It’s a common misconception that some people are just “emotionally strong” while others are not.
And while there are of course some genetic influences on how well we handle our emotions, the much bigger influence is this:
It’s habits that determine emotional strength, especially your mental habits.
In my job as a psychologist, I work with people every day who feel emotionally weak:
But often what leads to all this emotional struggle is a collection of destructive mental habits—often learned and reinforced long ago in early childhood but never unlearned. …
As a psychologist, I spend a lot of time talking to people who struggle with low self-esteem. They say things like:
But whatever the original cause of your low self-esteem, here’s what you need to understand about it:
Self-esteem is something you can build with better habits.
Most people spend so much time trying to understand their low self-esteem, that they don’t have any energy left to build higher self-esteem.
If you want better self-esteem, focus on identifying and building consistent habits that will improve your self-esteem. Here are five pretty good ones to start with. …
Becoming more productive isn’t about more productivity hacks or yet another time management framework.
In fact, those things are usually distractions from adressing the real issues with productivity. Because here’s what most people trying to be more productive miss:
True productivity is about habits, not hacks.
In particular, it’s your mental habits that will determine your ability to consistently stay focused and do your best work.
If you’re ready to get serious about becoming more productive, work to cultivate these four mental habits.
Energy is the currency of motivation.
Most of the productivity and habit building advice you hear offers tips and tricks for better time management. With promises of making you more efficient in your work, they suggest all sorts of techniques and strategies for carving up and dividing your day to manage your time better. …
Like courage or happiness, mental toughness isn’t one of those things you can just get directly.
You can’t just try to be mentally tough any more than you can try to be happy. In fact, sometimes this approach can backfire: You’re trying so hard to be mentally tough that you make yourself anxious and insecure instead!
Here’s another way to think about it:
What if mental toughness comes from doing less, not more?
As a psychologist, I work with people every day who are trying to build emotional strength and mental toughness. This gives me a relatively unique insight into how becoming mentally tough actually works. …
Most people think of self-awareness as a personality trait—something you either have or don’t. But the truth is there’s a lot we can do to become more self-aware…
Self-awareness is cultivated through positive habits.
In my work as a psychologist, I’ve observed a handful of common habits and practices that are shared by truly self-aware people.
If you can learn to implement them in your own life, self-awareness won’t be far behind.
Self-aware people tend to be curious about their own minds and how they work. They often think about their thoughts and thinking patterns.
Technically, this is called meta-cognition. It means you are aware of the fact that you’re thinking things and able to assess the quality and usefulness of that thinking. …
Here’s a radical idea that shouldn’t be:
We don’t struggle with emotions because something’s wrong with us; we struggle with them because we don’t understand how they work.
Think about it:
If you were never taught how numbers work, would you be surprised that you struggled to do math?
Of course not.
And yet, even though very few of us are ever taught how emotions work, we assume something’s wrong or defective in us when we struggle to manage them!
On the other hand, when people are able to work with their painful emotions in a healthy way it’s usually a sign that they understand how emotions actually work. …
The Tao Te Ching is a classic Chinese guide to living well. Composed over 2,500 years ago by Lao-tzu, it just might offer more page-for-page insight about the human condition than almost any other text we have.
Similar in tone to Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations or Epictetus’ The Art of Living, The Tao Te Ching will force you to reflect on some of the most profound questions about the nature of reality and what it really means to achieve a life well-lived.
What follows are 10 quotes from the book on the theme of self-mastery along with a few of my own “notes to self.” …
We all have certain areas of our lives where we’d like to feel more confident:
And while everybody knows what it feels like to lack confidence, here’s the thing most people don’t realize about how confidence works:
Feeling confident is often about what you do less of, not more of.
Specifically, many of us have subtle habits in our lives that chip away at our self-confidence and add to our insecurities. …
In this article, I’m going to show you 5 principles from psychology that will help you stick with your New Year’s goals.
These are the same ideas I use with clients in my clinical practice. And over the years, they’ve helped hundreds of clients set and stick with meaningful and realistic goals.
Okay, let’s dive in!
Here’s the single most important thing you need to know when it comes to setting good New Year’s goals and actually sticking with them:
You can’t do a goal. You can do actions that eventually lead you to your goal.
Think about it…
I’m a psychologist who specializes in anxiety. And the biggest reason I see people continue to struggle with anxiety is that they don’t understand it.
The biggest problem for people with anxiety is usually their mistaken beliefs about the nature of anxiety itself.
If you want to finally get a handle on your anxiety, it’s important to unlearn all the popular but misguided misconceptions you’ve heard about anxiety.
Because when you misunderstand what anxiety really is and how it actually works, you end up thinking and behaving in ways that unintentionally make it worse.
In the rest of this article, I’ll walk you through four of the most common anxiety myths out there. I’ll try to explain why they’re false and then give you a better way to think about anxiety going forward. …