Category: Psychology

Helen Mirren on miserable self obsession

Helen Mirren on miserable self obsession

Much of this site is about how self-awareness impacts our creativity and personal development. But self-exploration can also get obsessive, or we may not find the right people to help, as Helen Mirren notes in her memoir. Here is an excerpt: Part of my job as an actress is to do interviews, but while I […]

Disarming the brain's fear response

Disarming the brain’s fear response

Fear and anxiety can keep us from pursuing dreams, exploring creative projects and in other ways realizing our talents. Fear can take various forms such as: social anxiety, phobias, performance anxiety or stage fright. Robert Maurer, PhD has studied social and neuropsychological aspects of achievement and creative expression for many years. He notes that even […]

Dancing With Our Unconscious

Dancing With Our Unconscious

Being creative and realizing our talents involves self-awareness and respecting who we really are, including our unconscious depths. In an interview about her film “Flightplan,” Jodie Foster commented, “When you’re a dramatic actor you look for films that hit you in the gut, in this unconscious place that really moves you, and then you can’t […]

 Directing our feelings and thinking to be more creative

Directing our feelings and thinking to be more creative

Do you remember how much you felt and thought as a child? Probably a lot, especially if you were gifted and creative. As an adult, we may have learned to cover up or set aside much of our inner life, in order to get along with others and do our jobs. But if we want […]

The science of feeling good

The science of feeling good

While psychology has mostly concentrated on mental health disorders and how to deal with them, the field of positive psychology is exploring what helps make us happy and fulfilled – feelings that support our personal development and achievement. The photo is psychologist Jeanne Nakamura appreciating the joking scowling of her colleague Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi of Claremont […]

Our Shadow and Developing Creativity

Our Shadow and Developing Creativity

The movie Black Swan portrays some aspects of how the darker aspects of the shadow self can impact our mental health and creative expression. The photo shows ballerina Nina [Natalie Portman] and her mother [Barbara Hershey]. In his Psych Central article “Black Swan” and the Recovery of the Shadow Self, Joseph Burgo PhD points out […]

Collaborating With Our Shadow Side

Collaborating With Our Shadow Side

Many artists know that our inner depths provide the material for creative expression. But much of what we have in our psyches may be shut away from awareness, by suppression and repression, and just not paying attention. This wealth of emotional and imaginational material psychologists, beginning perhaps with Carl Jung, identify as the Shadow Self. There is […]

Steve Wozniak on being shy

Steve Wozniak on being shy

Many accomplished people have been shy during periods of their life. Two examples: Craig McCaw – “Telecommunications billionaire and wireless pioneer, Craig McCaw recognized that shortcomings (shyness and dyslexia) could also be assets. “Maybe my whole attitude toward life comes from being forced, as a relatively shy person, to confront people and ask them to […]

Claire Danes and Temple Grandin on Autism and thinking differently

Claire Danes and Temple Grandin on Autism and thinking differently

“My visual thinking gives me the ability to ‘test-run’ in my head a piece of equipment I’ve designed, just like a virtual reality computer system.” – Temple Grandin, PhD She was portrayed by Claire Danes in an HBO movie “Temple Grandin.” From post: HBO’s Autistic Hero, by Jace Lacob : “Playing somebody who is wired […]

Harvard research: We can think ourselves younger and healthier

Harvard research: We can think ourselves younger and healthier

Harvard Professor Ellen Langer and colleague Alia Crum reported that they took 84 hotel workers and told one group that “the work they do (cleaning hotel rooms) is good exercise and satisfies the Surgeon General’s recommendations for an active lifestyle.” Langer and Crum told the control group nothing. Four weeks later, the control group hadn’t […]

Filling your time with meaning

Filling your time with meaning

“Drawing is sort of therapy for me. I draw in between film shooting sessions, I draw while flying on airplanes, and sometimes when I have days off.” Actor Jane Seymour [from the page Painting 2] Actively making a life of meaning beyond work can help keep us emotionally healthy and creatively dynamic. Gabriel Byrne notes […]

It Can’t Be Done

It Can’t Be Done

By Morty Lefkoe “It can’t be done” is never the truth. What people really are saying when they utter these words is: “I don’t how how to do it.” Or, “it can’t be done the way we’ve always tried in the past.” Or, “it can’t be done according to the only way I can think […]

Can we be too perfectionistic?

Can we be too perfectionistic?

By Cat Robson Painter Elizabeth Murray comments, “When I’m in the studio working, I reach a point at which I know I could stop – that the painting is fine as it is – but I feel that there’s something else I want, something more, and I keep pushing, bringing the painting to another place. […]

Anger and creativity

Anger and creativity

Actor and Singer/songwriter Melora Hardin said in our interview: “Anger is the best propeller for any kind of action, it really gets you moving. It’s a good thing. A healthy thing. “But I also think a lot of people — like some songwriters I interact with — get really caught in the trap of feeling […]

Music Lives in a Different Part of the Brain

Music Lives in a Different Part of the Brain

“I think it’s true of all stammerers. They can’t stammer when they sing.” Carly Simon As a child, Carly Simon suffered from stuttering, and found that singing helped. She commented, “There’s something about the mind connecting differently to the vocal cords when you apply either rhythm or melody.” Glen Campbell, 75, recently made public the […]

Bill Harris on consciousness technology & holosync

Bill Harris on consciousness technology & holosync

The image is from the book Contemplative Science: Where Buddhism and Neuroscience Converge, by B. Alan Wallace, founder and president of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies. The book notes “There are certainly kinds of neuronal activity that causally contribute to the emergence of specific states of consciousness and mental activity.” Bill Harris, Director […]

Abraham Maslow and Humanism - how to be self actualized

Abraham Maslow and Humanism – how to be self actualized

Our extraordinary potential Humanism may be summarized as “any system or mode of thought which emphasizes human interests, values, and dignity.” To get more specific with reference to personal growth, it is a central philosophy in the Human Potential Movement, which “formed around the concept of cultivating extraordinary potential that its advocates believed to lie […]

The Power of Subconscious Thinking

The Power of Subconscious Thinking

Director Mike Nichols recognizes the value for creative expression of our unconscious depths. “In making movies,” he said, “time is so short — because it is so expensive — that we tend to neglect the place from which the best ideas come, namely that part of ourselves that dreams. “The unconscious is our best collaborator. […]

The Islanders - A Fable by Idries Shah

The Islanders – A Fable by Idries Shah

Excerpts from The Islanders – A Fable The insular society became more and more complex, and we can look at only a few of its outstanding features. Its literature was a rich one. In addition to cultural compositions, there were numerous books which explained the values and achievements of the nation…. There was also a […]

Ashley Judd and working in creative flow

Ashley Judd and working in creative flow

In an interview about acting in her film “Bug,” Ashley Judd described the state of mind she values in her work: “For me, what I look for is to do a take and have very little if any memory of what just happened. That’s the sort of take where I’m satisfied and sated and I […]

Harry Potter and positive psychology

Harry Potter and positive psychology

In a BBC Radio interview, Stephen Fry asked ‘Harry Potter’ author J.K. Rowling about “not holding back from the difficult and the frightening and the treacherous and the unjust and all the things that most exercise children’s minds.” Rowling (her name rhymes with bowling, rather than howling) replied, “I feel very strongly that there is […]

Creative People: Robert Fritz on Believing vs. Creating

Creative People: Robert Fritz on Believing vs. Creating

Robert Fritz notes that most creative people do not always hold positive attitudes and thoughts, or think that well of themselves. Here are excerpts from an article of his: For years we have heard that what you believe will determine how well you will succeed in life. So every year, people diligently attempt to change […]

Our potential for evil and malevolent creativity

Our potential for evil and malevolent creativity

Megamind: “All men must choose between two paths. Good is the path of honour, heroism, and nobility. Evil… well, it’s just cooler.” Psychologist Rollo May explains the classic Greek conception of the “daimonic” or darker side of our being (unlike the demonic, which is merely destructive) is “as much concerned with creativity as with negative […]

More than conscious thinking in The Secret

More than conscious thinking in The Secret

In her article The Secret Behind The Secret, Susan Fuller reminds us that more than conscious thinking impacts our lives and success: “As The Secret streaks across the planet with dizzying speed, this seems like a good time to revisit this thing called ‘The Law of Attraction’. “Every book on achieving your goals and attracting […]

Memory training for increasing brainpower

Memory training for increasing brainpower

Excerpts from article: “A new study has found that it may be possible to train people to be more intelligent, increasing the brainpower they had at birth. “Until now, it had been widely assumed that the kind of mental ability that allows us to solve new problems without having any relevant previous experience — what […]

Restlessness and Jagged Edges

Restlessness and Jagged Edges

“I believe that curiosity, wonder and passion are defining qualities of imaginative minds and great teachers; that restlessness and discontent are vital things; and that intense experience and suffering instruct us in ways that less intense emotions can never do. “I believe, in short, that we are equally beholden to heart and mind, and that […]

Dysrationalia: defects in real-world intelligence

Dysrationalia: defects in real-world intelligence

Try this simple test: “Jack is looking at Anne, but Anne is looking at George. Jack is married, but George is not. Is a married person looking at an unmarried person?” The possible answers are A) Yes; B) No, and C) Cannot be determined. The answer follows below, but try to figure it out first. […]