Why Feeling Our Feelings Makes Us Stronger

woman playing guitar

Have you ever found yourself deep in a good old fashion sobfest for reasons you can’t articulate? Or maybe you’ve literally felt your blood boil for too many reasons to pinpoint. Perhaps you’ve been caught in the crossfire of emotions and feelings at work.

Most therapists will tell you that emotions are natural and very human, but it’s sometimes a choice to actually feel your feelings.

Wait, aren’t emotions and feelings the same thing?

Nope. And this next bit of information might actually save that last box of tissues before those tears set in again. Continue reading Why Feeling Our Feelings Makes Us Stronger

When Does Self-Deprecation Become a Crutch?

man looking down, clown graffiti behind him

A key piece of advice that I have always held onto is to “not take myself too seriously.” At my old job, I tried to console a coworker who was more than a little angry with our manager. She looked at me and said “Has there ever been someone who, just by looking at them, makes you feel sick to your stomach?” Without a thought, my response was “of course…I have a mirror.”

To be honest, I was pretty proud of the joke until I saw the horrified look on her face. I began to think about the convenient wall that my self-deprecating sense of humor allowed me to put up between my emotions and my interactions. While it is good to be able to find the humor in life, striking the right balance is important. Continue reading When Does Self-Deprecation Become a Crutch?

The Fragile Emotional State of America

protesters with American flag

Statistically, things are looking peachy in the U.S., the unemployment rate is low, and we’re seeing robust job growth — both cause for celebration. One could assume the challenges of the recession that was stressing us out are behind us. But according to a new survey, Americans are more stressed, worried, and angry than they have been in a decade.

Gallup’s annual Global Emotions Report surveyed more than 150,000 people in 140 countries to capture the global state of emotions. The poll showed that:

  • Americans are more worried and stressed than most people around the world: 55% of Americans said they had felt stressed the day before the survey, compared to a global average of 35%
  • 45% of Americans said they felt a lot of worry, in comparison to a 39% global average
  • More than 20% of Americans said they felt a lot of anger, which matches the global average)
  • Greece, the Philippines, and Tanzania were the only countries with stress rates higher than the U.S.

Continue reading The Fragile Emotional State of America

What Does It Mean to be Conscientious?

Couple smiling at each other

When you imagine a conscientious person, you likely conjure up someone dependable, diligent, and self-controlled. They likely have a strong awareness of their surroundings, their own thought process and the perceptions of others, making conscientiousness a key predictor for many tremendously positive outcomes, such as developing healthy, stable relationships and good job performance. It is not surprising, therefore, that many strive to become more conscientious, and there are actionable ways to build up this valuable personality trait — even if being conscientious doesn’t necessarily come naturally for you. Continue reading What Does It Mean to be Conscientious?

How to Escape a “Victim Mentality”

Person holding onto fence

When things go wrong, it’s easy to feel like the odds are stacked against you. Suddenly, it’s you against the world, and you’re on a never-ending losing streak.

I’ve certainly had my fair share of moments like this, where I couldn’t help but wonder why me? What did I do to deserve this? It felt like everything and everyone was out to get me, and it was easier to place the blame for my unfortunate circumstances on others, rather than own up to my own faults. Continue reading How to Escape a “Victim Mentality”

Is There a “Right Path” in Life?

Two paths diverging

It’s common to wonder about your life’s direction at certain ages, during adolescence or at mid-life, but honestly, these big questions are worth asking anytime.

We all want to find meaning and fulfillment, making the best use of our limited time on Earth. We often hear phrases such as “find your passion” or “do what you love,” which make it sound as if finding just the right thing to do in life will fix all of your other problems.

In addition, once we choose a path, we’re often afraid to break from that course, sticking with old routines and habits. We let our fear of the unknown keep us from new experiences. Consider, however, is it realistic to expect one interest or choice to sustain us for decades? Is there really only one path to take? Continue reading Is There a “Right Path” in Life?

Are You Contributing to Other People’s Mental Health Issues?

Hands pulling against woman's face

You may wonder: Is your mental health dependent on your neighbor’s (and vice versa)? In some ways, yes — there is, in a way, a mental health ripple effect.

Just as when a pebble is thrown into water and causes ripples, your words, actions, and feelings affect those around you, who in turn affect those around them, and so on. Continue reading Are You Contributing to Other People’s Mental Health Issues?

What is Healthy, Respectful Masculinity?

Man playing with a dog

Masculinity is a hot topic these days, but it is also difficult to adequately define, leaving many people wondering — what is healthy masculinity?

Largely, it depends on who you ask, but to better understand healthy masculinity, it is helpful to start by looking at two key components: Why it’s important, and how masculinity becomes toxic. Continue reading What is Healthy, Respectful Masculinity?

How to Be Brave About Your Mental Health

Lion lying down

Talking about intimate experiences, of any type, is tough. You’re being vulnerable, unsure of your audience’s reaction, worried about oversharing or making your audience uncomfortable. But to end the stigma surrounding mental health, those with mental health issues are being encouraged to be more honest and brave, and open up about their mental health needs.

This kind of transparency can help remove the taboos and stigma associated with mental health and make society more comfortable talking about it. After all, when it comes to physical wellness, we understand that health is a broad spectrum. Some people wear glasses. Some have bad knees. Why not be as open about our mental health and the conditions associated with that? Why feel ashamed? Continue reading How to Be Brave About Your Mental Health

Am I Being Assertive or Stubborn?

Donkey on a beach

Winning arguments isn’t a personality flaw. There’s nothing wrong with standing up for your beliefs. “Assertive” is an admirable personality trait — just like “good-hearted” and “honest.”

“Stubborn,” though? That’s a name no one wants to be called.

When an assertive personality starts to tip into obstinance, friends and family may drift away and work performance might suffer. No one wants to spend time with you anymore — and that sucks!

How do you know if you’re toeing the line? Here’s how to tell if you’re being assertive or just being a jerk. Continue reading Am I Being Assertive or Stubborn?