Guest Post: Technostress & Your Mental Wellbeing

Technology has become an essential part of our lives. We use smartphones and laptops on a daily basis to socialize, work, learn, and entertain ourselves. While technology may make our lives easier and more productive, it can also lead to “technostress,” a type of stress caused by technology.

Stress & Technology: Finding a Healthy Balance

This article will explore the causes and effects of technostress, and provide tips on how to manage it effectively and find a healthy balance with technology. It also includes two free printable handouts for healthy tech habits and stress management.

The Impact of Technology on Daily Life

Internet usage in the United States has grown significantly over the years, with the number of users increasing from 294.53 million in 2019 to 313.6 million in 2022. Over 90% of Americans have access to the Internet today. By 2028, it is estimated that there will be over 340 million Internet users in the US.

Technology has had a profound impact on our lives in terms of communication, information access, education, work, shopping, and entertainment. When used appropriately, technology makes our lives easier. Our smartphones can help us track emails, manage our bank accounts, access the news, and complete a wide range of other tasks.

Technology has revolutionized the way we do things and has become an essential part of our day-to-day activities. However, as a result, many of us are also experiencing technology-related stress.

Technostress: A Modern-Day Epidemic

The term technostress was coined in the 1980s by Craig Brod, an American psychologist, author of Technostress: The Human Cost of the Computer Revolution. Brod originally defined technostress as a disease caused by the inability to cope with new technology.

With the advancement of technology and the invention of new devices, technostress has acquired a new meaning. It is now more broadly defined as any negative impact that the use of tech can have on a person. This can include stress caused by information overload, the constant feeling of needing to be connected, and the difficulty of keeping up with the latest technological advances.

A 2015 study found that Facebook users felt compelled to use the site frequently due to FOMO (fear of missing out) and to maintain their relationships. In 2017, research indicated that the overuse of cell phones led to technostress, with negative consequences for health, work, and personal wellbeing. And in 2019, researchers found that social media users continued to use social platforms despite experiencing technostress, exhibiting excessive and compulsive behaviors, the same way someone with an addiction continues to use despite negative consequences.

What’s more, the COVID-19 pandemic has normalized remote work, which has led to an increase in the use of tech devices at home. A 2022 research study indicated that during the enforced remote work period, the use of technology for both work and personal purposes resulted in technostress.

How to Tell If You’re Experiencing Technostress

Technostress can have a significant impact on a person’s physical, cognitive, and emotional health. While the severity of symptoms will vary from person to person, common signs include:

  • Increased heartrate
  • Cardiovascular and gastrointestinal issues
  • Muscle tension
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Eyestrain
  • Skin disorders (i.e., dermatitis, psoriasis)
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Apathy
  • Changes in behavior

Technology-induced stress often coexits with other work-related problems, such as “workaholism” and burnout. It can also negatively impact work through decreased motivation and increased absenteeism. In its advanced stages, technostress can cause memory impairment.

Additionally, technostress can cause problems at home. In relationships, it can lead to conflict and disconnection because people with technostress may be irritable, withdrawn, and less likely to engage in social activities.

Technostress & the Importance of Balance

When is the last time you switched your cell phone to “off”? This “always on” culture and the overconsumption of digital media have led to problems such as Internet addiction and issues with work-life balance.

Think of the times when, instead of spending quality time with our loved ones or enjoying a well-deserved break, we’re glued to our phones, checking emails or scrolling mindlessly through our social media feeds. And with the shift to remote working, the line between work and life has blurred, giving our minds less time to rest.

Even kids and teens are significantly exposed to digital technology, which can lead to overstimulation and stress. This highlights the need for a healthy balance when using tech.

4 Strategies for Finding Balance in a Digital Age

To combat technology-induced stress and find a healthy balance, try these techniques: 

1. Digital Detox

Being exposed to too much information can be stressful, especially if you’re using your devices the majority of the time. Taking a break from technology for a few days can help reduce stress and provide other benefits, such as improved sleep and mental health.

Here are a few tips to help you take a break:

  • Identify what you want to detox from: This could be certain devices, apps, websites, or activities. For example, you might want to reduce your use of social media or stop playing games on your phone.
  • Schedule a time away from screens: This could be for a few days, weeks, or even just a few hours each day. If you can’t be away from your devices for work, try to set aside specific times when you won’t use them, such as during lunchtime, after work, and before bed.
  • Turn off notifications: Notifications from your smartphone can distract you from your work, personal time, or sleep. Turning them off can help you focus on other tasks or get the rest you need.
  • Limit app usage: If you find yourself checking certain apps too often and want to break the habit, use your phone’s settings to limit your usage time. 
  • Inform your family and friends: If you decide to do a digital detox, tell your family and friends beforehand so they know to contact you on your preferred channels.

2. Mindfulness & Relaxation Techniques

Many of us spend too much time scrolling mindlessly through our social media feeds, putting off other tasks for later. We do this for many reasons, including procrastination, FOMO, or lack of self-control.

Unfortunately, aimless scrolling can make us feel stressed and anxious, especially if we consume negative or distressing content. Additionally, scrolling for large amounts of time can lead to burnout. Instead, we can choose to be mindful of the media we consume. This means slowing down and being intentional about what we search for.

Young people who are affected by technostress can also utilize stress management techniques to improve their mood. If you have children and teens, ask them to practice these strategies on a regular basis to help center themselves.  

For example, if they are suffering from information overload, they can try guided imagery, a type of meditation where they visualize a peaceful place to calm their minds. They may also benefit from using stress management handouts and worksheets, such as the ones below, to learn how to manage and reduce stress.

Free PDF: 9 Stress Management Techniques
Free PDF: Healthy Tech Habits for Managing Stress

3. Time Management

If you find yourself overusing your devices every day, causing you to neglect other tasks, consider developing your time management skills. Here are some tips:

  • Identify your time usage: Track how much time you spend on each activity, including work, house chores, hobbies, rest, and technology use. You may find that you’re spending too much time on your devices.
  • Set boundaries between work and personal life: This means defining your work hours and reserving time for personal tasks, such as social media use. Avoid checking work emails or messages outside of work hours unless absolutely necessary.
  • Eat the frog: Prioritize the “frog,” the most important or challenging task on your to-do list. Completing this task first will help you avoid procrastination and free up your energy for other tasks.

4. Healthy Tech Habits

Establishing healthy tech habits can help you avoid technostress. You and your family will benefit from these; it’s a good idea to practice them often.

  • Identify tech-free zones: Designate certain areas in your home as “tech-free” spaces, such as the dinner table, bedroom, and bathroom.
  • Set aside technology-free time: Schedule tech-free activities throughout the week, such as playing sports, visiting the park, or spending time with family. This will help you reduce stress and prevent burnout.
  • Avoid bringing your phone to bed: Using your smartphone before bed can disrupt your sleep. Choose relaxing activities leading up to bedtime instead, such as taking a bath, journaling, or drinking lavender tea.

The Rewards of a Balanced Life

When we use technology wisely, it can benefit us in many ways, such as improving communication, providing easy access to information, making shopping convenient, enabling collaborative learning, and creating opportunities for remote work.

Finding a healthy balance when using technology can improve our quality of life and help us avoid physical and mental health problems, such as technology-induced stress. Additionally, being in control of our tech usage can help us achieve work-life balance, giving us more time for family, hobbies, relaxation, and self-care.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, technology is a powerful tool that can be used to enrich our lives and make them easier. However, it is important to use technology in a healthy and balanced way. The overconsumption of digital media can have negative consequences for our physical and mental health, as well as our relationships and work-life balance.

Finding a healthy balance with technology starts with being mindful of how we use our devices. By following the strategies in this article, we can develop a healthier relationship with technology and use it to enhance our lives, not detract from them. This way, we can enjoy the benefits of technology without letting it control us.

About the Author:

Michael is a licensed clinical social worker with a private therapy practice in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He specializes in helping children and teens with mental health concerns. He is passionate about providing effective and compassionate care. He is an advocate for mental health awareness, and is the founder of Mental Health Center Kids, a website that provides resources and support for parents, teachers, and mental health professionals who care for children and teens.

3 Free Kindness Calendars

Do you use a daily planner or calendar to stay organized? What if you used your calendar to spread kindness? Research suggests that kindness is contagious; one small act of kindness motivates others to “pay it forward.” What’s more, kind acts may boost your mood or even alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. And don’t forget to be kind to yourself; self-compassion has both emotional and physical health benefits.

Kindness calendars are a great resource for making a difference in someone’s life while helping you to feel happier. They can be used at home, in the workplace to boost morale, or, if you’re a mental health clinician, with clients who struggle with low self-esteem, depression, or anxiety.

Here are a few sample tips from three different kindness calendars:

  • Find a new way to use one of your strengths or talents. (Action for Happiness)
  • Write a letter of gratitude to someone. (Greater Good)
  • Put a $10 or $20 bill in a book with a note that says, “Great choice! This book is on me!” (Random Acts of Kindness Foundation)

DIY Kindness Calendars

You can create your own kindness calendar by printing off a template and filling in your own unique ideas. (Tip: Canva offers a wide selection of free customizable templates for monthly calendars.)

You may also use a blank calendar to track your acts of kindness or self-care practices. Other options for reminding yourself to be kind include keeping a kindness to-do list (either on a pad of paper or as a memo in your phone) or carrying pocket affirmations with you to share with others.

Below is a free printable kindness to-do list:

3 Free Kindness Calendars

The following sites offer free monthly kindness calendars with daily tips for happiness, self-care, and compassion:

Action for Happiness

Action for Happiness’ mission is to help people create a happier world, with a culture that prioritizes happiness and kindness. Their patron is the Dalai Lama, a testament to their commitment to promoting kindness on a global scale.

Action for Happiness posts monthly themed calendars that provide a variety of activities and tips for happiness. (For example, the September 2023 theme was “Self-Care September” with tips like “Let go of other people’s expectations of you,” and the August 2023 theme was “Altruistic August” with tips like “Forgive someone who hurt you in the past.”)

In addition to kindness calendars, the organization offers podcasts, videos, and articles on topics such as happiness, kindness, and self-care.

Below is the October 2023 calendar:

Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life

The Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) of the University of California at Berkeley is a leading research and education center dedicated to the study of wellbeing. The GGSC’s mission is to promote a kinder and more compassionate world.

Each month, GGSC posts a happiness calendar, which you can download and print or subscribe to. They also publish special versions (e.g., for educators or for parents) periodically. The happiness calendars are themed and include tips and activities that can help you practice gratitude, savor positive experiences, and connect with others. For example, the September 2023 theme was “be vulnerable and true to yourself” and included tips like “Have a conversation with your family about race,” and the August 2023 theme was “relax and recharge” and included tips like “Practice mindful movement.”

GGSC provides a wealth of resources, including the online Greater Good magazine, which offers articles, videos, quizzes, and podcasts on the science of living a meaningful life. Additionally, GGSC offers free online happiness courses.

Below is the October 2023 calendar:

Random Acts of Kindness Foundation

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation is a small nonprofit rooted in the belief that all people can connect through kindness and that kindness can be taught. They work within the framework of Inspire, Empower, Act, Reflect, and Share.

Each year, the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation publishes a “Make Kindness the Norm” calendar with daily tips like “Make the switch to cruelty-free products” (September 2023) and “Refrain from complaining today” (August 2023). They also offer a free Kindness at Work Calendar with monthly themes such as humor, connection, and purpose, as well as a Kindness Calendar for Schools.

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation offers additional resources for kindness in the classroom, in the workplace, and at home, including quote collections, free printables, classroom lessons, articles, and more.

Below is the October 2023 calendar:


To conclude, kindness is meant to be spread, and there are many ways to accomplish this. Whether you opt to create your own kindness calendar or print off a readymade version, kindness calendars are a great way to incorporate kindness into your daily life and to feel happier.

I encourage you to choose a kindness calendar that speaks to you and commit to using it. I also challenge you to get creative with your acts of kindness; the possibilities are endless!

Even the smallest acts of compassion can have a big impact and make a difference in the world. Together, we can make the world a kinder place.

I encourage you to share your acts of kindness or a resource for happiness or self-care in the comments below!

The Bathroom Affirmation Project

Spread the message of self-love with bathroom affirmations

I’ve been on a self-love journey, which inspired me to start the bathroom affirmation project. Self-affirmations are a powerful tool for enhancing self-efficacy and self-compassion. They can also help improve resourcefulness, enhance the ability to solve problems, reduce stress, and even promote pro-social behaviors.

Public bathrooms are often decorated with graffiti proclaiming things like “Kelsey was here” or “TJ + MM = Love Forever.” I thought it might be refreshing to see positive affirmations instead of “Call for a good time.”

To avoid leaving permanent marks, I decided to print affirmations on cardstock paper to tape to the walls of bathroom stalls. My hope is that the bathroom affirmations will spread positivity and inspire women everywhere to love themselves.

Create Your Own Bathroom Affirmation Kit

You can easily create your own bathroom affirmation kit to help spread the love.

Materials Needed:

  • Cardstock paper
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided tape

Make your own cards with handwritten affirmations, or download, print, and cut out the cards below:

Here are some additional quotes and ideas for affirmation cards:

  • “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” -Ayn Rand
  • I am not my mistakes or my past.
  • “It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” -Mae Jemison (American engineer, physician, and former NASA astronaut)
  • My life is full of potential.
  • “Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Today, I will treat myself with kindness and compassion.
  • “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” -Marilyn Monroe
  • I am writing my own story.
  • “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” -L. M. Montgomery (Author of Anne of Green Gables)
  • I believe in the person I am and the person I am becoming.
  • “Turn your wounds into wisdom.” Oprah Winfrey
  • I am the key to my own happiness.
  • “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.” -Brene Brown
  • I am learning and growing every day.
  • “I am deeply grateful for all that I have, and all that I am.” -Louise Hay (American motivational author, professional speaker, and AIDS advocate)

You can also buy cards on Temu or Amazon. I like the Power Thought Cards: A 64 Card Deck by Louise Hay. (Disclaimer: The link below is an affiliate link and I receive a small commission from purchases.)

I keep my bathroom affirmation kit in my purse, so I always have it with me when I leave the house.

What are your thoughts on the bathroom affirmation project? I’d love to hear from you! And if you decide to create your own kit, I’d love to know more and/or see pics.


Albalooshi, S., Moeini-Jazani, M., Fennis, B. M., & Warlop, L. (2020). Reinstating the resourceful self: When and how self-affirmations improve executive performance of the powerless. Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin46(2), 189–203.

Creswell, J. D., Dutcher, J. M., Klein, W. M., Harris, P. R., & Levine, J. M. (2013). Self-affirmation improves problem-solving under stress. PloS One8(5), e62593.

Dutcher, J. M., Eisenberger, N. I., Woo, H., Klein, W. M. P., Harris, P. R., Levine, J. M., & Creswell, J. D. (2020). Neural mechanisms of self-affirmation’s stress buffering effects. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience15(10), 1086–1096.

Lindsay, E. K., & Creswell, J. D. (2014). Helping the self help others: Self-affirmation increases self-compassion and pro-social behaviors. Frontiers in Psychology5, 421.

Overcoming Social Anxiety

Social anxiety, the intense fear of social situations, is a serious and debilitating condition

In this post, I’ll define and describe social anxiety, list its triggers and risk factors, and discuss treatment options as well as coping strategies for overcoming social anxiety disorder.

Anxiety’s Adventures in Social-land

With social anxiety, every social interaction is an adventure of sorts; you’re in “flight-or-fight” mode, prepped to face the danger that lies ahead… which is telling the waiter what you’ll have for dinner. Once again, your sneaky brain has tricked your body into preparing for a battle when you only need to answer the question, “Would you like fries with that?”

This article is written from both a professional and personal point of view, as I was extremely shy as a child and struggled with social anxiety in adolescence and as a young adult.

What Is Social Anxiety?

People with social anxiety disorder (SAD) experience a persistent fear of social situations in which they fear they’ll be scrutinized and humiliated. This fear leads to avoidance, impacting their ability to make friends, go to school, get a job, and be successful at work.

Examples of anxiety-provoking triggers include:

  • Walking into an unfamiliar place such as a gas station or store
  • Using a public bathroom when someone else is there
  • Being asked to self-introduce in front of a group
  • Entering a room full of people
  • Eating in public
  • Having to ask for directions or help
  • Speaking with an authority figure
  • Giving a presentation
  • Going on a date
  • Using public transportation
  • Being the center of attention

It convinces you that every situation will have a terrible outcome. It convinces you that everyone sees you in the worst light.

Kelly Jean (Blogger)

A distinguishing characteristic of social anxiety is that the anxiety response is disproportionate to the trigger or event. For example, while it’s normal to feel somewhat anxious before making a speech or meeting your significant other’s parents for the first time, it’s not normal to experience intense fear or distress.

The following are signs of social anxiety:

  • Blushing
  • Sweating
  • Stuttering
  • Rapid heartrate
  • Avoiding eating and/or drinking in public
  • Avoiding using public restrooms
  • Limiting eye contact
  • Submissiveness
  • Speaking in a soft or slow voice
  • Rigid body posture
  • Self-medicating with alcohol or other substances (e.g., drinking before a party to alleviate anxiety symptoms)
  • Diverting attention to others
  • Coming off as arrogant or aloof
  • Being highly controlling of the conversation
  • Hoarseness or vocal changes when speaking
  • Feeling restless or irritable
  • Fidgeting
  • Presenting with extreme poise
  • Increased empathy

Social anxiety is often misunderstood and underrecognized. SAD is different from simply preferring to avoid social events. People with social anxiety may enjoy social gatherings where they feel comfortable and safe, such as with close friends or family members. However, they may avoid other enjoyable social events due to their anxiety.

Social anxiety disorder can feel like being under a spotlight. The spotlight is uncomfortable and the person with SAD may go to great lengths to avoid it and not “get caught.” A person with social anxiety feels embarrassed about being embarrassed.

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.

Albert Camus

Additionally, people with SAD may not seem anxious, even to those who know them well. This is because they have learned to hide their anxiety or disguise it as something else, such as disinterest or aloofness. They may become withdrawn or overcompensate for their anxiety by being overly talkative and dominating the conversation. They may seem the opposite of anxious, completely poised or arrogant even, having trained themselves to not appear anxious.

Who Is at Risk for Developing Social Anxiety?

In the United States, social anxiety disorder affects approximately 7% of the population, with higher rates in women and younger adults. Rates of SAD decrease with age.

The typical onset of social anxiety disorder is in childhood between the ages of 11 and 13. It often starts as shyness but can also develop in response to a significant humiliating event, such as being bullied or having an accident in public. Although less common, SAD can develop in adulthood, usually in response to stress or a major life change.

There are a number of risk factors that contribute to the development of SAD including:

  • Genetics: People with a family history of SAD or other anxiety disorders are more likely to develop the condition themselves.
  • Environmental factors: Parents who act anxious or nervous are modeling this for their children.
  • Personality: Children who tend to be nervous or shy in new situations as well as children who fear rejection or punishment are more likely to develop social anxiety. A tendency to experience negative emotions, poor self-concept, and introversion are also associated with SAD.
  • Perfectionism: There is an association between perfectionism and SAD. Some people with SAD attempt to hide their symptoms by presenting as perfectly as they can.

How Is Social Anxiety Treated?

Treatment interventions for social anxiety disorder include medication and psychotherapy.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are first-line pharmacological treatments for SAD. Another type of medication, beta-blockers (e.g., propranolol), can be prescribed to treat the physical symptoms of anxiety. They work by blocking adrenaline, which reduces a person’s heartrate and helps with tremors.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy are effective therapeutic approaches for managing SAD, especially when combined with medication.

Complementary treatment interventions include exercise and mindfulness-based interventions.

In-the-Moment Coping Strategies for Social Anxiety Disorder

If you have social anxiety, there are a number of in-the-moment coping strategies that can help you manage your anxiety. Here are a few examples:

  • Self-talk: Talk to yourself in a positive and reassuring way. Tell yourself that whatever you’re facing can’t hurt you. (And you won’t die from embarrassment.) You can also try repeating a mantra to yourself, such as “This is nothing I can’t handle” or “I’ve been through worse and survived” to get yourself through the situation.
  • Remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes: When you feel embarrassed about something you said or did, remember that everyone makes mistakes or experiences social awkwardness from time to time. And don’t forget how quickly people forget. Hours or even minutes from now they’re not going to be thinking about you, so don’t dwell on it or let it ruin your day.
  • Learn to laugh at yourself: Laughing at yourself can help you to take yourself less seriously and to see the humor in the situation. This can help to reduce your anxiety by making you feel more relaxed.
  • Talk about it: Although it may seem counterproductive, some people find it helpful to purposely bring attention to their symptoms and/or condition. This takes the power away from your anxiety. For example, before a presentation lead with, “Bear with me, public speaking makes me anxious” or if you’re worried about blushing say, “I’m little anxious right now so I might blush.” You’ll find that most people are sympathetic.
  • Play the “so what” game: This is a helpful strategy for challenging your negative and/or distorted thoughts. When you’re feeling anxious, ask yourself, “So what?” What’s the worst that could happen? Once you’ve identified the worst-case scenario, you’ll realize that it’s not as bad as you thought it was.
  • Dim” the spotlight: This is an avoidance strategy, not a long-term solution, but it can help you survive when you’re overwhelmed. Try to find ways to make yourself less noticeable. This could mean standing behind a podium, sitting instead of standing, or (literally) dimming the lights. You may actually build confidence this way to the point where you no longer need to make yourself less noticeable.
  • Bring a buddy: Sometimes it can be helpful to have someone with you for moral support. If you’re going to be in a social situation where you’re feeling anxious, have a friend or family member tag along. This can help you to feel more confident and less alone.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so experiment until you find what helps you the most.

To conclude, social anxiety disorder can be debilitating, but there are effective treatments for SAD as well as coping strategies for managing symptoms. You may have SAD, but that doesn’t mean you are SAD.

Be kind to yourself. Have self-compassion. Forgive yourself for mistakes and forgive your brain for betraying your body. You have social anxiety. So what? With time and effort, you can remake yourself and overcome.


  • American Psychiatric Association. (2022). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed., text rev.).
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  • Evans, R., Chiu, K., Clark, D. M., Waite, P., & Leigh, E. (2021). Safety behaviours in social anxiety: An examination across adolescence. Behaviour Research and Therapy144, 103931.
  • Gilboa-Schechtman, E., & Shachar-Lavie, I. (2013). More than a face: a unified theoretical perspective on nonverbal social cue processing in social anxiety. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience7, 904.
  • Li, J., Cai, Z., Li, X., Du, R., Shi, Z., Hua, Q., Zhang, M., Zhu, C., Zhang, L., & Zhan, X. (2021). Mindfulness-based therapy versus cognitive behavioral therapy for people with anxiety symptoms: A systematic review and meta-analysis of random controlled trials. Annals of Palliative Medicine10(7), 7596–7612.
  • National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (UK). Social Anxiety Disorder: Recognition, Assessment and Treatment. Leicester (UK): British Psychological Society (UK); 2013. (NICE Clinical Guidelines, No. 159.) 6, INTERVENTIONS FOR ADULTS.
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  • Pittelkow, M. M., Aan Het Rot, M., Seidel, L. J., Feyel, N., & Roest, A. M. (2021). Social Anxiety and Empathy: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Journal of Anxiety Disorders78, 102357.
  • Stonerock, G. L., Hoffman, B. M., Smith, P. J., & Blumenthal, J. A. (2015). Exercise as treatment for anxiety: Systematic review and analysis. Annals of Behavioral Medicine : A Publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine49(4), 542–556.

5 Ways to Embrace Self-Love with a Lovelock

The self-lovelock is a powerful symbol of self-compassion and healing, a reminder that you are worthy of love

Have you ever crossed a bridge and seen the sides covered in tiny padlocks? These little “lovelocks” are a global phenomenon, and they can be found on bridges in large cities all over the world. You can also find them on fences, sculptures, lampposts, etc. Nowadays, pretty much anything that will sustain a lock is fair game.

Some of the locks have initials, names, or hearts carved into them, and they are latched there by couples to symbolize their love and commitment to each other. Then, the key is thrown away to represent their unbreakable bond; a padlock that will remain locked forever.

The Lovelock Tradition

The tradition of lovelocks is thought to have originated in the early 1900s in Serbia, where an unfortunate young woman, Nada, lost her lover. He went to war in Greece and fell in love with another woman, leaving Nada to die of heartbreak. As a result, the women in the town started protecting their love by inscribing their names and the names of their loved ones on locks and fastening them to the bridge where Nada would meet with her lover. The tradition has since become a trend in countries all over the world.

One of the most famous lovelock destinations is located in Paris: the Pont des Arts bridge. The Parisian tradition started around 2008 shortly after it gained popularity in Italy, where it was made fashionable by the Italian film I Want You. Subsequently, 6 years later in 2014, part of the Pont des Arts collapsed under the weight of over 700,000 padlocks.

The damaged structure was rebuilt with glass panels, leaving no way to attach locks. City officials came up with other creative (non-damaging) ways for couples to express their devotion, such as taking selfies and posting them with the hashtag #lovewithoutlocks. Lovers still travel from all over to see the bridge and pledge their love to each other.

The idea of a lovelocked bridge in Paris is romantic. But when I was there going through a marital separation, I developed a distaste for the practice. The locks seemed like a superficial way to show love, and I couldn’t help but see them as a symbol of broken promises. I also thought about the weight of the locks, both figuratively and literally.

The “I Love You” Wall

I didn’t pay a visit to the Pont des Arts, but I visited the Wall of Love, also known as the “I Love You” Wall, which features the phrase in over 300 different languages. The wall is located in Paris’s Jehan-Rictus Square and was created by the artist Frédéric Baron. The “I Love You” Wall is where my cynical thinking started.

A photo I took of the “I Love You” Wall in Paris

The area was crawling with street merchants selling lovelocks, their cries of “A lock for your love!” screeching in my ears.

Fed up with being hassled to buy a 20-euro lock (the sort a 10-year-old girl might use for protecting secrets in her diary), I imagined various scenarios in which I would respond to the next merchant with feigned earnestness: “Do I get a refund if he breaks up with me?” “Do you have divorce ones? And those would be half-priced, right?” “Will it work on a stranger, or do they have to already be in a relationship with me?” “Is there a limit on how many I can use at once?”

I would pick away at the symbolism and absurdity of the lovelock, all to entertain myself.

Love-mocks, Love-blocks, Love-shocks

Although truly, what happens when a “lovelocked” couple breaks up, a relationship ends, or a once-happy marriage falls apart? For example, does Mary “cheated-on-by-her-now-ex-husband” Smith think about their traitorous lovelock somewhere out there, once a metaphor for love, now symbolic of what could have been or perhaps just a symbol of grief? The lovelock tradition is seen as a romantic gesture, but for some, the lovelock becomes a reminder of a lost love, a source of pain or sadness.

And how many of the lovelocks out there are representative not of love but failed relationships, abusive partnerships, or broken hearts? The stats aren’t great. More than 85% of dating relationships lead to breakups and most daters feel like their dating lives aren’t going well or that it’s hard to find people to date. The average length of a relationship is less than 3 years. The average marriage lasts approximately 8 years, and nearly half of first marriages end in divorce with even higher divorce rates for second and third marriages.

What’s more, who’s to say that the people who stay together are in a healthy partnership? 1 in 4 women experience sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner. In fact, every minute that goes by, 20 people on average are physically abused by a partner in the United States.

So really, how many of those locks represent love? It’s not romantic; it’s tragic.

And then, think about all the lovelocks that were removed to prevent structural damage, as was the fate of hundreds of padlocks at Pont des Arts. Or, what if your lock was one of the padlocks that led to structural collapse. What does that symbolize? That love is a destructive force or one that isn’t meant to last?

Finally, I thought about the dark side of the “forever locked” concept. By throwing away the key, couples are essentially locking themselves into the relationship. This could be a dangerous thing, as people and relationships change over time. Should love be viewed in such finite terms?

The Self-Lovelock

Love is not a lock. In fact, there’s nothing less romantic than thinking about a relationship as a prison. True love is given freely, no strings (or locks) attached, and it’s not binding. Not only that, but the lock concept limits the potential of love by viewing it as an object. Love is not a thing, but an experience that is shared. It can’t be forced or coerced; it’s something we choose.

This is when the realization came that a lovelock may still have a beautiful purpose, for while some loves are temporary, there is a type of love that should be the “forever” sort. Self-love should be protected and nurtured at all costs. No matter what happens in life, as long as you’re living, it’s worth investing in yourself. Besides that, self-love is the foundation of all other relationships.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

Oscar Wilde

After my epiphany, I was inspired to remake the lovelock concept in a way that would promote self-love. Here are five fun and creative ways you can embrace self-love with a lovelock:

1. Keep the key

Buy a lock and decorate it with your own personal touch or have it engraved to your liking. When you travel to a meaningful place, attach your lock to something that will last, perhaps a landmark or a bridge. But keep the key.

The key is a symbol of your power. It’s a reminder that you hold the key to your happiness and fate. You can choose to dwell on your mistakes or to forgive yourself, learn, and move forward. It’s up to you.

The key is a symbol of your worth. The key can also remind you that no one can make you feel bad about yourself unless you let them. You hold the key to your sense of self and your self-worth. Keep the key close, wear it as a necklace, or put it somewhere safe as a daily reminder that you are in control of your life. Let it remind you that you are worthy of love and respect.

2. Keep the lock too

Another option is to keep both lock and key. This is a more sustainable way to participate in a self-lovelock tradition, and it has a deeper symbolic meaning.

The lock represents your self-love, while the key represents your commitment to it. By keeping both, you are reminding yourself that you are worthy of love and that you are committed to loving yourself unconditionally.

Once again, you can wear as jewelry or keep in a safe place that you can see as a daily reminder. Let it remind you of your commitment to self-love and of the importance of loving yourself first.

3. Create your own self-love tradition

Find a special place that you can visit regularly to reaffirm your commitment to self-care. Perhaps it’s somewhere in nature, a place that brings you peace, a spot that holds fond memories, or even a place you’ve created specifically for this purpose.

Once a year, attach a new lock to this place as a symbol of your ongoing journey of self-love. You can do this alone or with a loved one, as long as the experience is meaningful to you.

Be sure to choose a place that is likely to remain accessible to you for years to come. This way, you can return to whenever you need a reminder of your commitment to self-care.

4. Give lovelocks freely

When you practice self-compassion, you’re better prepared to meet the challenges of life, knowing that you can count on yourself. Your capacity to love others actually increases. By choosing to love yourself unconditionally, you’ll have more compassion for those around you.

Lovelocks are symbols of self-love. When you see someone who is struggling, offer them a lovelock as a gesture of kindness and support. Share about the concept of a self-lovelock and how it can serve as a daily reminder to slow down, attend to needs, and practice self-compassion. Let them know that they are not alone.

5. Share the self-love message with others

Leave a self-lovelock on a bridge or other structure where lovelocks are common. This is a great way to spread the message of self-love and to inspire others to embrace their own worth.

Personalize your lock with a message about self-love. You can write or engrave your lock with a quote, a mantra, or simply the words “self-love.”

Leave the key in the lock or even leave an extra lock so that others can take it if they need it. This is kind gesture showing that you are willing to share your love with others.

Your self-lovelock will be a reminder to others that they are worthy of love and happiness. It will serve as an inspiration to all who see it.

Final Thoughts

To close, I’m not actually against the idea of lovelocks. They can be a fun and cute gesture, but they are ultimately just that: a gesture. They can be easily broken or lost and they’re not a guarentee of love or committment.

I believe that the self-lovelock is different; it’s a powerful symbol of self-compassion and healing. It is a reminder that you are worthy of love, and it can be a source of motivation when we are struggling.

I think there should be a Wall of Self-Love. This would be a place of inspiration where people could share their self-affirmations, messages of support, and mantras that have helped them through tough times. It would serve as a powerful reminder that it is not selfish to care for yourself, and that you should be proud to share this message with others.


40 Science-Backed Apps for Mental Health

A list of 40 of the best apps for mental health and wellness, backed by science and clinical research.

This a list of 40 of the best apps for mental health and wellness. These top-rated apps are clinically proven to reduce symptoms and/or improve wellbeing.

For more evidence-based apps, visit One Mind PsyberGuide, a non-profit organization that evaluates mental health apps and then rates them based on credibility, user experience, transparency, and professional reviews.

Another resource for finding science-backed apps is the Mobile Health Index & Navigation Database (Mind Apps) from the Division of Digital Psychiatry.


Addiction & Recovery

I Am Sober*

Apple Rating: 4.9

Start by entering your sobriety date and then calculate how much you typically spend on your habit per day. You’re prompted to enter why you want to stay sober. Next, make a pledge to yourself and start tracking sober days. This app tracks not only sober time, but money saved by abstaining.

From the App Store: “Along with tracking your sober days, it helps you build new habits and provides ongoing motivation by connecting you to a wide network of people all striving for the same goal: staying sober one day at a time.”

*Premium subscriptions available for a fee.

Sober Grid*

Apple Rating: 4.9

A mobile sober community for connecting with others in recovery. Customize your experience based on your personal goals by answering questions such as “Are you in recovery?” and “Are you currently using/drinking, but want to stop?” or “Are you unsure if you even have a problem?” Connect with friends via your contact list, search for people nearby, track your sobriety date, and chat or post comments.

*Professional consultation and recovery coaching available for a fee.

Stay Quit Coach

Designed for Veterans, Stay Quit Coach is designed to help Veterans and others quit smoking for good.

From the App Store: “Stay Quit Coach is based on an integrated care manual for Veterans with PTSD who smoke cigarettes. It offers information, a breathing exercise, coping plans based on the “Ask, Advise, Replace, Mentally Cope” (AARM) model, motivational messages, medication reminders, money-saved calculator, and resources to stay quit. The app is can be used on its own, but for maximum benefit use Stay Quit Coach with the help of a counselor or health care provider.”


Apple Rating: 4.8

Also designed for Veterans, VetChange is a mobile app that can help users with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) build skills to reduce problem drinking. The app offers proven self-help tools to help not only Veterans and active services members, but anyone with PTSD who wants to manage their drinking.

Stress, Depression, & Anxiety


Apple Rating: 4.8

Daylio is a self-care bullet journal app for tracking your mood and monitoring your goals.

From the App Store: “Daylio is a very versatile app, and you can turn it in whatever you need to track: A fitness goal pal, a mental health coach, a food log, a gratitude diary, or a mood tracker. Exercise, meditate, eat, and be grateful. Take care of your mental, emotional, and physical health. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety.”

*Premium version available for a fee.


Apple Rating: 4.7

An app from GGTude for building confidence and developing self-esteem. The daily science-backed exercises also help with depression, anxiety, trauma, and more.

Happify: for Stress & Worry*

Apple Rating: 4.5

Scientifically-proven methods for breaking old patterns and creating new, healthier habits. Find your happiness score. Use tools, activities, and games to gradually improve your mental health and increase happiness.

*Premium version available for $14.99/mo.

MindShift CBT

Apple Rating: 4.3

From the App Store: “MindShift CBT is a free self-help anxiety relief app, that helps you reduce worry, stress, and panic by following evidence-based strategies. Using CBT tools, you can challenge negativity, learn more about anxiety, develop more effective ways of thinking, be mindful, and relax.

Learn about the different CBT strategies, including writing thought journals, challenging yourself with belief experiments, building fear ladders, and doing comfort zone challenges. Listen to calming audio to reframe your thoughts, practice mindfulness, and stay grounded. Participate in the MindShift CBT Community Forum: share stories, learn about others’ experiences, and provide peer advice in a safe environment. All the exercises are presented in small chunks with plenty of supporting information to help you naturally integrate these strategies with the rest of your life.”

Self-Help App for the Mind (SAM)

Apple Rating: 4.6

An app to help monitor and manage mental health with self-help techniques to help with anxiety, depression, loneliness and coping. SAM is informed by clinical best practice and academic research.


Apple Rating: 4.7

From the App Store: “SuperBetter builds resilience – the ability to stay strong, motivated and optimistic even in the face of life’s challenges. Playing SuperBetter unlocks heroic potential to overcome tough situations and achieve goals that matter most.

SuperBetter is validated in published studies to build resilience, improve mental health, and support recovery.

In randomized controlled and clinical trials conducted at University of Pennsylvania and The Ohio State University, playing SuperBetter was associated with improvements in resilience, mental health, and social emotional skills. Published meta-analyses show its effectiveness for reducing anxiety and depression.”

Virtual Hope Box (VHB)

Apple Rating: 4.0

An app designed for use by patients and their behavioral health providers as an accessory to treatment. The VHB contains simple tools to help patients with coping, relaxation, distraction, and positive thinking. Patients and providers can collaborate to personalize the VHB content based on the patient’s specific needs and treatment goals.

Woebot: Your Self-Care Expert

Apple Rating: 4.7

Chat with Woebot and learn CBT and DBT skills to combat depression and anxiety. Woebot helps you to monitor your mood and develop self-awareness.

From the App Store: “Woebot was built on a foundation of clinical evidence, and studies show that it works. In a clinical trial involving 400 participants, Woebot users showed a 32% reduction in depression and a 38% reduction in anxiety after just four weeks.”

Wysa: Mental Health Support*

Apple Rating: 4.9

Wysa is an emotionally intelligent chatbot that uses AI to react to the emotions you express. Unlock techniques that help you cope with challenges.

From the App Store: “Talking to Wysa is empathetic, helpful, and will never judge. Your identity will remain anonymous and your conversations are privacy protected.”

*Coaching subscriptions available for $99.99/mo.


CPT Coach

Apple Rating: 4.0

Designed for Veterans with PTSD, this is a companion app for individuals participating in cognitive processing therapy (CPT) with a licensed mental health professional. The app contains support materials for a complete course of CPT to help patients manage their treatment, including between session assignments, mobile versions of CPT worksheets, readings, and PTSD symptom monitoring.

PE Coach

Apple Rating: 2.6

PE Coach is designed to be used during prolonged exposure therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with a licensed mental health professional. The app provides therapist-assigned exercises and allows users to track and record progress. In addition, the app provides techniques such as controlled breathing to help decrease distress.

PTSD Coach

Apple Rating: 4.7

Designed for Veterans and individuals with PTSD, this app provides education about PTSD, information about professional care, a self-assessment for PTSD, opportunities to find support, and tools for managing stress such as relaxation skills and positive self-talk.


Apple Rating: 5.0

This app offers a self-help course based on Skills Training in Affective & Interpersonal Regulation (STAIR), an evidence-based psychotherapy that uses cognitive and behavioral techniques to help with managing emotions and relationships. It can be helpful for individuals with PTSD.


CBT-i Coach

Apple Rating: 3.4

Developed for Veterans, this is a companion app for people who are engaged in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia with a health provider, or who have experienced symptoms of insomnia and would like to improve their sleep habits. The app offers information and tips for developing positive sleep routines and improving sleep environments to help alleviate symptoms of insomnia.

Insomnia Coach

Apple Rating: 3.9

Designed for Veterans, service members, and individuals with insomnia, this app offers weekly guided training plans, a sleep coach that provides feedback, an interactive sleep diary, and 17 additional tools for improving sleep.

From the App Store: “This app is based on scientific research about how people can change their behaviors and thoughts to improve their sleep. Insomnia Coach is designed to be used daily for 5 weeks by following the Training Plan. After that, you can continue using the app to track your sleep and maintain good sleep habits.”

Meditation & Mindfulness


Apple Rating: 4.9

From the App Store: “iBreathe is a simple yet powerful app to guide you through deep breathing exercises and breathwork. Whether you are struggling with stress, anxiety, insomnia, or are trying to meditate and relax, iBreathe provides an easy-to-use beautifully designed user interface.”

Mindfulness Coach

Apple Rating: 4.8

Developed for Veterans and services members, this app provides a gradual, self-guided training program for understanding and adopting mindfulness practice. Mindfulness Coach also offers a library of information about mindfulness, 12 audio-guided exercises, and a catalog of additional exercises available for download.

Additional Free Apps for Mental Health

ACT Coach

Apple Rating: 4.2

ACT Coach was developed for Veterans, service members, and individuals who are participating in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with a therapist. The app offers exercises, tools, information, and tracking logs.

AIMS for Anger Management

Apple Rating: 3.5

Designed for Veterans and military service members, but can be used by anyone with anger problems. The AIMS app is based on the Anger and Irritability Management Skills online self-help course ( and provides education about anger, opportunities for finding support, the ability to create an anger management plan, anger tracking, and tools to help manage angry reactions. 

Gottman Card Decks

Apple Rating: 4.8

This app offers helpful questions, statements, and ideas for improving your relationship with 14 card decks and over 1,000 flashcards.

From the App Store: “As the world’s most trusted relationship company, our mission is to improve people’s lives through products and programs that educate, inspire, and heal. Our approach to relationships is based on more than four decades of ongoing research by Drs. John and Julie Gottman. We serve couples and parents directly while providing world-class training to the professionals who support them, and we are committed to making our services accessible to everyone.”

RR: Eating Disorder Management

Apple Rating: 4.9

An app for managing recovery from eating disorders including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. This app is also intended for individuals with general eating, weight, and shape concerns.


Addiction & Recovery

Sober Buddy: Addiction Recovery ($11.99/mo)

Apple Rating: 4.9

This app connects individuals in recovery with a sober community, offers daily meetings, tracks progress, and more.

Stress, Depression, & Anxiety

Beating the Blues (£69.95)

Evidence-based online CBT program for depression and anxiety. The course includes 8 modules and is self-guided.

BetterHelp ($60-$90/wk)

Apple Rating: 4.8

A 100% online therapy service that matches you to a provider.

From the App Store: “Facing obstacles alone can be daunting – receiving support and guidance from a professional therapist has been shown to make huge, positive changes to help you overcome personal challenges. When you sign up we’ll match you to an available therapist who fits your objectives, preferences and the type of issues you’re dealing with. Different therapists have different approaches and areas of expertise so we’ll work with you to find the right person who can achieve the best results for you.

There are over 20,000 therapists on BetterHelp, each with at least 3 years and 1,000 hours of hands-on experience. They are licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists (Ph.D./PsyD), marriage and family therapists (MFT), clinical social workers (LCSW), licensed professional therapists (LPC), or similar credentials.

Together you’ll work towards making a positive change in your life, accomplishing your goals, and overcoming your problems.”

Headspace ($69.99/yr)

Apple Rating: 4.8

Science-backed meditation and mindfulness tools to reduce stress and anxiety. Access guided meditation, articles, and videos to help with mood, energy, and sleep.

Moodfit ($39.99/yr)

Apple Rating: 4.7

From the App Store: “Moodfit provides the most comprehensive set of tools for good mental health, and helps you understand what brings your mood up and down.”

    • As a mood journal to bring awareness to and better understand your mood.
    • To work on a set of personalized daily goals that are your daily mental health workout that include good practices like gratitude, breathwork and mindfulness.
    • To reinforce positive messages and create new habits that boost your mood.
    • To process distorted thinking that is causing emotional discomfort using CBT techniques.
    • To keep a gratitude journal that can change your brain to see more of the positive in life.
    • To do breathing exercises to quickly increase a sense of calm.
    • To learn and practice mindfulness meditation that can reduce stress.
    • To understand the relationship between your mood and lifestyle factors like sleep, exercise, nutrition and work.
    • To track any custom variables you want to understand how they affect your mood, e.g. your hydration, caffeine intake or interactions with particular people.
    • To track your mood-related medications and better understand what is working.
    • To take mental health assessments like PHQ-9 (depression) and GAD-7 (anxiety) and see how they change over time.
    • To receive educational content and inspiration about topics like rumination, procrastination, and motivation.

MoodKit ($4.99)

Apple Rating: 4.3

This app is an evidence-based tool for reducing symptoms of depression with CBT techniques and activities such as challenging irrational or self-defeating thoughts, tracking moods, and journaling (Moodnotes).

MoodMission ($7.99)

Apple Rating: 4.5

MoodMission is clinically-proven tool for coping with symptoms of depression and anxiety. Tell the app how you’re feeling to receive 5 evidence-based “Missions” to improve your mood and earn rewards.

From the App Store: “MoodMission is based in cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is an evidence-based psychological therapy for anxiety and depression. Anyone can use MoodMission, whether you just want a lift in your day or need a bit more help recovering from anxiety or depression.”

Personal Zen (Free with in-app purchases)

Backed by over 10 years of clinical research, Personal Zen’s core therapeutic mechanism of action is a game-based approach to Attention Bias Modification (ABM). To reduce symptoms of distress and anxiety, play this mobile game 4 times per week for at least 4 weeks.

Apple Rating: 4.3

Replika (Free with in-app purchases)

Apple Rating: 4.5

From the App Store: “Replika is for anyone who wants a friend with no judgment, drama, or social anxiety involved. You can form an actual emotional connection, share a laugh, or get real with an AI that’s so good it almost seems human.

Replika is an AI friend that is just as unique as you are. The more you chat, the more Replika develops its own personality and memories alongside you, the more it learns: teach Replika about the world and yourself, help it explore human relationships and grow into a machine so beautiful that a soul would want to live in it. You also get to decide if you want Replika to be your friend, romantic partner or mentor.

Replika can help you understand your thoughts and feelings, track your mood, learn coping skills, calm anxiety and work toward goals like positive thinking, stress management, socializing and finding love. Improve your mental well-being with Replika.”

Sanvello: Anxiety & Depression ($8.99/mo or $53.99/yr)

Apple Rating: 4.8

Sanvello is clinically proven to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

From the App Store: “Whether you’re feeling anxious, lonely, overwhelmed, or just burned out, Sanvello will meet you where you’re at. Think of it as your feel-better toolkit, including therapy, coaching, coping techniques, meditations, and goal and mood tracking, designed by experts to help you feel better.”

Sinasprite ($14.99/mo or $119.99/yr)

Apple Rating: 4.0

An app for managing anxiety, depression, PTSD, or substance abuse. Play for 3 minutes a day, 3 days a week, and experience clinical improvement within 6 weeks.

From the App Store: “Visit Socks for a few minutes a few times a week or whenever you need that immediate relief or non -judgmental support. Enabling self-reliance is simple and fun when working with Socks who will holistically guide you through exercises in managing your stress, dealing with challenges and practicing a variety of proven techniques. Empower yourself as you learn which of these skills will work for you.”


Apple Rating: 4.7

Similar to BetterHelp, with Talkspace, you undergo a brief assessment to get matched with a provider before starting online therapy. Talkspace also offers psychiatry services.

From the App Store: “The Talkspace provider network has thousands of licensed therapists across the 50 U.S. states who have been vetted and accredited according to NCQA standards. They have experience treating the most common mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, substance use, stress, relationships, PTSD, and more.

Talkspace has been shown to be as effective as face-to-face therapy. In one recent study, 81% of participants felt Talkspace is as effective or better than in-person therapy. In another, individuals who used Talkspace for only 2 months significantly improved symptoms of depression and anxiety.”

UpLift ($69.99/yr)

Apple Rating: 4.5

UpLift is a self-help app for depression and anxiety that was developed by expert psychologists and leaders from the field of mobile mental health. It utilizes CBT, an evidence-based practice.

From the App Store: “UpLift provides you with 11 interactive psychology sessions that are around 45 minutes long each week. In the sessions, you’ll be answering questions, doing self care exercises, and getting customized feedback and guidance to strengthen your well-being.”

Meditation & Mindfulness

Calm ($14.99/mo or $69.99/year)

Apple Rating: 4.8

Calm is a mindful meditation app with a free version that offers limited sessions, but you can purchase a subscription for unlimited access to guided meditations, sleep stories, breathwork exercises, music, and more.

Additional Paid & Subscription Apps for Mental Health

Bearable Symptom & Mood Tracker (Free with in-app purchases)

Apple Rating: 4.7

A health and mood tracker app backed by scientific review.

From the App Store: “Bearable was launched to help people to understand the impact of different treatments and medication on common health issues such as anxiety, depression, pain, and fatigue.

Bearable helps you discover what’s really making your health better and worse. Our simple, customizable health tracking tools empower you to understand the correlation between anything you do and the impact it has on your health.

By learning what affects your mood, symptoms, sleep, and energy, you can have more control over your health and wellness, more information for your doctor, and more tools to manage triggers, treatments, and flare-ups.”

DBT Diary Card and Skills Coach ($4.00)

Apple Rating: 4.4

Designed by a licensed clinical psychologist to help individuals receiving DBT treatment or to refresh previously learned skills.

Bonus: on the App Store is a new, free app that offers a 28-day addiction program, assessments for substance use and PTSD, and 365 days of recovery support. The app is completely confidential and self-directed. (Click here for more information.) Thanks to Shaun Garber for recommending this resource!

For a list of highly-rated meditation apps, see 12 Top Free Apps for Meditation.

What are your go-to apps for mental wellbeing? Post in a comment!

Guest Post: A Veteran’s Thoughts on “Thank You for Your Service”

Why is it difficult for me to say “you’re welcome” when thanked for my service on Veterans Day? Seferino Martinez, veteran and mental health counselor, explores why in this guest article.

When people find out I served in the military, their usual response is, “Thank you for your service.” This is popular on Veterans Day.

Honestly, I never know how to respond. I typically say ‘thank you’ back. I never say, “You’re welcome.” Something meant to be pleasant sometimes becomes an awkward exchange. It’s not like other holidays when I can confidently reply ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ or ‘Happy Holidays.’

I reflected on why I have such a hard time accepting credit for my service – and I found two major culprits.

The Glorified Soldier

Firstly, when I hear the word “veteran,” it conjures up images of classic war movies with brave heroes like John Wayne in The Green Berets or Charlie Sheen in Platoon, engaging in jungle warfare in Vietnam.

I also think about the men of WWII considered ‘The Greatest Generation’ with their elegant olive drab green uniforms and Jeeps; one of my favorite shows is Band of Brothers on HBO.

Although I tried my best to do my job everyday, I couldn’t relate to nor live up to those expectations. Those men jumped out of airplanes into aerial artillery to fight off the Nazis.

But every Veteran has their own story – and this one is mine.

Combat, Coffee, & Staying Sane

My first combat tour was Operation Iraqi Freedom from the year 2004 to 2005. I remember one long year of staring at a computer, daily gym workouts, and running on the treadmill.

We came under attack several times, and it was dangerous; however, the hardest part of the deployment was keeping our minds busy and sane. The best medicine for my mental health was coffee, music, workouts, bootleg movies, and books. Care packages and letters were a rare treat.

A prominent memory I have is when the helicopters landed on our last night to take us to the airport to start our long journey back home. The memory of that night has remained vivid in my mind for over 17 years.


I think the second reason I find it difficult to respond to ‘thank you for your service’ is that I try to avoid traumatic memories. For a person with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it is typical to steer clear of conversations that may trigger unwanted memories.

Recently, I reflected on a memory I had been avoiding for quite some time. I was attached to a unit in Herat, Afghanistan in 2009, co-located with our Italian NATO partners. I remember the first day I landed. It was a cold morning, about 3 a.m., and I was transported alone by a cargo plane. All I could see was shadows of tents and huts and the silhouette of the mountains. I remember the stars shined like bright diamonds like I had never seen before in the United States.

I would spend four months at that location. It was difficult at first; however, we gained momentum and accomplished several missions.

Our base was attacked late one night; most of the staff had already gone to bed. I heard the first explosion from a distance. Several explosions followed, and they kept getting closer.

The enemy was creeping Rocket Artillery from the mountains. We were extremely vulnerable because we lived in tents and worked out of wooden huts. There were several concrete bunkers spread throughout the base for added protection, so my first reaction was to put on my gear and go wait it out in the bunker.

I was the first one there and I waited for everyone to follow. I was safe but I was alone, and I was worried about the others. No one joined me. I left the safety of the bunker and went to check on one of my friends. He was dead asleep. I remember waking him to the sound of explosions. “We are being attacked,” I said. He woke with a start and put on his armor vest and helmet and set off to check on the others.

The rest is a blur. I remember we split up to wake everyone, directing them to the bunkers, while the reaction team set out to take care of the shooters. By the time I made it back to the bunker, it was full. I crammed in at an exposed end. The explosions kept getting closer and started to hit some of our tents and equipment.

I remember feeling terrified from the uncertainty and the deafening explosions. We were lucky we did not lose anyone that night.

Thinking back on this memory, I realize I didn’t think twice about risking my safety to help my fellow soldiers. It’s what I would expected from them as well.

Normally, when people say “thank you for your service,” they don’t know why they are actually thanking me, and honestly, until recently, neither did I.

The Aftermath

The things I experienced while serving have been the source of nightmares, anxiety, and depression. What’s more, when I returned from deployment, I had to face life, new careers, civilian culture, housing, anger, marital problems, and financial stress without the moral support I used to get in the military.

I actually missed the life purpose supplied by combat and the need to feel needed by my band of brothers. At first, I tried to cope with alcohol, as many veterans do, but I realized it was not the answer. I eventually sought expert help from the Veterans Affairs. Today, part of the way I cope is by helping others as a mental health counselor.


After much thought and self-reflection, I am finally able to accept the great complement, “Thank you for your service.”

This is what you are thanking me for: I chose a timeless and noble profession. I chose to serve. I left the comfort of my family and my home to follow through with a commitment, to make good on an oath I made when I was a skinny 18-year-old fresh out of high school. I chose to stay drug-free and obey all the laws, to lead an honorable life to be fit for duty and able to serve. I chose to risk my safety for the benefit of the greater good. So, thank you for acknowledging my service.

And to all my fellow veterans: Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines, “Thank you for your service.”

According to the 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report: In 2020, there were 6,146 Veteran suicide deaths.

To get help from a Veterans Crisis Line:

  • Call 988 (press 1)
  • Text 838255
  • Call TTY if you have hearing loss at 1-800-799-4889

If you are in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, visit VeteransCrisisLine for more resources.

About the Author: Seferino Martinez is a Texas native who joined the military after graduating high school. He is a veteran of both the Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). He has a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Liberty University and is a Licensed Mental Health Professional in the state of Virginia.

A Beginner’s Guide to Overcoming Perfectionism

Over 50 free resources for overcoming perfectionism including assessments, PDF workbooks, printable worksheets, videos, articles, and more.

This guide has 50+ free resources for overcoming perfectionism including assessments, worksheets/handouts, workbooks, guides, videos, articles, and more.

Do you hold yourself or others to unrealistic standards and find yourself defeated or frustrated when those standards aren’t met? Are you sensitive to criticism and have a fear of making mistakes? Do you have a tendency to procrastinate? Are you driven by fear or have an intense fear of failure? If so, you may be a perfectionist. And it may be hindering you instead of helping.

The definition of perfectionism is “a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.” The American Psychological Association further defines perfectionism as it relates to mental health as “the tendency to demand of others or of oneself an extremely high or even flawless level of performance, in excess of what is required by the situation.”

Perfectionism can be unhealthy – harmful even – and is associated with depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.

This beginner’s guide to overcoming perfectionism provides free resources for assessment, exploration, education, and motivation.

Assessment & Screening

How much of a perfectionist are you? Take a test!

Worksheets & Handouts for Overcoming Perfectionism

Use the worksheets below to learn more about perfectionism and to do some self-exploration.

For additional worksheets and handouts see 200+ Sites with Free Therapy Worksheets & Handouts.

Workbooks & Guides for Overcoming Perfectionism

For additional PDF workbooks, manuals, and guides see 500 Free Printable Workbooks & Manuals for Therapists.

Videos for Overcoming Perfectionism

Podcasts About Perfectionism

Articles & Research About Perfectionism

Increase your knowledge and find out what research tells us about perfectionism.

Quotes for Overcoming Perfectionism

“Perfectionism is the art of never being satisfied.”


“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”

Salvador Dali

“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to do our best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth; it’s a shield.”

-Brené Brown

“Have the courage to be imperfect.”

Alfred Adler

“Perfection is the enemy of progress.”

Winston Churchill

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”

— Leo Tolstoy

Additional Resources for Overcoming Perfectionism

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Mental Health in 2021: The Year in Review

The year in review – a rundown of notable findings and news in mental health in 2021, including statistics, research, reform, and legislation passed.

According to USA Today, a poll that asked Americans to describe 2021 in one word indicated that the year was overwhelmingly bleak for many. The top five most common responses were:

  1. Awful/terrible/bad/sucked (23%)
  2. Chaos/confusing/turmoil (12%)
  3. Challenging/hard/rough (11%)
  4. Disaster/train wreck/catastrophe (6%)
  5. Okay/good (6%)

How were such dismal views reflected in mental health in 2021? Who was impacted the most and why? What helped Americans cope?

This article reviews American mental health in 2021 – a rundown of last year’s notable research findings, statistics, and events.

Mental Health in 2021: Statistics & News

According to a 2021 Mental Health America report, the top-ranking states for overall mental wellbeing (based on rates of mental illness and access to care) are:

  1. 5) Connecticut
  2. 4) Pennsylvania
  3. 3) New Jersey
  4. 2) Vermont
  5. 1) Massachusetts

The lowest ranking states are: Wyoming, Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, and Nevada (with Nevada at the bottom).

January 5 Ketamine shows promise as a treatment for chronic PTSD by reducing symptom severity. Click here to read the study abstract. (Source: American Journal of Psychiatry)

April 1 – The Standard reports that 49% of American workers struggled with alcohol and substance use in 2020. Read the full article.

April 6 – Research indicates mental health complications in survivors of COVID-19 persist up to 6 months and beyond post-infection. (Source: Lancet Psychiatry)

April 15 – Psilocybin, the hallucinogenic chemical in ‘magic mushrooms,’ is found to be as effective for treating depression as a common antidepressant. (Source: The New England Journal of Medicine)

April 22 – 3 in 10 healthcare workers consider leaving the profession due to pandemic-related burnout. (Source: The Washington Post)

July 13 – Over half (53%) of United States public health workers report symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or suicidal thoughts since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic according to the CDC.

July 23 – Mental health workers are deployed to provide mental health support to first responders, the search and rescue teams, who worked for weeks to find victims after the condo collapse in Surfside, FL that killed nearly 100 people.

November 1 – Aaron Beck, the father of cognitive therapy, dies at 100. (Source: USA Today)

December 13 – Digital (computer and smartphone-based) treatments for mental illness may effectively reduce symptoms of depression. (Source: American Psychological Association)

December 17 – Rates of depression and anxiety increased globally during the pandemic. (Source: Psychiatry Advisor)

December 21 – The American Psychiatric Association endorses the Well Beings Mental Health Language Guide intended to address stigma around mental illness and provide readers with person-centered language. Read the news release.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 10 and 34 in the United States. (CDC)

A 2021 report published by Mental Health America indicates that most American employees are experiencing burnout. Furthermore, employees are not receiving the support they need to manage stress; workplace stress has a significant impact on mental health. Download the full report here.

At the end of 2020, 1 in 5 adolescents as well as 1 in 5 adults reported that the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health. (Source: 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health)

Addiction & Recovery

The 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicates that nearly 60% of Americans use drugs and/or alcohol with over 20% of the population reporting illicit drug use.

January 1 – A study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence estimates that the opioid crisis cost the economy over $1 trillion in the United States in 2017.

February 28 – According to a growing body of research, Topamax continues to show promise as a pharmacological treatment for alcohol use disorder. (Source: Neuropsychopharmacology)

June 12 – The anti-inflammatory drug ibudilast shows promise as a treatment for alcohol use disorder. A small study found that it decreased heavy drinking. (Source: Translational Psychiatry)

June 25 – Research suggests that life achievements are linked to sustained recovery. (Source: Journal of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors)

July 5 – A pilot study indicates that high-dose gabapentin therapy may reduce harmful alcohol consumption. (Source: Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research)

July 21 – Wearable devices measure and track stress reactions to help to prevent relapse. Read the article from Washington State University Insider here.

August 3 – Alcohol consumption is linked to nearly 750,000 cancer cases in 2020. (Source: CBS News)

September 27 – Yale researchers predict that graphic photos showing the severe consequences of smoking, which will be printed on all cigarette packages in the U.S. beginning October 2022, will save an estimated 539,000 lives. (Source: Yale News)

November 30 – Researchers explore nutritional ketosis as a treatment for alcohol use disorder. (Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry)

December 5 – TMS therapy reduces cravings and heavy drinking days. (Source: Biological Psychiatry)

December 17 – Researchers predict that a one-year increase in alcohol consumption in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic will cause 8,000 additional deaths from alcohol-related liver disease, 18,700 cases of liver failure, and 1,000 cases of liver cancer by 2040. (Source: Massachusetts General Hospital)

Overdose Statistics & News

In 2019 there were 70,630 primarily opioid-involved drug overdose deaths in the United States. 72.9% of opioid-involved overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids. (Source: CDC)

The states with the highest overdose death rates are:

  • 5) Pennsylvania
  • 4) Maryland
  • 3) Ohio
  • 2) Delaware
  • 1) West Virginia

February 3 – Researchers develop experimental vaccines to block opioid-induced respiratory depression, the primary cause of overdose death. (Source: Scripps Research Institute)

February 17 – Demi Lovato reveals that she suffered from three strokes and a heart attack in 2018 as a result of a drug overdose, leaving her with permanent brain damage. (Source: ABC News)

March 4 – A 75-year old New York doctor who saw patients in a hotel parking lot is charged with murder for 5 opioid deaths after writing massive quantities of prescriptions for opioid drugs. (Source: CSB News)

April 2 – The CDC reports that overdose deaths were at their highest in 2020, a 38.4% increase compared to the previous 12-year period.

September 1 – Purdue Pharma, the maker of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin, is dissolved in a bankruptcy settlement that requires the company’s owners, members of the Sackler family, to pay billions of dollars to address the impact of the opioid epidemic. (Source: New York Times)

September 9 – Disparities in opioid overdose deaths for Black people continue to worsen. Read the press release. (Source: National Institutes of Health-NIH)

September 22 – An NIH report indicates that methamphetamine-involved overdose deaths nearly tripled between 2015-2019. Read the press release.

October 28 – The American Medical Association commends the Biden-Harris Administration “for responding to the spike in drug overdoses with an evidence-based, humane approach to increasing access to care for patients with a substance use disorder and harm reduction services.”

November 22 – Researchers develop a wearable naloxone injector device to detect and reverse opioid overdose. Read the news release from UW Medicine.

December 1 – Fentanyl strips prevent overdose and save lives. (Source: MSN News)

December 7 – The first safe injection sites in America open in New York in Washington Heights and East Harlem. (Source: Psychiatry Advisor)

December 9 – The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York announces it is dropping the name of the philanthropic Sackler family, whose name is linked to America’s opioid epidemic. (Source: NBC News)

Discrimination & Reform

January 18 – The American Psychiatric Association issues a public apology for their past discriminatory practices. Read the news release here.

February 25 – The House passes the Equality Act, which “prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in areas including public accommodations and facilities, education, federal funding, employment, housing, credit, and the jury system.”

March 3 – The House passes the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021.

March 10 – The Emmett Till and Will Brown Justice for Victims of Lynching Act of 2021, a bill that establishes lynching as a federal hate crime, is introduced in the House.

April 8 – The CDC director declares racism a serious public health threat. (Read the media statement here.) The American Medical Association releases a response statement applauding the CDC.

May 1 – A study indicates there are significant increases in anxiety among Black emerging adults from exposure to police violence. (Source: American Psychiatric Association)

June 1 – Research establishes a link between substance misuse and transgender-related discrimination.

July 30 – Research suggests that a 2017 executive order banning foreign nationals from select Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the United States harmed the health of Muslim Americans. (Source: Yale News)

August 17 – Researchers find persistent racial and ethnic health disparities in the United States. (Source: JAMA)

October 29 – The American Psychological Association issues an apology for its longstanding contributions to systemic racism.

December 1 – A study indicates that youth who face discrimination are at a greater risk for developing a mental disorder and are twice as likely to experience severe psychological distress compared to youth who don’t experience discrimination. (Source: Pediatrics)

Mental Health in 2021 Legislation

In February, the Mental Health Justice Act of 2021 to create a grant program for training and dispatching mental health professionals (instead of law enforcement officers) to respond to psychiatric emergencies is introduced.

The House passes the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2021 in March.

In May, the House passes:

Also in May, the Senate passes the Improving Mental Health Access for Students Act to increase suicide prevention resources for students.

On October 26th, the House passes the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act of 2021 to expand services for victims of domestic violence.

The infrastructure act signed to law by the president in November mandates automakers to install anti-drunk driving technology systems in all new cars.

In 2021, recreational marijuana use is legalized in New York, Virginia, New Mexico, and Connecticut. While marijuana is still federally controlled, it is now legal in 19 states and the District of Columbia and medically allowed in 36 states. Read more about marijuana legalization in the United States here. (Source: U.S. News)

The States Reform Act to end federal prohibition of cannabis is introduced in November, and a Florida representative submits a legislative proposal to decriminalize all illegal drugs.

Mental Health in 2021: Conclusion

2021 – the second year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic – brought with it more distress, loss, and hardship, with no end in sight as COVID deaths in 2021 surpassed those in 2020. While the year delivered a few legislative victories and promising research findings in mental health in 2021, overall, it wasn’t a great one.

Data suggests that mental health in 2021 suffered, with increased rates of depression, anxiety, and substance use. Healthcare workers experienced severe burnout. Overdose deaths skyrocketed while thousands of lawsuits were filed against opioid makers such as Purdue Pharma who started and sustained the opioid crisis in America, profiting off the suffering and tragedy of addiction. (See the Opioid Settlement Tracker to learn more about opioid settlements and how the money is spent.)

Meanwhile, a wave of civil unrest in America, triggered by the murder of George Floyd in 2020, continued into 2021 with protests, rioting, and violence. While the movement gained strength in 2020, in 2021, many Americans looked away. At the same time, there was a political push for a more “patriotic” retelling of history – to limit what schools could teach about slavery. However, steps in the right direction were taken by both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association when they issued public apologies for the harm they caused.

Although drug overdose deaths increased, there were significant strides taken in 2021 to win the “war on drugs” – by ending it with an awareness that this is not a war; it’s a treatable illness. 2021 saw the establishment of evidence-based, harm-reduction measures as well as legislation to decriminalize and legalize drugs. Meanwhile, medical research in 2021 revealed promising treatments to heal both addiction and mental illness.

To conclude, last year – in general – sucked. Despite this, it wasn’t entirely bad in mental health in 2021. And, 2022 could be the light at the end of the tunnel! In fact, the same poll that suggested 2021 was a “trainwreck” of a year found a majority of Americans are still hopeful for 2022.

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

mental health in 2021

20 Powerful TED Talks on Relationships & Communication

20 powerful TED Talks on relationships and communication for therapists and counseling students for client education (or for self-help).

20 powerful TED Talks on relationships, communication, and related topics for mental health professionals and counseling students to use as psychoeducational tools (or for self-help).

For more recommended TED Talks, see 10 Most Popular TEDx Talks (a playlist from the TED website), 3 Powerful TED Talks on Grief, 10 Powerful TED Talks on Emotions, 10 Powerful TED Talks on Resilience, Empathy, & Compassion, and 18 Best TED Talks for Addiction & Recovery.

For additional psychoeducational videos, see 50 Helpful YouTube Videos for Psychoeducation.

20 Powerful TED Talks on Relationships & Communication

1. Four Habits of ALL Successful Relationships | Dr. Andrea & Jonathan Taylor-Cummings (2019)

All relationships take work. Dr. Andrea & Jon Taylor-Cummings share their observations of the four fundamental habits of healthy relationships: BE CURIOUS, not critical; BE CAREFUL, not crushing; ASK, don’t assume; and CONNECT, before you correct.

2. Ten Ways to Have a Better Conversation | Celeste Headlee (2016)

Journalist, author, and public speaker Celeste Headlee reveals the ingredients of a great conversation: Honesty, brevity, clarity, and a healthy amount of listening. In this insightful talk, she shares 10 rules for having better conversations.

3. The Brain in Love | Helen Fisher (2008)

Helen Fisher – anthropologist, human behavior researcher, and self-help author – talks about romantic love in this video clip. She shares what neuroscience tells us about the brain in love.

Bonus video: The Science of Love with Dr. Helen Fisher

4. Do You Have Post Betrayal Syndrome? | Debi Silber (2020)

Dr. Debi Silber – psychologist and founder of the PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute – talks about being blindsided by betrayal. She explains how we heal (physically, mentally, and emotionally) from betrayal by turning trauma into transformation.

Take a free quiz to find out if you have post betrayal syndrome.

5. The Dreaded Drama Triangle | Lucy Barnes (2018)

There are three roles we take on in unhealthy relationships. Are you the victim, the rescuer, or the persecutor? Lucy Barnes talks about the dreaded drama triangle in this TED Talk.

6. How to Fix a Broken Heart | Guy Winch (2018)

Psychologist Guy Winch talks about heartbreak and the intense emotional pain it brings. To recover from a broken heart, we must be willing to let the relationship go; hope can be incredibly destructive when we’re heartbroken. In one of the most viewed TED Talks on relationships and breakups, Winch shares practical suggestions for moving on after a relationship ends.

7. How to Speak So That People Want to Listen | Julian Treasure (2014)

According to Julian Treasure, the seven deadly sins of speaking are gossip, judging, negativity, complaining, blaming, lying, and conflating fact with opinion. He talks about the four cornerstones of effective speech as well as tools for speaking so that people want to listen.

Bonus TED-Ed Video: How Miscommunication Happens and How to Avoid It

8. How to Spot a Liar | Pamela Meyer (2011)

We’re all liars, according to Pamela Meyer – and we’re lied to between 10 and 200 times on any given day. In one of the most highly viewed TED Talks on relationships and deception, Meyer talks about how to spot lies by recognizing the telltale signs of a liar.

9. How Your Brain Falls In Love | Dawn Maslar (2016)

Biologist Dawn Maslar explains the neuroscience of falling in love. Romantic love is associated with chemical and hormonal changes that differ for men and women.

10. Infidelity: To Stay or Go…? | Lucy Beresford (2018)

Psychotherapist and relationship expert Lucy Beresford argues against the assumption that ending a relationship after infidelity is the best course of action. She suggests that it’s more courageous to stay and rebuild. In this TED Talk, Beresford explains how a couple can repair their relationship and rebuild trust after a betrayal.

Bonus TED-Ed Video: A Brief History of Divorce

11. Is Casual Sex Bad for You? | Dr. Zhana Vrangalova (2015)

Renowned sex researcher and psychologist Zhana Vrangalova discusses casual sex, long portrayed as a societal sin. She explains how “hookup” sex satisfies some of our most basic human needs.

12. Is It Lust or Is It Love? | Terri Orbuch (2014)

Dr. Terri Orbuch (aka, The Love Doctor®) is a professor of sociology at Oakland University (Rochester, Michigan) and a research professor at the Institute for Social Research at University of Michigan. In this TED Talk she explains how to differentiate between lust and love by recognizing distinctive features.

13. Overcoming the Fear of Love | Trillion Small (2018)

Dr. Trillion Small, licensed marriage and family therapist, examines why we fear love and how to overcome this in order to have healthy relationships.

14. The Power of Vulnerability | Brené Brown (2011)

Brené Brown shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.

15. Relationships Are Hard, but Why? | Stan Tatkin (2016)

Stan Tatkin – relationship expert, clinician, teacher, and researcher – explores why we fight in relationships from a neuroscience perspective.

16. Rethinking Infidelity… A Talk for Anyone Who Has Ever Loved | Esther Perel (2015)

Relationship therapist Esther Perel discusses adultery and infidelity in this TED Talk. She explains that monogamy has nothing to do with love and talks about the three ways infidelity hurts us differently today.

17. The Science of Love | John Gottman (2018)

Can science help find the magic of love? Relationship expert discusses the science of love and how to make love work.

18. Skills for Healthy Romantic Relationships | Joanne Davila (2015)

Psychologist and researcher Joanne Davila describes how you can create the things that lead to healthy relationships and reduce the things that lead to unhealthy ones using three evidence-based skills – insight, mutuality, and emotion regulation.

19. What a Sex Worker Can Teach Us About Human Connection | Nicole Emma (2018)

Nicole Emma explains that sex is how men feel loved and worthy. She shares what she learned about human connection through sex work. She also touches on the impact of harmful male messages in society.

20. Why Domestic Violence Victims Don’t Leave | Leslie Morgan Steiner (2013)

Leslie Morgan Steiner shares what it’s like to be in “crazy love” with an abusive partner. For years she stayed with a man who routinely abused her and threatened her life. In this TED Talk, Steiner explains why domestic violence victims don’t leave abusive relationships; she also corrects common misconceptions about intimate partner violence.

TED Talks on relationships