Ben Franklin famously quipped that nothing in life was certain except death and taxes. But holiday stress must have been a close runner up.
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.
If you ask people what the real meaning of the holidays are, you’d probably hear things like…
We all want to be happier. But figuring out how to get there is surprisingly tricky.
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:
The most direct path to happiness is to eliminate bad mental habits.
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. …
Dating can be a wonderful experience full of excitement, passion, growth, and fun. But it can also be miserable, terrifying, frustrating, and very often, heartbreaking.
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:
No matter how many wonderful qualities a person has, if they are emotionally immature, your relationship with them is going to be unhappy.
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. …
Emotionally secure people have a healthy relationship with their emotions.
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:
So how do they do this? How do emotionally secure people get to where they are? …
If you’re often unhappy, anxious, or self-critical, there’s a good chance that the problem lies in your self-talk — the voice inside your head narrating the events of your daily life.
And while everybody experiences self-talk, some people’s is overly negative and extreme:
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:
The way we habitually talk to ourselves determines the way we habitually feel. …
Do you ever feel like your emotions are all over the place? Like your moods ping-pong around erratically and unpredictably?
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…
Why am I so emotional? has to be one of the most frequently asked questions I hear as a psychologist.
But it’s a tricky question to answer, primarily for two reasons:
In almost every area of life — from business to dating to politics — the ability to assess someone’s level of self-awareness is crucial.
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.
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. …
In the last five years working as a psychologist, I’ve done approximately 5,000 therapy sessions with clients in my clinical practice. And since I started blogging three years ago, I’ve written 235 articles about psychology, personal growth, and mental health.
These are the ideas that stand out as most essential for cultivating better mental health:
Most of us grow up with a pretty confused attitude toward our emotions, especially the difficult ones.
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:
Chasing what feels good and avoiding what feels bad is often a recipe for both failure and unhappiness.
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. …