Categories for Positive Psychology


The Argument Against Self-Esteem (And for Self-Compassion)

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It used to be that self-esteem was all the rage. Literally thousands of psychological studies showed the many benefits of it. Parents obsessed over ensuring their child had positive self-esteem, believing it was the answer to a lifetime of happiness. Participation trophies were doled out so children’s self-worth stayed intact.

However, now psychologists know that self-esteem has a dark side. It’s associated with prejudice, discrimination, narcissism, self-righteous anger, and self-absorption.


So why is having high self-esteem potentially a negative thing? Continue reading

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10 Ways to Build Resilience

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Did you know that one in four college students struggles with their mental health? This is not a surprise, given how stressful college can be. Students leave behind the familiarity of home and their established support systems to live and learn with a bunch of strangers. This is why I speak at conferences and write about the importance of preparing for the transition to college. It’s also why building resilience is so important. Continue reading


What is Self-Compassion?

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We’ve all been there. We made a mistake at work, we were unkind to our partner, or we were late to an important recital for our child… and then starts the outpour of self-criticism.

“What a stupid mistake! No one else here ever makes mistakes like that.”

“Why would I say such a thing?! I’m such a jerk.”

“I’ve disappointed my daughter, again. What kind of crappy father am I?” Continue reading

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4 Steps to Finding Meaning in Your Work

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My client sat slumped in his office chair, staring at me with sullen eyes. “I hate my job. What the hell am I doing here?”

Here was a man who most people would consider a success. He had a well-paying job that afforded him and his family a comfortable upper middle-class life. He was able to take four weeks of vacation each year and took a trip to Hawaii every year, where he had a condo.

But he was so deeply unhappy. He was miserable. Continue reading

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Use the Power of Connection to Foster Happiness in Your Life

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Humans are innately social creatures. You’ve probably heard before that it’s hard wired into our biology to want and need to connect with others. What you may not know is that connection is a major contributor to achieving happiness.

When I say connection, I’m not implying that you need 100 friends to be happy. The quality of your connections is much more important than the quantity of your connections, so don’t get hung up on numbers. Continue reading

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Inject Some Happiness Into Your Workplace

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We spend about 35% of our waking hours in the workplace, assuming eight hours of sleep each night and a 40-hour work week (and I know most of us are definitely working more than 40 hours!). That’s a significant chunk of our life, so it’s no wonder that unhappiness and stress in the workplace affects our overall well being and levels of happiness.

But we don’t have to resign ourselves to the fact that work is supposed to be “work”— there are ways to use positive psychology principles, backed by science, to help improve the workplace.

Continue reading