General

5 Ways Group Therapy Strengthens Relationships

Everyone yearns for loving, positive relationships. Yet for many adults, stable companions continue to be out of reach. Friends come and go. Romances fall apart. Family members remain at odds with one another.

Why do some people have healthy, flourishing relationships while others do not? And why does individual therapy often fail to help people break their pattern of troubled relationships?

Unlike individual therapy, group therapy focuses exclusively on relationships. Group therapy begins with you taking 100 percent responsibility for your own behaviors and the outcomes of your relationships.
Continue Reading

General

Accepting Ourselves Without Labels

It feels good to know that other people are just like me, especially when I have been going through tough times. When I discover a group of people going through the same thing as I am, I am reassured and comforted.

Often these groups will have a way of identifying themselves and their experiences. I can go online and discover a labeled group for practically every emotion that I feel.

Anxious and depressed? There are groups for that. Hypochondria kicking in? Plenty of blogs for that. Feeling extra sensitive and introverted? There are communities for those labels too. Yoga phase has you feeling spiritual? Hop on Twitter and follow the hashtags. Upset from chronic digestive issues? Just look on Facebook.

Continue Reading

Anger

3 Ways to Be More Assertive at Work – Without Being a Jerk

Have you ever admired a co-worker who’s able to navigate challenging situations with ease and professionalism, no matter the politics and difficult personalities involved? You know the type: She has a Teflon-like ability to deflect anger and frustration in the problem-solving process and doesn’t settle for an outcome that would sacrifice her self-respect or clout among colleagues.

What she’s exhibiting is a key personality attribute that’s important in both business and life: assertiveness. For those of us who avoid confrontation like the plague -- or, on the flipside, those of us who have hair-trigger tempers -- this calm-yet-effective, agreeable-yet-firm temperament seems superhuman. Assertiveness requires skill and can take time to cultivate, but it’s a quality you can (and should) aspire to master.

Continue Reading

General

Differentiating the Pursuit of Excellence from Perfectionism

We want to excel in our lives -- striving for excellence in all that we do. But can we differentiate our noble pursuit of excellence from a dysfunctional desire to be perfect?

A job well done can be enormously fulfilling. It can be meaningful and pleasurable to complete a home project, excel at work, or know that we’re a person who is punctual and conscientious.

But when does our striving for excellence degenerate into the life-draining burden of perfectionism?

Continue Reading

Creativity

Boredom Can Be Dangerous for Mental Illness

While I always recommend making time for relaxation, there’s one facet to having time on your hands that I must caution about.

All too often people with mental illness are left with idle time, myself included, which can lead to trouble. Spare time means more opportunity to worry and overanalyze things that happen. This is common among anxiety sufferers, but it can be even more of a problem for people in my situation, namely people who are living with schizophrenia.

Continue Reading

Celebrities

Whom Do You Respect?

Take a minute and consider the question, whom do you respect? Should this be a long list or a very short one? The problem with a long list is the candidates probably can’t be well vetted. A short list may make us out to be too cynical.

Let’s define the size of the list. You can only put five names on this esteemed list. This won’t restrict you, just possibly be a cause for adjustment of the definition.

Maybe you’ve gotten this far and can’t figure out why you should bother to make such a list. It’s because this list is a reflection of who you have become, failed to become, or still desire to become.
Continue Reading

Disorders

6 Ways to Start Practicing Self-Compassion — Even If You Believe You’re Undeserving

For many of us being kind to ourselves is hard. It’s hard even when we’re struggling -- and need compassion most. Instead, we get mad. We tell ourselves to buck up. We wonder why we’re so weak. We criticize and hurl insults. We withhold our favorite things -- telling ourselves that we don’t deserve to participate in enjoyable activities, because after all, we screwed up everything.

But the good news is that we can learn to cultivate self-compassion. Which is vital.
Continue Reading

Anger

Don’t Let Defensiveness Stand in the Way of Personal Growth

I can remember watching the popular girls in my elementary school bully another student, I'll call her Megan, because they thought she was “weird.” They would say rude things to her all day, making fun of her hair, her drawings, the way she spoke. And Megan would just sit there silently through it all, not even looking at them. She'd keep doing her homework, drawing, playing. Sadly, the other kids and I didn’t make any effort to help her, lest the mean girls turned their sights on us.

Megan was turning the other cheek, but I just didn’t get -- not then. I figured they were teasing her because she didn’t fight back. I promised myself I’d always fight back. Of course that only got me into a whole new kind of trouble -- Defensiveness.
Continue Reading

General

How to Stay Motivated When You Get Turned Down for a Raise or Promotion

It’s time for your annual review, and you’re gunning for a raise. You enter the meeting with your boss armed with a list of reasons why you deserve a salary bump, including the extra responsibilities you’ve taken on since a more senior colleague left the company, the major project you spearheaded last month, and the consistent positive feedback you’ve received from your clients, peers, managers, and direct reports over the past year.

With the supporting points you’ve gathered, you’re confident that you’ve got this in the bag.

But after you deliver your points, you’re crushed to hear your supervisor say, “I’m sorry, but we’re not able to adjust your salary at this point in time. Check back in six months, and keep up the good work.”
Continue Reading

Family

What’s Your Name?

What’s your name? My name is Thomas Winterman, and I used to be a fat guy. Whew! It feels good to say that. No really, it’s nice to be able to call a spade a spade. I used to speak in code with words like “husky” or “large,” but I never allowed myself to say what I was.

I used to be fat, and it was not a good look on me. I was 275 pounds at my heaviest, and I was at (or near) my heaviest for a very long time. I loathed exercise and loved Taco Bell, a double chin recipe if I’ve ever heard one. When people said my name, they thought “fat guy.”

Continue Reading

Anxiety and Panic

Social Anxiety: 5 Truths and How to Relieve the Suffering

"Perfectionism is a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us, when in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from being seen and taking flight.” -- Brené Brown
About fifteen million adults suffer from social anxiety according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Fifteen million. And we’re not just talking about what you’d call shyness. We’re talking about big fears of judgment and scrutinization from others.

Continue Reading