A bit about me, and the most viewed and loved articles I’ve written so far.

Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash


I’m Alexander

I’m a Medium Top Writer in Psychology, Mental Health and Self Improvement with a degree in psychology and certified in CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy). I previously trained in hypnotherapy.

— -For my popular and viral articles, skip to the bottom — -

I’ve come from a place of personal social anxiety, anxiety, occasional depression, low self-esteem and more. Also laziness and lack of direction.

I beat it. I’m better now. I’m happy now. I think better. Things are clearer. I’m still lazy sometimes, but that’s ok.

I want to help others do that. I hope I can provide…


And the thing they all have in common that I wasn’t expecting

Freepik/Photo created by diana.grytsku

I’m pretty happy right now. Life is good. It wasn’t always – it had to change to become that way. Looking back, much of that change has come from just a few decisions that really changed everything. Here they are.

1. Solo Travel 7000 Miles Away

In mid-2017, I’d barely been out of my home country. The furthest I’d been from the U.K. was France at 13 and Ibiza for a lads holiday at 18. Neither were particularly life-changing.

I was a decade into self-improvement and on my way to understanding and beating my social anxiety. I’d been reading for years about how solo travel can…

Harnessing the power of placebo is effective, free, and backed by plenty of science.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

One of the weirdest and most useful cognitive and biological quirks in humans is the placebo effect. Stuff with absolutely no active ingredients works like real medicine and drugs, as long as we’re told it will. Even weirder, the effect works even if we’re told it’s just a placebo. It’s quite incredible.

It’s also fantastically useful. It means you can get the effects of some performance enhancers and medications with absolutely nothing. Tell yourself it’ll work, and it might well do – even though you know you’ve pulled it out of thin air.

Placebos don’t even have to be physical…

$80m funding has been secured for new research into 5-MeO-DMT for depression and SUNHA headaches

Photo by Victor Pace from Pexels

There’s a lot of study going on right now into psychedelics for mental health. Some very promising results are coming from both ayahuasca and psilocybin (magic mushrooms) to treat mental difficulties such as depression, anxiety and PTSD.

Using these substances, despite the results (after using ayahuasca, for example, 32% of participants said their depression was completely resolved), there are still a lot of problems. Legal issues and red tape have plagued research for years, there are safety considerations, and one future concern is how to implement the findings in the therapy room cost-effectively and efficiently.

A psilocybin or ayahuasca journey…

Deterioration is subtle

Photo: David Aubrey/Getty Images

Over time, left unchecked, the water in a goldfish bowl will get murky and start to smell. Then one day, the goldfish is floating on its side desperately trying to breathe. Only a change of water will help. It’s filthy. How could you not have noticed?

That’s the thing, though. It’s such a slow change from clear to dangerously dirty that unless we deliberately and regularly check it, we probably won’t notice there’s a problem until the fish is in trouble.

Now apply the concept of slow, creeping, barely noticeable deterioration to your home. Your job. Your peace of mind…


Will this be the next Doge? I doubt it.

Photo by Anna Shvets at Pexels

I’m a millionaire! In Shiba Inu coins, anyway.

A multi-millionaire, in fact. Over 21 million of the little buggers. I have more Shiba Inu than Bitcoin will ever exist. And all at the bargain price of around $100, though I paid in pounds, because I’m British. Or maybe Bitcoin. I can’t remember.

But why? Why spend that hundred pounds/dollars on 21 million coins which are almost worthless?

Here’s why you shouldn’t buy 21 million Shiba Inu

I’ve heard of people buying this coin because they’ve seen Doge shoot up and wonder if Shiba will too. What if it reaches a dollar? I’d have $21 million! …

But before you do, check it’s not doing more harm than good.

Standret on FREEPIK

Let’s do this

In 1977, Utah man Gary Gilmore was convicted of robbing and killing two men and sentenced to death. As he faced the firing squad, he uttered the words “Let’s do this.”

A decade later, advertising executive Dan Wieden took the serial killer’s words and used them to bring in a new era for Nike – misremembering the words as a phrase everyone now recognises: Just do it.

But it’s not just a fantastic advertising phrase: it’s useful life advice. Especially when we find ourselves without passion or in a rut.

If you’re waiting for your passion to return, don’t worry…

Smalltalk lessons from an ex-socially anxious introvert

Photo by Jarritos Mexican Soda on Unsplash

Nice weather today isn’t it?

Yeah, if you’re a duck.

I’m British, and if you spend much time outside the house here, you’ll hear that kind of thing a lot. We do love to mention the weather.

Because I’m so hyper-aware of these little things as some people are, it would make me cringe every time someone said it. I would never dream of doing it. Better to stay silent, the introverted and socially anxious parts of my brain would agree.

A lot of people find such small talk excruciatingly awkward. But the problem is, after we watch two people…

Is the world full of idiots or do we just notice them all? There’s more to it than that: we create them.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

It doesn’t matter where you are. Whether you’re in a restaurant, watching reality TV or on Facebook, you see idiots. Stupid people. Absolutely everywhere.

Surely the Earth isn’t populated almost entirely by morons? Look around your friendship groups and close co-workers and there’s probably very few of the intellectually challenged (although we all have that friend). But read the comments of your local newspaper articles or someone else’s Twitter feed and it’s crawling with them. How can so many people be so stupid?

The answer is not that the world is full of stupid people. …

But if your partner thinks so, you’re in luck.

Photo by Andres Hernandez on Unsplash

There’s an insightful bit of research that suggests if you think you’re quite attractive, it may be because you’re not. But don’t worry – it may also mean that you’re actually very attractive and don’t know it. When rating our own attractiveness, if we fall somewhere near the two ends of hot to not, we’re very likely to see ourselves as somewhere near the middle.

Of course, you could also actually be somewhere near that middle, so who knows. The point is that we’re not very good at rating our own physical attractiveness at all.

Now there’s more research into…

Alexander M. Combstrong

Breakthrough therapy advocate/mental health progressive. Psychology fanatic. Actor/screenwriter. Forge, Better Humans, PS I Love You, The Ascent, Mind Cafe

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