Sunday, 12 April 2020

The bright side of self-isolation: 10 benefits of being alone

Man walking through the trees
Image by |Rene Asmussen from Pexels

Back in the day, when I was in school, loneliness was synonymous with being uncool. If you were on your own, it meant that you were an outcast, shunned by society. Loneliness was an unwanted thing, to be avoided at all costs. The problem with these social ideas is that over time, your personal beliefs become infected by it. I viewed my loneliness as a symptom of failure - not an opportunity for growth.

The coronavirus pandemic has turned this social worldview of loneliness upside down. Self-isolation is a necessity. The need to stay at home means that we began spending more time in our own company.

Humans are social animals driven to interact and form connections in order to strive in life. According to research, loneliness can lead to mental health struggles and depression. Researchers argue that loneliness 'can make you sick' (Canli, 2017). To some extent, loneliness can feel devastating, especially if it is caused by abandonment.

There is a view that we need other people in order to strive and keep sane. That said, everyone is different, introverts may rejoice at the thought of isolation, in contrast, extroverts may find spending time alone far more difficult.

In this post, I will discuss how you can use loneliness as an opportunity for growth. I will also explore how to change your perspective about being lonely and challenge the belief that being on your own is a sign of failure.  I am here to show you that self-isolation is not all doom and gloom, there are many benefits of loneliness.

Monday, 30 March 2020

It's time to put on a brave face: 10 ways to cope with fear in life

Trees in the mist
Image by Anna Urlapova from Pexels

Fear is a natural experience, it is in our nature to be afraid. That said, sometimes fear can limit our potential and stop us from doing the things that would be beneficial, due to the limitations that we put on ourselves.

When you are afraid, you can find it difficult to carry on with day to day life. Sleeping, eating, socializing can turn into the impossible. Fear can ruin your life.

Origin of fear can stem from various sources, for instance, your childhood - through modeling your parents and how they act in certain situations or negative experiences in general. 

Fighting fear is not a walk in the park, it takes time and practice. I thought I would put together a little guide to help you navigate life even if you are afraid. In this post, I will share 10 ways to cope with fear in life.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Life update: Learning to find certainty in the unknown

'Cogito, ergo sum'


It feels like the whole world is falling apart, and here I am back from my blogging slumber, in an
attempt to share ideas with you. I don't know if you wondered where I have gone and why I have not written any posts for a couple of months. To be honest, I have been in turmoil - filled with despair and frustration, sick of social media nonsense. 

I just wanted to focus on reality. You know, the things outside the social media bubble. I had no intention to impress others. I have been learning new skills, listening to philosophy, making art. Trying to occupy my hectic mind.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Self-verification theory: The motive shaping your reality, well-being and relationships

Woman covering her eyes and ears with hands
Photo from Pixabay

When it comes to mental health and well-being, you happen to be biased to confirm your self-views, even if they are incorrect or critical. It's likely that you are not even aware of this.

This is not your fault, people have evolved to behave this way. If you are struggling with depression or other mental health difficulties, you may be stuck in a cycle of negativity due to your self-verification striving.

It's important to recognize damaging habits and work actively on your mind, in order to overcome mental challenges. Let's face it, we all need to actively attend to our thoughts and feelings. Your growth depends on this.

This post will teach you about the self-verification concept in social psychology and how it applies to your well-being and mental health.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

My 2019 and goals for 2020: Lessons of self-acceptance, facing loneliness and the unknown

Hand holding a sparkler
Photo by Rathnahar Sriom on Pexels
The end of the year is the best time for self-reflection right? It's all about thinking about what you have achieved and setting new goals for the year ahead. I have actually done one of these posts last year, where I reflected on 2018 and ended up with a bunch of 'SMART' goals to work on. As always, I am critical of the whole 'new year - new me' mindset. 

For me, setting goals for 2020 acts as a structure or guidance for my actions. I think it's more important to dedicate our lives to self-acceptance rather than constantly working on change. 

If you take anything from this subjective account of my year and future objectives, let it be this - let go of this idea that you are not good enough as you are. We are all unique individuals, living our lives, depending on our personal circumstances.

I know that you will be bombarded with countless posts to inspire you. The media will be packed with motivational ideas, screaming into your face that you need to work on yourself. 

There is nothing wrong with self-improvement but this cycle of not being satisfied never ends, without self-compassion, you will always be chasing for so-called perfection. It's a difficult thing to get your head around, I get it. It starts with appreciating yourself as you are. This is one of the main things that I have learned in 2019. You should learn this lesson as well, to have a great 2020.

Monday, 23 December 2019

Hating Christmas does not make you a scrooge: 9 stress-free ways to make the festive period more bearable

Illustration of sad and happy gingerbread men

There's no time to waste, I am not going to drag this out...the festive period is not my favourite thing and you know what. it's okay to not be a fan of Christmas. There is this stereotype, partly due to The Christmas Carol and the good old Grinch, that people who detest Christmas are cold-hearted scrooges. I mean, how can it be possible to dread Christmas? Indeed, for people who live and breathe Christmas, this is a mystery. 

Everyone is an individual, they deserve to have a right to love or hate Christmas. If you don't like Christmas, there could be hundreds of reasons why. I personally believe that one of the worst things that people can do is drag each-other down for having clashing opinions about the festive holidays. I used to feel guilty for disliking Christmas. As I got older, I suppose I have learned to celebrate Christmas in my own little way.

In this post, I will emphasize that disliking Christmas does not make you a bad person. I will go through some personal reasons for not liking the festive holiday season (hopefully you will relate!). Most importantly, I will offer solutions to make your Christmas more bearable and hopeful. 

Saturday, 14 December 2019

List of books that I have read in 2019: The good, the bad and the ones that will expand your mind

Flatlay of books on gold tinsel

At the start of 2019, I promised myself that I will work on reading more books. I felt like I needed to lose myself in literature, to teach myself new things and grow as an individual. The value of books can be easily lost in this digital world.

I'm sure you are like me, books give me a sense of inspiration, I benefit from escaping to various fictional worlds as it lets me forget my worries. Reading is like a pause button - it stops my hectic thoughts. 

This year, I lived like some kind of caricature, sitting in libraries and coffee shops with a book in my hand. I've done my best to dedicate time to reading. I'm definitely not the quickest of readers, I've seen people who have read hundreds of books this year, madness! I just wanted to expose myself to more literature and less social media nonsense. The grand total of books that I have read this year was only 13, but I think I have managed to read a variety of genres. 

Anyway, this post is quite unusual for my blog, but there is no denial that books and self-improvement go hand in hand. I have also read a few books related to Psychology. Everyone loves a good list post! Without further ado, let's have a look at the books that I have read this year and what I thought about them. 

List of books that I have read in 2019: The good, the bad and the ones that will expand your mind 

Sunday, 8 December 2019

13 self-compassionate things that you can do when you feel stuck in life

Person in front of a window
Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash

Life progress is like an addictive drug. We always crave it and do everything in order to get it. We keep pushing ourselves to the extreme to maintain steady life progress. You know, moving through life, achieving our goals and constantly improving.

It's almost as if moving in life is something you should always be doing. You are wired to work tirelessly to prove your worth. Unfortunately, the expectation for immediate progress can have a negative effect on your mental well-being.

I'm sure that you have already been at the point of realization that constant progress is impossible. At some point, you can get stuck, unable to move from where you are. It's like getting surrounded by unbreakable walls. You can keep hitting them, but they just won't break. The most difficult thing at these points is not knowing what lies behind those walls. We fear what we don't know, especially when it comes to our life journey.

Life is not easy, it does not morph to your wishes. I often feel like there is a ticking time bomb inside of me, I feel like that if I'm not progressing - I'm wasting away. When we experience a sense of limited progress, it may be difficult to perceive success. It can get frustrating, lack of progress can make you feel desperate. It can make you question your life decisions and worth. 

This post will discuss some ways to accept the times when you get are stuck in life. I will also describe how to deal with a lack of progress with self-compassion, instead of self-criticism.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

We need to talk about the dangers of sugar-coated self-care culture

Woman in a floral bath water
Image by Hanna Postova on Unsplash

Let's get real about self-care. I know what you're thinking, is there any point to talk about self-care at this post, when the topic of self-care has been discussed to death? Despite the popularity of self-care related posts, I think there is something that people tend to overlook when it comes to self-care.

The meaning of self-care is broad, it is pretty much all about taking action to improve or maintain your health and well-being. Unfortunately, self-care is now synonymous with bubble baths and cups of tea. In other words, the culture of self-care has turned into a sugar-coated mess.

This post will discuss the dangers related to the sugar-coated self-care culture. I will also explore the idea that genuine self-care relies on your determination to dwell into the darkest parts of your mind and personal responsibility.

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Examining the internal conflict of self-beliefs: Self-discrepancy theory, humanism and body image

Do you know that the majority of your feelings and disturbances are rooted in the way that you perceive yourself? This does not just mean that self-worth is key influencer of your emotional state. It's a bit more complicated than that.  

According to psychological research, the way that you perceive your self as a construct and the relationships between your different "selves" are extremely important for your well-being. Self-concept ideas have been discussed for a long time in philosophy and psychology alike. Some of the questions that have been asked have been along the lines of:

How do we perceive ourselves? What is the impact of our imbalanced self-perceptions? How do we define a true self?  What is the link between our beliefs about the self and our emotions? 

It is difficult to provide clear answers to these questions. The self-concept is subjective. Nevertheless, one of my favourite theories in Psychology introduces the idea that your self-beliefs are rooted in three realms - actual, ideal and ought. In addition, this theory explicates the links between your self-beliefs and affect. This theory is called the Self-Discrepancy Theory (Higgins, 1987). 

In this post, I will describe the Self-Discrepancy Theory. I will explain how having an imbalanced cognitive representation of the self can result in mental distress. This post will promote self-reflection and help you acquire a clearer understanding of yourself and your beliefs.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Blind to our own blindness: 10 cognitive biases that cloud your judgments and decisions

Picture of a book called Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Photo by Monica Sauro on Unsplash

Have you ever thought about why you make certain decisions? Do you ever stop to think about how your judgment was made? If you have not paid attention to your judgments, you are not the only one.

Psychology researchers have gathered a vast amount of evidence on cognitive biases that play a great role in clouding people's judgments. We are wired to make judgmental mistakes. We are wired to be ignorant. One of the greatest figures in judgment research, Daniel Kahneman once said: "We can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness.". 

This means that our judgments and perceptions of reality are extremely flawed. For instance, we rely on limited information to make decisions, but that's not all, there are plenty of other biases! 

I'm guilty about being biased in my judgments myself, like most people I tend to be preoccupied with the belief that my judgments reflect complete accuracy. After all, although we are thinking creatures able to grasp that we are alive and that we have consciousness, we are wired to make quick decisions based on poor evidence. 

You cannot challenge your judgmental biases without being aware of your judgmental biases and the ways in which these biases limit your thinking.

In this post, I will describe 10 cognitive biases that can cloud your judgments. I will explore useful psychological research and theories to enhance your understanding of these cognitive biases and decision-making processes.

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