In On The Couch. More on Medium.

“There isn’t any such thing as an ordinary life.”
L.M. Montgomery

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Atlas Green on Unsplash; Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand

Being extraordinary seems like a big ask these days.

With a global pandemic and turmoil raging all around us, just getting through the day is a reason to throw a party.

But here’s the thing. Whatever happens out in the world, whether we do great things or nothing at all, we’re still getting older.

We’ve still got less time left on earth than we did yesterday.

And we still have to do something with it.

Why not be extraordinary?

But Extraordinary is Too Hard…

“It never failed to amaze me how the most ordinary day could be catapulted into the extraordinary in the blink of an eye.” …

They also dictate your happiness in relationships.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo: On the Couch

“If you would be loved, love, and be loveable.” — Benjamin Franklin

Who are you as a partner?

Can you answer that question fully and truthfully? Or does it cause you to scratch your head in confusion?

Everyone wants to get to know themselves better: it’s one of the key reasons people seek therapy or coaching.

But getting to know yourself as a partner adds another layer of complexity because it’s about digging into who you are in relation to someone else, along with all their traits, quirks, needs — and baggage.

It’s requires you to think about how you attach, how you fight, how you “do” intimacy, how you express your needs — and receive theirs. …

The way of thinking that will most enrich your life.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Marc Najera on Unsplash

You want more from life?

Fair point. Most of us do, whether we say it out loud or not. More money, better health, more prestige or fame, more followers, more friends, more time, more freedom — whatever.

Whatever we want “more of” is personal. But there’s only one way to get it — or at least open ourselves to the possibility of getting it — and that’s to adopt an abundance mindset.

Most of us operate “in scarcity” which means we live smaller than we should: we see limits instead of possibility. We stay in the If Only lane.

If onlyI had my dream job, a six-figure income, a boat/car/bike, a better partner (or any partner), a hotter body. Then… my life would be awesome.

And, for a lot of us, that means 2021.

“When everything seems to be against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” — Henry Ford

Image for post
Image for post
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

You know you can.

You know you have what it takes to smash it out of the park — lose weight, get ripped, run a marathon, save money, start a business, launch yourself creatively.

BUT you’re not quite ready. You’ve got too much going on. The world’s crazy, uncertain. You just don’t have the head space to focus on your goals.

Therapists hear this often: people desperately want to make changes but their plans keep getting derailed by the ongoing Stress of Life. …

“The beginning is always today.” ― Mary Shelley

Image for post
Image for post
Image by Icsilviu on Pixabay

New year, new page, right?

Time to put the old one firmly to bed — especially if it’s 2020 — and muscle up for a (sort of) fresh start.

After a tough year, plenty of us are amped about turning the page. Trouble is, Covid’s not done with us yet. Which means we’re poised for another year in the holding pen while it sorts itself out.

Perhaps more than any other year in recent history, it’s important we take proactive steps to support our mental health and happiness.

And we can start by ditching — or at least trying to — free ourselves of the things that will hold us back. …

Because 2020 threw the rule book out.

Image for post
Image for post
Image: On the Couch

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” ― (attributed to) Maya Angelou

It was the sucker punch we didn’t see coming.

It was traumatic, confusing, isolating, uncertain; it left us exhausted and shaking our heads about where those 12 months actually went.

Many are still neck-deep in the pandemic and the uncertainty rages on. But 2020 did us one favour. It forced us to think about our lives; about what we want from them, who we want in them, how we spend our time, where the whole ship’s headed. …

“Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.” — Maya Angelou

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

A shy young man was two years out of his only relationship.

He was lonely. He wanted a girlfriend but he’d been a little burned the first time around. He was also down on self-belief: he didn’t think he had much to offer a new partner.

He’d done some googling into what makes a great relationship and it left him overwhelmed. “I’m just not that guy,” he said. “I don’t think I’d get on anyone’s wish-list.”

I understood what he meant. The big, wide world of how-to-be-an-incredible-partner advice is daunting: it can make you feel inadequate or that a great (or even any) relationship is way out of reach. …

Qualities that will make (or break) your life.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Leio McLaren ( on Unsplash

What do you want to be when you grow up?

That’s a question we’re all asked as kids. The trouble is, for most of us it never really goes away. In our 20s, 30s, 40s and up, we’re still asking it.

Because even when you get the job right — you have work you love/enjoy (or at least can stand) the question changes from what do you want to be to WHO to you want to be.

I’ve studied this for a long time, picking up the gold nuggets from all sorts of people along the way. …

And prepare well for the next one.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.” — Bill Vaughan

Are you over this year?

Can’t wait to call time on it, ready for a “sort of” fresh start?

Fair call. After a year that served up a global pandemic — and made life scary, isolating, uncertain, traumatic, exhausting or just plain weird — a lot of us just want 2020 to be over.

But we all have years that go belly up, when bad or even tragic things happen, when stress bubbles into the danger zone; years that we want to put behind us. …

Have you nailed it?

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Jeka Demidov on Unsplash

It’s the cornerstone of resilience.

It’s the most desirable mental skill of the 21st Century.

If you add just one thing to your resilience toolkit this year, make it this.

If all that sounds like a crazy, over-hyped advertisement, I’m pleased. If I could bestow one psychological gift to all — including myself — it’d be this: the ability to Tolerate Distress.

We don’t have to look far for an example. Coronavirus threw the world into a state of turmoil and, for most of us, the ability to tolerate distress has been the measure of our coping.

Resilience is built on the ability to tolerate distress: negative feelings, pressure, difficulty, uncertainty. And it’s the one thing mentally strong people have over everyone else. …


On The Couch

Practical psychology for everyday life.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store