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Best of Our Blogs: March 18, 2016

Anxiety can feel like an uninvited guest. Maybe you've come to expect it during certain situations or it always takes you by surprise. You've tried a lot of things to scare it away. But you may not have done this.

You've tried to eradicate it from your life. That makes sense. We call an exterminator to get rid of pests. We take medicine to get rid of illness. But recently when fear and anxiety began to bug me, I did something different.

Instead of meeting it with warring words and "I hope you just go away" mentality, I decided to be kind. I asked it what it needed from me. I told it that everything in this moment was just fine as it is. I said, "Thank you. I understand you're just trying to help me." The anxiety did not go away immediately, but it slowly and gradually began to dissipate.

While medicine and professionals are sometimes necessary resources, going with instead of against what's difficult may be enough to soothe our suffering.

This week our top posts will help you ease your mind. Whether performance anxiety, depression or narcissism is getting the best of you and/or a loved one, maybe the first thing you can do is to be kind, compassionate and patient with it and yourself.
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Best of Our Blogs: March 15, 2016

Are you hiding a secret?

Do you judge others for buying/eating/gossiping too much, but do the same thing yourself? Are you afraid that your husband will find out how much you're really spending online, or your friend will discover you're secretly sabotaging your health?

Gretchen Rubin shared this quote in Rules for Life That Happy People Know.
"Pay very special attention to anything you try to hide. The desire to hide something, from family or co-workers—to keep them from seeing what's on the computer screen or from knowing how much time or money is spent on a habit—shows that, in some way, your actions don't reflect your values."
The habits you're trying to hide may be pointing to an area of your life that requires your attention and self-reflection.

Read our posts this week and you may just close the gap between your actual and ideal life.
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Best of Our Blogs: March 11, 2016

I have a two-year-old so my home is often filled with the sounds of toddler tantrums. The constant yelling made me wonder where tantrums go when we grow into adults. We may have learned to silence our inner child in public, but how many of us are walking around with our own need to scream?

Take a look at the internet and TV and it's not hard to see we're an angry bunch of folks. Chances are we're projecting our inner state of unhappiness on the world.

Perhaps, our inner child is screaming for validation, for rest, for a chance to be heard. Instead of tapping into how we really feel, we're sabotaging our relationships with others and our self.

Maybe your road rage with a fellow driver, fight with your neighbor or agitation at the store clerk has little to do with them. Use our top posts this week to start asking yourself what you're really in need of. Whether it's advice on dealing with your partner, your illness, or therapy, you'll start to see that healing yourself will change your life from the inside out.
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Best of Our Blogs: March 8, 2016

These days there are subscription based services for everything from healthy snacks to yoga gear. Opening a box full of surprise gifts every week or month curated just for you can feel a lot like Christmas.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a mental health subscription box to make you feel good on the inside?

What type of things would you put in there?

Photos of loved ones that includes your furry friends.
A beautiful journal for creative expression.
Your favorite tea.
A coloring book.
Coupons for things like calling a friend.
A self-care book or favorite fiction read.
Written inspirational quotes.
Printed out blog posts like the ones below. For example, helpful ones with tips on calming an anxious child, funny ones like the post on narcissism, and for inspiration, a post on dealing with feeling out of control.
A printed out list of loving and kind words others have written or said about you.
A photo or trinket that reminds you of a place that makes you feel safe, peaceful and happy.

Creating a self-care box will boost your mood when you're going through a difficult time and may be the best gift you could give a friend and yourself.
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Best of Our Blogs: March 4, 2016

Maya Angelou infamously said these words: "When you know better, you do better."

Sometimes it takes our friends and family time to understand what we're going through. Sometimes they never understand. The best we can hope for is to do better ourselves.

Sometimes loved ones make mistakes because they don't know better. You might need to help them. If you're suffering, tell them what you need instead of expecting them to know. Find others who can support you through your most difficult times. And if you know someone who is hurting, be there to listen, provide support and offer resources to help.

If we all work on being more compassionate to ourselves and others, the world would be a different place. Be kind and we can prevent some of the problems our bloggers below have had to endure. If we do this, we have a good chance of healing the world.
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Best of Our Blogs: March 1, 2016

Think about someone who really annoys you. Maybe it's your neighbor that can't stop talking about himself, your judgmental mother or insensitive co-worker. You can't stand them. But there's something valuable about their presence in your life.

Instead of just writing them off, take note of those individuals that annoy you. They may be the key to a greater understanding of the neglected parts of yourself.

Perhaps a selfish friend is a reminder that you need to focus on self-care or someone who doesn't have empathy is a reminder that you need to have more compassion for yourself.

If you use people as mirrors, you will eventually loosen the hold these people have on you. Whether or not you decide to keep him or her in your life, viewing them this way will have a transformative affect on how you see others and yourself.
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Best of Our Blogs: February 26, 2016

The most hurtful thing I've had to accept is the person who held me back the most from my dreams, happiness and success was me.

Similarly, the things that prevent you from what you desire such as love, connection, and optimal health and wellness, may appear to be a burdensome past, critical relative or current illness. These are legitimate obstacles. But what keeps you from overcoming them is you.

Your resistance could be related to fear. It could be a lack of knowledge and awareness. It could be a lack of support. But the good news is that you have the tools to change things. May this list of top posts on everything from people-pleasing to abuse trigger the beginning of the end of your self-sabotaging behavior and towards a greater sense of support from and trust in yourself.
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Best of Our Blogs: February 23, 2016

There is a mistake people often make that prevents them from growing, moving on and being truly happy.

If you get stuck when facing a challenge and can't take it when you hear fair, but critical feedback, you're probably one of those people.

The difference is how good you are at responding to difficulty with either blame or responsibility. One triggers a shame spiral of unworthiness and the other keeps self-worth out of it. Responsibility, in other words, comes from a place of understanding that you're not perfect, you're allowed to make mistakes and you can learn from it.

People who respond to a mistake with the ability to hold themselves accountable are able to pick themselves up faster, grow from the experience and make decisions that changes their future. Although it's not always easy to get there, it's a worthy endeavor.

Perhaps, a childhood of being blamed contributed to your current situation. Being emotionally neglected and other forms of abuse can cause you to take on more fault than necessary. But when you learn to stop blaming yourself for everything, you free up your energy to start changing your life and situation for the better.
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Best of Our Blogs: February 19, 2016

If you're constantly berating yourself for a misdeed, you need to stop it right now.

Our guilt for saying the wrong thing, for example, can play over and over in our minds rotting our insides, marring the moment, and injuring our relationship with others and our selves.

Remorse itself isn't bad. What's bad is obsessing over a past action without doing anything to repair it.

How many times have I heard others talk about things they wish they didn't do or say to their kids, friends and partners? How much energy is wasted worrying about the repercussions instead of making amends?

Spending your time regretting will never redo the past. But learning to accept, forgive and apologize will change your future. Our posts this week will help you do the latter by giving you ways to love yourself more, and tips for how to better respond to your anxious child.

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Best of Our Blogs: February 16, 2016

I was pleasantly surprised to see O magazine's February issue dedicated to mental health. Although it was shown mostly in the back of the magazine's personal essays, it gave an honest and gripping perspective of what it's like to live with mental illness. Here are a few takeaways that do a wonderful job in capturing the often misunderstood and rarely discussed issue we all face.
"...perhaps those who are depressed, anxious, and struggling won't be doubly handicapped by a culture asking what's wrong with them rather than asking that question of itself." - Elizabeth Berg, "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"

"I began, slowly, to walk the path to wellness, but soon found I had another battle to fight: Once I admitted that I was recovering from depression and PTSD, my voice became suspect. My decisions, my career, my ability to parent were questioned. It was as if the broken glasses I had removed had been taken up by others. Some never saw me the same way again." - Cynthia Bond, "Back to Life, Back to Reality"
The beautiful thing about sharing your story is that it heals yourself while it heals others. When we read about the difficulties others have endured, we feel less alone and more normal. I hope our posts this week will give you that same sense of ease.
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Best of Our Blogs: February 12, 2016

Our fear isn't that we show too much of ourselves, it's that no one will truly know who we are.

The fear of disconnection and loneliness can drive many to divulge too much too soon. It can make us desire intimacy before a relationship is ready. Or it can isolate us further.

But the key isn't to focus completely on others to fill our emptiness. To build and attract trusting relationships it's important to first look inside ourselves. This means asking if we're trustworthy. Are we self-critical, judgmental and unforgiving? Do we share too much? How are we doing with self-care?

To end the week, you'll get information on how to build more friendships, repair old wounds, and change your inner chemistry so you'll be happier, healthier and more connected.
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Best of Our Blogs: February 9, 2016

In the six years I've had the privilege of writing for Psych Central, I learned a lot of things. But if there is one essential gift I can take from the experience, it's this.

No matter who we are, what we struggle with whether ADHD, depression or anxiety, we all want the same things. We all require at the minimum, a level of wellness so we can live comfortably. We all desire love. We all want to feel heard, validated, and understood. And we want the ability to believe that we're worth it all.

I think if we grapple with anything it's that. At the heart of all matters is a desire for belonging.

As you go about your week, remember to cultivate connection wherever you go. We can do this by learning about the things that are afflicted our loved ones. We can do by taking the necessary steps to reconnect. Treating others the way we desperately need to be treated is one step toward gaining what all of us truly want and deserve.
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