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?

How to Own Your Instincts (and Beat Your Insecurities)

a woman's hands on her lap

I have a loud inner critic.

It’s this nagging voice in my head that constantly tells me all the ways I’m messing up, falling short, disappointing people, and making a fool out of myself. This sneaky voice pretends it’s protecting me from failure when in reality it’s just getting in the way of me owning my instincts, trusting my decisions, and feeling confident about my abilities.

In her 15 years of working as a professor and licensed Talkspace psychotherapist, Cynthia Catchings, LCSW-S, has observed how people’s insecurities affect them across different settings. Continue reading How to Own Your Instincts (and Beat Your Insecurities)

A Therapist’s Guide to Sunday Scaries

I hate Mondays

Have you ever had a great weekend, only to find that around midday Sunday (or later) a sense of worry or dread about the upcoming work week hits? If so, then you have probably experienced the “Sunday Scaries.”

This anticipatory anxiety seems to be more common these days. As a culture, we’re often overworked, underappreciated, and struggle with managing our work and personal lives. This can all add up to a difficult start to each week. Sometimes it might feel as if you’re dreading heading back to work the following day. If you’ve ever felt the Monday morning blues, just think of the Sunday Scaries as the appetizer to a Monday blues’ entree. Continue reading A Therapist’s Guide to Sunday Scaries