This Year, Try an Unresolution

A tiara that says "happy new year" sits on a drab deck

“Have you considered not setting any New Year’s resolutions this year?” my therapist asked me.

Was she serious? This was back in 2013 when my whole identity was tied to being an overachiever. At the time, setting New Year’s resolutions felt essential to my future happiness. It didn’t matter if my goals ended up making me feel bad about myself. The important part was I had the self-discipline to achieve them. Continue reading This Year, Try an Unresolution

What is Extrinsic Motivation and How Does it Help Us?

a wall tells you to "punch today in the face"

If you are driven by the thought of receiving a reward, whether it be praise, money, or public acclaim, you are responding to extrinsic motivation. It occurs when external factors inspire you to take action — and don’t necessarily need to be something tangible. Something abstract, such as the anticipation of receiving praise or the thought of gaining public notoriety, can boost a person’s motivation to accomplish a task.

Continue reading What is Extrinsic Motivation and How Does it Help Us?

How to Get Over Anger

A man smashes the ground and dust flies up

We’ve all felt intense bursts of anger. You’re driving to a job interview you worked so hard to get — and you’re stuck in traffic. It’s Friday afternoon and your boss is wondering if you have some bandwidth to take on an extra project…or two…for Monday morning’s meeting. You’ve planned a birthday party at the park because there’s no way 25 people can fit in your studio apartment — it’s raining. You find yourself wondering how to get over anger.

It’s inevitable that you’ll feel this way again, and many times in similar situations or with people you know well, respect, and love. We all will. Annoyances that get you heated are part of life, but with them comes the opportunity to practice responding to anger calmly and productively. This is important because, while anger is a normal emotion and we should expect unfortunate events to incite it, strong feelings of anger and resentment aren’t always healthy, especially if you can’t let them go. Continue reading How to Get Over Anger

Why You Hate People (and How You Can Change This Thinking)

a mob of people surrounded by smoke and red light

Some days, maybe on the commute home from work or when we’re awoken by noisy neighbors, you find yourself thinking: I hate people. If so, you’re not alone, but there might be something you can do about it.

Sure, in a perfect world, each person we interact with would be kind, considerate, mindful, generous and have a personality that complements our own. They would get our sense of humor and we would get theirs. We would all thrive in a convivial atmosphere where no one was ever angry, upset, or annoyed. But, unfortunately, that’s not the way the world works. Sometimes we are fortunate to be surrounded by people we like, but other times we have to live, work, or interact with people we don’t like. This isn’t something to be ashamed of — how could you possibly like everyone equally? — but if you find yourself thinking “I hate people,” you likely want to know why and how to cope. Continue reading Why You Hate People (and How You Can Change This Thinking)

What to Expect From Your First Online Therapy Experience

woman using phone in city at night

At its core, online therapy’s objective is similar to that of brick-and-mortar therapy: provide tools, solutions, and ways to reframe your current issues, allowing you to overcome challenges in many areas of your life.

Online therapy differs, however, in that it puts therapy in the palm of you hand and enables you to share your thoughts and challenges anytime you wish. This makes therapy more convenient and affordable for those who are new to the experience. Additionally, online or text-based therapy (like Talkspace) is known to be as effective, if not more, than brick-and-mortar therapy.

Here’s what to expect when beginning your online therapy experience, and how to set expectations for positive outcomes along the way.

Continue reading What to Expect From Your First Online Therapy Experience

Why You Try to “Save” People (and Why You Should Stop)

A superhero glides through the air on his way to save someone

When the pressure of work deadlines feels especially heavy, or my never-ending to-do list feels nearly impossible to clear, I have a few foolproof solutions. I take long, deep breaths, organize my closets…or call my sister and tell her everything she’s doing wrong and exactly how I, and only I, can change that for her.

Sound like a strange way of finding calm? According to Talkspace therapist Cynthia Catchings, we try to save or fix people — in this case, my sister — because it is easier than trying to deal with our own issues. We believe we don’t have control over our own situations that are making us anxious, so we try to exert control somewhere else.

The rush that helping others provides us is exhilarating and can become addictive. But is it healthy?

Continue reading Why You Try to “Save” People (and Why You Should Stop)

3 Ways to Make the Good Parts of the Holidays Last All Year

Two women meet a Santa under a California pier

The holiday season is a special time of year. Many people are celebrating both religious and cultural holidays in a concentrated few weeks. These celebrations help promote the “holiday spirit” where we often honor some of our most sacred values. But what if you could make the good parts of the holidays last all year long?

You can!

While there is no one way to celebrate the holiday season, here are some suggestions that overlap different traditions and cultures that you may want to incorporate in the coming year. Continue reading 3 Ways to Make the Good Parts of the Holidays Last All Year

How to Survive the Holidays With Your Partner’s Family

A man dances with a family member

Some people are lucky enough to love their in-laws. For everyone else, getting through the holidays with your partner’s family is a feat akin to tightrope walking without a net. From passive aggressive sisters-in-law, to uncles who make comments about your personality, there are potentially infinite ways for in-laws to offend you — potentially ruin your holiday season.

Thankfully, there are healthy ways to cope. Here are five tips and tricks to help you survive the holidays without a major blow-up.

Continue reading How to Survive the Holidays With Your Partner’s Family