Best of Our Blogs

Best of Our Blogs: June 28, 2016

We can start to fear discomfort. Trips, jobs and relationships can all be potential disappointments. Even superficial disappointments can remind us of deeper childhood pain or future goals we have yet to attain. Over time, comfort feels like safety, but prevents us from experiencing new things, which can later stunt our happiness and self-growth.

While the key isn't to jump in the deep end right away, it helps to flirt with the idea of discomfort. Maybe it's staying open when meeting new people. Maybe it's experimenting with a new restaurant and being okay if it turns out to not be your favorite place.

As we get older, it's tempting to want to control everything to avoid discomfort. But I think our purpose isn't to build walls so we don't feel. Instead what if challenges were created to help us grow?

Do you need help with disappointment? Dig into our posts this week. It may finally reveal where your inability to handle discomfort comes from.
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Marriage and Divorce

Why Using the Dreaded ‘D’ Word Could Sabotage Your Marriage


It's a cheap shot!

Arguments or disagreements are a natural part of marriage. As much as we love our partner, we become annoyed or upset with one another probably more often than we would like to admit.

We may choose to 'blow off steam' toward our spouse exactly because our spouse is the one person who will love us 'no matter what.' However, it is never, ever appropriate to use the D-word when arguing with your spouse. And by D-word, I mean: the word 'divorce.'

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Brain and Behavior

The Need to Struggle

Are you tired of struggling? Do you want to reach your goals without having to work so hard? Do you yearn for the glamour without the grit? Achieve! Accomplish! Actualize yourself! Yes, you want to do all those things. But why does it have to be so hard?

It used to be fun. You were excited about stuff. As a kid, you wanted to do everything. You picked...
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General

Massachusetts: Third-World Mental Health Care?

There are few states that have a more broken mental health care system than Massachusetts. You'd probably think of poorer, more rural states when you think of low-quality healthcare. After all, Massachusetts is home to some of the nation's best universities (Harvard, MIT) and renowned hospital systems (Mass. General [Partners], Brigham & Women's, Beth Israel).

Yet none of these local institutions, nor the state itself, appear to have given much thought to the mental health care of their most vulnerable citizens. Instead, I live in a state that appears to offer the equivalent of third-world care for those with chronic mental illness.

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Habits

3 Pointers for Prioritizing Your Self-Care

Today, self-care has become a buzzword. And when something becomes “trendy” or seems to show up everywhere, we tend to write it off. It becomes a kind of background noise. Maybe you think self-care is a hollow synonym for pampering yourself -- and that doesn’t ring true for you. Maybe you think self-care is an indulgence. Something for people with plenty of time. And money. A luxury that doesn’t fit into your life.

While self-care...
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Friends

Having Trouble Making Friends? Stop Obsessing Over Yourself


It's actually pretty simple. “If you want to be interesting, you have to be interested.” These are the famous words of my husband’s grandmother. She took conversation making seriously, and understood the golden rule of friendships -- put into people what you want back.

When it comes to making friends, we all pretty much understand the same principle applies: to have a friend, we know we have to be a friend. But sometimes this isn’t so straightforward, and is harder than it seems.
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Family

Falling in Love with Your Spouse — Again!

A successful marriage means falling in love many times, always with the same person. -- Mignon McLaughlin
Do you view marriage as a destination or a journey? If you view it as a journey, you’re infinitely more likely to succeed.

Those who view marriage as a destination are likely to become disillusioned. When the glow fades, they’ll wonder: “How could I have married this person who is so annoyingly different from me?!!!”
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Happiness

Video: Be Passionate, Not Just Content

Let's say for a minute that instead of a therapist you have a genie that will grant you three mental health wishes. Whatever's getting in your way, bothering you, holding you back, poof, it's gone, solved by the mental health genie.
OK. So now what? There's nothing to make you unhappy anymore. Does that mean you're happy?
At the very least, it probably means you're content. Things...
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Bullying

Kill Them with Kindness

“Matt, you are too sensitive,” a family member said.

I chafed at the label. Sensitivity, within my immediate family, is disparaged as a sign of weakness. Stoicism, with the occasional angry outburst, reigns. Feelings? According to my family, Oprah and I should schedule couch time to discuss them.

In my world, feelings predominate. My mood and emotion vacillate based on a heart-warming compliment or stinging rebuke. When feeling well, I exude confidence and joy. When feeling down, I ruminate and question. Feelings -- and a willingness to experience raw, unfiltered emotion -- define me.
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Children and Teens

3 Surprising Ways Kids Can Affect Your Relationship—and What to Do

Parents-to-be have certain assumptions and expectations about what life will look like when their little one is born and comes home. This is understandable. All of us hold a slew of ideas about any big change in our lives (about anything really). But often those expectations don’t exactly align with reality. Which can affect how we prepare for the transition.

A common belief parents have is that their child will automatically fit into...
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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: June 25, 2016


Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers!

Whew, I've had a stressful week. I've been juggling everything from major work deadlines to doctor appointments to preparing our guestroom for entertaining company all weekend, and honestly, the only thing that's helped keep me focused is my to-do list.

That's right. I am a huge advocate of to-do lists. I know some people avoid them, but, not I. I can't even explain the sheer elation I feel each time I mark off a...
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Brain and Behavior

The Joy of Giving

In The Art of Loving, Erich Fromm wrote: “Giving is more joyous than receiving, not because it is a deprivation, but because in the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.” The more we give, the more we experience the world as the creation of our efforts and as a reflection of our aliveness. In the well-being of individuals that we support, we experience our aliveness. In the growth of communities to which we are genuinely dedicated, we experience our aliveness. The entity that we care for, whether it is a community, a fellow human being, or any living or nonliving form, is the source of our empowerment. In it we see our power; through it we feel alive.

For experimental psychologists, a cause and effect relationship, no matter how plausible and beautiful it sounds, cannot be accepted unless it is confirmed by means of experimentation. To test whether giving contributes to our well-being and whether giving is more joyous than receiving, Elizabeth Dunn and colleagues conducted an experiment at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

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