Emotions

Emotions

If You Want to Be Happy, Then You Have to Be Happy

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, June 29 2022

Yes, I know the title is a little too cute and seemingly paradoxical.  But the truth is that happiness is a choice as much as it is a response to external stimuli.  Give me a moment to explain how emotions work in humans vs. earlier organisms, and you’ll understand why the title is not a paradox nor a tautology but rather an explanation of—and a pr...

Read More
Emotions

No One Cares (and That’s a Good Thing)

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, May 25 2022

Humans are a social species.  As such, they are naturally drawn to human interaction.  Small talk, for example, is the ultimate example of picking inconsequential topics to discuss to begin conversations and develop relationships with others.  As people get to know each other, they can then move into more sensitive or in-depth topics with a greater...

Read More
Emotions

“Your Feelings Never Lie to You” vs. “Your Feelings Are Always Right”

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, May 11 2022

Roger Ebert is famously quoted as saying, “Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.”  This is an important point about feelings because your emotions are giving you critical feedback about three things: your experiences (e.g., “AHHHH!!!  I’m on fire!”), your desires (e.g., “I really could go for a cheeseburger right...

Read More
Emotions

You Can Raise Your Emotional State at Will

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, April 27 2022

Many people think that their emotional state is almost exclusively due to the reality that they are experiencing.  After all, basic biology and psychology teach the classic “stimulus-response” model in living organisms where a change in the environment will trigger a response in the affected creature.  This is mostly true, as life forms that did no...

Read More
Growth

Take People on the Journey

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, April 20 2022

Everyone knows that people love a good story.  It helps them learn, remember things, and stay engaged in a presentation or conversation.  But why is it such a more impactful way to convey information than simply stating facts, such as “2+2=4”?  Because the story is a journey, and effective engagement, influence, and relationship-building follows th...

Read More
The Meaning of Life

Happiness is NOT the Meaning of Life

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, April 6 2022

Being the most controversial assertion in The Meaning of Life: A guide to finding your life’s purpose, this blog post is probably long overdue.  There is a long-standing belief that the meaning of life is to be happy, and much of positive psychology is focused on maximizing happiness as a result.

Read More
Growth

Boredom: Very Important…and Very, Very Dangerous

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, March 2 2022

“Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.”  You might have heard this saying, which summarizes well the downsides of boredom.  Boredom is an emotional response to the lack of novelty, challenge, or engagement coming from a person’s surroundings, and it is a very important mechanism for keeping people and animals engaged in play and other activities tha...

Read More
Growth

Life’s 8 Major Fallacies

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, January 5 2022

Mistakes People Make in Their Search for Meaning When people are looking for their meaning in life, they will have trouble finding it if they make erroneous assumptions about how life works or what they’re supposed to do with the one that they’ve been given.  Unfortunately, such fundamental assumptions are held sometimes without people having thoug...

Read More
Suffering

What Is Causing Your Existential Crisis?

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, August 11 2021

Humans have advanced cognitive abilities that allow them to think about themselves and the world around them.  That gives them greater survival capabilities, but it also allows them to wallow in despair.  The question is, what causes the latter to occur?  In other words, why are you questioning your existence?

Read More
Suffering

Use Cognitive Dissonance to Your Advantage

Nathanael Garrett Novosel, July 14 2021

Cognitive dissonance occurs when there is a conflict between a belief you hold and a behavior, new information, or a conflicting belief.  The "dissonance" in this case causes discomfort, necessitating a change in the person's behavior or beliefs to alleviate it.  The most famous example in history is the Aesop fable of Sour Grapes.  In the fable, a...

Read More
Next