Saturday, November 28, 2015

52 Secrets of Psychology - Dr Chris Day

Many struggles of our life are of relationship and the emotions that come along and put us down. "52 Secrets of Psychology" by Dr Chris Day is like a light that shine through. Encouraging us to lead a life less plagued.

It is a simple, short and very enlightening book which i encourage you to read it in its entirety. I am keeping some notes here for myself. And yes, am re-reading the book again.

The eBook is now available from the National Library Board, Overdrive.

Why Do Wild Flowers Always Looked More Beautiful Than the Carefully Cultivated?


1. Four choices - When things are distressing you, you have 4 choices. Leave. Change things. Accept it. Do nothing, and stop complaining.

2. Control - Stay focused on what you can control - What you say, what you do, and to a very limited extent, your thoughts and mood.

3. "Should" - Are generally a combination of angry, resent and helplessness. Shift your focus from what 'should' be and look at what is actually happening. Fix it.

4. Truth - No progress is possible until the truth about your situation is uncovered and acknowledged. Be brave. Often the truth is painful.

5. Experience - It is not necessary, or smart, to learn everything from direct experience. Watch people you admire - what they do, and what they avoid doing.

6. Mind reading - If you need someone else to know what you want or how you feel, you must speak up or you will be disappointed.

7. Discover your values - Knowing what is important to you, helps you make decisions. Know the qualities and behaviors you value. Work to become this person.

8. Bad habits - A crucial component in breaking a habit is to completely avoid situations where you will be tempted.

9. The power of beauty - Clean up. Making your environment beautiful is a sign that you value and respect yourself.

10. Slow down - If you slow down at the right moments, you do everything better, you build relationships, you understand more and you make fewer mistakes.

11. Your thoughts are not you - Practice distancing yourself from negative thoughts by watching them, and then labeling them as "just thoughts".

12. Your business - Many of us spend a lot of energy on other people's problems and challenges. One of the keys to a happy life is to learn to spend it on your own.

Weeks 13 - 15: CHANGE

13. Change - Set some very specific short term deadlines and start immediately.

14. Courage - Courage to identify problems. Courage to change your mind and to learn. Courage to act on the solution you decided upon. Without, nothing changes.

15. Focus - Don't become discouraged by comparing yourself with others. Focus by asking yourself continually. "What do i want?" "What do i have to do to make that happen?" 

Weeks 16 - 25: HAPPINESS

16. Happiness - Devote your time to something you believe to be intensely meaningful and worthwhile. Serve your purpose by drawing on your strength. The transitory pleasures along the way are the icing on the cake.

17. Strength - Identify your strengths and make the most of them, you will definitely be happier and you will probably succeed more often.

18. Threes - Before you get up in the morning: Think 3 things you can be grateful for. 3 things you have to look forward to. 3 chores that have to be done that day.

19. Disappointment - Like all our other experiences, is transitory. This time next year your concerns are likely to be totally different. Try to focus on moving to "plan B".

20. Negativity - The obvious way to avoid negative rumination and self-criticism is to give your mind a more constructive problem to think about.

21. Loss - Nobody always gets what they want, or goes through life without losing things they value or people they love. Loss is part of the human condition. You are definitely not alone. 

22. Pessimism - It is important to face the truth, but there is nothing gained by negativity. Open up possibilities for action, rather than feeling down about an unsatisfactory situation.

23. Grumpiness - Is it worthwhile having a whole day of unpleasantness and grumping around?

24. Ignore yourself - When you are very tired, remind yourself to ignore negative thoughts. Or make decisions or have difficult conversations when fatigued. Wait until you can think more clearly.

25. Helping - Volunteering. You will feel less isolated when you are part of a group of like-minded people, working together to achieve something worthwhile.

Weeks 26 - 31: CALM

26. Anxiety - In situations that are both unpredictable and uncontrollable. Try to figure out how you can make some of the elements of the experience more controllable or predictable.

27. Dread - Think about the worst that could happen. Then imagine the best thing. Think about what you could do to minimise any possible unpleasantness or difficulty.

28. Instant Calm - Go somewhere quiet. Shut your eyes. Empty your lungs by pushing all the air you can. Concentrate on your breath. Breathe this way for a couple of minutes, then open your eyes.

29. Choosing - Wasting time and energy dithering about buying choices is a self-destructive form of perfectionism. No matter what you choose, this time next year it will be water under the bridge.

30. Television - TV plays on your emotions to get your attention. Cut back on news, documentaries, and any programs with arguments, swearing or violence. Do something interesting instead. Note the difference in your mood.

31. Feeling included - Rather than worrying about being accepted in social situations (Remember, everyone else is engaged in this same process), concentrate on assuring others that you accept them. 

Weeks 32 - 37: SOCIAL SKILLS

32. Meeting people - Remember that each new person is potentially a new friend, and each new topic of conversation is potentially a new interest or activity for you as well.

33. Manners - Acknowledged and appreciate others. They favorably predispose people towards us. Being civil also changes the way we feel about ourselves.

34. Backbiting - We demonstrate to others that we are mean and judgmental people, we are also likely to expose some shortcoming of our own. Try instead, focus on improving our own lives.

35. A pat on the back - Keep it simple. Identify the thing you admire or appreciate, and then say it.

36. Ask for encouragement - We all love to hear encouragement from those we love. Take a risk and tell them what you need.

37. Dealing with praise - Learn to accept compliments gracefully. A simple smile and a sincere 'thank you' is usually the best response.

Weeks 38 - 52: COMMUNICATION

38. Judgment - The only way to be sure of the intentions of others is to ask them.

39. When people don't care - Not everyone shares your values and behaves as you do. Accept the reality of how they are. And focus on making plans to limit the control these people have over you, your life and your loved ones.

40.  Expectations - A good question to ask yourself is why other people should meet your expectations. Another is whether you always meet other people's expectations, or even your own expectations of yourself.

41. Taking offence - When arguments flare up about what appears to be nothing, take a close look at what lies at the heart of them. Identify the hurt. Then, ask yourself, "What is so bad about that?" Don't let arguments get out of hand.

42. Resentment - Calm down and think clearly without being highly emotional. Remember that some situations and some personalities just have to be accepted. Accept, deal with the situation and move on. Refusing to prolong your suffering and moving on quickly is always your best move.

43. Goodwill - At the start of a relationship we credit each other with a certain amount of goodwill. As the relationship progresses, some people are in the habit of venting their stress on those they love.

44. Dispense with arguments - Arguments usually resolve nothing. You will generate more goodwill and have a happier relationship if, rather than arguing, you discuss the issue and find a solution.

45. Unity - Commit to unity before you try to solve problems with other people. When each person knows how much the other one values the continuation of the relationship at the start of a negotiation, it is less likely that the situation will descend into unpleasantness.

46. Kindly tone - The tone of your voice, kindly or harsh, is just as powerful as your message. People read intent from your tone of voice.

47. Intentions - To begin difficult conversations. State your desire to maintain a good relationship. When the other person knows that you care about them, the conversation about the situation is less emotionally charged.

48. Expressing yourself - When having trouble with others, you sometimes need to talk about it with them. Use "I" statements, "I am worried about..." or "I am feeling..." Never say "YOU", or speak about what they are doing.

49. Understanding - Few desires are as powerful as the yearning to be understood. Being listened to. It is a real gift to others to give them your full attention.

50. Influence - You can't control other people, you can only influence them. The first is by force and the second is by kindness. The fact is, people are more positively influenced by kindness than they are by force.

51. Nagging doesn't work - Try negotiating a few ground rules instead. Make deals you can both agree upon. Agree upon the consequences of breaking those rules. Let the rules stand and be sure to apply the consequences.

52. Success - A successful person awakens the potential in others. You need to be able to genuinely see their potential and respect it. Learn to listen and encourage rather than control and manage.

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