Archive for February, 2013

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.

How to Defuse Anger in Ourselves & Others

Monday, February 25th, 2013

How to Defuse Anger in Ourselves & Others“Anger can destroy marriages, business partnerships and countries,” said Joe Shrand, M.D., an instructor at Harvard Medical School and co-author of the valuable, practical and science-based book Outsmarting Anger: 7 Strategies for Defusing Our Most Dangerous Emotion with Leigh Devine, MS.

Fortunately, each of us holds the power to defuse our own anger and even others,’ Dr. Shrand said. This is especially critical because often it’s not our own fuse that hinders our success; it’s someone else’s, he said.

The key in cooling anger lies in respect. As Dr. Shrand said, when was the last time you got angry with someone who showed you respect?

“Anger is designed to change the behavior of someone else. Being respected feels great, so why would we want to change that?”

How is Your Love Life Related to Your Mother?

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

How is Your Love Life Related to Your Mother?When you think of your mother, does your heart open with compassion or tighten with resentment? Do you allow yourself to feel her tenderness and care? The way you take in her love can be similar to how you experience love from a partner.

What’s unresolved with your parents doesn’t automatically disappear. It serves as a template that forges your later relationships.

Maybe you’ve experienced this with a partner. If you felt you didn’t get enough from your mother, perhaps you also feel that you don’t get “enough” from your partner. It’s a harsh reality, but it’s true more often than not. The same holds true with your father: Your unresolved relationship with your father will also show up in your love life.

Video: What Is Psychotherapy and the Different Kinds of Therapy?

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

There are a lot of misconceptions about psychotherapy. What is it? What is it not? How do you pick the type of psychotherapy that’s right …

Bring Art into Your Everyday Life: 7 Tips to Art it Up

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Bring Art into Your Everyday Life: 7 Tips to Art it UpAn appreciation for art is one of the transcendent values of life, and a great source of happiness, but like many transcendent values, it can sometimes be hard to wedge into your ordinary day.

Here are some tips for getting some visual art into your daily routine, without spending a lot of time, energy, or money.

1. Check out art books from the library. Art books are very expensive, but at the library, you can enjoy as many as you want, for free.

Put the Friendship Back Into Your Relationship Today

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

Put the Friendship Back Into Your Relationship TodayThis guest article from YourTango was written by .

In an article published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, researchers found that couples who value their friendship over other aspects of their relationships report greater romance and sexual satisfaction over couples who look to their partners mostly for sexual gratification.

This probably doesn’t surprise anyone — but it’s great to have the research to back it up. So why do you think a friendship with your significant other will actually increase the odds you will have long-lasting love?

How to Pick an ADHD Therapist Who’s Right for You

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

How to Pick an ADHD Therapist Who's Right for YouMedication is highly effective for treating ADHD. But it can’t teach you skills for living successfully with the disorder. And it can’t help you overcome common co-occurring concerns such as low self-esteem. That’s where psychotherapy comes in.

Psychotherapy targets specific ADHD symptoms that interfere with daily life, such as disorganization, distractibility and impulsivity. It helps you better understand your ADHD and improve all areas of your life, including home, work and relationships.

But not all therapists are created equal. That’s why it’s important to do your research, and be selective. Below, two ADHD experts share their tips on finding a good clinician.

Social Perception & the Actor-Observer Effect: I’m Tired, But You’re Lazy

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Social Perception and the Actor-Observer effect: I'm Tired, But You're LazyInterdependence is and ought to be as much the ideal of man as self-sufficiency. Man is a social being.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi’s quote — and others’ psychological research — suggest that we are designed to interact with each other. In fact, our interactions with others come second to our interaction with ourselves.

If interactions with others are so important, why do we struggle to initiate and maintain relationships?

A search on the Internet for articles on interaction/relationships reveals what appears to be innumerable research papers on verbal and nonverbal communication. However, many who highlight relationship-building skills ignore a crucial factor.

To rephrase Descartes (who famously said “I think, therefore I am”), “we think, therefore we interact” confirms that we first have some thought about the person we intend to interact with. If our cognitive processes set the tone for our interaction then highlighting errors in cognition is useful.

Video: Precocious Sex – Understanding Children & Sexuality

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Ask the Therapists Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. and Daniel J. Tomasulo, Ph.D., TEP, MFA talk about children masturbating and engaging in other apparently-sexual activities at a …

Best of Our Blogs: February 22, 2013

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

As children, we work on growing into who we are. It’s difficult to hide our feelings, curb our hunger or disguise our weaknesses. When we are hungry, tired, or scared, we let out a cry in the hopes that our needs will get met. But as we get older, we learn what rejection feels like. Out of fear, we quietly curl up into ourselves. As a result, who we are gets buried under socially acceptable behavior.

It’s scary to release and express our unlovable parts. But if we allow ourselves the freedom to do so we invite love. The Book of Awakening author Mark Nepo beautifully depicts the journey of finding our true selves:

“When we bring up what we keep inside, it is sacred and scary, and the rest of us don’t know if we want to touch or not, like reaching from a ladder into a nest of baby birds. It’s too soft and sacrilegious. It seems a place where human hands do not belong. But I invite you anyway. Go on-let others reach in honestly-so we can say, ‘This is who I am when no one’s looking.’ For each of us is a fledgling that eventually, if fed, will fly.”

It is a risk to let the world know how you feel, to show your vulnerable side, to open what’s been closed for so long. But it’s also a risk not to do so. At one time, my greatest fear was that I would die without a single soul knowing truly who I was. To me, that is the greatest tragedy-not whether this person will dislike you or that person will judge you, but that no one would have the honor and privilege of knowing and loving you just as you are.

{Flickr photo by Roger Lynn}

Fighting Fair With Your Partner: 5 Rules to Follow

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Fighting Fair With Your Partner: 5 Rules to FollowThis guest article from YourTango was written by .

In an article on Time.com, divorced couples offer lessons about what it takes to sustain a solid marriage. Relationships are tough; they require a whole lot more than love to make them succeed.

The divorced couples in the article suggest learning how to manage conflict, which is important because a leading researcher showed that with 85 percent accuracy, he could predict within 15 minutes which couples would divorce, simply by watching how they handled conflicts.

Fortunately, you can learn from these divorcées’ mistakes and learn to manage conflict in your relationship or marriage. Here’s how.

Trends in Psychology: 2013

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Trends in Psychology: 2013Psychology has been rooted in self-exploration for individuals seeking help with mental health issues …

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