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Debugging our Feelings


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As developers, we're used to solving problems. We can learn all the languages, tools, patterns, frameworks, and hacks we need to tackle any technical problem. But what happens when we face problems that are less technical and more personal?

No matter what our skills and training, procrastination and perfectionism can hamper our productivity, impostor syndrome can limit our opportunities, and mishandling criticism can stall our growth. What tools do we have to face these?

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is based on the idea that our thoughts influence our emotions so we can change how we feel and act by changing how we think. From this simple starting point, this talk will teach you how to apply practical CBT principles and techniques to help weed out the distorted negative thoughts that cause many of these challenges so you can get on with being a happy, healthy developer.

Previous versions of this presentation have been given at HamOnt.js in October 2016 and as "Developer, Heal Thyself" and at CreateInTO in March 2017. This version was presented at Peers Conference in April 2017 and at Web Unleashed in September 2017.

Published in: Technology
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Debugging our Feelings

  1. 1. DebuggingOurFeelings @jamiestrachan
  2. 2. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  3. 3. Experiences Responses
  4. 4. Experiences Responses Thoughts
  5. 5. “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” Hamlet (act 2, scene 2)
  6. 6. Experiences Responses Thoughts We can change how we feel if we change how we think
  7. 7. Experiences Responses Thoughts Input Output Code
  8. 8. Experiences Responses Thoughts Input Output Code
  9. 9. Experiences Responses Thoughts Input Output Code
  10. 10. Experiences Responses Thoughts Input Output Code
  11. 11. Testour outputTrustour feelings
  12. 12. Emotional Reasoning
  13. 13. Don’t trust your feelings Test your feelings
  14. 14. Feelings should be: • Positive
  15. 15. Feelings should be: • Helpful • Reasonable • Rational
  16. 16. Mind Reading
  17. 17. All-or-Nothing Thinking
  18. 18. AntiperfectionismSheet Task Effectiveness Satisfaction
  19. 19. AntiperfectionismSheet Task Effectiveness Satisfaction Submit pull request 60% 85% Demo to client 40% 80%
  20. 20. Testing helps identify problems but doesn’t fix them
  21. 21. Experiences Responses Thoughts
  22. 22. Experience Thoughts
  23. 23. Labeling
  24. 24. Magnification and Minification
  25. 25. Disqualifying the Positive
  26. 26. Accepting a compliment: 1. Pause 2. Say “thank you”
  27. 27. 1. Test your feelings 2. Get your thoughts out of your head 3. Get help We can change how we feel if we change how we think @jamiestrachan