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...
Learning from mistakes

Learning from mistakes

One of the biggest mistakes we sometimes make is that we don’t learn well from our mistakes. We know that those who are successful have become so not by avoiding or preventing all mistakes, but by learning from them. It’s one thing to make a vow to learn from...
Identify the vulnerable feelings underneath anger

Identify the vulnerable feelings underneath anger

When we are asked why we got angry in a certain situation, there’s a good chance that we respond by pointing to what someone else did that bothered us. “Because she never listens to me!” “Because he’s always yelling at me!”  We tend to believe that our anger is the...
Make mindful choices with television and technology

Make mindful choices with television and technology

More and more, restaurants are posting nutritional information next to the selections on the menu. One health-oriented research group, Cochrane, reported that when calories are disclosed on menus, people order meals with 7.8% fewer calories. This is a good example of...
Healing the voids left from unmet childhood needs

Healing the voids left from unmet childhood needs

Many of us did not have perfect childhoods. Despite the many blessings that we probably did have, most likely we also had some significant challenges. We certainly had disappointments, but some have had even worse. Some have survived serious conditions such as family...
Make your environment match your goals

Make your environment match your goals

Surfing through TED Talks on YouTube recently, I saw a piece of a talk about healthy eating. One simple idea caught my attention and stayed with me. The speaker was making the point that in order to make a lasting change in behavior, it is important to have one’s...
Make life changes, but without overcompensating

Make life changes, but without overcompensating

Ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, is quoted as having said, “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” In our efforts to make necessary changes, there is one mistake we often make—we tend to overcompensate. We sometimes go beyond...
Think twice before Googling answers to all of your questions

Think twice before Googling answers to all of your questions

I wondered when the word “Google” became a verb. I didn’t have to wonder long, because I Googled the question: “When did Google be . . . ?” Of course, I didn’t have to finish typing the question because it promptly appeared in the drop down menu. Apparently, many...
Coming to terms with drudgery

Coming to terms with drudgery

We love to get excited about our special projects, whether they are of a personal or a professional nature. We may think of how great it will be to get a college or graduate degree, marry our best friend, have our first child, remodel the kitchen ourselves or to join...
The role of fantasy in mental health

The role of fantasy in mental health

We seem to have a love-hate relationship with fantasy. Sometimes we go to great lengths to deliberately break from reality and have an experience that is fantastic, unreal or out of this world. On the other hand, sometimes we have a more critical perspective and say...

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.