Appreciate the benefits of boundaries, limits and rules

Appreciate the benefits of boundaries, limits and rules

What emotional reaction do you have to the words “boundaries,” “limits” and “rules?” These words often have a negative connotation, inviting dread or annoyance. Certainly, if overdone, boundaries, limits and rules can be demoralizing or even oppressive. Why then, if a...
Develop a healthy relationship with your feelings

Develop a healthy relationship with your feelings

How would you describe your relationship with your sister-in-law? What kind of a relationship do you have with your dog, or your car, or your garden? Even without thinking very deeply, you can probably come up with some answers that would begin to paint a picture of...
Don’t buy the myth that you don’t have what it takes

Don’t buy the myth that you don’t have what it takes

In the wonderful story of the Wizard of Oz, the Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man each fantasize how much better their lives would be if they only had courage, intelligence and compassion, respectively. They perceive themselves to be lacking in these personality traits and...
How to work on self-awareness to improve relationships

How to work on self-awareness to improve relationships

Relationships can be hard. Sometimes the more meaningful the relationship is, the more difficult it can be. If we choose to invest in improving a relationship, we should understand that it’s an ongoing commitment to learning about the other, ourself and the...
Faith in others, and yourself, is a choice and it matters

Faith in others, and yourself, is a choice and it matters

When a quarterback throws a pass, he doesn’t throw it to the receiver, exactly. He throws it to where he expects the receiver will be in a few seconds. And when the receiver runs away from the quarterback hoping to complete the pass about to be thrown, he does not run...
Understanding the term ‘overreacting’

Understanding the term ‘overreacting’

“How can I talk to you when you get so upset and overreact like this?” “I know I’m too sensitive, I just can’t help the way I react when this stuff happens.” It’s not uncommon to hear people accusing others or themselves of being too sensitive, getting too upset or...
Why we resist changes we want to make

Why we resist changes we want to make

A husband complains that no one helps him with the yard work, but if they do, he says, “Never mind.” A mother dreams of resurrecting a social life outside of the house, to have a break from the kids, but if lunch invitations do come, she inevitably declines. A high...
Hold on to your self amidst the storm of blame

Hold on to your self amidst the storm of blame

In his poem entitled, “If,” Rudyard Kipling starts with advice regarding the familiar struggle to hold on to ourselves in the face of blame and doubt: If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when...
Notice the present moment

Notice the present moment

A wife asks her husband, “So aren’t you going to say anything?” The husband panics; he silently races through the list: “Is it our anniversary? Did she get a haircut? New blouse? Paint the living room? What am I missing!?” Finally he surrenders and she tells him. “Oh,...
Understanding self-medicating and the Pleasure Principle

Understanding self-medicating and the Pleasure Principle

Freudian psychoanalysis spoke of the Pleasure Principle, the simple idea that humans seek to maximize pleasure and reduce pain. When we don’t feel well, we might stand in front of our medicine cabinets and look for something to make us feel better. Either we’re...

Articles

Psychological Fitness

“Psychological Fitness” is my monthly column featured in the Binghamton, NY Press & Sun Bulletin since 2004. This page highlights articles, or adaptations thereof, from that column.