Applied Psychology

Applied Psychology


Perfectionism, Mental Health, & Values

perfectionism July 9th, 2018

Perfectionism is essentially defined as an obsessive and unrealistic concern with being perfect, performing extraordinarily highly, consistently scoring ahead of the curve, and appearing above criticism to others. It’s living a life where one judges one’s actions with a magnifying glass, rarely satisfied with the performance. It can lead for performance anxiety and other “maladaptive” behaviors. It sucks, basically. It has a bit of a silver lining – one can turn out a great piece of writing, look friggin’ great, or really impress someone – but it’s a high price to pay. One perceives oneself as “missing” the bulls-eye twenty times for every hit. It’s sort of like living with a critical parent in your head. As I write this, not far from midnight, I am tired and barely able to accomplish the task, but I won’t go to bed, feeling like I am not trying hard enough, or not tough enough to hack it. In this blog, I explore perfectionism, and point out that it is related to values. 

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Mental Illness is Also a Social Problem

July 3rd, 2018

I just watched a neat program, “The Face of Evil”, hosted by a journalist I like, Chris Cuomo. In the episode, he interviewed a notorious murderer he grew up fairly close to in New York, Jeremy Rifkin. About this horiffic form of mental illness, Cuomo said, “Cases like Rifkin’s have stuck with me, leaving me to question how such a thing could occur. What makes someone who looks and acts like the rest of us most of the time, suddenly turn into a monster?” I see the positive values of love, magnanimity, optimism, and honor, but am also fascinated by how things can go so awry in a human heart and mind. When suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in a society and gun violence is on the rise, there is a significant problem. In this blog, I want to examine mental illness, focusing especially on “social disease” such as sociopathy, suicide, and mass shootings.

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Perseverance Quotes: Never Giving Up

perseverance June 20th, 2018

I was looking at this picture I took in downtown Charleston, SC. it’s an amazing crepe myrtle tree. As you can tell, it only had about a square foot in which to plant its base, and to get rain. What did it do over the last, probably, 50 years? It hung in there, kept on keepin’ on, and stuck with it. It persevered. It coped. It was strong and dedicated. We are much like trees; can we withstand the rigors of life? Deal with the hurricanes and pollution and cars that life entails? Check out these perseverance quotes for a little inspiration and insight. 

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Quotes About Living Life on Life’s Terms

living life on life's terms June 12th, 2018

As I noted in a previous blog about living life on life’s terms, one has to take a long, hard look at life and in the mirror and not blanch. One will find a high challenge there. “Life is a tragedy to those who think, and a comedy to those who feel,” noted French author La Bruyere long ago. But Drew D. Brown believed that “[y]ou don’t look in the mirror to see life; you’ve got to look out the window.” Thus, I wanted to follow up that first blog with this, a piece featuring quotes about “living life on life’s terms”. Enjoy this look at coping, self-realization, personal growth, inner strength, truth, insight, and realism.

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The Challenge of Living Life on Life’s Terms

life on life's terms June 7th, 2018

I was either born or molded into a perfectionist. I just wanted to put that out there. I also am, how should I say, not given to optimism. I do realize the power of an optimistic outlook. In fact, my stepfather is in his 80s and is known among friends and family as being able to ignore inconvenient truths and view the world through rose-colored glasses. Usually, I would look upon that with a certain disdain, as I studied psychological science and clinical practice, and took a number of classes at “the school of hard knocks,” if you will. This blog is about the challenge of optimism (for me at least).

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Existentialism: Authenticity vs. ‘Bad Faith’

authenticity May 3rd, 2018

In a prior post entitled “Existentialism, Humanism, Responsibility, and Freedom,” I examined meaning in life, Jean-Paul Sartre, existence, etc. In this blog, I would like to go a little further toward examining authenticity vs. the idea of “bad faith.” It will hopefully generate more light than it does heat as far as living one’s life with success, passion, deliberateness, and insight. As always, wisdom is about the highest goal, and happiness is not far behind. 

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Twenty-Five Little-Known Wisdom Quotes

wisdom April 27th, 2018

What is wisdom? It’s one of the deepest, widest, most elusive, most complex, simplest, most intriguing concepts around. When you think you know what wisdom is, you’re not quite there; it cannot be pursued and grasped or taught and learned easily. It has long been the province of philosophers and theologians, but recently psychologists have begun to try to define, describe, and delineate this nebulous and fascinating idea. Here are twenty-five little-known quotes about wisdom that I imagine you would find worth your time. Think of them more like a little puzzle piece that takes time to understand, interpret, grasp, and appreciate than to envision each being a simple rule that can be easily memorized. More wisdom quotes can be found by searching The Wisdom Archive – a searchable quotation database that is always no-cost, easy, and ad-free!

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Is Death Good or Bad? To be Feared or Not?

death April 25th, 2018

Many writers, philosophers, theologians, and physicians have reflected over the centuries on the nature of death, including whether death is “good” or “bad”. Philosopher Thomas Nagel phrased the issue thusly: “If death is the unequivocal and permanent end of our existence, the question arises whether it is a bad thing to die.” In this blog, I will analyze death vis-à-vis meaning in life, and reflect on how we can integrate beliefs about the nature of death into our own lives. Epicurus’ ideas will be the keystone.

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Two Types of Values and Their Relevance

values April 23rd, 2018

British moral philosopher Bernard Williams (1929-2003) believed that categorical desires are those desires and aspirations that buoy us, give our lives deeper meaning, and really matter. The rest are mere ancillary and contingent desires. In Williams’ words, he believes we must have “systematic desires around which one organizes life activities which make life worthwhile.” Desires can give life meaning if wisely-placed. At least for a while. This blog will briefly summarize and reflect on the kinds of values human beings hold, and how positioning certain values front-and-center can be inspirational and motivational.

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Magnanimity & Altruism: Saving 50 Jews from Death

magnanimity March 22nd, 2018

Eleanor and Gilbert Kraus are very likely two of the greatest unsung heroes in American history – at least, in Jewish history. I watched a documentary about their courageous acts (in 1939), which amounted to nothing less than a full-throated display of magnanimity and altruism. Here is their story. I will also include a selection of quotations about magnanimity by noted Holocaust survivors, human rights activists, altruism researchers, and stalwart exemplars of virtue and honor such as Elie Wiesel, Nelson Mandela, Anne Frank, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Viktor Frankl. 

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