Don’t fight your feelings—change your relationship with them

A lot of people think that feeling emotionally balanced is a matter of luck…

  • Some people just never get very anxious because they don’t have the genes for it
  • Some people don’t get down and discouraged very often because they’re naturally optimistic

And while emotional balance does have something to do with your genetics and temperament, there’s a much deeper truth here…

Being emotionally balanced doesn’t mean you don’t have painful emotions — it means you have a healthy relationship with them.

For example:

  • Emotional balance doesn’t mean you never get anxious. It means that instead of trying to avoid…

#2: Develop an ‘early warning system’ for your burnout

Burnout is brutal.

  • Feeling like you’re under constant pressure to hit unrealistic deadlines
  • Trying to manage increasingly unbearable workloads
  • Having little to no support from managers and higher-ups
  • Feeling chronically exhausted and drained

I could go on and on with the symptoms of burnout, but if you’re reading this, you probably know them all too well.

Instead, I want to give some practical and creative advice for learning to deal with burnout at work more effectively. And the gist of it is this:

The best way to manage burnout is to get better at avoiding it in the first place.

3. You think self-compassion is self-indulgent

Self-criticism is something we all fall into from time to time. But for others it’s practically a way of life.

For the chronically self-critical, even the tiniest mistakes trigger tidal waves of negative self-talk and self-directed judgmentalness:

  • Ugh, why am I such an idiot! I’ve done this a thousand times and I manage to screw it up every time.
  • That presentation was a disaster. I know I’m no good at public speaking so why didn’t I just let Ben take the lead…
  • That’s a terrible thing to think… What’s wrong with me?!

Thankfully, no matter how self-critical you are it’s…

Just because it’s hard doesn’t make it right

Chances are you grew up hearing about the virtues of hard work — how it’s important to “always try your best” no matter what. Or how “hard work always pays off” in the end.

While commonplace and often well-intentioned, the belief in the absolute sacredness of hard work is misguided at best — and very often dangerous—for a very simple reason:

Hard work is only valuable if it’s directed at valuable things.

Think about it:

  • Is it good to work hard at being a jerk to people who think differently than you?
  • Do you aspire to work hard at eating…

Let them go and happiness will find you

We all want to be happy, right?

We’re constantly looking for the next big idea, the next big promotion, or the next new person in our life who is going to make us happier.

But for thousands of years, wisdom traditions across the world have been telling us that happiness comes from within ourselves, not outside. In other words…

Happiness comes from how we think about the world, not the world itself.

As a psychologist, I see evidence of this every day in my work with clients. …

Healthy relationships begin with healthy boundaries

Everybody thinks communication is the key to healthy relationships. But I’m not so sure…

Obviously, communication is important in any relationship. But here’s the thing many people don’t realize:

Poor communication is often a result of relationship problems, but rarely the cause.

Over the years working as a psychologist and seeing just about every shape and size of relationships problem, there’s something much more fundamental that causes relationships to fall apart: Unhealthy boundaries

Unhealthy boundaries mean there’s an imbalance in the mixture of intimacy and independence in a given relationship.

For example:

  • Start oversharing your personal life with your employees…

Try listening to your emotions instead of trying to fix them

Most people use one of two strategies to cope with painful emotions:

  1. Fix it. The minute you start feeling anxious, for example, your negative and judgmental self-talk kicks in and you start arguing with yourself about why you shouldn’t feel anxious. And how if you were a little tougher you wouldn’t be stressed out all the time. As if berating yourself for feeling bad would help you feel better…
  2. Run away. Of course, it’s natural to want to avoid things that hurt. So we try things like distracting ourselves or numbing the pain with alcohol or food. …

Let them go and your happiness will find you

Everybody wants to know what they can do to be happier…

  • More life-hacks
  • More mindset tips
  • More coping skills
  • More frameworks
  • More pills
  • More coaches and therapists
  • More wellness apps

And while all these things have their place, no doubt, what if this quest for more to make us happy is the wrong direction?

What if happiness is about what you should do less of, not more of?

The longer I work as a psychologist, the more I realize the key to finding happiness is often less, not more. …

#1: You have unrealistic emotional expectations

Do you often feel inadequate, like you’re not good enough or unworthy?

  • Maybe you never seem to measure up with all your creative and ambitious coworkers?
  • Or maybe you tend to feel bad about yourself because your spouse is so patient with the kids and you lose your temper so easily.

Whatever inadequacy looks like for you, it’s a painful thing to live with.

But here’s what most people don’t realize about inadequacy:

Whatever caused your inadequacy initially, it’s usually your habits that are maintaining it.

Anything from early life trauma to unhelpful comparisons can cause you to feel inadequate…

Confidence begins with courage

A common misconception about confidence is that it’s this general personality trait that makes someone bold and unafraid in any situation.

Not true.

Confidence is actually very situation-specific.

Someone who is socially confident might look bold and fearless at a cocktail party schmoozing with new people; but put them in front of an Excel spreadsheet and they turn into an insecure bundle of nerves and second-guessing. Confidence, in other words, can take many different forms.

One of the most important forms of confidence that people rarely talk about is emotional confidence, the ability to acknowledge and accept your emotions without…

Nick Wignall

Psychologist and blogger. I help people use psychology for meaningful personal growth:

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