Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Step one: Recognize that you need help

Going into counselling is a heavy-footed step forward. Allowing someone into your story of issues makes you vulnerable and gives a true sense of humility. Saying that "I need someone's help" is a hard thing to do. The United States being one of the most individualist countries in the world, we are all socialized into being able to take care of ourselves with maybe the allowance of few key people in ones life. Unfortunately friends and family members are too invested to be of really good help in rough times.

Today was the first day of counselling in roughly 6 months. A lot of things have happened in this time and I decided that maybe I should learn to cope better with all of my current issues. It was just an initial intake session. These are much like sitting down with someone to say "hey, so I got this can o' worms here. I just thought I might cracking into this and we can talk about it more later. It was nice really. Facing up to life's demons can be pretty hard. After a line of questioning personal issues and cracking into said can o' worms I can just set it back down for now. I however cannot deny that I opened it.

Day one of counseling: success

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Reinventing the self

Hard times strike and your life changes instantly. When events happen suddenly (acute onset) they are shown to be detrimental to ones psychological state. When things happen over an extended period of time (insidious onset) individuals tend to be able to cope with the situation easier.

Atop the list of stressful life events, marital issues encompass much of the most stressful. Divorce generally is a combination of acute and insidious onset. People tend to see the problems over a long period of time, and then the decision to actually get divorced tends to happen in a flash. At least that is how my situation worked out. The idea of this post is not to hash out issues involving getting divorced, it's to discuss life after divorce.

Divorce can be viewed as a nasty situation, or a chance to start over. I choose to think that it is like a new beginning. If not I could dwell in what could have been, the ideal life, or why the divorce happened. Those issues I have no control over, so I choose to look forward. Life is overwhelming at times with school, a daughter, a new relationship, grad school, living situation, and so on. I have two choices in dealing with all of these issues; with defeat or with hope.

Being the eternal optimist I may seem childlike even ignorant in some regards. The pragmatist in me says that positivity is the best way to cope and the resulting freedom is priceless. Tomorrow I will begin the first counseling sessions since my divorce. I am hopeful.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

30 minutes of nothing

Today I completed an assignment for a psychology of Adjustment course called 30 minutes of nothing. It is exactly what it sounds like. The idea is that you confine yourself to an area where you will have no interactions with other people, while doing absolutely nothing. No texting, phone calls, reading, music, ect. Set a timer and just observe yourself. How does your body feel, are you relaxed, do you feel tense and fidgety? What is going on in your mind? How do you feel during this time, do you like this?

When I began the experiment I felt tense. I could only think of all the other things I could be doing, but after a while I began to relax. I began to consider what is taking place in my mind. I tried to keep my mind from racing, but it seemed to be impossible. I kept telling myself to just stop thinking about the same things over and over. I was annoyed with the fact that I just couldn't convince myself to stop.
The most noticeable aspect was that I tend to be in a constant battle inside my head. I question myself about every mental process. I wonder why I think and feel the way I do. I wonder why I don't feel differently than I do. There is something in Personality Psychology known as Self-Monitoring which is the extent to which a person keeps track of their mental and physical state. I score high on this measure which plays out much like having a mental commentator doing a play by play, running each mental process through some form of analysis. I question every thought for motive and any deeper meaning behind each thought. Some who read this may think I am neurotic, which is true. Some may think that I am thoughtful, which is also true.

The main conclusion is that I need to trust my instincts, accept my thoughts and feelings as valid. I need not rely on others to validate me. This task is not simple, but it can be done. If I can bring any encouragement to anyone I would say try the 30 minutes of nothing. Know thy self. Trust thy self. Love thy self. Otherwise you are no good for anybody including you.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Extroversion and introversion are assumed to be the polar opposites in how someone performs socially. One would assume that being introverted means they are shy. The extrovert would be the outgoing type. It is not really that simple. There is a simple test to determine how extroverted or introverted you and your friends are though!

The test measures how much saliva you produce after consuming a drop of lemon juice.
lemon juice
cotton swab
kitchen scale
and some friends

You may think to yourself, how the hell does this measure introversion/extroversion? The Reticular Activating System in your brain reacts to certain stimuli such as food or social encounters. Introverts have a high level of activation which in turn means that they will produce more saliva. Extroverts have a lower level of activation, thus less saliva. If you are interested in comparing yourself to your friends, check out the following link.

What does it all mean? Basically, introverts are more reactive towards stimuli in the environment. Just the opposite is true for extroverts. Introverts are perfectly satisfied with little excitement and few people around to enjoy that excitement. Extroverts need a little more action to keep their interest.

I am a bit more introverted than I ever really considered myself to be over the last few years. I am outgoing and I enjoy meeting new people, but I prefer those close intimate conversations with just a few people. The introvert is not the most popular guy in the crowd, but the extreme extrovert can be a bit over the top. Introvert are not simply shy, they just get enough excitement in small doses. Extroverts are not simply outgoing, they just need a bit more excitement in their lives to feel alive.

The introvert is not a loser, nor is that person particularly lonely. The extrovert is not aloof or careless of what others think. Our minds are different and unique, that is what makes humanity so colorful. Consider yourself, consider others, and just be considerate.

An introduction

My name is Korey Bob Paul, but not really. A majority of my friends know me as Bob which is not my name. Bob is one of the leading roles in my story. Bob is my strong, confident, and entertaining personality. Korey on the other hand is anxious, insecure, and an incredibly big nerd. We have a considerable amount of overlap in that we are both quite agreeable and tend to get along with most anybody. Recently there has been a shift in the controls of who is in charge. Bob is starting to seep into Korey and now they live harmoniously in every situation. I am a current student of Psychology, finishing up my undergrad, and looking forward to graduate school studying Social Psychology. I am an avid researcher with a flare for analyzing everyday experiences.

There is a point to the introduction that leads me to the overarching theme of this blog: The perils of agreeableness. Agreeableness means getting along with people regardless of how it makes you feel. It is laughing in the face of adversity because that feels like the only thing you can do. It means appeasing people even when you wholeheartedly disagree.

The goal of this blog is two-fold. Firstly, reaching out to those who are also so agreeable that it gets in the way of a healthy lifestyle. Secondly, appealing to those who may be in some form of relationship with us agreeable saps. I will incorporate research, but I won't bore you with the details. Stay tuned, I will try to make this as personable and engaging as possible.