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

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]

2020-05-24T22:09:22-06:00By |Categories: Depression, Stress|

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

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]

2020-04-26T23:00:00-06:00By |Categories: Psychology, Sport & Performance, Stress|

Video: Dr. Pat’s tips for coping with the stress of the Coronavirus pandemic

In this video, I share ideas on how to cope with the stress of the coronavirus pandemic. I discuss how I have been using these ideas to manage my own stress and how you can use them to manage yours. [...]

2020-04-24T09:50:55-06:00By |Categories: Stress, Video|

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

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]

2020-04-13T15:23:55-06:00By |Categories: Anxiety, Depression, Stress|

Managing Stress During the Pandemic – Cochrane Now 91.5 Radio Interview

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.

2020-05-04T15:12:59-06:00By |Categories: COVID-19, In the Media, Stress|

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

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]

2020-03-29T21:34:38-06:00By |Categories: Psychology, Stress|

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

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]

2020-03-15T22:03:59-06:00By |Categories: Anxiety, Stress|

The value of taking a break during the holiday season…and at other times

In this article, I discuss the benefits of taking breaks of various lengths at different points during your day, week, month and even your year. As many people do, I typically take some time off from my work during the Christmas holidays. This year, I made two decisions which will allow me even more time off: First, I decided to take a full two weeks off before returning to work on Monday, January 6th. In past years, I would return to seeing clients on January 2nd if it were to fall on a weekday. Secondly, I decided to take three weeks between blog article postings rather than the two-week interval to which I have religiously adhered for several years. That means that this will be my final blog article of 2019 and I will post my first article of 2020 on Sunday, January 5th. Both decisions made sense on their merits..[more]

2019-12-15T21:52:43-07:00By |Categories: Sport & Performance, Stress|

How to deal with stress during the holiday season

In this article, I discuss various sources of stress linked to the holiday season and how to manage your emotional reactions to them. The Christmas holiday season is in many ways a special time of year in a positive sense. However, there are also many sources of stress which are unique to the holiday season. In the following sections, I will discuss some of these holiday season sources of stress and offer strategies to help you manage your emotional reactions when dealing with them...[more]

2019-12-02T21:36:38-07:00By |Categories: Stress|

How to manage your emotions while driving: A double-barreled approach

In this article, I discuss how to manage your stress and anger behind the wheel. As someone who drives to and from work several days a week, I have experienced many challenges in managing stress and anger. Dealing with gridlock when you need to be somewhere by a certain time, encountering drivers who behave in an inconsiderate manner and experiencing car problems are just some of the events which can tax a person’s ability to manage their stress and anger behind the wheel. Being subjected to these events each day can wear on a person to the point of burnout. Fortunately, there are strategies to manage one’s emotions which can be applied to driving challenges including those I’ve mentioned...[more]

2019-07-28T21:36:42-06:00By |Categories: Anger, Stress|
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