Can Our Key Character Strengths Change Over Time?

I have previously written about how happiness can be sought and fostered by discovering our natural character strengths and virtues. The current article intends to see if these strengths remain consistent over time or if you can actively change them. Is our character set in stone, or are we malleable enough to shape our strengthsContinue reading “Can Our Key Character Strengths Change Over Time?”

What Life Traps Do You Consistently Fall Into?

Do you want to reinvent your life? In my top 20 psychology books countdown, I put the book Reinventing Your Life: The Breakthrough Program to End Negative Behavior and Feel Great Again by Jeffrey Young and Janet Klosko (1994) at #10 on my countdown. It is a self-help version of Schema Therapy, which Jeffrey Young alsoContinue reading “What Life Traps Do You Consistently Fall Into?”

Is Your Screen Time Eating Up Your Free Time?

How Did We Get Here? In the classic Sociology book ‘Bowling Alone’, Robert Putnam makes the compelling argument that social capital (reciprocal connections among people) has been in a steady decline ever since its peak in 1964. By 2000, the average American was 58% less likely to attend a club meeting than an individual onlyContinue reading “Is Your Screen Time Eating Up Your Free Time?”

The Error Called Nostalgia: Remember How the World Used to be Better? What if it Never Was?

One of my favourite movies of all time is ‘Midnight in Paris’. Try to forget about the director for a second and focus on the main reason I love it — nostalgia. In the movie, Gil, played by Owen Wilson, writes a novel about a character who owns a nostalgia shop. He clearly idealises the past, especiallyContinue reading “The Error Called Nostalgia: Remember How the World Used to be Better? What if it Never Was?”

Shame and Guilt: Which One is Helpful, and How Can We Effectively Manage These Difficult Emotions?

What are shame and guilt? The fascinating and comprehensive book ‘Shame and Guilt’ by June Tangney and Ronda Dearing describe shame and guilt as universal human emotions that are functionally important at both an individual and a relationship level. Features shared by shame and guilt (Tangney & Dearing, 2002): Shame and guilt are both very privateContinue reading “Shame and Guilt: Which One is Helpful, and How Can We Effectively Manage These Difficult Emotions?”

Money and Happiness: How to spend for optimal benefits

Not all the best things in life are free. I was on holiday in Queenstown, New Zealand, back in 2016 and was amazed at how beautiful the scenery was. I was also amazed by how many experiences were on offer for people visiting or living there. On my first day in Queenstown, I walked intoContinue reading “Money and Happiness: How to spend for optimal benefits”

How High is Your Physical Intelligence?

Physical intelligence is concerned with how different elements of our environment interact with our senses to influence or distort our perceptions, judgments, and emotions, affecting our behaviours. In her excellent book ‘Sensation’, Thalma Lobel has neatly summarised all of the important findings accumulated so far in the emerging field of physical intelligence, or ‘embodied cognition’.Continue reading “How High is Your Physical Intelligence?”

Positive Psychology – The Secret to Optimal Well-being

For many years, Psychology, following in the footsteps of Medicine, was preoccupied with alleviating suffering. A worthy objective, but the treatments were focused on reducing depression or anxiety, not how to increase happiness. Does not feeling bad equate to the same thing as feeling good? If someone is no longer feeling sad, will they suddenlyContinue reading “Positive Psychology – The Secret to Optimal Well-being”

7 Life Lessons That We Can Learn From Hollywood Movies

I recently read a book titled ‘Writing Screenplays that Sell’ by Michael Hauge and was fascinated to see how psychologically informed screenwriters create engaging stories with meaningful plots and entertaining characters. Although Hollywood sometimes gets bad press for promoting materialistic and unrealistic goals for the audience, I do believe that we can learn some valuableContinue reading “7 Life Lessons That We Can Learn From Hollywood Movies”

Dealing With Toxic People

What is a “toxic” person? Sometimes in life, we come across people who defy our natural belief systems about how people “should be”. For example, while we assume that most people follow the golden rule of “treat others the way that you would like to be treated”, there are definitely some individuals who are not guidedContinue reading “Dealing With Toxic People”