Personal Development

Recap, Best Articles, and Reading List


Here are the best articles published at The Emotion Machine in 2022, as well as my “end-of-the-year” thoughts and a list of books I’ve read.

Congratulations for making it another year around the sun.

New Years is always the perfect time to reflect on the past and prepare for the future. I hope you’re taking this opportunity to do some inventory in your life and decide how to best move forward, no matter where you currently find yourself.

It’s important to remind everyone that self-improvement is a long-term journey. I often joke that, “I’m in a never-ending process of getting my $@! together.” It’s funny because it’s true.

The Emotion Machine was founded in June 2009. My tagline has always been, “Self-Improvement in the 21st Century” and I can now safely say I’ve been writing for the better part of it.

Some of you have just discovered me this year, some of you have been following me for over a decade. All are welcome and appreciated.

When I reflect on the state of today’s world, doing anything for an entire decade seems completely alien. We are addicted to quick-fixes, magic pills, over-night success, and instant dopamine hits.

The idea of committing to something with blood, sweat, and tears – without seeing any immediate reward or payoff – seems almost ludicrous. “Just play a video game or watch a TV show.”

But as superficiality grows, the demand for authenticity gets stronger too.

People are becoming more aware of the corrupt nature of our current culture and society. It feels unsustainable, because it is. We are running out of distractions, we have to focus back on what matters.

Our world is changing faster and faster. If you’re not grounded in something real and long-term, then you will get swept up in every wind that passes. And 2023 will be windy.

If nothing else, my loyalty and commitment to The Emotion Machine has given me something stable to hold onto. The world has changed many times over and will continue to change, and I’m still here.

Best Articles of 2022

Here’s a list of my best articles from 2022, broken down by category.

Happiness and Mental Health

Silver Linings for a Cloudy Day: Reframe Bad News Before You Get It

Cognitive Bias Modification: Train Your Mind to Focus On the Positive

Bibliotherapy: Self-Help Books Can Really Improve Your Mental Health

Act On Your Values, Don’t Just Preach Them

Online Art and Cultural Exhibits Can Boost Happiness and Well-Being

Habits and Motivation

Willpower: How to Maximize Your Energy Levels Throughout the Day

50+ Productivity Tips to Take Your Success to the Next Level

Imagine How Good It Will Feel: How to Use Emotional Imagery to Motivate Yourself

How Your Brain Reacts to Mistakes Depends on Your Mindset

A Whiteboard Can Supercharge Your Productivity and Goals

Habit Stacking: Connecting New Habits to Old Ones

Watch More Documentaries: Keep Your Brain Sharp and Learn About New Worlds

Relationships and Friends

Social Support: The Benefits of Creating Positive Relationships

First Impressions: Making Good Ones And Overcoming Bad Ones

Projection: The Antithesis of Empathy

Hard to Talk About Topics: Write a Note to Someone Instead

Intergenerational Thinking: Why You Don’t Begin at Birth or End at Death

Stress and Emotions

Shower Meditation: Wash Away Your Stress and Anxiety

Listen to Birds Singing to Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Paranoia

Cocoon Phases of Self-Improvement: When Growth Seems to Stagnate

On the Fruits of God and Religion

7 Simple, Fun, and Stupid Ideas to Break Your Current Pattern

The Psychology of Horror Movies: Why People Enjoy Being Scared, Shocked, and Disgusted

2022 Reading List

At the end of every year I always share what books I’ve read.

Last year I focused more on reading fiction, which is an area I’ve often neglected in the past. This year I turned back to non-fiction, with a small emphasis on history.

Admittedly, my reading took a downtick compared to recent years, but I still got a good amount under my belt. I’m exploring topics that are interesting to me – and that’s all that matters.

Here’s what I read in 2022.


  • On Heroes, Hero-Worship, & the Heroic in History by Thomas Carlyle (1841)
  • Self-Reliance and Other Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1844)
  • The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James (1902)
  • Storm of Steel by Ernst Junger (1929)
  • Bismarck: The Man and the Statesmen by A.J.P. Taylor (1955)
  • The Lessons of History by Will Durant and Ariel Durant (1965)
  • Getting to Yes: Negotiating Without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William Ury (1981)
  • Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris (2001)
  • Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength by Roy F. Baumeister (2011)
  • The Meaning of Human Existence by Edward O. Wilson (2014)
  • The Art and Science of Ernst Haeckel by Julia Voss and Rainer Willman (2017)


  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (1916)
  • The Hobbit, or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien (1937)
  • The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury (1951)
  • The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein (1966)
  • A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick (1977)

Thanks for reading!

I hope you start off the New Year in the most positive way possible!

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