Mental Health Month: Bipolar = Mood Episodes, Not Moodiness

Have you heard this one before? I found this online when I searched the term “Bipolar” – “Bipolar people are easy. If you don’t like their current mood, just wait a few minutes and it will change.” Here’s the problem – everything about this “joke” is wrong. First off, it’s mean. Research on “Expressed Emotion” has actually demonstrated…

A “Whole Brain” Theory of Human Motivation – Part 5: Through the Lens of Mental Healthiness

Here are the reasons why internal motivation is best: 1) It is aligned with our most humanistic capacities, not our more animalistic tendencies. 2) It reinforces optimal personal growth, creating maturity and greater competency over time. 3) The more we are aligned with our best self and our growing self, we naturally experience positive connections…

A “Whole Brain” Theory of Human Motivation – Part 4: How Much Does This Cost?

Let’s backtrack a little. Sometimes external motivators can be helpful. For instance, rewards can get people to engage in behaviors that they wouldn’t otherwise choose, i.e. boring or tedious activities, tasks that have no inherent reward but may be important or necessary, like getting paperwork done. With enough repetition, sometimes these behaviors can be sustained,…

A “Whole Brain” Theory of Human Motivation – Part 3: Rewards & Punishments

In obvious ways, rewards and punishments are total opposites. Rewards focus on reinforcing behaviors that we’d like to see more of. Punishments focus on deterring behaviors that we’d like to eliminate. Rewards leave the recipient feeling good, which is why they work to change behavior. Punishments leave the recipient feeling pain, which is how they…

A “Whole Brain” Theory of Human Motivation – Part 1

In 1947 the founder of the Humanistic Psychology movement Abraham Maslow published a paper entitled “A Theory of Human Motivation.” It is from this paper that perhaps his most famous idea originated – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The theory that he proposed, culminating from his qualitative research studying exceptional and admirable human beings, was that all…