Tag: Personality

How to have healthy boundaries

How to have healthy boundaries

Many people do not have healthy boundaries. Not only does this mean they often feel that people have crossed a line, it also means they can spend a lot of time berating themselves.

People without healthy boundaries can have the self-critical voice inside their head telling them off for saying “yes” – when they know they really should have said “no”.

Sometimes they can also feel guilty, ashamed or depressed because they did or agreed to do something they didn’t want to do. Often they will be saying to themselves: “Yet again…”

Virtually every day of our life most of us will come into contact with other people. That doesn’t have to be in a physical sense as in the modern world it can be in a huge variety of ways: on the phone, a video-call or conference, or by such as text message and email.

So everybody needs healthy boundaries. We need them to keep the space that allows us to be our own individual self.

As there are more people in the world than there ever has been and because the world is increasingly busier, we all need healthy boundaries more than ever. Healthy boundaries let us keep our personal integrity.

Healthy versus unhealthy boundaries

Most of us prefer that we are both liked and respected. But sometimes we need to make clear what our boundaries are and that someone is crossing them.

In this way we have to accept that someone possibly won’t like us. But they certainly will have respect for how we are able to realize and maintain our healthy boundaries.

It also gives a statement that we understand what healthy and unhealthy boundaries look like. It says that because of this, we will also respect your healthy boundary.

Healthy boundaries can be crossed in different ways. This includes verbally – that is, being shouted at; someone gossiping or spreading rumours about us; and also when someone is not allowed to speak or if they do it is ridiculed or ignored.

In an emotional sense if someone simply doesn’t respect our sense of self, that is crossing our healthy boundary. Similarly if someone lies to, puts down, bullies, manipulates, embarrasses or tries to makes us feel guilty – that is all boundary crossing.

Someone getting into our personal physical space, being physically threatened or someone touching us without our permission (not only us but our belongings) – these are all instances when our healthy boundary needs to be strongly and swiftly enforced.

Likewise if someone is behaving in a manner that is too familiar and that often includes a sexual nature, or invades our privacy by such as looking over our shoulders at our WhatsApp messages or reading our emails.

Saying “yes” instead of “no”

How to set and keep our healthy boundaries is something most of us learn in childhood. But if the significant adults in our life as we grow up do not understand the need for healthy boundaries, then we are being taught incorrectly.

Growing up in a household where there’s a lot of criticism or some other form of abuse can mean as an adult that someone will have little or no sense of their healthy boundary. It is unlikely they will even know the difference between health and unhealthy boundaries.

In these instances it is because their sense of self has been damaged. Their self-esteem, self-confidence and self-love has also been negatively impacted.

With low self-esteem, self-confidence and self-love, people are always seeking love and approval. So they say “yes” when they mean to say “no” – and say, do or agree to certain things because they are seeking external validation.

This is one of the devastating impacts of a child having unmet needs when they are growing up. Some people might have been taught how to have a healthy boundary in their childhood, but then such as a traumatic incident can cause boundary problems for them.

What are healthy boundaries?

We all really know when our healthy boundary has been crossed. If our self-critical voice isn’t chirping away berating us, we feel it with uncomfortable emotions and in our gut instinct.

Boundaries are simply limits to what is acceptable and what is unacceptable.

Researcher and professor Brené Brown – well known for her TED Talk “The Power of Vulnerability” that’s been viewed more than 65 million times around the world – defines healthy boundaries in an equally simple way.

“A boundary is simply what’s okay and what’s not okay,” says Brown, who’s also the author of several bestselling recovery books including Dare to Lead. “If we don’t set boundaries, we let people do things that are not okay or get away with behaviors that are not okay. Then we’re just resentful or hateful.

“The moment someone asks you to do something you don’t have the time or inclination to do is fraught with vulnerability. ‘Yes!’ often seems like the easiest way out.

“But it comes at a price: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said ‘Sure!’ in my squeaky, I-can’t-believe-I’m-doing-this voice, only to spend hours, even months, feeling angry and resentful.

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others. We can’t base our own worthiness on others’ approval – and this is coming from someone who spent years trying to please everyone! Only when we believe, deep down, that we are enough can we say ‘Enough!'”

Pushing against healthy boundaries

Most parents will certainly know what it’s like to have their healthy boundary tested. In this case it comes from their children as they are growing up.

In fact, this is perfectly normal: we all do it because it’s an intrinsic part of growing up. Children at various stages of their development want to test how independent they are – until the day they leave home.

Even though it’s normal, parents need to know and maintain their healthy boundary. That’s for the parents, but also so that they are teaching their children how to navigate life in a healthy manner.

Codependent relationships will be a constant test of boundaries as well. In addition, so too will being in a relationship of some sort with someone who’s an addict, including a person struggling with a behavioral addiction.

Frequently an addict and a codependent person will find each other to form a relationship. These relationships are bound to be fraught with unhealthy boundaries – and the solution here is to deal with the codependency or addiction.

Healthy boundaries can be developed in all circumstances. Firstly, someone needs to recognize that they currently have unhealthy boundaries.

Get in touch with us today for a chat about what we can do to help you or someone you care about to develop healthy boundaries.

What is cognitive bias

What is cognitive bias?

A cognitive bias is a flaw in thinking that occurs when you misinterpret information from the world around you, leading to an inaccurate conclusion. 

Your brain develops ranking systems to decide which information is important enough for your attention. This happens because you are flooded with information from millions of sources every day, so your brain needs to create shortcuts and cut down on the time you need to process information.

How do cognitive biases work?

When you’re analysing information, you use a complex cognitive machine that includes and processes interviewer life experiences. Throughout your life, you’ll develop several cognitive biases that influence the information you pay attention to, which sources you decide to trust, and what you remember about your past decisions.

Cognitive biases are inherent in the way you think, and many of them are unconscious. By identifying the cognitive biases you experience in your everyday interactions, you can understand how mental processes work and make more informed, better decisions.

Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman first introduced the concept of cognitive bias in 1972, and since then, researchers have identified and described over 175 different biases that affect decision-making. Some of the areas that can be affected by cognitive biases include health care, business, finance, social behaviour, education, management, and more.

What are the signs of cognitive bias?

Even though it might be easier to spot the signs of cognitive bias in other persons, it’s essential to keep in mind that everyone exhibits this type of systematic error in thinking.

Some of the signs that show you that you might be under the influence of a cognitive bias include the following:

  • Assuming that everyone else shares your beliefs and opinions
  • Assuming you know all there is about a topic after learning a little about it
  • Taking personal credit for your accomplishments while attributing other people’s success to luck
  • Blaming other people or outside factors for your failings
  • Paying attention only to the news stories that confirm your beliefs and opinions


What are the most common types of cognitive bias?

Researchers have identified over 175 cognitive biases, but only a couple of dozens of them are more present in the daily life of millions of people. Here are some of the most common types of cognitive bias:

Actor-observer bias

This cognitive bias refers to the difference between how we explain our own actions versus other people’s actions. Many people tend to attribute their own actions to the circumstances they were in at the time while believing that other people do things because of some internal factor or their character. For example, if you are overweight, you may attribute it to your thyroid or genetics, but you believe that other people are overweight due to lack of exercise and poor diet.

Ambiguity effect

This cognitive bias was one of the first identified in the early 1970s, and it refers to the decision to favour a choice with a known outcome rather than taking a chance on a choice with an unknown outcome. The ambiguity effect makes people have a tendency to favour decisions with familiar outcomes and makes them reluctant when it comes to trying new things.

Anchoring bias

This refers to the tendency to rely on the first bit of information you set your eyes upon when evaluating something. For example, if the first thing you learn about someone is that they’re divorced, you will evaluate everything you learn about them afterward in relation to the fact that they’re divorced.

Attentional bias

Attention buyers might make it look like you’re surrounded by a particular type of information while you disregard other kinds of information. For example, if you’re trying to have a baby, you might notice that you see baby product ads everywhere. This bias typically makes it seem like you’re surrounded by more than the usual stimuli.

Confirmation bias

Most people tend to interpret information in a way that confirms what they already believe on a particular subject. Confirmation bias makes people ignore information that comes into conflict with their beliefs.

Dunning-Kruger effect

This bias refers to the inability to recognize your lack of competence in a particular area. Some people tend to express a high degree of confidence about things they don’t really know much about or are not skilled at doing. This is a bias present in all areas of life, ranging from sports to medical examinations.

False consensus effect

Many people tend to overestimate the degree to which other people approve of their behaviours and agree with their judgment. 
It’s also common for people to believe that their own set of actions is common while others’ behaviours are not the norm or even deviant. This is a widespread type of cognitive bias that appears in most cultures around the world.

Functional fixedness

This cognitive bias refers to the tendency to see objects as having a single way of working. For example, if you don’t have a hammer, your first reaction would be to go find one because you don’t consider using another object to drive a nail into the wall. The problem with functional fixedness is that it can limit your problem-solving capabilities and creativity.

Halo effect

Another very common type of cognitive bias, the halo effect bias means that your general impression of an individual is shaped by a single characteristic. For example, if someone is physically attractive, people will perceive them as more intelligent than they actually are because people routinely perceive beautiful individuals that way.

Missinformation effect

If you learn something new about an event that you already had information about, your perception can be altered. For example, if you learn something new about an event that you actually saw with your own eyes, that piece of information can change how you remember the event, even if the new information is not actually true.

This particular bias has huge implications when it comes to the validity of witness testimony, and researchers have continuously looked for ways to reduce this bias, so witnesses recall events more accurately.

Optimism bias

People update their beliefs selectively, which means that most individuals believe that they are less likely to experience hardships than others. Most people also believe that there are more likely to experience success, and they usually overestimate the likelihood of positive outcomes when making predictions about their future health, relationships, or wealth.

Self-serving bias

Most people have a tendency to blame outside elements when something goes wrong in their life. However, the same people might wonder whether an individual was somehow to blame when something goes wrong in that person’s life.

People typically believe that the problems other people are facing are somehow caused by an internal characteristic or flaw. This cognitive bias may also cause you to credit your own qualities when something positive happens to you.

Is it possible to avoid cognitive bias?

It’s not entirely possible to avoid cognitive bias because the human brain seeks efficiency, so much of the reasoning you’re conducting on a daily basis relies on nearly automatic processing. However, researchers believe that we can train our brains to better recognize situations in which cognitive biases are likely to operate.

Here are some of the ways you can try to mitigate the effects of cognitive bias:

  • Learn more about cognitive bias — by studying how cognitive bias works, you can begin to recognize cognitive biases in your own life and start to counteract them.
  • Question your decisions — try to slow down your decision-making process, especially if you find yourself in a situation where you know you may be susceptible to bias. You should also consider expanding the resources you consult when making a decision instead of using the same ones over and over again.
  • Collaborate with other people — before making an important decision, you should get some help from a diverse group of people with various life experiences and areas of expertise so you can consider possibilities that might overlook otherwise.
Woman holding a book

Bottom Line

Cognitive biases are flaws in human thinking that can lead you to inaccurate conclusions. They cause your brain to constantly rely on a specific type of information while overlooking other types, which can ultimately be harmful to your decision-making process.

Even though it’s unrealistic to eliminate all cognitive biases from your thought, you can improve your ability to spot the situations where you might be subject to cognitive bias.

By slowing down your decision-making process, learning more about how cognitive biases work, and collaborating with others, especially when making important decisions, you can reduce the chances of making the wrong decisions because you were influenced by cognitive biases.

Top Reasons to Smile Every Day

Top Reasons to Smile Every Day

Feeling down in the dumps? What if we told you there was an easy way to change the course of your day. One simple act can elevate your mood, affect the people around you, and even make you look more beautiful?

All that seems like some pretty good reason to smile, right?

So what is this one little act?

Smiling!

As strange as it might sound, the simple act of smiling can have a profound effect on you and the people around you. Let’s dive in and learn about all the great reasons to smile every day that are sure to put a smile on your face!

Smiling is Contagious

What if there were a way to positively affect everyone around you? With a simple act, you can lift everyone’s spirits — including yours. Wouldn’t you do it all the time?

Unfortunately, many of us don’t take full advantage of this incredible gift we have. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start now!

Put a smile on your face and watch how it affects the people around you.

Don’t believe us? Smiling is actually scientifically proven to be contagious. How does it work? The part of our brains that controls the facial muscles necessary for smiling is automatic. When you smile or laugh at a joke, you don’t have to think about making the proper facial expression. It just happens — sometimes even when you consciously try not to!

Furthermore, seeing someone else smile is a natural trigger for our own smiling reaction. We naturally and unconsciously mimic the facial expressions that we see. So, put on a smile and watch the smiles light up around you!

Say cheese text in neon lights

Smiling Makes You Feel Better

Have you ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy? It’s a psychological idea that indicates a prophecy comes true simply because we believe it. Usually, it happens because our belief about the prophecy influences our actions, which in turn influence and lead to the expected outcome.

What does this have to do with smiling?

Well, to some extent you can predict that you’ll be happy and then make it come true by choosing actions and behaviors that will make you happy.

One of the most basic is simply choosing to smile.

The act of smiling actually affects our brains, triggering the release of mood-boosting neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. To some extent, smiling can actually be considered a natural antidepressant.

Furthermore, just as we were talking about in the last section, smiling is contagious. Seeing someone smile makes it easier for you to smile and helps boost your mood even more. So, find a mirror and smile at yourself. As silly as it sounds, it actually can perk up your day!

Smiling Relieves Stress

Stress can be a good thing when your body uses it to help you react appropriately to a dangerous situation or gives you that little push you need to finish up your assignment on time. Unfortunately, these days most of us are living with so much stress that it is having a negative effect on our health.

An astonishing 77% of American adults regularly experience physical symptoms as a result of the stress they feel. Chronic stress leads to a host of medical conditions and is an underlying factor in the early deaths of many Americans due to the health problems it causes.

Since we are facing such a crisis, you can easily find articles and blogs on the Internet offering all sorts of advice on how to decrease stress. Unfortunately, most of them require time to unwind, such as going for a long walk or taking a relaxing bath. This can actually cause more stress because you don’t have enough time to meet all your commitments as it is.

However, there is one simple act that doesn’t require any time and won’t take anything away from your day.

You’ve already guessed it, simply putting on a smile can help relieve stress. What’s more, you don’t even have to be genuinely happy to get some benefit (although that will help strengthen the effect). Fake smiling also helps relieve stress. Plus, fake smiles can turn into genuine smiles, further boosting your mood and relaxing your mind.

Smiling Fends off the Flu

Aside from its effect on your mental health, smiling can also affect you physically. The connection between the immune system and the central nervous system has already been discovered. Researchers have long been examining this connection as it relates to mental issues such as depression and schizophrenia.

It has also been documented that emotions can have a profound effect on the progression of serious diseases such as cancer, HIV, or cardiovascular disease. Anecdotally, you may know someone whose positive outlook seemed to have an effect on slowing the progression of a terminal illness or sending something like cancer into remission. Alternatively, you may know someone whose negative outlook provoked the opposite.

Regardless, while our emotions won’t ultimately decide whether we fully recover or succumb to a disease, they do have an effect.

A happy disposition and spending your time smiling can also boost your immune system in small ways, helping you fend off the flu.

Smiling Is Good for Your Heart

You already know that smiling is good for your figurative heart. As we’ve already discussed, the mere act of smiling can spark positive feelings which can lead to genuine happiness.

However, smiling is also measurably good for your physical heart as well. If you have a way to take your blood pressure at home, you can actually witness the effects of this yourself. Take a blood pressure reading to get a baseline. Now, spend the next minute smiling and continue to smile as you take another reading.

Aside from looking a little ridiculous, you’ll discover something amazing. After just that minute of smiling, you will register a small reduction in blood pressure. Pretty amazing!

Woman smiling in the mirror outdoor

Smiling Makes You Beautiful

The US cosmetic surgery market is worth a staggering $66.96 billion in 2021. Many people spend thousands of dollars on various treatments to look more beautiful. On top of that, the beauty industry is valued at another $40.9 billion in 2021.

Clearly, people are looking for ways to look more beautiful. However, there is one simple way that doesn’t require revolutionary new creams or going under the cosmetic surgeon’s knife.

Wear a smile.

A smile makes you more attractive to other people. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as it is often said. There is no definitive way to measure beauty.

When we look at one another, the beauty that we see is affected by how that person makes us feel as well as how they actually look. Viewing a smiling person is more pleasant and makes you feel happier, prompting you to conclude that they are more beautiful. Viewing the same person with an angry scowl or grouchy expression has the opposite effect and they appear more homely.

So, put on a happy face and forget about spending thousands on the latest cosmetic treatment out there.

Smiling Is a Natural Facelift

On top of making you look more beautiful, smiling naturally makes you look younger. Think about when you smile, what happens to your face? The muscles used to smile pull your face upward. It’s literally like a natural facelift!

Furthermore, a lifetime spent smiling will leave its mark on your face. You’ll be working the muscles that pull your face upwards daily, helping to combat the sagging effect of gravity on your face.

But, what about laugh lines, you might ask?

Well, you’re going to get wrinkles at some point. We think that a face lined with laugh lines is preferable to one marked by worry lines!

Smiling Projects Confidence

Are you up for a job interview soon? Maybe you’ll be asking for a raise soon or branching out and starting your own company. Whatever life situation you might be facing, it will benefit you if people see you as a confident (not arrogant) individual.

How do you do that? Flash them your pearly whites!

People relate a smile with confidence. There’s a reason many con men are known for their dazzling smiles. Not only does a strong smile instantly make a person more likable, but also projects confidence that they really do know what they are talking about.

Of course, we’re not advocating that you become a white-collar criminal, but illustrating the profound effect that a smile can have on how people view you.

So, the next time you want to seem more confident, beautiful, and even trustworthy, pull out your most dazzling smile and watch it go to work.

Taking a Break From It All

Sometimes we forget to focus on our mental health. We exercise to stay fit, but the less visible mental health gets pushed to the back of our minds.

However, it’s amazing the profound effect that something as simple as a smile has on our wellbeing — both mentally and physically. Try it today and watch how your world changes a little bit at a time!

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