The Best Psychology and Self Improvement Articles of 2016

self improvement articles

Time flies when you’re learning, growing, and improving. This is officially the 7th year of The Emotion Machine and it was easily one of our best yet.

As many of you know, every year I try to put together a “best of” collection. This year it was incredibly hard for me to choose a “best of” because I’m so proud of the many articles we published in 2016.

However, I buckled down and finally chose 18 awesome articles that I think reflect the very best of The Emotion Machine over the past year. Did you miss any of these?

Check out our best psychology and self improvement articles of 2016!

1. Systems vs. Goals: Why Sustainability is More Important Than Temporary Success

Goals are often temporary changes, but systems are long-term. If you want to make a sustainable change in your life, you need to approach it as a systematic change.

2. Why No One is Normal and How to Focus on Individual Uniqueness

What does it mean to be normal? As it turns out, being “normal” is a very rare thing and being “different” is way more common. This is the key principle behind individuality.

3. Undeniable Presence: How to Create a Powerful Aura Around Yourself

What does it means when someone has a “presence” or “aura” about themselves? How can we build an undeniable presence for ourselves?

4. Meditation Is a Type of Technology, Like a Telescope or Microscope

Meditation isn’t magic, it’s a type of technology. Like a telescope or microscope, it can help extend our awareness toward things we aren’t usually conscious of.

5. Destroy Your Ego Before it Destroys Your: How We Make Bad Situations Even Worse

Confidence is a very valuable trait to have, but an unhealthy ego is often an unjustified sense of confidence that can end up destroying us.

6. The “Five Whys” Exercise: How to Recalibrate Yourself During Periods of Turbulence

There’s no such thing as a life without a little chaos and turbulence. The “Five Whys” exercise is a great tool for recalibrating our values during these difficult times.

7. How to Plant Powerful Ideas in People’s Minds That Actually Take Root and Grow

Our memory is a fickle thing. Only a small percentage of information we are exposed to we actually remember. How can you make your ideas more impactful?

8. How to Communicate Your Feelings Without Becoming an Emotional Manipulator

It’s important to be open and honest when you communicate your feelings to others, but we also have to be careful not to turn ourselves into “emotional manipulators.”

9. Body Language Is More Revealing Than Words: How to Read People More Clearly

Our body language can often be more honest than our words when it comes to communicating our true thoughts, feelings, and intentions.​​​​​​​

10. How to Be a Skeptical Thinker About Facts and Statistics You Find on the Internet

We’re constantly being bombarded with facts, statistics, and graphs on news sites, blogs, and social media. How can we be a more skeptical thinker in the face of all this information?

11. The Power of a Checklist: How to Stay Disciplined and Avoid Stupid Mistakes

In our increasingly complex world, how can a simple checklist help us stay focused and avoid making silly and stupid mistakes?

12. How to Destroy Performance Anxiety and Deliver an Award Winning Show Every Time

Do you have performance anxiety when it comes to public speaking, job interviews, or first dates? Check out these must-know tips to help you “steal the show” every time.​​​​​​​

13. Why It’s Worth It To Pay The Costs of Being Yourself

“Being yourself” isn’t easy. It means being upfront and honest about who you are, and that entails the possibility of getting judged by others. While “being yourself” has real costs, the reward of being true to yourself is well worth it.​

14. How Culture Influences Our Minds in Profound Ways We Don’t Even Realize

How does culture influence our minds and how we see the world? Psychologist Richard Nisbett shares his extensive research on the difference between “Western” and “Eastern” minds.

15. The Disintegration of the Community: Why We Feel Alone Even When Surrounded By People

Do you feel like you’re a part of your local community? If your answer is “no,” you’re not defective, this is actually how many people feel today.

16. Hive Mind: The Synergistic Effects of Being Around Really Smart People

A group of smart people can often feed off of each other and become more than the sum of their individual parts. They bring out the best in each other – and this is just as true for a business or organization as it is for a nation as a whole.

17. Effective Altruism vs. Feel Good Altruism: How to Make a Bigger Difference in the World

We often want to do good in the world, but we don’t know the best way to do it. What’s the difference between “effective altruism” vs. “feel good altruism?” How can we make our efforts to improve the world more impactful?

18. The Origin of Us: Campfires As The Bedrock of Human Civilization

Campfires provided an important evolutionary step in “group-bonding” that likely influenced the development of society and civilization as a whole.


These are the best psychology and self improvement articles published at The Emotion Machine in 2016.

There’s a lot of amazing information and insight here, so I recommend at least taking a quick glance at all of these.

Thanks to everyone for all your love and support this year. Let’s keep learning, growing, and improving into the new year!

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