Archive for June, 2013

Are We Happier in Long-Term Relationships?

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Are We Happier in Long-Term Relationships?Is it your perception that those who are in long-term relationships are happier?

There are underpinnings, subtexts and expectations that if you ultimately get married, or at least have a steady significant other, you are automatically granted a boost of happiness.

But what about those who simply express a desire to stay single because that’s what works best for them? They wouldn’t exactly feel happiest in committed relationships, right? In addition, you could also argue that an underlying sense of happiness depends on your own outlook — happiness that is perhaps guided by more of an internal feeling.

So are we truly happier in a long-term relationship?

How I Create: Q&A With Playwright & Creativity Coach Zohar Tirosh-Polk

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

How I Create: Q&A With Playwright & Creativity Coach Zohar Tirosh-PolkEvery month we chat with a different person about their creative process, hopefully gleaning an insight or two about creativity. Specifically, we delve into the activities that spark their imagination and how they overcome creativity-crushing obstacles. We also ask for their advice on how readers can cultivate their creativity.

This month we had the pleasure of interviewing Zohar Tirosh-Polk, an award-winning playwright and creativity coach. Through her company, Grow Creative Coaching, Tirosh-Polk supports creative women and moms on their artistic journeys.

What’s her creative process, her inspirations, and how does she get over those creativity distractions?

Do Certain Patterns Make Places More Beautiful & Comfortable?

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Do Certain Patterns Make Places More Beautiful & Comfortable?I’ve written before about Christopher Alexander’s brilliant but strange book, A Pattern Language. Few books have made such an impression on me and the way that I think. The book sets forth an archetypal “language” of 253 patterns that make the design of towns, buildings, and — most interesting to me — homes the most pleasing.

This book doesn’t need to be read from front to back; I often just flip through it and study the parts that resonate with me (and look at the pictures, too, of course).

I’m a very text-centric person, and not very visual, and this book helped me to identify the elements about spaces that I like, or don’t like. I’m able to see the world in a new way, and as a consequence, I’ve been able to do some things differently in my own space, to make it more enjoyable.

Should You Be Using the Myers-Briggs in Your Workplace?

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Should You Be Using the Myers-Briggs in Your Workplace?The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the hands-down, best-known assessment out there for understanding individual psychological tendencies. Counselors have been using it for well over half a century. The test is based on Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types.

People the world over know it as a great career assessment tool, something we all have needed (or at least have been fascinated about) at some point in our lives. The range of its applications is sometimes overlooked, however.

Differences in type (that four-letter identifying score that is the assessment result) can really illuminate — sometimes surprisingly so — the need for organizational and workplace changes.

Repetition Compulsion: Why Do We Repeat the Past?

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Repetition Compulsion: Why Do We Repeat the Past?“If you can’t repeat your past…
What then are ‘mistakes’ which become [habitual]
Are they not of the past? Isn’t it repetition? I daresay…!”

~ Merlana Krishna Raymond

Humans seek comfort in the familiar. Freud called this repetition compulsion, which he famously defined as “the desire to return to an earlier state of things.”

This takes form in simple tasks. Perhaps you watch your favorite movie over and over, or choose the same entrée at your favorite restaurant. More harmful behaviors include repeatedly dating people who might emotionally or physically abuse you. or using drugs when overcome with negative thoughts. Freud was more interested in the harmful behaviors that people kept revisiting, and believed that it was directly linked to what he termed “the death drive,” or the desire to no longer exist.

But there may be a different reason.

What are Some of the Physiological Manifestations of PTSD?

Friday, June 28th, 2013

What are Some of the Physiological Manifestations of PTSD?Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a result of severe trauma. The trauma experienced is usually one that has threatened a person’s safety. PTSD is seen in people returning from fighting in a war, or people who have been victims of violence or a natural disaster.

It’s normal to feel traumatized by significant life events such as surviving a severe car accident. It becomes pathological when the feelings of trauma, anxiety, panic, or sadness don’t fade with time. People who experience PTSD may feel like they are forever changed and suffer constant panic attacks, loss of sleep and social isolation.

Trauma and prolonged stress inevitably has a negative impact on overall health. PTSD has been linked to more physician visits in veteran populations.

You Will Gain Weight on these 6 Psychiatric Medications

Friday, June 28th, 2013

You Will Gain Weight on these 6 Psychiatric MedicationsI had been on the drug Zyprexa (olanzapine) for four weeks and had already gained 15 pounds which, you know, didn’t help my depression.

After going to a wedding and catching a side view of myself, I called my doctor and told him that my name was now Violet Beauregarde, you know, the gum chewer in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” who becomes a blueberry balloon. Except that when I rose to the top of the room I was crying.

“The two most common questions that patients ask me are, ‘Will I become dependent on the medications?’ and ‘Will I gain weight?’” says Sanjay Gupta, M.D.

Best of Our Blogs: June 28, 2013

Friday, June 28th, 2013

If there was a storm coming, I’m sure you would gather any necessary resources to stay warm and dry. Or if preparing for a wedding or a new baby, you would give yourself a significant amount of time to plan for that one special day or to put together a nursery. It’s understandable that change requires some form of preparation. But why is that we often neglect to take care of our physical and mental well-being in the same way?

This happens when we know, for example, that certain triggers make us anxious and neglect to account for those situations. Instead we suffer greatly from the consequences. Or in the presence of friends, we’re embarrassed, ashamed or scared to tell them that there are certain things we need to do to calm down (turn off the TV, shut off our phone, take a walk, etc.) or to take care of physical and mental health (take medication, practice meditation, see a therapist, e.g.).

The challenge is to recognize we’re much more important than our image. It’s also about taking responsibility for our lives.

This week our top posts will show you how to take the necessary steps to be happier, to manage and cope with things (your relationship, an illness, or stress) better, and to add more resources to your own toolbox. The more aware you are of how things affect you and the better prepared you are to deal with them, the happier and freer you will feel regardless of what storms come your way.

{Flickr photo by gato-gato-gato}

After You’ve Discovered Your Partner is Cheating: 5 Unexpected Emotional Reactions

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

After You've Discovered Your Partner is Cheating: 5 Unexpected Emotional ReactionsThis guest article from YourTango was written by Scott Haltzman.

If you’re lucky, you’ll never have to know what it’s like to be the victim of infidelity. Still, the statistics aren’t promising: About 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an affair at some point in their marriages.

If you’ve been the victim of an affair, you know that it hits like a punch to the gut. The many emotions that follow feel like a hailstorm of pain. There are some predictable emotions, such as anger, panic, betrayal or a sense of loss.

Yet, in the array of feelings that hit so hard, there may be some emotions that you never expected to feel.

What Are You Doing This Summer? I Plan To Read for Pleasure

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

What Are You Doing This Summer? I Plan To Read for PleasureJust the other Friday was the last day of school for my two daughters. They wore special outfits, I took pictures, and there was lots of excitement.

The last day of school is always bittersweet to me; it’s fun to head into the summer, but it’s always a little sad that another year is over. I’m always reminded that “The days are long, but the years are short.”  (The one-minute video I made about this feeling is probably the thing that most resonates with people.)

The end of the school year is also significant to me because I still measure my own life by the school calendar. September is the other January — which is why, for my second happiness project in Happier at Home, I did a project from September through May. September is a new beginning, and the June/July/August season feels separate from the rest of the year.

Introducing Cultivating Contentment & Happiness

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Introducing Cultivating Contentment & HappinessDo you know people who seem to radiate joy and a sense of calm, no matter what their life circumstances may be? Do you wish that you too could flow more smoothly through life’s inevitable ups and downs?

Maybe that person is yourself.

For many, happiness is not something that just “comes” to them naturally. And that’s okay. It’s okay to learn a new set of life skills to help out with your own happiness.

That’s why I’m pleased to introduce Cultivating Contentment & Happiness with Rachel Fintzy, MA, MFT. Here’s what her new blog will cover…

5 Small Steps That Make a Big Improvement in Your Financial Situation

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

5 Small Steps That Make a Big Improvement in Your Financial SituationYou don’t need to be a math whiz or expert in personal finance to improve your financial situation, according to Brad Klontz, PsyD, a financial psychologist and director of research at H&R Block Dollars & Sense. And you don’t need to make dramatic changes, either.

“[T]he most critical aspect of improving one’s financial health is to uncover, challenge, and change self-defeating money scripts.”

Money scripts are often unconscious beliefs about money, which we learned in childhood.

In other words, each of us has a unique relationship with money, and understanding that relationship is key to improving it.

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