The Positive Perspective: Replacing ‘Despite’ with ‘Because’

People often ask me, “How do you do your research?”

I’m a kind of street scientist. I don’t have a lab full of undergrads eating marshmallows to study; I rely on my own observations.

Really, I feel more like Samuel Johnson or William Hazlitt or George Orwell, in the way that I analyze human nature. I love reading the science, and I think about the science all the time, but in the end, I pay the most attention to what I see around me. And what I read -- not just science, but memoirs, biographies, novels.
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How to Stop Pessimistic Self-Fulfilling Prophecies from Shaping Your Life

You believe that you’ll never have a healthy relationship, so you pick partners who are unavailable. You believe you’ll bomb the presentation, so you don’t practice. You believe you’re going to have a frustrating day, so you’re snippy with your spouse, which triggers a fight, which makes you miss your train, which makes you late for work. You believe you’ll have a bad time at a party, so you don’t talk to anyone. Others perceive you as cold and aloof, and don’t approach you either.

These are different examples of the same thing: self-fulfilling prophecies.
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4 Game-Changing Brain Science Discoveries Redefining Happiness

Have you ever tried to tell yourself to "just relax" and "enjoy" an unexpected traffic-filled commute that is sure to make you late? You keep telling yourself there is nothing you can do so "let go" and "be Zen" about it, only to feel your hands gripping the steering wheel and your eyes rolling out of frustration at the car that jetted into your lane.

You sarcastically think to yourself, "as if they were really going to get there that much faster." Then you remember to be positive. Back and forth your mind goes like a high-speed ping-pong match. On one side you have frustration-filled thoughts; on the other you have Pollyanna-positive thoughts.

It is commonly believed that you should be able to think your way out of negative feelings.
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Anxiety and Panic

Mind Over Mood: Q&A with Authors Dennis Greenberger & Christine A. Padesky

When you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, it feels like you’ll never get better. You'll always feel this way. It feels like the dark clouds will never lift. Or the anxiety, worry and restlessness are permanent. Understandably, you feel hopeless and helpless. You feel stuck.

The great news is that you can get better. There are many resources that can help. For instance, workbooks can be incredibly valuable. You can use a workbook while seeing a therapist or attending group therapy. Or you can use a workbook on your own.
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5 Precious Gifts to Give Yourself (That Just Happen to Be Priceless)

"The greatest gift you can give yourself is a little bit of your own attention." -- Anthony J. D’Angelo

The other day, when I was out celebrating a friend’s birthday, someone asked about the best gift I’d ever received.

What came to mind was getting my parents’ hand-me-down Corolla when I was sixteen. It was my first taste of being all ‘grown-up.’ I felt like my parents trusted me enough to give me the keys to go out on my own. It gave me a sense of pride and freedom.

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5 Ways to Access Awe in Our Lives

Awe is all around us. It is fall’s changing leaves, pink sunsets and snow falling on our faces. It is in big moments like birthdays, baby showers and weddings. It is in generosity between strangers. It is even inside us, bursting in our bodies (which I think of as both hardworking machines and works of art).

Awe is wonder. It's amazing things. And it’s always available to us, even in dark moments.
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How Shame Contaminates Our Lives — and a Path Toward Healing

Growing up, did you hear messages like, “What’s wrong with you? Can't you do anything right? You’ll never succeed at anything!” Have these toxic criticisms left you with a subtle background feeling of shame? Or perhaps you learned to keep feelings inside because no one was interested in your inner world.

Until fairly recently, shame was neglected as a field of study in psychology. But there has been a growing recognition of how toxic shame stifles self-worth, inhibits intimacy, and keeps us suppressed.

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Choosing Not to Get Upset

We often assume that our emotional responses are dictated by the situation. When we experience an upsetting event, we believe that we have no choice except to react to it. Any other response seems unnatural, or even impossible. But is it?

Sometimes we can choose not to get upset by a situation that normally would have upset us. To succeed, we must think through the situation, recognize that we have a choice, consider the consequences of our response, and then be deliberate about our reaction.

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Psychology Around the Net: October 17, 2015

Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers!

This week's Psychology Around the Net brings you the latest on therapy and your sex life, the effects of alcohol use on the economy, what exactly counts as creepy behavior, and more.


The Psychology of Sex: How Therapy Can Save Your Sex Life: Sometimes, physical conditions such as low testosterone and diabetes can lead to intimacy and sex problems; other times, mental health help such as talk therapy might be just what a couple needs to strengthen their relationship and boost their sex life.

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