Master your psychology with therapeutic insights for your life, relationships, & career
  1. 5 Ways to Take Control of Financial Stress

    Photographer: Negative Space

    There’s no sugarcoating the staggering facts: student loan debt has reached record levels, totaling over $1 trillion.

    Student debt in our country is now more than car loans or credit card debt. Under current law, student loans are one of the very few types of debt that can’t be discharged, even in bankruptcy court.

    On the other side of these cold, hard facts is the psychological toll debt can take. The greater the financial strain, the more likely you are to experience symptoms of depression, anxiety and overall ill-health that can leave you feeling distracted at work.

    If you’re one of the millions saddled with student loans or any other type of debt, you’ve probably experienced feelings of hopelessness. You might feel as though you can’t leave a high-paying yet toxic job that pays well. Maybe you’ve feared making life decisions like starting a family or buying a house, all because you need to make payments. You might be running yourself into the ground working multiple gigs and side hustles just to make ends meet.

    Some studies have even found the mental stress of debt closely mirrors the stages of grief.

    • In the denial stage, you want nothing more than to bury your head in the sand and pretend your student loans don’t exist.
    • Next might come anger, however irrational. You might feel angry at your school, your lender, society and even yourself for taking out these loans in the first place.
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  2. Here’s Exactly What to Say When Someone Asks to “Pick Your Brain”

    When you’re an expert in any field, people may regularly ask to “pick your brain,” buy you lunch or some other form of asking for advice. For free, of course.

    If you feel conflicted at time like these, it makes perfect sense. Your schedule is packed, yet your instinct might still be to jump in and help. In fact, your generosity and desire to make a difference likely played a huge part in you going into business to begin with.

    But in certain instances you’ll need to draw a line. Maybe you’re simply too busy or you sense someone is seeking endless free consulting without giving anything back. No one likes feeling used. Yet you know these informal meetings can help with growing your network, building your business through referrals and more. It can be a sticky situation.

    Even when you feel confident with the concept of saying no, asserting yourself is a skill that takes practice and often doesn’t come naturally. In the moment you may be at a loss for words, agonizing over the right thing to say to put up a  supportive-yet-firm boundary that doesn’t burn any bridges.

    It’s important to become familiar with concrete strategies and scripts so you can maintain that ideal mix of being generous without being taken advantage of.

    The next time someone asks to “pick your brain”, you can:

    1. Offer Help—On Your Terms

    When an acquaintance contacts you to set up a coffee date to talk business, first get a sense of what specific questions they have.

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  3. Try This Mind Trick To Deal With Annoying Co-Workers

    At some point in your career, you’ll undoubtedly cross paths with colleagues that irk you. Maybe it’s the presumption that their opinions are the only correct ones on the planet or their blatant brown-nosing to get on the boss’ good side. Perhaps you can’t stand how their arrogance, moodiness or quick temper puts a damper on the company culture.

    Difficult co-workers can high-jack your emotions. They trigger something in you that causes you to almost act or think irrationally , which is not exactly a healthy situation in which you can succeed. You may find that sooner or later your exasperation expands until every little thing that person does makes you want to tear your hair out.

    Unfortunately, in the case of annoying co-workers, you can’t simply remove them from your life. Avoiding them around the office or circumventing one-on-one meetings probably won’t work either.

    Fortunately, there’s a way to put a positive spin on the situation that stems from a counter-intuitive insight about dealing with difficult people. When we discern a quality in someone else that irks us, we can benefit from pausing to examine exactly why we have that reaction and look more closely at what it can teach us about ourselves.

    The friction of interacting with an annoying co-worker actually presents a chance to cultivate essential leadership skills like assertiveness, self-awareness and confidence. It can provide an unexpected opportunity for personal growth that goes far beyond solely testing the limits of your patience.

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  4. How to Manage Your Friends (Without Making It Awkward)

    When you’re a fast-rising millennial stepping into a managerial role for the first time, there’s certainly a lot to think about. You’ve probably wondered if your older colleagues will consider you experienced enough.

    Or maybe you’ve thought about how the shift in responsibility will affect your work-life balance.

    But many new managers have a worry that’s seldom addressed, even though it’s widespread: how to navigate managing peers and friends.

    What should you do when people who have always been your equals are now reporting to you?

    This transition can be awkward and anxiety-provoking to say the least, yet typical advice for new managers tends to gloss over how to manage the social and emotional changes.

    Here are some practical tips to help you successfully ease the stress, lead with confidence and keep your relationships intact even as they evolve and change.

    1. Realize having friends at work is still a good thing.

    You’ve probably come across management advice warning you how employees need a leader, not a friend. As a new manager, your first impulse might be to put on your manager hat and cut off any friendly ties.

    The truth is, cutting off these friendships is not only unnecessary but can actually have a negative impact on your work and your organization.

    Research has shown the powerful benefits of having friends at work. People who have friends at work are not only more engaged, but their organizations are more profitable than those in which close friendships are less common.

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  5. Stop Fighting Your Inner Critic For Good [Watch my TEDx Talk]

    Think about the last time you felt fear and anxiety take control of your day. Maybe it stopped you from making an important contribution in a meeting because you felt like your opinion wasn’t worthwhile. Or maybe a simple email took you hours to write because your inner critic kept telling you it wasn’t good enough.

    That YOU weren’t good enough.

    What did you do?  How did you respond?

    For a lot of us, whenever we feel bad, we think that we are bad. As if having negative feelings somehow makes us weak or a failure.

    I think we have the hyper-positive whitewashing in the media and self-help industry to “thank” (blame) for making us feel this way.

    There’s no shortage of experts or gurus talking about how we need to eliminate so-called “negative” emotions.

    But personally, I’m sick of the “fake it til you make it” approach to positive thinking. In the long term all it does is make us feel inadequate.

    Day after day, I see my clients looking for a strategic way to build confidence. They want to go beyond the common advice to sugar-coat their struggles behind the mantra of “just be positive!”

    WATCH: Discover a simple, 2-step strategy to stop fighting your inner critic for good in my 9-minute TEDx talk.

    Imagine if you could start hearing your inner critic as INstructive rather than DEstructive. What if you could put your inner critic to work for you instead of constantly going in circles battling the negative voices in your head?

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  6. 6 Do’s and Don’ts For Talking Politics At Work

    Politics is already a sensitive subject at the office. The touchiness has been amplified recently. Yet whether it’s in the office, during happy hour or even on social media, politics will likely come up.

    Although it’s easier said than done, plenty of experts maintain you should never discuss politics at work under any circumstances.  After all, it can be divisive. You’re talking about people’s world views, how they believe the country should be run and in many cases the best ways for people to live their lives.

    Many of my clients have anxiety not only about issues, policies, and the future of America itself, but also about whether they should entertain political discussions at work. And if so, how?

    Here’s what to do and what not to do when it comes to discussing political issues with colleagues.

    DO ask for permission.

    It’s an easy step to forget: always ask for permission before launching into a touchy topic. Everyone has different boundaries around discussing sensitive issues. Don’t make the mistake of getting caught up in rigid thinking and assume your co-workers have the same broaching the topic of politics as you do.

    To set the groundwork for a healthy, productive dialogue, you might say, “I’m not trying to change your mind. I see this issue very differently and I’d like to understand. Would it be okay to spend a few minutes talking through our perspectives?”

    DO know your facts (and admit when you don’t).

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Master your psychology with therapeutic insights for your life, relationships, & career