Dr. Pat's Psychology Blog

Habits for addressing social anxiety issues: Part 1 – The key to addressing social anxiety issues

By |Anxiety|

In this first of two articles, I discuss habits to help you or someone you know address issues with social anxiety. In my continuing series on habits, I now turn to habits to help people address issues with social anxiety. These issues focus on the experience of significant discomfort in social situations which is often accompanied by avoidance of social interaction as a result of this discomfort. There are two categories of social anxiety issues—general and specific...[more]

Habits for addressing substance use and other addictions

By |Addictions|

In this article, I discuss habits to help you or someone you know address issues with substance use and other addictions. In my continuing series on habits, I now turn to habits to help people address addictions including substance use (alcohol and drugs) along with gambling, shopping and sex, among others. If you are struggling with an addiction, you may feel at times that you have no control over your urges. In fact, there are many habits you can cultivate which will help you gain confidence in your ability to manage your urges to engage in addictive behaviours. In the following sections, I will discuss these habits which are rooted in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)...[more]

Habits for good self-esteem: It’s how you behave and what you think

By |Self-Esteem|

In this article, I discuss habits to help build self-esteem which stem from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). In my continuing series on habits, I now turn to habits to help you have good emotional health. In this article, I discuss habits which help you to have good self-esteem. Self-esteem refers to how well you value yourself. Having good self-esteem is associated with better emotional health and being less prone to emotional health issues. The most notable of these issues is depression, of which low self-esteem is a key symptom. Having good self-esteem is also predictive of better relationships and success in various endeavours including academics and career. Fostering good self-esteem to help you achieve these benefits can be accomplished by incorporating habits into your routine. These habits focus on cognitive and behavioural strategies which have been demonstrated help you to think positively about yourself on a regular basis. In the following sections, I will describe these habits and how to make them part of your self-esteem-building routine...[more]

How to stick to your New Year’s resolutions: Combine outcome and process goals

By |Psychology, Sport & Performance|

In this article, I discuss how goal-setting concepts can increase your effectiveness at making and sticking to New Year’s resolutions. The start of the New Year is a time when many people make resolutions involving setting goals for everything from losing weight to being a better person. And a short time after the New Year begins is typically when many of those who made resolutions give up on achieving them. Although lack of a plan is often a key factor in people not sticking to their resolutions, there is an additional reason people fall short which often gets overlooked. This factor relates to the types of resolutions people tend to make with a focus too much on outcome-oriented goals in which achieving a particular result is the aim. If people were to have their resolutions based on measures of success in addition to outcome measures...[more]

The holiday season: A time for cheer, a time for psychological skills

By |Anxiety, Depression|

In this article, I discuss how you can practice using psychological skills over the Christmas holidays. The Christmas holiday season is a great time to relax and enjoy good times with family and friends. It also offers many opportunities to practice psychological skills which sometimes get neglected during the rest of the year. In the following sections, I will discuss how you can practice several psychological skills this holiday season...[more]

Habits to make your relationships thrive: Part 3—Habits which focus on the five love languages

By |Relationships|

In this article, I discuss habits to help you and your partner build friendship and intimacy by focusing on each other’s love languages. In my last article, I discussed one of the keys to having thriving relationships—learning and practicing habits to help you and your partner build friendship and intimacy by nurturing the three elements of the relationship friendship. According to Dr. John Gottman, creator of the Sound Relationship House model, these elements involve building love maps by having ongoing knowledge of each other, expressing fondness and admiration toward each other and turning toward each other by frequently making and accepting bids for connection. In this article, I will discuss additional habits which will help you and your partner to build friendship and intimacy. These habits focus on the Five Love Languages, a concept introduced by Dr. Gary Chapman whose landmark book of this title is subtitled, ‘The Secret to Love that Lasts...[more]

Habits to make your relationships thrive: Part 2—Habits for a good relationship friendship

By |Psychology, Relationships|

In this article, I discuss habits to help you have thriving relationships by building and maintaining a strong relationship friendship. In my last article, I discussed one of the keys to having thriving relationships—learning and practicing habits to allow you and your partner to discuss issues constructively. In this article, I will discuss habits which will help you and your partner to have a solid relationship friendship. Practicing habits in these two important areas is fundamental to having a good relationship according to Dr. John Gottman, creator of the ‘Sound Relationship House’ model of relationships...[more]

Habits to make your relationships thrive: Part 1—Habits for discussing issues constructively

By |Relationships|

In this article, I discuss habits to help you have thriving relationships by discussing issues constructively. In my last article, I discussed the key to having good emotional health and thriving relationships—learning and practicing habits. In this article, I will discuss specific habits to help you have thriving relationships. I will categorize these habits using the ‘Sound Relationship House’ model of Dr. John Gottman. The two categories from this model on which I will focus are constructive discussions of issues and having a strong relationship friendship. In this article, I will consider habits which facilitate constructive discussions of issues in relationships...[more]

The key to achieving good emotional health and thriving relationships: It’s all about the habits

By |Psychology, Relationships|

In this article, I discuss the key to achieving good emotional health and thriving relationships—having habits which help you to generate these positive results. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, I often have to dispel misguided notions in my clients regarding how I can help them improve their emotional health and their relationships. Many people come to counselling expecting to be ‘cured’ by my identifying and fixing some problem they identify as the reason they or their relationships are not doing well. Although addressing a major problem can often play a role in having good emotional health and fulfilling relationships, what usually makes the biggest difference is less dramatic...[more]

Expressing gratitude: It’s the right thing to do…in more ways than one

By |Depression|

In this article, I discuss how expressing gratitude regularly can be good for your mood. As Thanksgiving Day approaches, we are reminded to be grateful for the blessings in our lives. While expressing gratitude has value in and of itself, there are additional benefits for the person doing the thanking. In the following sections, I will discuss these benefits and indicate how expressing gratitude regularly can bring these benefits throughout the year...[more]