Archive for February, 2013

Before You Can Save Others, You Must Save Yourself

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Before You Can Save Others, You Must Save Yourself FirstLately, I’ve been honing in on the notion that you can’t expect others to save you, you have to save yourself. First.

I tend to think that sometimes people walk into relationships that ultimately fill a void. They look to the other person to give them something that they cannot give to themselves, such as a sense of security.

Sometimes we don’t even realize that we may be in the middle of acquiring a safety net. The realization that someone else is doing the saving may be romanticized (think about the enchantment of being “rescued”). But if you don’t do the work and confront yourself what needs to be confronted, you’ll never really be able to learn those lessons and move forward.

This “saving mindset” was demonstrated in one of the more recent episodes of the HBO series “Girls.”

5 Ways to Reconnect with Your Desire to Create

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

5 Ways to Reconnect with Your Desire to CreateCreativity often is mistakenly considered to be a destination — a mental state you need to reach.

This is where many artists and creators become “blocked” and engage in paralyzing self-sabotage. How often do we hear that someone is “waiting for inspiration to come to them?”

However, creativity is not something static. It is a fluid process that we can connect to with the right mindset.

Here are 5 ways you can reconnect with your inner motivation and desire to create art, finish your novel, choreograph a new dance, or add an extra part to your piano composition…

New Anxiety, Bipolar and Depression Drugs in the Pipeline?

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

New Anxiety, Bipolar and Depression Drugs in the Pipeline? What happens when the drug pipeline for common mental health concerns — such as depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder — starts to dry up?

“Most psychiatric drugs in use today originated in serendipitous discoveries made many decades ago,” according to a recent article on Science News by Laura Sanders. And it’s true — we can trace back today’s most popular psychiatric drugs to discoveries made over 30 — and in some cases, 40! — years ago.

Because of the heady cost of drug development — costing hundreds of millions of dollars to bring a new drug to market — most pharmaceutical companies have been playing it safe these past few decades. They’ve been working on developing “me too” drugs — subtle molecular changes to existing compounds.

Which means the pipeline is darned near empty of truly new drugs likely to come out in the next 5 to 10 years for the most common types of mental illness.

Is ‘Blind Love’ Too Much of a Good Thing?

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Is Blind Love Too Much of a Good Thing?In his play The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare wrote, “But love is blind, and lovers cannot see / The pretty follies that themselves commit” (2.6.36-37).

Clearly, people have been perceiving love as a force incapable of perceiving the flaws of others for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Even a verse in the Bible states that “[love] keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:5-6).

But here lies the conundrum: how can love both “rejoice in the truth” and “keep no record of wrongs”? Wouldn’t ignoring the wrongdoings of love be an untruthful perception of it?

And yet this is the theory behind the love-is-blind bias.

How to Teach a Child Forgiveness

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

How to Teach a Child ForgivenessChildren are often asked to forgive: forgive his sibling for taking their toy; forgive Johnny for pulling her hair at recess; forgive Mom for being late.

When you ask your child to forgive — to say “okay” when someone has said they are “sorry” — does your child really understand what that means? Did they let go of the issue or are they repeating what you are telling them to say?

It is important for children to understand compassion, loving-kindness, and forgiveness. Teaching your child to forgive is an essential life tool that will make navigating childhood and adolescence easier. Holding on to anger and resentment is a recipe for anxiety and depression for children and adults. The earlier forgiveness is taught, the earlier you can prevent children from taking on the victim role. That in turn helps prevent anxiety and depression.

So how do you teach forgiveness?

Circumnavigating Life’s Detours

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Circumnavigating Life's Detours“A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.”
~ Anonymous

The one thing about life that is certain is its unpredictability. Nothing stays the same forever. Every day we are bombarded with new stimuli, new challenges and new events.

For some of us, unpredictability creates a state of panic; it keeps us up at night and distracts us from enjoying the world around us. People like being in control of their social world and vulnerability is seen as a sign of weakness.

Uncertainty is so abhorred that Berger and Calabrese (1975) proposed the uncertainty reduction theory. The theory asserts that the anxiety created by uncertainty of the social world motivates people to reduce and avoid uncertainty.

So how can we better navigate around life’s inevitable detours?

Oscar-Winner Jennifer Lawrence Speaks Up for Mental Health

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Oscar-Winner Jennifer Lawrence Speaks Up for Mental HealthYou may have missed the Oscars on Sunday night, but you surely haven’t missed all the talk about them since their aired.

One of the things you may have also missed, though, was Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence speaking about mental illness and the stigma and prejudice that still surround people with a mental health concern.

In the movie she won the Best Actress Oscar for, Lawrence plays a character who befriends Bradley Cooper’s character, who has bipolar disorder. Her performance is simply wondrous, and given her age at the time of the filming — just 21 — also quite extraordinary.

“I think that there’s such a huge stigma over it [mental illness], that I hope we can get rid of, or help… I mean, people have diabetes or asthma and they have to take medication for it. But as soon as you have to take medication for your mind, there’s this instant stigma. Hopefully we’ve given those people hope, and made people realize that it’s not–”

Click through to watch the interview…

Video: How Do You Choose the Right Psychotherapist?

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

We get this question all the time — how do you choose a therapist? How do you know it’s the right psychotherapist for you?

In this …

Best of Our Blogs: February 26, 2013

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

The Temptation to Stay Where You Are

The desire to stay where you are (even if where you are is stuck, unhappy, or upset) can be great. The temptation to hold on may be so powerful in fact, that you might find the biggest obstacle to your own happiness is yourself.

Why would anyone choose to stay stuck when the alternative, to be happy, free, or safe, is so much better?

Some of us stay where we are because we’re afraid of what we don’t know. It’s much easier to deal with the demons we know than to venture out into the world full of scary unknowns.

Some of us stay stuck because we don’t know any better. Maybe in this moment, you’re doing the best that you can. To get out from where you are, you need resources, support, and help to move on.

Some of us get stuck because we’re caught up in the idea of happiness-the belief that things have to be a certain way or we need to have certain things in order to be happy.

Some of us stay because we’re scared about what others will think or feel incapable of change.

If any of these statements sound like you, our posts this week may get you off the hamster wheel of fear and onto your life.

{Flickr photo by: Trey Ratcliff}

10 Practical Tips for Raising an Emotionally Healthy Boy

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

10 Practical Tips for Raising an Emotionally Healthy BoyReal men repress their emotions. Real men are self-reliant. Real men are aggressive and apathetic.

These are the messages we get about masculinity in our society. We get these messages from a variety of sources, including TV, film and computer and video games. And they come from a variety of people in our lives, including peers, parents and coaches, according to Ted Zeff, Ph.D, a psychologist and author of Raise An Emotionally Healthy Boy: Save Your Son From The Violent Boy Culture and The Strong Sensitive Boy: Help Your Son Become a Happy, Confident Man.

But these are false messages. And they can be detrimental, he said. Men are less likely to seek medical help. Repressing emotions can lead to health problems such as ulcers, high blood pressure and heart attacks, Zeff said.

Getting a Divorce? 5 Things a Divorcing Parent Can Do Right

Monday, February 25th, 2013

Getting a Divorce? 5 Things a Divorcing Parent Can Do RightThis guest article from YourTango was written by Kelly P. Crossing.

We’ve all heard the same stories about divorce: the parent who does his best to badmouth his ex, the parent who tries to keep the kids away from the ex as some sort of punishment, the parent who manipulates child support payments. These things do happen and plenty of children are harmed because of these and other divorce-related mistakes.

On the other hand, many parents do divorce right. Lots of parents understand that divorce is terribly hard on their children. These parents try to minimize the trauma every step of the way.

Here are five divorce techniques parents get right…

The Psychology of Flossing

Monday, February 25th, 2013

The Psychology of FlossingWhy is it so tough to remember to floss?

I rarely run into patients who can’t remember to brush their teeth twice a day, but even the most conscientious among us come to their hygiene appointment anxious and awaiting the hygienist’s lecture about flossing.

Flossing can be icky and awkward — no one likes feeling like they’re shoving their entire fist into their mouth. But the reason why we don’t make flossing a habit is a bit more complicated and has its roots in psychology.

During the early 1900s, right around World War I, dental hygiene was so bad, it was said to be a national security risk. Why? People weren’t brushing their teeth, of course, and the 1900s marks the period when Americans first began to consume sugary, ready-to-eat processed foods, such as crackers, breads, and potato chips.

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