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.

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.

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.

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