Kyle MacDonald: Why It's So Hard For People to Say No
Just two letters, it's such a small word. But is not being able to say no making your life unmanageable? Psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald has some tips.
It's such a little word, just two letters, but not being able to say it can be downright dangerous, and can also quickly make life unmanageable. Even if you're safety isn't at risk, too many "yes when you mean no" moments leads to resentment: the wish to be agreeable is eclipsed by exhaustion, and the growing pain of our own needs and wishes becomes ignored.
The real problem though is when our belief in our own value is so skewed towards what we do, rather than who we are. That's when the possibility of disappointing others takes on an extra dimension: What if they don't like me any more?
Kyle MacDonald: How To Help Someone With Depression
Psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald identifies the most important thing you can do for some battling depression.
A number of people emailed me after last week's column, pointing out that I had been a little negative in focusing on "what not to do" when someone you care about is experiencing depression, and asking if I could talk more about how to help.
I thought that was fair enough, and I can completely understand why people would've felt it wasn't very helpful (see what I did there?).
Kyle MacDonald: What's So Great About Mindfulness?
5 Tips on how to become more Mindful, Kyle MacDonald
Mindfulness is very trendy at the moment, and it's not often you can say that about a psychological treatment. But it isn't all incense, throw cushions and sitting cross-legged with your eyes shut.
So what is mindfulness and why is it so popular?
Mindfulness comes from Buddhist traditions and is a series of meditation techniques that help with mental focus, concentration and emotions by way of improving our ability to more actively control our attention.
Kyle MacDonald: How to 'Cope' With Christmas
I often get asked "How do I cope with Christmas", which is weird, because it's the most wonderful time of the year apparently.
But in all my years as a therapist it seems no day causes as much distress to people as Christmas Day.
Recently I've found myself increasingly less interested in thinking about how to "cope" with Christmas and much more interested in how to make the day more personally meaningful.
To me, despite the obvious and inherent contradiction, Christmas is a secular celebration. I'm not religious and so the day itself is not, for me, a religious celebration.
Kyle MacDonald: How Jealousy Can Ruin a Relationship
What makes people feel that they're at risk of losing someone, even when another part of them knows it isn't real? Psychotherapist Kyle Macdonald explains.
"My boyfriend gets really jealous, and at times can't even tolerate me talking to another man. He wants to change, but why does he get jealous?"
The green-eyed monster: the ruin of many relationships. Jealousy isn't inherently destructive, however as an emotion it can flare up even when we know it's completely irrational.
Kyle MacDonald: Do You Care Too Much?
Many people find themselves in relationships and friendships where they feel their well of compassion has run dry. Kyle MacDonald explains what happens when we care…
Occasionally I have clients stop mid-sentence, look at me with a slightly concerned manner and ask, "How do you listen to this all day?" It's a fair question, and one I always try to answer honestly.
Burnout, or more specifically "compassion fatigue" is a real professional concern, sort of like the "RSI" of the caring professions. Psychotherapists in particular are required to undergo their own therapy as part of training. All talk therapy professionals are also required to attend "supervision" too, essentially a session of their own once a week, or fortnight, with a senior colleague to discuss and support their work.
Kyle MacDonald: Are You Too Hard On Yourself?
"I'm constantly giving myself a hard time, what can I do about it?
I can understand why people might get cynical about "psycho-babble", therapists do have a way of calling everyday things by rather complicated sounding labels. "Self- talk" can seem like another example of this.
Most people just call it thinking.
But actually self-talk is the way we talk to ourselves, about ourselves, in our own head. And pretty much by definition, it's only a problem...
Kyle MacDonald: When is 'Depression' Really Depression?
Psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald explains how the term is used to describe what are often very different conditions of human misery.
It may be an urban myth, but I've heard it said that the Native people of Artic Canada have 200 words to describe snow, because, as the parable goes, being surrounded by it makes you notice the many subtle variations beyond just "snow" and "sleet".
Psychotherapists have at least two hundred words for human misery, and many of them differentiate between the different kinds of depression people experience.
Kyle MacDonald: Inspirational Quotes are Junk Food for the Soul
Here's why inspirational quotes are like M&M's: appealing, tasty, addictive, and completely devoid of any nutritional value.
"I get bombarded with inspiring quotes and memes on Facebook and Twitter. Is there any evidence that reading them helps people?" Cynical
I hate inspirational quotes. Okay, hate might be strong, but I'm not a fan.
However, just like junk food, they seem to be more popular than ever. Now regular readers of this column will know I'm a horses for courses kind of guy, so if they work for you: then more power to you. But my main objection is that most of the time they're, well, just words.
How to Cope With the Emotional Toll of the Quakes
Psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald discusses how we can best respond to those living through the earthquakes, and why it's okay to let yourself be afraid.
When the Kaikoura quake struck just after midnight on Monday morning I was on air with Mike King hosting the Nutters Club. Not only did we feel the quake, we quickly had to abandon our show to take calls from distressed and worried New Zealanders all around the country and provide emergency updates to listeners.
As we talked to people, and watched the timeline on GeoNet light up with quake after quake, I began to feel deeply worried about being two stories up in a concrete building, about my family, and about what had happened in Kaikoura and was happening to our country.