_moonlitdreamer_stockTo be alive is to feel insecure sometimes. We’re wired with a desire to feel physically safe and emotionally secure. Our heart longs for love; we want intimacy to feel connected with the fabric of life — and not so painfully alone.

Being human means being vulnerable. We may open ourselves to another person, only to have our sensitive heart met with the rough shards of shame and criticism. As our overtures for connection are met with rejection, we may keep ourselves hidden to protect our tender heart.

9 Ideas for Creating Serene and Satisfying Days

Friday, January 9th, 2015

9 Ideas for Creating Serene and Satisfying DaysOur circumstances don’t necessarily have to change in order for us to experience serenity and satisfaction. Because sometimes we can’t change a situation. Most things are not within our control.

This is a hard realization but tends to feel liberating when you can accept it. And it certainly takes practice to keep accepting it. But we can always look within ourselves. We can change our beliefs, thoughts and actions.*

In her book The Wholehearted Life: Big Changes and Greater Happiness Week by Week author Susyn Reeve shares a slew of exercises for contentment and community. Below are nine ideas and activities to help you cultivate calm, kindness and connection throughout your days.

Questions for the Upholders, Questioners, Obligers, & Rebels

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Rubi_9780385348614_roughpages_8.25.14.inddI haven’t posted about my Four Tendencies framework in a while, but never fear, I’m still obsessed — and today I have some more questions for you readers.

I developed this framework for my book about habits, Better Than Before. (Which is now available for pre-order. Buy early and often!) I have to say, of everything in the book, I think this section is my greatest intellectual accomplishment. It was very, very challenging to develop this framework, but I really do think it sheds a helpful light on human nature.

4 Simple But Significant Ways to Start the Day with Self-Compassion

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

I'm Not Psychic: The Cold, Hard Truth about CatastrophizingSelf-compassion provides a bounty of benefits. It helps us create more meaningful relationships — with ourselves and with others.

According to psychotherapist Lea Seigen Shinraku, MFT, practicing self-compassion helps us tolerate difficult feelings instead of turning to distractions — such as a credit card or remote control — and becoming dependent on them, she said.

“This pattern can be painful, because it traps you in a never-ending quest to avoid discomfort.”

Self-compassion teaches us that we don’t have to turn away from discomfort. “In fact, feeling the emotions that are present allows them to flow, while avoiding them tends to keep them stuck.”

3 Steps to Empower Yourself Using Your Own Anger

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Consequences of Emotional AbuseDo you struggle with with releasing anger and forgiving?

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” -Buddah

Rare is the individual who doesn’t have feelings of anger or disappointment towards some member or members of their family. After all, we’re all human, imperfect and limited in our perspectives.

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