Toward a Language of Gratitude: My Problem with Saying ‘No Problem’

by John Amodeo, PhD

How Gratitude and Kindness Go Together for Brain-Changing Happiness

“Thanks for being there for me yesterday. It really helped to talk with you.”

“No problem.”

“The flowers are really beautiful! Thanks for bringing them.”

“No problem.”

“I appreciate the ride to the airport.”

“No problem.”

In each of these interactions, there is something offered and gratitude expressed. Yet the giver does not appear to receive the gratitude. There is a lost opportunity for a deeper flow of giving and receiving.


At Social Events, Don’t Ditch Your Date

by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

At Social Events, Don't Ditch Your DateYou’re visiting your spouse’s family. They’re working on a house project with their sibling while you’re inside taking care of your baby. Not only do you already feel awkward but you’re hurt that your partner doesn’t check on you or try to include you.

You’re attending your spouse’s work party. They’re outgoing, but you’re shy and self-conscious. They’ve become the life of the party, while you’re standing in the corner devising your escape plan.

Maybe you’ve experienced this kind of ditching. Or maybe you’ve done the ditching yourself.


Skepticism & Discrimination About Mental Illness Hurts

by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Skepticism & Discrimination About Mental Illness Hurts

While we’ve made great strides in the past three decades in helping people understand that a person’s mental illness is as real as the flu, breaking your leg, or having a disease like diabetes, we still have a ways to go.

Too many well-meaning people continue to discriminate against those with a mental illness. They do this in too many ways to mention or list here, but we’ve all seen or heard them.

“Well, I can’t see anything wrong with you, so what’s the problem?”

“Depression’s not a real disease. It’s just something people made up so they wouldn’t feel so bad.”

“You can tell he’s a schizophrenic. You can just see it.”


You Might be Codependent If…

by Jade Mazarin

You Might be Codependent If...While there are many features of codependency, here are some top ones. See if these apply to you.

1. You are preoccupied with others’ feelings. A friend to whom I was talking years ago about my worries of having upset someone asked if I felt responsible for others’ feelings. I immediately thought to myself, “Well, yeah. I mean, aren’t I?”

Looking back now, I understand what my friend was getting at. His idea was that we each are responsible for our own thoughts, feelings or actions.


13 Tips to Fight Holiday Food Temptation

by Gretchen Rubin

holidayknifeandforkthink a lot about habits, and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about habits related to holiday eating.

The holidays are supposed to be a festive time, but many people feel anxiety and regret around food and drink — the holiday season is so full of temptation.

I have to say, I enjoy the holidays much more, now that I’ve got a better grip on my habits, than I used to.


Could Your iPad, Laptop or Kindle Be Keeping You From Sleep?

by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Could Your iPad, Laptop or Kindle Be Keeping You From Sleep?

Getting a good night’s sleep is a challenge for many people. Whether it’s constant awakenings throughout the night or difficulty falling asleep or something else, your sleep is the foundation for your mental health. Without regular, deep sleep, you’re not functioning at your best. For most of us, that’s a problem.

We’ve previously reported on research that shows light in your bedroom can interrupt your sleep cycle. Turning off those LEDs and turning down those bright clocks can even help too (something a lot of people miss). And there may be tools to help you improve your sleep even if you use electronic devices at night.

But what about using our iPads, tablets, smartphones, laptops or Kindles before we go to bed?

Preliminary new research suggests you should look at all of your electronic devices just as you’d eye a cup of full-strength coffee an hour before bed — with extreme caution.


Questions for Writing Down Your Soul

by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

Questions for Writing Down Your SoulIn the last few months I’ve been sharing lists of prompts to help us discover ourselves and our needs, because self-reflection is key for taking compassionate care of ourselves and crafting a meaningful life. (Here’s one list of 30 prompts; and the second list.)

As Margaret Atwood wrote in her poem “Spelling,” “A word after a word after a word is power.” The more words we write about ourselves, the more we explore and discover, and the more good information we have to make conscious, nourishing decisions — and ultimately the more we use our voice, which deserves to speak and be heard.


Best of Our Blogs: December 23, 2014

by Brandi-Ann Uyemura, M.A.
Best of Our Blogs

Every year, the days come and go like falling stars, gone as quickly as they appear. Sometimes I dream of catching them, holding each to be admired, stored, wondered for another day. But just like minutes, months and moments, they’re impossible to capture, and too precious to be saved.

As we reflect upon 2014 and contemplate the new year, how do we make amends with the things we haven’t accomplished, and continue to hold hope for the future? How do we look to our failures with grace and our accomplishments with pride? How do we muster courage, resilience and strength for what we have yet to confront and conquer? Most importantly, what can we do to treasure each moment as a gift instead of squandering them?

These are admirable challenges that go beyond our desire for the band-aid, superficial resolutions that cover up what’s really hurting us. To start 2015 right, I urge you to conjure up a single word as a mantra, a theme, or a desire from your heart to describe what you would like to see happen in the new year.

Will it be:







Or hope?

Use that word as your mission statement to remind yourself of your essential wish for you and loved ones next year.



Helping Someone with Asperger Syndrome Bridge the Gap between Cognitive and Emotional Empathy

by Kathy J. Marshack, PhD

Helping Someone with Asperger Syndrome Bridge the Gap between Cognitive and Emotional EmpathyEmpathy is a controversial subject in the field of Asperger Syndrome/neurotypical relationships. The theory of mind postulates that people with Asperger Syndrome have some degree of mind blindness, or an inability to fathom the motivations and feelings of others. Aspies don’t seem to read the social clues that tell NTs (neurotypicals) what is going on.

For example, Aspies are notoriously poor at recognizing complex emotions in others. They struggle to understand that someone may be stretching the truth for emphasis or as the punch line to a joke. They are confused by irony, pretense, metaphor, deception, faux pas, white lies and so forth. This is why NTs find Aspies to be clueless in social situations and why there are all types of curricula on the subject of teaching Aspies how to navigate the social world.


It’s OK to Say No to Opportunities

by Michael Hedrick

how-to-say-noWe’re all faced with choices every single day of our lives. We’re also faced with numerous opportunities. These choices and opportunities come in questions from our friends, loved ones and colleagues. Some opportunities have incredible potential to take us places we never could have imagined. Some are just everyday opportunities, such as going to the bar with some friends.

The problem with a multitude of choices is the fact that to some, we’re inevitably going to have to say no.


Most Depressing Jobs? Bus Driving, Real Estate, & Social Work

by John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Most Depressing Jobs? Bus Driving, Real Estate, & Social WorkDon’t you ever wonder: “How much more depressing could it be than to do what I do for a living?”

Wonder no more. Researchers looking at insurance claims data in western Pennsylvania finally have the answer to what jobs seem to be correlated with the highest rates of depression.

Top of the list? Those who work in the public transit system (such as buses), real estate, and social work.

What other jobs top the list? And what careers experience the lowest rates of depression?


Tips for Finding Motivation When You’re Depressed

by Vicky Poutas

Tips for Finding Motivation When You're DepressedTelling a depressed person to get motivated is like telling a rock to dance. You’ll get the same result.

It’s not because depressed people don’t want to get motivated. It’s because getting motivated is an overwhelming task when you’re depressed. Is motivation impossible? Definitely not. You just have to find a process that works for you.


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