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Forge
A publication from Medium on personal development.

Psychology

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A simple thought exercise for when you’re experiencing boredom or burnout

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Over the weekend, I walked into my living room to see my kids bored to the point of physical incapacitation. They were strung out across the sofa, apparently crushed by the weight of, I don’t know, having all of their basic needs met. Their sighs were deafening.

For kids their ages, five and nine, boredom is an existential crisis. So I proposed an existential solution.

“Pretend this is the first time you’ve ever been to this house,” I told them. “This is an AirBnb now, and you just walked in the door. …


We confide in strangers more often than we realize

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Over the past 13 months, “How are you?” has felt more and more like a ridiculous question — and yet I’ve asked it more times than I can count, to virtually everyone I’ve seen. It’s a socially conditioned reflex; even when we know the answer is “Not well, bitch,” we can’t help but ask.

And just as deeply ingrained is the meaningless reply: “Fine” or “Okay, given the circumstances” or “Hanging in there!” I have said some form of this answer while decidedly not hanging in there. I’ve heard it from people I knew for a fact were not fine.


When you acknowledge the weight you’re carrying, every step feels important

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In the past year, many of us have had to alter, expand, or completely re-conceptualize the definition of progress to make room for the daily tasks that, one or two years ago, wouldn’t have appeared remotely noteworthy. You watered all of your plants? Congratulations. You finished reading that book you bought in 2016? Huge.

Planning to run a marathon or even organizing a jam-packed social weekend might have once seemed easily in your grasp, but changing realities require adjustments to our capacities. …


In this phase of the pandemic, genuine, lasting connections might feel elusive. Attunement is the key.

Photo: Priscilla Du Preez via Unsplash

Quality connections are hard to come by… especially during the pandemic and with social distancing. But even in the Before Times, genuine, lasting connections seemed elusive.

But why?

Part of the problem may include the addictive nature of smartphones and social media. During the pandemic, these devices are a lifeline to our friends and loved ones. But in non-pandemic times, being glued to our screens and devices is more of a boon for marketers and advertisers than it is for the quality of our relationships.

Then there’s the chronic stresses and anxieties we face. It often feels impossible to manage…


Curiosity can help you bridge the gap between intellectual understanding and emotional reality

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I know better than this. Why am I still so stuck in my feelings? We’ve all been there — in that uncomfortable space between knowing something to be true, but the intellectual knowledge not being enough to fix or change the emotional experience.

Maybe you last encountered this discrepancy after angrily critiquing your body for its pandemic changes even after your deep dive into the history of fatphobia.

Or you noticed it creep up after weeks of crying over a layoff despite knowing that your workplace severely mistreated and undervalued you. Regardless, you’ve likely judged yourself and your feelings due…


Instead of waiting impatiently for the future to arrive, use the concept of ‘dual reality’ to find peace in this weird pandemic moment

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If 2020 was the worst year ever, 2021 is on track to be the weirdest. Not bad, per se — or at least, not as bad as what we’ve all survived to date. More like, a year that’s shaping up to be more than a little bit… off.

As I write this, most U.S. states have freshly expanded Covid-19 vaccine eligibility to all adults over the age of 18. Yet, at the very same time, states across the country are seeing an alarming surge in cases. The same is happening across Europe and in Canada. In Brazil, the pandemic is…


A helpful way to cut down on the noise

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When President Biden took office earlier this year, many of us relished the end of four years… of compulsively refreshing our news apps. The headlines lost their lure, cable news saw a post-Trump ratings slump, and, even though Covid times continue, it felt like we got part of our brains back. But, in the past few weeks, that feeling has faded away for me.

I’ve begun stuffing my favorite reading app with long-form articles, yet I can’t get past the first paragraph of any of them. My inbox is drowning in newsletters that I usually rely on to streamline my…


Three lessons on how to handle adversity while feeling your feelings

A tree shaped by the wind
A tree shaped by the wind
Photo: Melanie Hobson/EyeEm/Getty Images

I used to think resilience was a tool I just didn’t have. I can be an easy crier. How can one cry frequently and also be resilient? When we think of resilience, we imagine stoic faces, superhero power poses, and triumphant fists in the air. If we do a Google image search for “resilience,” a person shedding tears certainly does not come up.

I don’t think that anymore. It’s a realization that has come from time and age more than any single aha moment, but I know now that — much like how courage is not the absence of fear


It helps to understand the science of success

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I never thought I’d say this, but the impending return to “normal” life is stressing me out.

For some people, the pandemic has freed up time to learn new skills and invest in hobbies. For me, it’s been a year of feeling thwarted: The sense of taking two steps forward and one step back, over and over again. The book proposal I’ve been working on for longer than I care to admit has been “almost done” for months. …


Like a muscle, your ability to feel pleasure can deteriorate if you don’t use it

Photo: Luca Upper on Unsplash

I keep a running mental list of things that make me belly laugh: videos of my kids when they were babies; old episodes of Impractical Jokers; a spontaneous FaceTime call with my best friend from college. When I catch myself slipping into doom and gloom, I pick one — not as a way to bypass my emotions, but to make sure I don’t forget how to feel them in the first place.

There’s a time for sadness and anger, and these days, it seems to be 24/7. Summoning joy, on the other hand, hasn’t felt so easy for a while…

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