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PsychNotes February 2014
by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.
Clinical and Sport Psychologist

Index        Previous        Next

February 26, 2014


How do you spend extra income? Do you spend it on acquiring things? Or do you spend it on experiences? Researcher, Leaf Van Boven (2005) suggests that how money is spent can influence our happiness. In particular, money spent on acquiring material items tends to be associated with greater dissatisfaction with one's life whereas money spent on experiences is related to a more positive sense of well-being.

Several reasons may explain this difference:
1) Experiences provide opportunity for positive evaluation. When you have experiences they can live on in your memory. Over time, you are likely to enjoy and talk about the good experiences again and again. Even the bad experiences can become an interesting story to tell which increases the positive associations.

2) Experiences are less likely to have negative comparisons. When you purchase something there is a tendency to compare to others. Someone else may have a bigger house or they bought their car cheaper. This comparison often leads to dissatisfaction and a tendency to want more material items to prove self-worth.

3) Experiences improve social relationships. Many experiences involve other people so they have a direct positive effect on relationships. Even solitary experiences can improve relationships through sharing the memory and stories with other people.

However, it is also possible that people who have a low sense of self-worth are more likely to purchase things as an easy “fix” to try to feel better about themselves. The research is not clear if a person who tends to spend money on material possessions would increase their self-worth if they spent on experiences instead.

How do you want to spend your money? On a river raft float or a picture of a river? On a dinner party with friends or a new appliance? On a day at the zoo with your family or a lounge chair?

Van Boven, L. (2005). Experientialism, Materialism, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Review of General Psychology, 9, 132–142. DOI: 10.1037/1089-2680.9.2.132

February 15, 2014


Rule 5: Dream the Dreams of Fools
(read more...)

Dream the dreams of fools

February 12, 2014

New Cognitive Diary Training Example: JEALOUS OF WIFE TALKING TO ANOTHER MAN

EVENT: My wife was talking to another man and touched him on the arm. I questioned her after about her behavior and liking him.

EMOTIONS: jealous, angry, hostile

DISTRESS RATING: 8—high level of distress

THOUGHTS: “She likes him. What if she wants him and leaves me? I can't compete with him. Other women have cheated on me. I can't trust her.”

CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE IRRATIONAL THINKING IN THIS EXAMPLE? There are at least 3 irrational beliefs.

HOW CAN YOU CHANGE THE THINKING? What is another way of thinking about the situation that won't cause the feelings of being jealous, angry, and hostile?


February 9, 2014


Rule 4: Make Your Share of Mistakes
(read more...)

Make Your Share of Mistakes

February 7, 2014 The last 8 cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) tools, Exposure Methods, are discussed in the last installment of this article: read about the methods of imaginal coping exposures, imaginal exposure, coping exposures, mistake practice, track and reduce, interoceptive deconditioning, flooding exposure, and paradoxically creating anxiety.

The entire article includes 50 CBT tools for panic and anxiety which are divided into several categories: general skills, initial relaxation training, initial cognitive restructuring, advanced mindfulness training, advanced cognitive restructuring, and exposure treatment.

February 2, 2014

New Passive Aggressive Example: SARCASTIC EX

Question:I wrote a Facebook status about my part time job (cashier, retail), how I spent the day making bouquets, how fun it was and maybe I should change my part time work to Florist. I also hold a B.A. in Graphic Design and am currently in training for web design for my career. An ex who used to mock me for not finding something in my field immediately after graduation commented on my status with "I think Florist goes quite well with your degree..." When I called him out on how rude his statement was he flipped it around saying he was trying to be nice and actually serious and that I was being "so dramatic and overreacting." It made me question how I felt for a second but friends and family members with no insight to the situation fully agreed that when they saw the comment they took it as dripping with sarcasm and rude. Needless to say I messaged him directly confronting the issue. Then when he continued to place blame on me and spew more hurtful words I removed him from Facebook.


February 1, 2014

New Cognitive Diary Training Example: TOO DEPRESSED TO CALL

EVENT: My friend has left several messages for me about going to lunch.

EMOTIONS: overwhelmed, embarrassed, unworthy

DISTRESS RATING: 8—high level of distress

THOUGHTS: “My depression is so bad I just don't feel like being social. But I should call my friend. She will think I am a horrible person for not returning her call. I am so lazy and weak that I can't do a simple thing like calling my friend.”
CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE IRRATIONAL THINKING IN THIS EXAMPLE? There are at least 3 irrational beliefs.

HOW CAN YOU CHANGE THE THINKING? What is another way of thinking about the situation that won't cause the feelings of being overwhelmed, embarrassed, and unworthy?


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