Dr. Pat's Psychology Blog

Dr. Pat’s Psychology Blog2020-05-04T15:01:27-06:00
  • Video: Strategies for Improving Self-Esteem

    In this episode of Dr. Pat's video tips, I discuss two categories of strategies to help you improve your self-esteem: 1. Cognitive strategies which help you to think more positively about yourself. 2. Behavioural strategies in which you engage in activities which help you to feel good about yourself.

  • Managing stress: Two approaches are better than one

    In this article, I discuss why using both problem-focused and self-focused approaches to manage stress is more effective than using only one of these approaches. One of the most basic concepts I try to convey to my clients is how to manage stress. Once you realize that effective stress management boils down to using two categories of approaches, what can seemingly be a daunting task becomes much easier...[more]

How to be happy during stressful events: Focus on your activities and your thinking–not on your circumstances

Depression, Stress|

In this article, I discuss how it is possible to experience positive mood in a stressful situation like the COVID-19 pandemic and the steps you can take to facilitate this. One of the most fascinating phenomena I’ve learned about as a psychologist is hedonic adaptation. As detailed by researcher Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky in The How of Happiness, hedonic adaptation occurs when people who experience events and circumstances which affect their mood positively or negatively eventually return to the level of mood and happiness they experienced prior to the event or circumstances. Research on hedonic adaptation consistently shows that events and circumstances typically have a temporary effect on mood and happiness so that one’s mood and happiness levels revert over time to the levels they were at previously...[more]

Two elements of leadership: Both are essential in a crisis

Psychology, Sport & Performance|

In this article, I discuss the importance of both task-focused and relationship-focused leadership in helping the people being led during a crisis. When I was in graduate school, one of the most fascinating projects I worked on was a class presentation on different styles of leadership. Research led me to conclude that there are two main styles of leadership. One is task-focused leadership which entails guiding the group you are leading toward the accomplishment of tasks. The second is relationship-focused leadership which concentrates of fostering good working relationships among the group members as well as between them and the leader...[more]

Managing Anxiety With The End Of The Pandemic Lockdown – Cochrane Now 91.5 Radio Interview

Anxiety, COVID-19, In the Media|

Tune-in to Cochrane Now 91.5FM radio on Monday May 4th for Dr. Pat’s tips and strategies to help lower anxiety to a manageable level during COVID-19. You can listen to the interview at the top and bottom of the hour between 6:00 am and 10:00 am and then at the top of the hour until 6:00 pm. Tune-in for the interview and share your questions and comments with Dr. Pat below.

Rising to the occasion: How to shine through during a crisis

Psychology, Sport & Performance, Stress|

In this article, I discuss things you can do in order to stand out in a positive way during a crisis like the coronavirus pandemic. At one of his daily coronavirus pandemic news briefings, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo related a personal story which struck a chord with me. He said that one time when he was younger he told his grandmother about “a guy and a girl” he encountered who he thought were nice. His grandmother advised the young future Governor not to judge whether someone is nice when things are ‘nice’. She said that he should make this decision based on how the person behaves when things are hard. The story led to Governor Cuomo sharing examples of people he’s observed who have risen to the occasion through their impressive behaviour during the difficult time of the pandemic. That sparked the idea for this article...[more]

Finding the silver lining: Coping with the stress of the coronavirus pandemic by noticing positives

Anxiety, Depression, Stress|

In this article, I discuss how you can cope better with the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic by appreciating the positives while acknowledging and acting on the negatives. While watching a special coronavirus episode of Dr. Phil, I was struck by the excellent advice a psychiatrist guest offered on how to cope with the stress of the pandemic. Among the guest’s advice was to focus on the positives at the start of the day and at the end of the day. This entailed beginning the day by making it a point to look for the positives followed by a bedtime routine of thinking of the positives you encountered throughout the day. The psychiatrist’s advice led me to focus in this article on the soundness of the strategy of coping with a negative situation by noticing the positives...[more]

Managing Stress During the Pandemic – Cochrane Now 91.5 Radio Interview

COVID-19, In the Media, Stress|

Tune-in to Cochrane Now 91.5FM radio on Tuesday April 7th at 6am or 11am for tips on managing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Share your questions and comments with Dr. Pat below.

Counselling during the coronavirus pandemic: Alternatives to in-person sessions

Psychology, Stress|

In this article, I discuss how you can receive counselling during the COVID-19 pandemic while adhering to best practices regarding social distancing. In my last article, I discussed strategies you can use to cope with your anxiety as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, at a time when it is especially helpful to meet with a psychologist to help you learn and practice these strategies, recommended and in some cases mandatory social distancing practices preclude the usual option of having sessions at your psychologist’s office. Fortunately, there are ways to having counselling sessions other than by meeting your psychologist at their office...[more]

Managing anxiety when there is a reason to be anxious: Coping with the stress of the coronavirus pandemic

Anxiety, Stress|

In this article, I discuss strategies you can use to manage your anxiety amidst the stress of the coronavirus pandemic. Sometimes it takes me a while to decide on a topic for my blog article. In this case, there was no hesitation. The coronavirus pandemic is the primary concern of the vast majority of people so focusing on it in my blog article was an obvious choice. My goal in this article is to give you strategies to help you manage your anxiety during this difficult time...[more]

But I don’t want to give that up! How to make it easier to form a new habit

Addictions, Psychology|

In this article, I discuss ways you can be OK with giving up benefits of a current habit when you are trying to change to a new habit. I recently made several changes to my diet in order to be healthier, lose weight and enhance my performance in a 12-k swim event in which I will be competing this August. Among the changes was what I put in my two cups of coffee each day. For years, my habit would entail adding milk and two teaspoons of sugar to each cup of coffee. Then a few years ago my sweet morning indulgence became even sweeter when I began adding four tablespoons of vanilla syrup to the sugar I was already stirring into each cup. This sugary Xanadu became a thing of the past for me when I recently stopped putting sugar and vanilla syrup in my coffee...[more]