How to respond effectively to criticism: Part 3–What to think

In this article, I discuss thinking skills you can use to take the emotional ‘sting’ out of being criticized. In my previous two articles on how to respond effectively to criticism, I discussed how what to say and when to say it can improve your chances of giving an effective response. In this article, I discuss how what you think when you are criticized can also determine the effectiveness of your response. I will focus on strategies to help you think in a manner which will contribute to an effective response...[more]

2017-12-31T23:57:37-07:00By |Categories: Anxiety, Self-Esteem|

How to respond effectively to criticism: Part 2—When to respond

In this article, I discuss how to choose the best time to respond to criticism. In my last article, I indicated that an effective response to criticism involves three elements: what to say, when to say it and what to think. After doing so, I discussed the first of these elements—what to say. In this article, I will focus on the second of these elements—when to give your response to criticism. As was the case with the ‘what to say’ response element, the ‘when to say it’ element partly depends on whether the criticism you are responding to is constructive or nonconstructive...[more]

2017-12-17T22:15:07-07:00By |Categories: Anxiety, Self-Esteem|

How to respond effectively to criticism: What to say, when to say it and what to think

In this article, I discuss the various components which combine to form an effective response when you are criticized. One of the most challenging tasks we all face is responding to criticism. Like it or not, it is part of living that we are going to get criticized. This can happen at work, in our relationships, and in various activities in which we engage. Some of the criticism may be constructive—delivered in a respectful way—and other criticisms may be nonconstructive—communicated disrespectfully, often with negative labels, insults and even verbal or physical aggression. Whether it is constructive or nonconstructive, criticism can be upsetting emotionally and result in negative effects on your self-esteem and your ability to perform effectively in various life situations.  Fortunately, there are effective ways to respond to criticism which can lessen the negative emotional impact on you and allow you be resilient in the face of it...[more]

2017-12-03T22:26:49-07:00By |Categories: Anxiety, Self-Esteem|

How to enhance your performance in front of an audience: Use the social facilitation effect

In this article, I discuss how you can channel your nervousness in front of an audience into a tool which can spur you to better performances. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, clients sometimes seek my help in being able to perform effectively in front of an audience. This issue is relevant to clients who engage in activities such as public speaking, acting, singing, music and sports, to name just a few endeavours which can involve public performing. These clients often seek help in coping with nervousness they experience when performing in front of audiences, citing instances in which they performed poorly and even ‘choked’ as a result of the pressure they felt from having people watch them perform. In helping these clients, I raise with them the possibility that applying psychological skills and knowledge may not only help them to perform well in spite of an audience watching them, it may actually spur them to a better performance. This notion is referred to in psychological research as the ‘social facilitation effect’...[more]

2017-11-05T20:42:06-07:00By |Categories: Anxiety, Sport & Performance|

How to make habits out of enjoyable and fulfilling activities: Take the path of least resistance.

In this article, I discuss how you can use the concept of activation energy to make habits of activities which will bring you the most enjoyment and fulfillment. In my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist, one of the challenges my clients often face is making habits out of activities which will bring them the most enjoyment and fulfillment. These activities typically fall into the category of ‘active leisure’ and include examples such as participating in a hobby or interest, socializing, and exercising individually or with a group or team. Although research indicates that active leisure activities bring the most enjoyment and fulfillment, many people have difficulty making habits of such activities even when they schedule them. Instead, they typically will engage in passive leisure activities such as watching television, playing a video game or surfing the internet on their computers or smartphones...[more]

2017-10-22T22:44:37-06:00By |Categories: Anxiety, Depression, Self-Esteem|

Choosing a good hot thought: Situation-specific or general

In this article, I discuss how to choose a good hot thought which you can check and change to feel better in difficult situations. Much of my work as a Calgary psychologist and a Cochrane psychologist entails helping my clients to change how they feel by changing the way they think, a key process in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). In this process, clients use a tool known as a thought record to track the negative thoughts which come into their minds in everyday difficult situations they encounter. These negative thoughts are known in CBT as ‘hot thoughts’ and are largely responsible for the person experiencing undue distress in response to these situations in the form of emotions like anxiety, anger, frustration, guilt and sadness.  Fortunately, these hot thoughts are typically beliefs which are not completely accurate and, with the help of a thought record, can be changed to more accurate ‘balanced thoughts’ which reduce emotional distress to a more manageable level. An important consideration in deciding which hot thought to work on is whether it is a thought which is specific to the upsetting situation or one which is ‘underneath’ the situation-specific thought and is more general in scope...[more]

2017-10-05T20:57:16-06:00By |Categories: Anger, Anxiety, Depression|

Habits for healing from traumatic events

In this article, I discuss habits to help people heal from traumatic events--either to prevent the onset of post-traumatic stress disorder or to recover from it. When a person suffers a traumatic events involving actual or feared death or serious injury, they experience a shock to their physical, cognitive and emotional system. Whether it be wartime experiences, assaults of various kinds, severe car accidents or other traumatic events, the multi-pronged negative impact can significantly disrupt a person’s life. Fortunately, there are habits a person can engage in following a traumatic event which can help them to heal from it...[more]

2017-03-12T22:45:11-06:00By |Categories: Anxiety, Trauma|

Habits for addressing social anxiety issues: Part 2 – Coping skills to use during exposure to social situations

In this second of two articles, I discuss coping skills you can use while getting the exposure to social situations which is key to addressing your social anxiety issues. In my first article on habits for addressing social anxiety issues, I indicated that the key to success is getting as much exposure as possible to social interaction situations. This exposure yields two positive results which are integral to addressing social anxiety issues—desensitization and inhibitory learning. Desensitization (also called habituation) refers to lasting reductions in anxiety levels which come from getting enough exposure to situations in which you experience anxiety. Inhibitory learning entails realizing through sufficient exposure to anxiety-provoking situations that you can cope effectively in these situations despite your discomfort. In this article, I will discuss coping skills you can use during your exposure to social interaction situations which will help you keep your anxiety at a manageable level in these situations...[more]

2017-02-28T21:25:40-07:00By |Categories: Anxiety|

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

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]

2017-02-12T19:52:54-07:00By |Categories: Anxiety|

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

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]

2017-01-19T16:08:54-07:00By |Categories: Anxiety, Depression|
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