Archive for February, 2013

Taking Care of Yourself When You’re Depressed

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Taking Care of Yourself When You're DepressedSelf-care is often the last thing on your mind when you’re struggling with depression. It takes energy and “a sense that you want to be around tomorrow” to tend to your needs, said Therese Borchard, author of Beyond Blue: Surviving Depression & Anxiety and Making the Most of Bad Genes.

But the very nature of depression is draining. “A depressed person is exhausted, hopeless, and usually not all that concerned about the future.”

Deborah Serani, Psy.D, a clinical psychologist who’s experienced depression since childhood, described the fatigue as a “knuckle-dragging, heavy-limbed, bone-weary, energy-zapping exhaustion.” Depression also causes groggy and slow thinking, “which makes it hard to kick-start problem solving skills.”

But, as both experts stressed, self-care is a salve for depression.

Signs of Emotional Abuse

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Signs of Emotional AbuseEmotional abuse is elusive. Unlike physical abuse, the people doing it and receiving it may not even know it’s happening.

It can be more harmful than physical abuse because it can undermine what we think about ourselves. It can cripple all we are meant to be as we allow something untrue to define us. Emotional abuse can happen between parent and child, husband and wife, among relatives and between friends.

The abuser projects their words, attitudes or actions onto an unsuspecting victim usually because they themselves have not dealt with childhood wounds that are now causing them to harm others.

Procrastination-Busting Strategies for Perfectionists

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Procrastination-Busting Strategies for PerfectionistsSometimes traits that we think do not go together actually do. Perfectionism and procrastination are one of those unlikely duos.

Most people picture procrastinators as lazy folks who don’t care about doing things in a timely manner. If you’re a perfectionist, however, you know that’s not you. You care. You have high standards. You expect a lot, maybe too much, from yourself.

Then how come you have a tendency to put things off? It doesn’t make sense. But in a twisted kind of way, it does. Here’s why: The same attribute that is your strength — your desire to do things perfectly — also is your nemesis.

Help for Highly Sensitive People in Big Cities

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Help for Highly Sensitive People in Big CitiesBeing a highly sensitive person (HSP) can feel overwhelming.

Being an HSP in a big, boisterous city can feel utterly unbearable. That’s because HSPs have a hard time screening out stimuli. Specifically, the problem lies in artificial stimulation, according to Ted Zeff, Ph.D, a psychologist and author of three books on HSPs, including The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide and his newest book Raise an Emotionally Healthy Boy.

All sights, sounds and smells aren’t created equal. Compare a big city’s bright lights, big crowds, honking horns, pollution and bumper-to-bumper traffic with a smaller town’s hiking trails, chirping birds, ocean waves and scents of freshly cut grass.

It’s very hard to function when grating stimuli assault your senses, and you’re in a constant state of overwhelm. One of Zeff’s students told him that at times she felt like she was “walking around with no skin, like a sponge absorbing everything that comes her way.” Over time, this can affect your emotional and physical health, such as spiking your blood pressure, Zeff said.

Brain Activity Map: The New Human Genome Project

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Brain Activity Map: The New Human Genome ProjectFinally, the U.S. is going to get serious about giving a boost to our understanding of the body’s most important organ — our brain. Stuck in the equivalent of the 19th century medical knowledge, we know less about how the brain works than any other part of the physical body. What we’ve had for the past century are a whole lot of theories and some pretty pictures showing the brain’s uptake of sugar (fMRI) — the modern equivalent of phrenology via brain scans.

Understanding how the black box we call the brain works could unlock the mystery for a myriad of issues — diseases, mental disorders, consciousness, thought processes, emotions and so much more.

The challenge of this effort — to be named the Brain Activity Map project — will be whether it will be properly funded by the federal government. Because while the reward is potentially immeasurable, the risk is also very great.

7 Tips to Avoid Personalizing Rejection

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

7 Tips to Avoid Personalizing RejectionYour boss calls you in to her office to complain about something you overlooked in a project you just completed. You’re off the project. It feels like all of the hard work and effort evaporated with just that one problem.

Or your professor asks to speak to you after class for a moment. He suggests that maybe you’re not really cut out for the major you’ve chosen in college, and hints that maybe another major would suit you better.

Your boyfriend calls and says that you and he need to talk. He’s breaking up with you, after what you thought were two pretty good years together. Sure, you fought from time to time, but what couple doesn’t argue?

We all have times when we find it difficult to avoid making too much of our mistakes and perceived failures. But how do you not take rejection personally? How do you not feel like your world is crashing down around you?

Below are seven ways to avoid personalizing errors and rejection.

Best of Our Blogs: February 19, 2013

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

We all go through pain, difficulty and tragedy in our lives. But not all of us suffer from them. The difference is dependent on our choices. It’s our thoughts and beliefs about what we’re going through that can lessen or worsen our pain. It’s one of the reasons why you and a neighbor could go through the same exact thing and have entirely different experiences. And it explains why individuals who have twice as much problems as someone else seem healthier. They’ve learned to accept, adjust and learn from the challenges they face instead of fight against them.

Although we revere and envy individuals with lives that seem perfect, it’s those who struggle and successfully learn to cope with the hand their given that are strongest. They may not be perfect or seem perfect, but those who can identify their own struggles, learn to accept and work on it are much better off than those who avoid addressing their problems. If you are one are one of these survivors, (individuals who are proud to be a work-in-progress) you will find your tribe in our posts below.

{Flickr photo by Jay from Norway}

Introducing Amazed by Grace

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Introducing Amazed by GraceSo many turn to faith and their religion when beset by mental illness. Sometimes, though, it’s not faith that fails us, but the people who are our fellow believers. There are still too many who have misconceptions about mental illness, and what it means to have it.

That’s why I’m proud to welcome Julie Fidler and her blog, Amazed by Grace, which will be a blog about faith and mental illness, including concerns such as bipolar disorder and depression.

Julie’s writing a new book about this very issue: “The idea for the new book was inspired by the many negative and judgmental reactions I got from my fellow church members and other Christians. Many believers mean well, but [...] they too often believe that mental illness is little more than a personality flaw or spiritual weakness.”

TV, Violence & Children: More Weak Pediatrics Studies

Monday, February 18th, 2013

TV, Violence & Children: More Weak Pediatrics StudiesDid you know that simply watching TV causes harm to children? Well, that’s what the American Academy of Pediatrics would have you believe. And yet, here we are in the sixth decade since TV became popular, and we have not yet seen the end of the world based upon multiple generations that grew up with television as a mainstay.

The latest issue of Pediatrics has two studies — and a bonus editorial! — that suggests television viewing by children is associated with greater criminality and antisocial personality, and that a child’s behavior can be modified by simply changing what they’re watching.

Pediatrics is the mouthpiece for the American Academy of Pediatrics. And while it’s ostensibly an objective, scientific journal, it continually publishes weak research — especially on the effects of TV and children.

Let’s check out the latest…

How to Keep the Daily Grind from Chewing You Up

Monday, February 18th, 2013

How to Keep the Daily Grind from Chewing You Up Like the flu, work stress has become epidemic. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that up to 40 percent of Americans rate their job stress as extremely high. The damage isn’t just emotional, however. Chronic stress debilitates the body and lowers resistance to disease. Fortunately, you can take simple steps to relax and beat the grind.

When Stress Works Overtime

Physiologically, working under constant stress is like racing your car’s engine with the parking brake on. Parts start wearing out. Integrative medicine expert Dr. Andrew Weil notes that while our minds have embraced modern life, our bodies haven’t changed much in ten thousand years. They are not designed for long, sedentary hours facing chronic anxiety.

A major culprit is the hormone cortisol. Cortisol plays a crucial role in the fight-or-flight response, arming us with short-term energy, enhanced memory and pain tolerance. However, extended stress triggers chronically elevated levels that lead to health problems. Common effects are insomnia, depression, poor memory, and lowered immunity. Longer term, cortisol overload contributes to heart disease, cancer and autoimmune disorders.

6 Strategies to Make Valuable Work Connections

Monday, February 18th, 2013

6 Strategies to Make Valuable Work ConnectionsConnecting with other people is vital if you’re looking to enter the job market or are out of a job, insecure about your job’s stability, want to make a career change or are looking for advancement.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, 12.3 million workers were unemployed as of January 2013.  Among those who are employed, many — such as the 66 percent of mothers who work full- or part-time and struggle with the conflicting needs of work and family — continually strive to find careers that are the best fit for their families and their financial needs.

Good networking skills also can make a difference in whether you get hired.  One study found that people rated medical performance higher for medical residents they knew, suggesting that even the slightest of personal knowledge can give you an edge.

Other studies suggesting that even knowing a political candidate’s name can sway a voter, supporting the concept that having some connection with potential employers might give you a boost (Monitor on Psychology, July/August 2012).

So what can you do, to make that all important first connection?

4 Reasons Your Marriage May Be Susceptible to Divorce

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

4 Reasons Your Marriage May Be Susceptible to Divorce This guest article from YourTango was written by .

The fire of love is a fragile and fickle flame. I often hear stories of people leaving good relationships because they have developed deep connections outside the marriage. So, how can you keep your marriage intact?

There are four, cultural elements causing marriage and love to be more fragile in these modern times. They are:

1. We marry for love.

We have been doing this for less than 100 years. Up until recent history, we married because of family loyalties, property, status, religious mandates and social tradition.

Love is a fragile thing … it needs lots of TLC! If love is ignored, the bond in the relationship will weaken. Inside this weakness dissention, criticism and distance grows. Love is like a small flame; it needs lots of consistent time and attention to stay strong!

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