Sunday, 10 November 2019

10 psychology-based ways to find your writing motivation: cognitive evaluation, positive reinforcement and incubation effect

Person writing in a notebook

November is the month of writing, the National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short. During this month, aspiring writers attempt to create a 50,000-word creative piece. That's one heck of a task! The most difficult aspect of writing relates to finding your motivation. 

You know, consistently engaging in a task, getting in the zone instead of putting off writing to one side. Engaging in any creative pursuit requires great determination. Fear of failure, judgment and imposter feelings are only a few factors that may lead to a reduction in a writer's motivation. 

As a whole, writers also tend to be highly sensitive and affected by negative emotionality and the environments around them. If you are a writer, trying your best to find motivation daily, I am here to help you out. 

In this post, I will describe how to find your writer's motivation by reflecting on useful psychological theories and research, including cognitive evaluation theory, positive reinforcement and the incubation effect. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Trapped in the pursuit of happiness: Psychology of consumerism and black friday madness

Group of people inside a shopping centre
Photo by Krisztina Papp on Unsplash
Ah, Black Friday, that money fuelled time of the year awaited by millions of eager individuals. This year, Black Friday is set to happen on November 29th. On this day, thousands of businesses will offer incredible sales and deals that we just cannot miss out on. Black Friday is one of those seasonal events that make me question the influence of consumerism on human behaviour. 

Our society is sold the idea that buying products will make us happier in life. Unfortunately, the focus on materialism can make us forget the simpler things in life. When we focus on wanting more, we often forget what we already have.

In addition, material possessions are viewed as a status symbol and this means that we end up in the rat race of competition and trying to be better than other people. I have observed that during sales periods, including Black Friday, human sensibility is put aside.  

In this post, I will discuss my thoughts on the consumerist culture and Black Friday madness. I will explore the psychological reasons underlying our material focused behaviour. In addition, this post will also offer some suggestions for moving forward in order to escape the traps of the consumerist culture.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Tis the season to be gloomy: 17 effective ways to cope with the winter blues

Withered tree in the snow
Photo by Fabrice Villard on Unsplash

Happy November folks! Well, I suppose happy is not the right word to use. After all, November marks the return of winter and winter blues. If you ever wondered how to cope with winter blues, don't worry my friend, this post is here to help you out.

Winter strikes unexpectedly. One minute, you are soaking in the sunshine and the next, you are stuck indoors, shivering while the outside world is shrouded in eternal darkness. I'm not a winter person at all, some people enjoy the lower temperatures, but I just can't stand the darkness and cold. it makes me feel so miserable.

The sudden change in seasons can have a detrimental effect on our well-being, people generally refer to this as winter blues. The clinical term for depressive episodes that occur through fall and winter is Seasonal Affective Disorder.

While it is thought that winter blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder is one and the same, Seasonal Affective Disorder can cause extreme distress, debilitating your daily activities. The influence of Seasonal Affective Disorder can extend beyond simply experiencing sadness. I think that this is important to address - if you feel that you are unable to function during winter months, you should consider seeking help from medical professionals.

If you are like me, mildly affected by winter, you can employ simple strategies to bounce back and restore your positive well-being. In this post, I will share some useful methods for coping with the winter blues.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

10 self-growth lessons I have learned from my long-term relationship

Laura is looking at her partner Ben

I can easily say that my relationship has taught me lessons that I would not have otherwise learned by myself. Relationships provide us with wonderful learning experiences and contribute to personal development. They provide us with tools that we can employ to explore different ideas and new versions of ourselves. 

When I was a teenager, I did not think that happy relationships were real. In fact, I was surrounded by damaged couples, arguments and breakup. I suppose that when it came to love, I was like a grumpy skeptic. I thought that loving relationships are meant to be in picture books or stuck somewhere in your fantasies.

When you are young, no one tells you that love is something to work towards, it is an active reciprocal process between two individuals. This active process is one of the key relationship factors that contribute to your self-growth. Fulfilling relationships are also a matter of patience, exploration and finding the right person for you. You can't just run to the first person that you see, expecting eternal romance. 

All the waffle aside, I am currently in my second relationship, 2 years and 8 months, we are engaged, happy and going strong. In this post, I will reflect on 10 self-growth lessons that I have learned from my relationship. I will also touch upon the fundamentals of relationship satisfaction.

(All the lovely photography in this post was taken by Jodie Mitchell

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Fake it till you make it: 15 useful strategies to help you overcome your fear of public speaking

Closeup of a microphone

If you are scared of public speaking, you are definitely not the only one. There are millions struggling with the fear of public speaking. It's natural to be afraid when we are performing in a group environment, no matter how big or small the group is. No one is ever born with great confidence to perform without anxiety in front of other people

We found ourselves around people quite often, especially in our academic and professional lives. At the end of the day, we can try our best to avoid having to speak in front of others, it's impossible to avoid public speaking completely.

I'm not a stranger to this type of performance anxiety myself.  I've had to experience numerous class presentations during my time at University. I used to despise them. When I heard any mention of presenting in front of my peers, I felt awful. My heart kept racing, sweat dripped from my palms, I trembled like a leaf as a spoke.

Luckily, over the years went I became accustomed to speaking in public. It did not happen overnight, but I think that for the most part, I've managed to conquer my fear of public speaking. The skills that I have learned have definitely helped me in different situations, for instance, job interviews.

I thought I will share my experience and knowledge to help those who are struggling with public speaking anxiety.

Sunday, 13 October 2019

What does it mean to be a normal person? The role of subjectivity, environment and social norms on normality judgments

Half of the image is a man wearing a suit and another half is a woman wearing a colourful coat with bright hair
Images by The Lazy Artist and Cloudypixel on Pexels
There is a huge debate concerning human normality. Have you ever thought about what makes someone normal compared to others? The other day, my partner reflected on normality - what does it mean to be normal? His ideas made me reflect on the subjectivity of this concept. Where does normality even come from? 

Normality has returned on the radar of people's interest, following the critically-acclaimed release of Joker. Joaquin Phoenix's raw performance shifted the viewers' attention to the difficulties in understanding normality. It also demonstrated that reality is subjective. I think that discussing the meaning of human normality is extremely relevant at the moment.

This post will explore the thin line between normality and abnormality, discussing the factors that might influence the judgments of human normality. 

Monday, 7 October 2019

It's completely normal to feel lost in life: Learning to embrace the crisis of your 20s

Close up of green flora plant growing out of a tree trunk
Photo by David Alberto Carmona Coto from Pexels

When I was a little girl, I always looked up to 20-year-olds and viewed them as wise and put together. Fast-forward the time to now, I am nowhere near as wise as I imagined 20-year-olds to be. As a teenager, the shift from my teen years to 20s appeared like some sort of an incredible adventure. I was excited about transitioning from a feeble teenager to a fully functioning adult.

Unfortunately, no one warned me about the difficulties of this period in my life. The period of your 20s is a decade filled with numerous unwanted crises. Feeling lost, not knowing your purpose, questioning your self-worth - all these feelings at the time when the society expects you to be a contributing member of society. 

My head these days feels like a fly that has been squashed by a stampede of animals. Nevertheless, I am determined to assess the ways in which we (you know the struggling 20 or so year olds) can embrace the crisis of our 20s

This post will explore the process of learning to embrace the crisis of your 20s, and hopefully help you along in your journey and self-discovery.

Monday, 30 September 2019

Have you ever thought about your reason for being? The significance of reason for leading a happy life

picture of trees and bright blue sky

If you are used to living your life without reason, days can turn into endless monotonous torture. Having a clear raison d'ĂȘtre - reason for being benefits in providing clarity and contributes to the meaning of your existence in the greater scheme of things. 

The reason for being concept extends to other cultures as well, for instance in Japan the term Ikigai also refers to reason for being. It appears that the search for reason is shared across multiple cultures. After all, it is natural for humans to be consumed in existential thoughts.

This post will discuss the importance of having a clear reason for being and how it contributes to your mental well-being. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

You are good enough: 6 compassionate ways to manage setbacks in your personal life and career

Laura is staring at some swans

Sometimes you think that you are close to your goal but then it just slips through your fingers. When this happens, you get disappointed and you begin to ask yourself: "where did I go wrong, why are things not going my way?". Unfortunately, when the nature of life is rooted in its unpredictability, so the likelihood of being hit by an unexpected setback is great. We can't avoid these setbacks, no matter how painful they are. 

For instance, I have experienced plenty of job rejections despite my degree. I see these rejections as a setback, as I have been always wired to work hard. I feel guilty and strange when I'm not working. Experiencing these rejections fills me with negativity. It makes me question whether I am good enough. I think that my feelings are shared by many. As a psychology nerd, of course,  I always try to practice what I preach and instead of wasting my time on negative thoughts, I wanted to come up with ways to compassionately deal with these setbacks.

So, it is natural to feel unsettled. When life circumstances push you away from your wishes, whether it's a job or a goal that you worked towards but were unable to attain, your sense of self-worth is likely to crumble. While it's impossible to avoid setbacks, it is healthy to reconsider your attitude towards these setbacks

This post will discuss the idea that despite experiencing setbacks you are still good enough. You will be offered ways to view these challenges in a compassionate and functional way.
Wednesday, 11 September 2019

How to stop feeling like a fraud: 7 easy steps to overcome imposter syndrome

Black and white image of people walking across a pedestrian crossing
Image by Michael Daniels (unsplash) 
To say that imposter syndrome can induce self-doubt would be an understatement. It is clear from the increasing number of posts related to imposter syndrome that many people feel like they're are a 'fraud' and that their achievements are a mere 'fluke'.

These feelings can take away your pride in personal achievements, control, and commitment. The first step that needs to be taken in order to minimize imposter syndrome effects is rooted in understanding the nature of this experience. So, why do we experience these "I am a fraud" feelings and how should you overcome imposter syndrome? 

This post will discuss the nature of imposter syndrome and suggest 7 steps to cope with your feelings and overcome imposter syndrome .

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

8 healthy ways to cope with feeling unsettled

Hand drowning in a water
Photo by Nikko Macaspac on Unsplash
Our minds are strange. One minute, you may be catching up on your favourite shows, sipping on a hot beverage without a care in the world, and then all of a sudden, dread appears out of nowhere, ruining your day and plans. Feeling unsettled is a common occurrence, I experience it quite often.
For a lot of people, unsettlement belongs in the same family of feelings as anxiety. After all, unsettlement can produce unnecessary worries. Experiencing unsettlement can also lead to unwanted physical sensations, for instance, chest pains or sweaty palms.

For me, unsettlement can be benign, it can lurk around in my brain for weeks without my awareness of its existence. I'm not sure whether unsettlement should be classified as anxiety or a symptom of anxiety. You know yourself best, so it's up to you to define your experience of unsettlement.

Instead of being controlled by unsettlement, you can approach this restlessness using a rational rather than a destructive approach. If you are confused or unsure of how to deal with this sudden dread, I got your back! In this post, I will share the best ways of coping with unsettlement.

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