Psychologist and blogger. I help people use psychology for meaningful personal growth: https://nickwignall.com

#2: Let go of things you can’t control

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While I don’t have the time or stamina to diagnose why the holidays have turned into such a stress-fest, I do have a few thoughts on how to make them a little less stressful—and as a result, a little more peaceful.

None of these are easy, unfortunately. But even if you can work on one or two of them, I think you’ll find your holiday stress a bit more manageable.

1. Clarify what really matters

If you ask people what the real meaning of the holidays are, you’d probably hear things like…


#2: Judging your emotions

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The things that we assume will make us happy — money, status, good looks, etc. — usually turn out to be not nearly as effective as we hoped. And most of the self-help stuff we read seems, well… similarly disappointing in the long run.

While I don’t have any magic bullet solution here, I do want to suggest one possible way to happiness that seems to be mostly overlooked:

As a practicing psychologist and therapist, I talk to unhappy people every day — many of whom are quite wealthy, good-good looking, and have read all the best self-help books. But it seems to me that what most often holds them back from happiness is the collection of negative mental programs running in the background in their minds. …


5 tips for happier, healthier relationships

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As a psychologist and therapist, I hear a lot about my clients’ (mis)adventures in dating. And while I don’t claim to have all the answers, I’ve heard enough stories about dating gone badly to see a few patterns emerge. And perhaps the biggest is this:

Of course, it can be surprisingly hard to spot someone who lacks emotional maturity — especially when they’re also happen to be charming, funny, good-looking, and smart. …


Let them go and watch your confidence rise

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They don’t avoid them or ignore them just because they’re uncomfortable. And they don’t try to eliminate or “fix” them no matter how unpleasant they are.

As a result, emotionally secure people have relatively calm, balanced emotional lives:

  • They don’t overreact to stressors and challenges or take things too personally.
  • They don’t get stuck in patterns of worry or rumination.
  • And they don’t let bad moods or difficult emotions get in the way of what matters most — their values.

So how do they do this? How do emotionally secure people get to where they are? …


Let them go and happiness will follow

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And while everybody experiences self-talk, some people’s is overly negative and extreme:

  • God, why I’m I such an idiot?!
  • I knew she’d hate this place. I don’t know why I even try…
  • If only I was more confident, everything would be easier.

If this sounds like you, it’s very possible that the source of your unhappiness is your habits of negative self-talk.

Because here’s the deal:


#5: Cognitive Restructuring

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If so, you probably wish you could feel a little less at the mercy of external events — able to stay cool and keep your calm no matter what was happening.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with feeling any emotion. And it’s normal for our emotions to fluctuate. But some people are able to control their emotional reactions better than others.

And while there are many reasons for this — from genetics and upbringing to how much sleep you got last night —here’s what matters…


#1: Unchecked expectations

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But it’s a tricky question to answer, primarily for two reasons:

  1. Many different factors affect how we feel emotionally. Everything from your genetics and attachment style to what you ate for breakfast and how much sleep you got last night play some role in how you feel emotionally.
  2. There’s no clear standard for how much emotion is “normal.” For example: There’s no rule book that says feeling 6 out of 10 anger is normal, but 8 out of 10 anger is abnormal. …


#3: Avoiding hard decisions

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Because without self-awareness, it’s unlikely that a person will have much emotional maturity. And the dangers of dating, hiring, or electing someone who lacks emotional maturity should be obvious enough.

If you want to develop an eye for spotting low self-awareness, train yourself to look for these six signs.

1. Never admitting mistakes

The unwillingness to admit mistakes is often a sign of deep insecurity.

When someone can’t acknowledge even small mistakes, it suggests that they feel tremendous fear and inadequacy. …


#34: Listen to your emotions, but don’t trust them

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Photo by Christopher Rusev on Unsplash

These are the ideas that stand out as most essential for cultivating better mental health:

  1. Never worry in your head.
  2. Hold on to hope but let go of expectation.
  3. When you try to control your past you give up control of your future.
  4. If you crave intimacy, practice vulnerability.
  5. Feeling bad is hard enough without feeling bad about feeling bad.
  6. Resilience comes from better habits not more coping skills. …


#5: They’re curious about their emotions (not combative)

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Photo by Daniel Xavier from Pexels

We tend to simply avoid anything that feels bad and desperately hold onto anything that feels good.

But if you’ve ever tried dieting, saving money, having a difficult conversation, studying for a test, or basically any other important task in life, you probably understand on a gut level this important truth about emotions:

But there are some fortunate people out there who made it into adulthood with good instincts for how to handle difficult emotions in a healthy way. And luckily, we can all learn from them if we take the time to pay attention. …

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