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Figuring It Out

Dec 19, 2019

The holidays emphasize social connection and magic. Sometimes it feels like if we’re not feeling those things there’s something wrong with us; or it makes us sad and frustrated that we can’t find the magic. We watch all the movies, listen to all the music, put up the lights, and the tree and it’s still not there. 


And it feels like everyone around us is dressed in matching Christmas pajama sets, making snow angels, gingerbread houses, having snowball fights, and curling up with their loved ones watching Christmas movies. 


It can be a really hard time of year, but it can also be really great at the same time.


I know I’m not alone in struggling with these conflicting emotions at the holidays and well...throughout the year, so I hope you enjoy today’s conversation with behavior and technology expert Dr. John Grohol. 


He is the founder, editor in chief and CEO of psych central, co-author of Self-Help That Works, a published researcher, sits on the scientific board of the journal, Computers in Human Behavior, and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine


He is truly the OG blogger...since 1995, he has overseen, the world’s leading mental health site overseen by mental health professionals offering information, resources, and over 250 support groups to over 6 million people each month. In 2008, it was named one of’s 50 Best websites and in 2018, Psych Central reached its 500 millionth visitor.


I discovered John’s work after seeing an article on loneliness. 


The most poignant part of this conversation for me in thinking about coping with holiday emotions was understanding my triggers - knowing what makes me feel sad, anxious, or angry and find ways to mitigate those situations appropriately. 


During our conversation, we talk about: 


  • How to check-in with yourself to recognize the things that make you happy and the things that might be bringing you down and how to make change.
  • How his drive for helping people and the discovery that being a psychotherapist wasn’t for him led to the largest first online space for people to talk openly about mental health 
  • The power of online community in reducing the stigma and loneliness that comes with mental health 
  • Why connection is the antidote to loneliness 
  • Why effective communication is one of the most powerful and important things we can learn 
  • Why devices might not be as evil as we think
  • Tactical ways to deal with loneliness and difficult emotions at the holidays 


I also share with John my tendency to hang on to the past and create expectations of feeling the childhood magic and that impacts my joy today.