A couple sitting on a rock watching the sunrise
A couple sitting on a rock watching the sunrise
Photo by Asaf R on Unsplash

Because seeing eye-to-eye can make or break a relationship.

Have you heard of the “reacher vs. settler” theory in relationships? If you’ve watched How I Met Your Mother, you are probably familiar with it. It states that in every classic romantic relationship, one party is the reacher, the other the settler. The reacher dates someone who is somewhat out of their league. The settler, well, settles, despite being in theory able to “do better”. Cruel concept, right?

And yet most of us know what it feels like to be the one always inspiring the other person to try new things. To challenge their ideas. To encourage growth. …


Get over that fear of constantly being judged by other people.

Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

Anna doesn’t like to think back to her time in high school. Speaking in front of the whole class, group assignments, being called upon — these are the situations where Anna had to face her biggest fear: being negatively evaluated by other people. The mere thought of being the center of attention, with all her classmates’ eyes on her, still makes her heart race. She describes that all she wants in these moments is to vanish into thin air.

What Anna describes are signs of social phobia. Social phobia, or social anxiety, is a very common phenomenon. It is much…


The most important one is about how to design your life.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

We may think we know it all at 20, and then we grow up and realize we definitely didn’t. Here’s what I wish I had known or realized earlier in life. And some of these lessons are ones I still have to remind myself of to this day.

1. Intelligence does not beat hard work or make up for laziness.

I was the “smart kid” at school and never had to study much. In college, I realized that while my intelligence was enough to get by (and mostly even get A’s), the people who really stood out were the ones who were smart AND driven.

I wish I had kicked my motivation…


Between yourself, work, and friends and family — where does your time and energy go?

Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

“In case of an emergency, put the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping others.”

This sentence is one any frequent flyer knows by heart, but it only recently dawned on me how much truth it holds. Only if I am well and whole, I can serve and support my fellow human beings. But it is easy and humane to lose focus of ourselves, facing our everyday challenges.

Do you know people who constantly circle around their children, and talk about nothing else than the latest stroller model? Moms who after two glasses of wine on a girls’ night out…


And how to turn it back into a strength.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

I had always assumed everybody was more or less able to build a connection to what other people were feeling. The first incident in my life that made me wonder if my levels of empathy were appropriate was in the 12th grade.

My boyfriend at the time helped my dad carry a heavy cupboard down the stairs in my parents’ house. It got too heavy, he let it slip, and the massive thing crushed his fingers against the wall. His hand went red and blue immediately. He said he was okay, not wanting to seem soft in front of my…


Options and schools, insurance matters and finding a therapist — a starting point to help you navigate the jungle of options out there.

— If you found this article in an acute crisis looking for immediate help, please see the end for emergency resources —

For anyone feeling anxious, helpless, or otherwise in need of someone to talk to outside their friends and family, navigating the jungle of therapeutic approaches can be suffocating. Google search results on “which therapy is right for me” are messy, scary, and barely helpful for anyone struggling with their psychological well-being. …


The circle of life is omnipresent — reflecting on a Burn experience.

“Welcome to the real world”. This is what’s written on a small wooden sign that greets everyone upon entering the premises of AfrikaBurn, a BurningMan regional event in the Tankwa Karoo National Park in South Africa. What I initially considered a nice joke (the real world is the office, my Psych. PhD research, and my crammed apartment back home, right?) became a truth to me that gradually sucked me in and freaked me out.

Burning the Clan © Joseph Ou

What is the real world? Spending one week in the South African desert made me question and opened up my imagination as to how humanity interacts…


Your brain uses your behavior for backward conclusions on your feelings.

I can still hear my mom‘s voice in the back of my head, „stop slouching Julia!“. Have you ever noticed that adopting an upright posture, pushing your shoulders back, and keeping the chin up makes you feel more confident? It‘s a classic tip in any class on giving presentations or acing job interviews for a reason. It works magic because it not only changes the way you come across, but also the way you feel.

You might also have experienced that you feel happier when you actively move your face muscles to a smile. Happiness makes us smile, and smiling…

Julia Dahm

Positive Psychology Enthusiast | M.Sc. Psych. | Life Coach | Mental Health Advocate | Digital Nomad | juliadahm.de

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