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World of Psychology


General

Stay Funny, My Friends

Within scientific circles, humor is often treated as a “non-serious” topic. According to the article “The Importance of Humor Research” by Peter McGraw in Psychology Today, many scientists fear that their work would be disrespected if they dared to research the what, why, and how of humor. Yet, humor deserves much more reverence than professionals -- other than professional comics -- are willing to bestow upon it.

Sure, we all appreciate a good joke. We all feel better after a big belly laugh. For the most part, we’d rather invite opportunities that make us chuckle instead of frown. Mirth is a wonderful emotion! All too often, though, we focus on decreasing our less-than-fun emotional states such as depression, anxiety, and stress. What if, instead, we focused on increasing our humor quota?
Psychology Around the Net

Psychology Around the Net: June 15, 2019


This week's Psychology Around the Net covers ways you can be "good" at therapy (no joke), highlights an 11-year-old Montreal boy who created a video game to help kids understand mental health, how focusing on a few key habits can help keep you grounded when life gets hectic, recognizing postpartum depression in fathers, and more.

Get to learning!
Children and Teens

Honoring Stepdads on Father’s Day

It’s June. With Father’s Day approaching, the question again arises on the internet about whether to honor the Stepfathers and how. I wish the day would be renamed to something more inclusive. Fatherly Day? Male Role Model Day? All Male Nurturers Day? Whatever. Stepfathers who do what’s required to be real Stepdads deserve recognition and appreciation too.

Stepfather families comprise about 8.4% of U.S. married couples with children. That may not sound like much, but it translates to 16.5 million men being Stepdads and 4.1 million children who live with their biological mom and a Stepdad. That’s a lot of fathers and children!
Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: June 14, 2019

Father's Day is this Sunday. For some, the holiday is a joyous occasion to celebrate the men in our lives who earned our love, trust and respect. But for others, it's another reminder of what we lost, never had or will never be.

There may be things you're already doing to prepare for the day. But have you planned ways to protect your emotional health?

I've been reading The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris. In it, he shares several creative techniques to improve your mood, change your thoughts and accept your current situation. If you're heading to Father's Day with fear and anguish, you might want to experiment with some of his exercises.

One is to focus on a negative thought and imagine it spoken in the voice of a humorous cartoon or movie character. For example, how would it sound if, "I'll never be a good enough father," in the voice of Darth Vader, Yoda or someone like Jack Nicholson, Adam Sandler or Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Another exercise is to imagine something you're dreading, maybe a Father's Day filled with conflict and tension. But see it as if it was on TV. Change the color of the screen. Visualize the screen stretching or upside down. The intent Harris says is to realize it's just, "a harmless picture." If after a few minutes the image is still bothering you, he suggests adding a subtitle to the image. If you envision your father criticizing you as usual, a good title might be, "Oops! He did it again." Or if this is a story you tell yourself repetitively, you could say something like, "Messed Up Dad."

The idea is to play with your fears and concerns to defuse it, taking back your power from a thought that hasn't even happen yet. It's putting you back in the driver's seat so you can control how you feel in this moment.

If you need extra support for this upcoming holiday, one of our top posts explain why online therapy may be something you should consider. Also, our bloggers share why June is particularly difficult and how humor can get you through hard times.
Self-Esteem

Shame, When You’re Too Ashamed to Talk About It

Daily we all experience a variety of emotions. Certain things make us happy, others sad. We may see certain people and feel love, or see other people who make us angry. And although most of us don’t go around discussing each emotion we are feeling, we aren’t really thinking about hiding them either. There is, however, one emotion that people sometimes feel and go to great lengths to avoid discussing, showing or admitting. Shame.

Shame is a painful emotion that causes us to feel inadequate, unworthy and as though we have failed at, well, likely everything. It’s often confused with embarrassment or guilt, but it’s actually very different than either one. Although there are similarities between the three emotions, shame is a much deeper and damaging emotion than the others.
General

Strategies for Staying Focused at Work When There’s Stress at Home

Maybe you’re having marital problems, or getting a divorce. Maybe your teen has been getting into more and more trouble lately. Maybe your spouse is struggling with depression. Maybe you are.

Maybe you have to move out of your beloved home. Maybe your close friend passed away.

Either way, focusing at work is becoming increasingly difficult. And you’re becoming increasingly frustrated—namely at yourself. Why can’t I get it together? I’m such an idiot. Seriously. I’m being ridiculous—and weak.

But having a hard time with focusing is absolutely understandable.
Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: June 11, 2019

Over the weekend, I had a seemingly innocuous interaction with a kind person. It quickly, however, got heated.

I realized that even with the best intentions feelings can get hurt. When two people come together to engage in a genuine conversation it can lead to conflict and misunderstanding.

We know this is happening politically. We see it every day on the news. But why does it happen?

In talking with anyone from your spouse to a stranger, sometimes emotions get in the way. Everything becomes personal. Every issue triggers some experience we've had ourselves.

Deepak Chopra said once, "Anger is fear remembered."

We're all hot buttons ready to be pushed.

Sometimes we forget that the goal of interacting isn't to be right or change minds, it's to listen. It's to connect. It's to be present. It may be even to learn something new.

You don't have to win every conversation. You don't have to convince someone that your experience is valid. Everyone doesn't have to know what happened in your specific situation. You don't have to prove or justify anything. If we're conscious of our intentions, we can actually build bridges instead of walls.

If the key is to do the former, then it doesn't really matter who is right or wrong. Even though someone hasn't walked in your shoes, doesn't mean that what they've experienced doesn't feel right to them. Even though you feel like what they're saying is wrong that doesn't mean they are. Sometimes are job is to swallow our ego and to hold their grief. Sometimes it's about learning a new perspective.

There are definitely times when expressing how you genuinely feel is important. The question you need to ask yourself is what you're hoping to gain.

Sometimes when we take a closer look, we realize we're actually trying to change a person's outlook. But if you're MO is to change someone who doesn't want to be changed, you'll be unsuccessful. Instead try refocusing your energy and read one of our posts this week on how to let go of control and work on yourself.