How to Select the Right Therapist for You

Author Article
It’s not easy to find a good therapist. Therapy can be incredibly cost-prohibitive, for one thing, depending on insurance coverage. Then, there are scheduling constraints (it’s hard to find a therapist with open hours if you work a traditional 9-to-5), location constraints, general time constraints, and trying to suss out whether or not the person you’re spilling all your shit to is the right one to help you unpack and repack it.

There are also hundreds of different types of therapy, which is daunting when you’re not sure what kind will work best for you, in addition to a slew of different categories of mental health professional, all of which come with different credentials and training. It’s a lot to navigate, especially when you’re a first-time client. Here are some tips for selecting the right kind of help.

What kind of therapy do I need?

There are many, many different types of therapy, and mental health professionals don’t necessarily use a one-type-fits-all approach. If you’re suffering from something like generalized anxiety disorder or depression, for instance, your therapist might use a combination of treatments in your sessions. But let’s take a look at some of the most common options:

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT):

CBT is a common treatment that focuses on looking at certain behavioral patterns and coming up with a game plan of sorts to break them. “It’s trying to help you change your behavior through thinking differently about your situation,” Ryan Howes, PhD., a clinical psychologist in Pasadena, California, says. “So, for instance, if you get anxious about confronting your boss at work, or anxiety stops you from making any movement, CBT can help you reframe that. Instead of thinking of all the horrible things that could happen, it’ll help you imagine positive outcomes.”

CBT therapy is usually short-term—your therapist helps you determine a specific goal, and will then work with you to help regulate your emotions and develop new personal coping strategies. It can be especially good for treating anxiety and depression.

Psychodynamic therapies:

Psychodynamic therapies like psychoanalysis and Jungian therapy involve digging into your past to look at the root of whatever problems you’re trying to treat. So, for instance, if you’re anxious about confronting a boss, a psychodynamic approach will try to determine when this particular anxiety first took place, and how early traumas and relationships contributed to your current predicament. “The idea is that being able to uncover early thoughts will free you up to be able to act differently,” Howes says.

Psychoanalysis can take a long time (like, years) and many therapists will use it in tandem with a CBT approach, which is something worth bringing up in a consultation.

Specialized therapies for specific disorders:

Both CBT and psychodynamic therapies (or a combination of the two) can be effective for more general mental health disorders, but f you’re struggling with a particular disorder, like an eating disorder or post-traumatic stress, it may be more beneficial to see a mental health professional who specializes in treatments targeting those issues. For instance, if you’ve suffered from trauma, there’s Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy; if you’re mourning a tragic death, there’s grief therapy.

The thing about therapy, though, is that you might think that CBT will help you the best, or that you want deep psychoanalysis, or that only one specific kind of treatment will help you. The reality is that therapists will often use multiple approaches when treating a patient, and though it’s helpful to find a therapist who specializes in a particular disorder, when you start seeing one, you may discover it’s not just anxiety or grief that’s causing you problems.

“Nobody walks in the door with one problem,” Faith Tanney, a psychologist with a private practice in Washington, D.C., says. “You have to be able to switch around with different modalities.”

More importantly, if you like your therapist and feel comfortable opening up to them, the type of treatment they specialize in might not make a difference. “If you think your therapist is healing you, stay with them,” Tanney says. “If you don’t think your therapist is helping you, I don’t care what kind of therapy they’re doing.”

What kind of mental health professional should I see?

There are a few different kinds of people licensed and qualified to provide therapy. Psychologists have PhDs and PsyDs, and are trained in both psychotherapy and assessment testing. Licensed clinical social workers are also trained in psychotherapy and perform functionally similar mental health services to psychologists, but don’t have doctorates. A licensed mental health counselor is also trained in psychotherapy and will treat patients much in the same way as a social worker. Psychiatrists primarily focus on chemical imbalances. They have medical doctorates, and prescribe medication (in some states psychologists can also prescribe medication).

A psychiatrist is the one to see if you’re in the market for mood-correcting meds, but if you’re looking for talk therapy, you’re better off seeing a psychologist, social worker, or counselor. Psychologists tend to see people with serious mental illness, while social workers and counselors can help patients suffering from more common forms of psychological distress. In the long run, though, as long as you’re seeing someone with a valid state-issued license (states have online license lookups for psychologistscounselors, and clinical social works), if you like your therapist, their specific credentials don’t really make a difference.

What research should I do before having a consultation?

There are a lot of different factors that go into finding a therapist. Therapy is expensive, so if your health insurance will cover it, it’s a good idea to search for one through your provider, though some therapists will offer counseling on a sliding scale. Location is also a big factor—if you think it’ll be difficult for you to get to your therapist, you’ll probably be less likely to make your appointments, especially when you’re still in the “feeling it out” stage.

If you’re looking to treat a certain problem, you do want to know your therapist has some experience in that realm. If you struggle with anxiety, your therapist should know how to treat anxiety. If you have bulimia, your therapist should have experience with patients with eating disorders. Websites like therapy.organd Psychology Today will tell you a little about your prospective therapist’s areas of expertise, so you can get an idea of what you’re working with.

Then, you have to take into account your personal preferences. “Some people feel like they want someone who fits in a certain age bracket. Some want someone a little older and wiser, some people feel more comfortable talking to someone around the same age,” Howes says. “Gender is a big part of it, too. I tell people to try to make a list of three therapists that on paper seem to fit their criteria, that are the right age and specialize in that area, and go on a test drive with these therapists.”

What questions should I ask in my first session?

When you’ve selected your three therapists, you should set up a consultation, either by phone or in person. Sometimes therapists won’t charge for consultations, and sometimes they will, so it’s a good idea to suss that out beforehand.

Once you’re at the consultation, though, the most important thing is to get a feel for your therapist. “This is like a first date,” Tanney says. She recommends skipping over the “where did you go to school” part of the standard dating questionnaire—“They’re already licensed, so you can sue them,” she jokes—and getting right into your particular goals and how they might go about helping you achieve them.

“You got my name from someone. You’ve read up on me, and see that I have the skills, I have the techniques, I have the training, I have the experience. Now we’ll see if that works for you,” Tanney says. “We set goals for therapy, I’ll tell you what I think we’re going to work on first, and you say whether or not they make sense to you.”

It’s also a good idea to ask your therapist for their specific policies—some require advance notice if you’re canceling a session, for instance, or will only allow you to take a couple weeks off without being charged. Some will ask that you give them a few weeks’ heads up before you decide to end therapy. “If you feel the time has come to leave, I would ask that you let me know, so we have a couple weeks to discuss that,” Tanney, who has her patients sign a contract, says.

Ultimately, go with your gut

The real key to finding a therapist is exactly like trying to find a romantic partner—there has to be a “click.” After a couple of sessions, if you don’t feel like your therapist is someone you can open up to, then they are not the therapist for you.

“It’s about trusting your gut,” Howes says. “The therapist can be the most highly trained person in the world with years of experience and mountains of books, but if you can’t open up to them, the therapist is worthless. Or they can be a brand new trainee, but if you feel safe and comfortable talking to them, the therapy will be more beneficial.”

So if you’ve test-driven a few therapists, pick the one you felt the most comfortable talking with. And if, after a few sessions, or a few months, or a few years, you decide you’ve lost that connection, it’s okay to leave. “You have the power. This person is in your employ,” Tanney says. Don’t ghost, and do bring up your specific concerns about your therapist to them, since it’s always a good idea to give someone an explanation as to why you think things aren’t working. But you’re the boss. After all, as Tanney says, “This is not your friend, this is your worker bee.”

What 8 Psychologists Do to Get Through Their Crappiest Days

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It’s a nonnegotiable fact of life: Everyone has bad dayssometimes. We all have different ideas of what constitutes a crappy day and different reasons for having one, but it’s comforting to know that nobody is immune from having a rotten, awful, stinkin’ day at least once in a while. That includes psychologists, some of the very people trained to help others manage their own bad days (and mental health in general). Luckily, psychologists also happen to have some very useful tools for digging themselves out of a funk.

Here, eight psychology experts tell us what they do on those days where everything just sucks. While many of them have multiple methods for dealing with those bad moods, here are their most tried-and-true strategies.

1. Focus on rewarding work.

Work is the number one bad-day fix for Dolores Malaspina, M.D., M.S.P.H., a professor and the director of the Psychosis Program in the department of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “[Seeing patients is] a great way to get through tough days,” she tells SELF.

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Immersing herself in patient sessions helps Dr. Malaspina focus on the present instead of whatever is occupying her mind, she says: “Being in the moment with a patient can be centering.”

Rather than compounding her bad day, a particularly hard or tiring session can be an especially excellent way to center her thoughts. As Dr. Malaspina explains, these kinds of sessions require complete engagement in a way that takes her out of her bad mental state.

2. Take time for your passion project.

Carrie Landin, Psy.D., a psychologist at the UC Health Integrative Medicine Center, tells SELF that her go-to mood-booster is her passion project, Dame Podcast.

“When I have a bad day, I try to make some time to work on my podcast, whether that’s researching my next episode, editing a current episode, or finding sound bites and music,” Landin says. “It’s about women in history who have significantly influenced the culture for women in positive ways.”

Landin is currently editing an episode about Sally Ride, the first American woman astronaut to enter space. Ride’s legacy helped open up a field to women that was historically dominated by men. “I enjoy [working on the podcast] tremendously,” Landin says. “It brings me fulfillment.”

3. Try to zoom out.

“I try to be aware of negative thinking that contributes to my own stress levels and to think about problems in a balanced and flexible way,” Martin Antony, Ph.D., an author, professor, and graduate program director in the department of psychology at Ryerson University in Toronto, tells SELF. To figure out if he’s giving something too much weight, he will ask himself, “Is that thing that’s stressing me out as important as it feels?” or “Will it still matter a week from now or a month from now?”

4. Don’t let a bad moment mean a bad day.

It’s all about perspective for Scott Bea, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist, psychotherapy trainer, and supervisor in the Adult Psychiatry Residency Training Program at Cleveland Clinic. “There are challenging moments, [and] I try to experience them as just moments, not days,” Bea tells SELF.

When he does have an all-around difficult shift, Bea does his best to leave it at the door on his way out. “I have worked on not having many thoughts about work when I am not at work,” he says. For Bea, this is essential for preventing burnout or compassion fatigue. Also known as secondary traumatic stress, compassion fatigue indicates the emotional and physical depletion that can impact care providers who work with people who have experienced trauma. In severe cases, it can even contribute to mental health issues such as PTSD, so creating boundaries when possible is incredibly important for care providers, Bea explains.

5. Acknowledge and accept the crappy moments.

The first bad-day step for Nancy Burgoyne, Ph.D., chief clinical officer and vice president of clinical services at the Family Institute at Northwestern University, is to simply acknowledge the reality that she’s in a bad mood. If it happens when she’s at work, she doesn’t make it worse by beating herself up for being a “bad” therapist. She asks, “Would you want a therapist who couldn’t ‘get it’ that life can take a toll at times?”

After accepting her bad mood, Burgoyne tries to avoid blowing the impact of a crappy day out of proportion, especially when it comes to below-average sessions with her patients. “I ground myself…by taking the long view,” she tells SELF. “I know that therapy is a process, and therefore no one session will determine its impact.”

(By the way, if you’re in therapy, had a less than stellar session, and are wondering if your therapist is having a crappy day, it’s OK to ask. “A good therapist will accept that as feedback and be open to looking at what your experience has been,” Burgoyne says.)

6. Get outside.

Shout-out to the beautiful scenery and predictably good weather of Northern California, where J. Faye Dixon, Ph.D., is a psychologist, assistant clinical professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and ADHD clinic director at UC Davis Medical School. “On really difficult days, I try to get out in nature for an impromptu walk just to reset,” she tells SELF.

Since Dixon already runs four or five times a week, many days—bad ones included—have her personal mood-boosting duo of fresh air and endorphins built into the schedule.

7. Have a go-to chill move.

On bad days, Nanci Pradas, Ph.D., L.I.C.S.W., a Massachusetts-based psychologist, turns to diaphragmatic breathing, a relaxation method she teaches many of her patients for times of stress or anxiety.

“You breathe in through your nose slowly, take a little pause, and breathe out through your mouth. You can put your hands on your stomach if you’re just learning it; your stomach should go out when you breathe in,” she tells SELF. Pradas also recommends thinking of a scene or image you find pleasant or relaxing—“I like the beach and the waves”—as well as some kind of a mantra. “I say, ‘In with peace and relaxation, out with all my stress,’ ” she explains.

Pradas says that this method of relaxation became easier with daily practice, so now she can call upon it whenever she needs it.

8. Talk it out.

Michael Brustein, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist based in New York City, tells SELF that talking to a trusted friend about what’s going on allows him to find some clarity and perspective. “Expressing my thoughts and feelings with others helps to validate and organize my experience, making it feel less ambiguous and daunting,” he explains.

The back-and-forth also makes Brustein feel less alone in his struggles. “Using social support helps me feel more connected and reminds me that I’m not the only [one] who suffers,” he explains.

As Brustein has seen in his clinical experience, people often fear that expressing their emotions will make them a “burden” on others. But isolating yourself can make a bad mood even worse, he says, adding, “I believe reaching out and using social support [are] key for well-being.”
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Mental Health Awareness Means Talking About All Types of Mental Illness

Let’s keep talking.
Morgan Johnson

Mental illness is incredibly common: Nearly one in five adults in the United States lives with a mental illnessaccording to the National Institutes of Mental Health(NIMH). But in spite of its prevalence, there still exists a tremendous amount of stigma associated with mental health conditions. That stigma can have far-reaching consequences, from limiting our understanding of these conditions to interfering with a person’s willingness to seek treatment when they truly need it.

The good news is that, culturally, we’re making some headway on that stigma. I have written and edited health content for a little over a decade, and it’s been amazing to see how the conversation around mental health has evolved in that time. Many brave people have publicly shared stories about their experiences navigating mental health conditions. And as the wellness industry has exploded, so too has our cultural understanding that being well and taking care of yourself requires tending to your mental health, and that means seeking help if you need it.

It’s no longer shocking when a celebrity discusses seeing a therapist, or living with depression or anxiety. That’s in part because we’ve made some progress toward normalizing these things and making it clear that they’re incredibly common and nothing to be ashamed of. There’s still work to do, of course, but there’s also good reason to feel optimistic. We’re heading in the right direction.

That said, certain mental health conditions still largely remain in the shadows, with an unequal share of awareness and attention. One such condition is bipolar disorder.

This is on my mind because March 30 is World Bipolar Day.

The mission of this day is to bring awareness to bipolar disorder and to eliminate social stigma. Bipolar disorder is one of the most misunderstood mental illnesses, and the confusion around it persists even as we make strides in the way we talk about other mental health conditions. Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder characterized by significant shifts in mood and energy levels, according to the NIMH. These shifts are referred to as “mood episodes” and they can come in various forms, though the two main types are manic episodes and depressive episodes. There are several types of bipolar disorder, each dependent on the symptoms that someone experiences and the severity, duration, and combination of those symptoms.

Bipolar disorder is a complicated, multifaceted mental illness that can significantly impact someone’s daily life. So why isn’t it given the time and space that anxiety and depression are given in our collective conversations around mental health?

Certainly part of the story here is that anxiety and depression are among the most common mental illnesses. While an estimated 31.1 percent of adults in the U.S. will experience an anxiety disorder at some point, an estimated 4.4 percent will experience bipolar disorder. That may be a much smaller slice of our population, but it’s still millions of people affected by the condition.

Of course, this isn’t to say that the work in busting stigma around anxiety and depression is done; rather, it’s a call to action to bring that energy to other mental health conditions as well.

At SELF, we strive to talk about the nuances of mental health conditions not just on awareness days but throughout the calendar year. We’ve been making a genuine effort over the past few months to create more content around a wider range of mental health conditions, including bipolar disorder. That includes talking about the basics (like key facts people should know about bipolar disorder) as well as real stories from people living with the condition (like this personal essay about what it feels like to experience psychosis, which is a symptom for some people with bipolar disorder). But the conversation shouldn’t end there. We’re doing our best to give genuinely helpful information to people living with bipolar disorder, which means writing about treatmentsymptoms, how to deal with mood episodes, and how to navigate medication side effects.

Beyond bipolar disorder, we have also been working to provide more coverage of other heavily stigmatized and misunderstood mental health conditions such as schizophreniaborderline personality disorder, and OCD, among others.

I’m proud of the work that we’ve done in this space and the stories that we’ve elevated and given a platform to. But I’m also aware that it’s just a start, and that there’s so much more we can and should be doing, and so many more stories that we should strive to tell. SELF’s goal is to help people feel better. In order to live up to that mission we need to do as much as we can to raise awareness and eliminate stigma all year long—exactly what World Bipolar Day calls for.

Should I Seek Help?

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“Doing it yourself is a fad in the United States.”  These were the first words in my first book in psychology, which I coauthored more than 40 years ago.  Turns out we were wrong.  Doing it yourself is not a fad, but a way of life in the U.S.  These days we have so many more resources available to help us help ourselves, including self-help blogs like this one.  And, of course, YouTube, which is a wonderful resource for training videos.  I’ve turned to YouTube to learn the basics of such tasks as caulking a bathroom tub and repairing a hinge on kitchen cabinets. There’s pride in doing things yourself, even if the quality of the work may not match that of a professional.  But I would draw the line at developing a winning tennis serve by following a self-instructional tutorial.  Sometimes a good coach is needed.  There is also a line to be drawn between using the Internet for self-help—even blogs like this—and seeking professional help.

My first book in the field focused on applying principles of behavior therapy to problems in living, from losing excess weight to smoking cessation to overcoming fears and sexual problems.  For many of the problems people encounter in their daily lives, behavior therapy offered practical solutions. This blog continues in that tradition, offering tips for changing your thoughts and attitudes to change your life.  We have explored how to rethink your responses to life’s twists and turns, and along the way offered tips on a range of troubling emotions, from overcoming worry and guilt to coping with fear and managing anger.  We applied the wisdom of ancient Greece to “know thyself” by turning inwardly to examine and evaluate our thoughts and beliefs, especially the negative thoughts that underlie emotional problems like anxietydepression, and anger. We confronted the two worthless emotions, worry and guilt—worthless because we don’t need to be wracked with guilt to recognize our mistakes and correct them or to be consumed with worry to take steps to protect ourselves from impending threats.

Self-Care Is Self-Help

With all this emphasis on self-help, we can lose sight of the importance of a basic principle of self-care—seeking help from others when help is needed.  But how do you know when going it alone is just not cutting it?  The benchmark clinicians typically use is whether problems are persistent and cause significant emotional stress or impair daily functioning.  If you regularly struggle to get out of bed and get going in the morning because you’re feeling down in the dumps, your state of mind is affecting your ability to function effectively.  If you can’t shake off intrusive worrisome or guilt thoughts, or if angry outbursts damage your relationships with others, or if you are continually on edge and can’t sleep at night or relax during the day, then it’s clear your daily functioning is impaired.

Where to Turn for Help

In the forty or so years I’ve been in practice, I’ve witnessed many changes in the field, including the emergence of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as the leading modality of psychotherapy in use today. When I began my practice, psychodynamic therapists schooled in the Freudian and neo-Freudian traditions dominated the field. Today, there are many different forms of therapy and many different types of therapists, from psychologists and psychiatrists to mental health counselors and clinical social workers.  Some forms of therapy, like CBT, offer briefer and more problem-focused treatment approaches than traditional therapies, such as psychoanalysis.  CBT has become the treatment of choice for a range of psychological problems from phobias to social anxiety to insomnia, and evidence from controlled trials shows that CBT more than holds its own when stacked up against other therapies for treating depression and other emotional disorders and when compared to psychiatric medication.

Over the years, the field of psychiatry has become increasingly medicalized, as psychiatrists (medical doctors with specialized training in psychiatry) largely turned from practicing psychotherapy toward medication management. Though psychiatric drugs have important roles to play in the treatment of mental health disorders, especially so with more severe disorders such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, popping a pill does not help people solve problems in their daily lives or learn skills they need to change how they think or improve their relationships with others. Moreover, relapse rates are high when patients stop taking psychiatric meds, and for good reason, as these drugs help manage symptoms but do not address underlying emotional or interpersonal problems. On the other hand, patients can carry the techniques they learn in psychotherapy well beyond the course of treatment and continue to apply them in their daily lives.

Am I Ready to Reach Out?  A 10-Item Checklist

If you’re thinking about whether it makes sense to seek help from a professional, you may find the following checklist to be a useful guide. There is no set number of items that determine whether you could benefit from seeking help.  But as a general guideline, answering at least a few of these questions in the affirmative suggests it might be helpful to talk to a psychologist or other mental health professional.

Yes or No? (You be the Judge)

1.       Are my efforts to change my thinking or attitudes working?

2.       Do I continue to struggle with anxiety, depression, or other negative feelings that impact my daily functioning?

3.       Am I able to step back and examine my own thoughts, or would it help to have another person’s perspective?

4.       Do I give up too easily rather than persevere in changing my thoughts and behaviors?

5.       Are other people telling me I would benefit from “talking to somebody”?

6.       Are worries making it difficult to sleep or function effectively during the day?

7.       Am I avoiding situations out of fear or anxiety?

8.       Is my behavior affecting my relationships in negative ways?

9.       Do I find it difficult to make changes on my own or to stick with them?

10.     Might I work better with a professional than going it alone?

Finding a Therapist

If you do decide to seek help, select a therapist who best fits your needs.  Do you want to work with a therapist who uses psychological methods of treatment, such as a psychologist or counselor, or would benefit more from psychiatric medication prescribed by a psychiatrist?

Find a practitioner with the appropriate licensure and credentials—for example, a licensed psychologist, or a licensed psychologist holding advanced credentials (e.g., a Diplomate in Clinical Psychology awarded by the American Board of Professional Psychology, or ABPP), or a board-certified psychiatrist.  Find out whether your medical insurance covers mental health services (check it out with your health care provider) and whether are you covered for out-of-network providers.  As with other specialists, you may need to pay the therapist’s fee upfront and be reimbursed afterwards if the services are covered by your insurance plan, less any deductibles, co-pays, and so on.

Word of mouth is a good source for finding a therapist but be aware that what works well for one person might not work for another.  You might also “google” the practitioner to see if anything untoward turns up or ask your state licensing board if there are any complaints filed against the individual. Be prepared to ask a potential therapist a lot of questions, like whether the therapist is experienced in treating people with similar problems as your own, what specific form of treatment will be used and what evidence supports its effectiveness,  how long treatment is expected to last, what adverse experiences might be expected, such as drug side-effects, whether you are responsible for cancellation fees, and so on.  Licensed professionals will openly discuss these and other questions with potential clients.  If they balk, take that as a sign to look for someone else.

Whether you try going it alone or reaching out for help, the good news is that there is a range of effective therapeutic techniques that can help people live happier and more fulfilling lives.

© 2019 Jeffrey S. Nevid

Is Pursuing Happiness the Smart Thing to Do?

See Psychology Today Article
By Alexei Orlov

Oleksandr Pidvalnyi/Pexels
Source: Oleksandr Pidvalnyi/Pexels

In the quest for happiness, I have come to understand it as a fleeting emotion, as fluid as tidal waters. Rather than looking outward for nirvana, I should instead seek a better sense of self. In the end, I know for sure that the only measurement that matters is my own. I do not give myself permission to measure my worth against the earthly achievements of others; that is as superfluous as it is harmful.

I have walked through many passages of life and never have I met anyone who is completely and absolutely in a constant state of euphoria or happiness. That being said, I am blessed for having met a rare few who despite the noise of the world and the scars and blooms of their own experiences, are truly at one with themselves. It is they who find the closest state to pure bliss.

Every time I have met such a person, they seemed to have the same traits:

  • they were remarkable listeners
  • they read a great deal and reflected even more
  • they walked away from the chatter of every day regularly, sometimes for an hour, other times much longer
  • they were always thankful for something even when their plight seemed unbearable to an outsider
  • they admired simplicity;
  • they gave space and time to others;
  • and most importantly, they sought honesty from within before searching for it in others.

I hope I shall find this balance of the wisdoms one day.

From where I stand, those that deny the varied degrees of darkness that molest their minds and sometimes their very souls—always seeking a distant light, always measuring always desiring—make victims of themselves. There is that terrible saying that goes: “the happier my friends the more I die.” Trying to measure one’s happiness by the rule of others can be dangerous.

Most times the best of things are right there with us, if only we did less reaching out and more listening to the voice within.

I have come to believe that it is important to see happiness not as something that is an additional benefit but an inextricable part of existence; what we value and our values are often not the same thing. There is no constant state of mind.

Another’s perceived success should not be allowed to serve as the ultimate measure of our own worth or happiness! How would one really know what history remains in their quest? Do you know where the bones may lie, or what tears have fallen?

Victor Freitas/Pexels
Source: Victor Freitas/Pexels

To my mind, any sense of enduring happiness is much more about benevolent values, things that don’t disarm or harm. A person’s fame or another’s wealth does not make him special, just different. I am different and unique and so are all others. Whether one is very public or considers themselves an unknown is of no real consequence.

Only you—and you alone—know who you really are. You have the power of self. Social measures are a man-made delusion. Social strata are pretty much medieval. Human knowledge: a knowledge of self and one’s effects upon others is what truly matters.

It is incredible how often we can watch without seeing, hear without listening, speak without reflection and judge without understanding. Blind assumption is the mother of all disaster. Space, reflection, and listening to the whispers of those who care as much as your own inner voice are your true and important companions.

The pursuit of happiness is like trying to catch feathers in the wind; it’s a whimsical folly and will not last forever. We will have many spikes and many valleys.

George Desipris/Pexels
Source: George Desipris/Pexels

From the moment we have basic cognitive power we are taught how to react to and assimilate things. I have more chance to stay balanced, with less teetering—even in this world of uncontrollable wonders—if I listen to myself and am open to constant discovery. If I have the courage to reshape and to retreat, I can then spring forward with an open mind and spirit.

In the search to belong we are all too often lost while surrounded by many. Being part of the madding crowd is, I guess, a part of most of our lives and we have to deal with it. One can’t just simply get off the proverbial bus while it speeds along the motorway.

But that does not mean for one moment that you can’t step away from the invading noise. You’re only good to others when first you take care of yourself.

Search for the right thing—a sense of self and of things that you value that will keep you appeased even when outside conditions are rough. Perfection is best found in embracing our imperfections: We are none of us perfect but like an aged oak table: gnarled and blemished but still standing as something utterly specific.

Your sense of worth and your sense of self belong entirely to you. The only place to look for them is within. To search for these essential feelings is the most important work many of us will do, and a continual state of being. This is in and of itself a happy state.

The Important Health-Related Reason You Should Have More Hobbies, According to a Psychologist

Author Article Here

Whether you pick up knitting or join a book club, hobbies are a fun way to wind down and tap into your creative side. They could also, it turns out, make you a happier person.

We recently checked in with Barbara Nosal, Ph.D., chief clinical officer at Newport Academy, for her tips on combatting seasonal affective disorder (which, per the American Psychiatric Association, affects roughly 5 percent of U.S. adults). One of her suggestions? Spend time doing things you love.

This seems like a no-brainer, but, especially in the depths of winter, it can be really tempting to veg out 24/7. Don’t cave into the temptation: Spending time with friends or keeping up with hobbies, according to Dr. Nosal, fills “an intellectual, creative or social need, as well as builds self-esteem and self-confidence—bolstering against or lowering the intensity of SAD symptoms.” So basically, resist the overwhelming urge to hibernate until spring and instead spend time reading or cooking or learning pretty much anything.

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