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.

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

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means that I will gain a small commission if you click on the link + if you decide to make a purchase* 

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.

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