Brain and Behavior Articles

Take Advantage of the Good Days

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

How Gratitude and Kindness Go Together for Brain-Changing HappinessWith the rollercoaster that is life with schizophrenia, you come to know not only the bad, tough periods where your symptoms are on fire but also the days where things are calm and you can sit still and listen to the breeze through the trees.

The bad days are hell and you feel it innately but when the good days roll around it’s incredibly easy to take them for granted. If nothing’s bothering you and your worries have dissipated it’s hard to find a reason to overthink.

I’m more than familiar with what it’s like to be so oppressed by paranoia and delusions that it’s hard to even think about leaving your bed.

How to Degrade a Human Being at JRC

Friday, November 21st, 2014

How to Degrade a Human Being at JRC: Part 1In Massachusetts — supposedly one of the most enlightened and liberal states you can live in in our fine United States — a facility is engaged in a horrifying business. Some have even call it state-sanctioned torture on American soil.

They degrade human beings daily, calling it a form of “treatment.”

They do this regardless of the lack of scientific evidence on the treatment (outside a few flimsy studies published by the facility’s former disgraced director, Matthew Israel). They do it even when important safeguards were lacking for years.

Yes, I’m talking about the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center (JRC) in Canton, Massachusetts. And yet another survivor from that institute is speaking out.

Confessions of a Stage-Four People-Pleaser

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

zen cat anyaMy junior year of college, I bought a used computer for $100. It was cheap because the thing was as huge as it was heavy. The challenge was to walk with this cumbersome piece of technology across campus to my dorm. I was finally to the steps of Holy Cross Hall when I tripped and fell flat on my face.

Did I issue a four-letter word?

Of course not.

I apologized.

To the student who was on the stairs staring at me.

Raised to Be a Pleaser

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Raised to be a PleaserDo you have a strong need for approval from others? Do you have difficulty saying no, yet often feel resentful about what you agreed to do? Do you get overly involved with people’s problems, postponing attention to your own?

Try to please everyone and it’s likely you’re operating on overload.

Riding Out the Blips

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

Riding Out the BlipsLiving with schizophrenia is like driving across the country. There are meandering fields and prairies of months when you’re well that almost make you forget you have an illness. Then you come into the mountains and the roads get curvy and steep and the weather gets unpredictable. One minute you could be fine, then the next it’s snowing and you can’t see 10 feet in front of you.

I’ve coined a term for driving through the mountains of mental illness. I call these periods “blips.” It’s important to be able to recognize these blips before you find yourself in the hospital again.

Mood Mastery

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Mood MasteryYour mood is a mental state that magnetizes feelings to it. When in a bad mood, you will look for someone or something to blame, because misery does love company. Although your mood is an independent mental event, you can influence your mood. You can even change it by taking small, steady steps of mood awareness and acceptability.

What mood are you in today? Are you a slave to your or another’s mood? Empathizers and Instigators alike are moody. You could say mood is the minefield we all must walk through alone.

Battle of the Brain: We Want To Feel Safe, But the News Is Full of Panic

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Battle of the BrainFear is in the air once again: An Ebola epidemic. ISIS atrocities. Another senseless school shooting. What’s going on here?

We want to feel safe. We want our families to be safe. Yet, every time we turn on the news (in all the many forms we receive it today), panic-inducing stories bombard our brains. We feel fear, even when authorities work hard to quell our fears.

Moods & Seasons

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Moods and SeasonsFootball. School supplies. Changing leaves. Cooling temperatures. These are a few of the things I love about fall. I also tend to feel calmer and more relaxed when autumn rolls around. Summer feels so brash, intense and bright. Fall somehow feels softer. Perhaps it’s because of the change in light.

New research led by Alison Jing Xu from the University of Toronto-Scarborough shows just how sensitive we are to bright light. In a brighter space, people in the experiment felt warmer, wanted spicier food, found others more aggressive, and even had a stronger reaction to words.

How to Remain Calm in a Trying Situation

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

How to Remain Calm in a Trying SituationI’ve had my fair share of overwhelming times. There have been times where I’ve been so thrown back in my chair that I had to excuse myself from the situation to get a grip on things. If it wasn’t anxiety it was a punch to the gut as some sort of veiled insult or rejection. These things can happen often and it takes skill not to let them get the best of you.

Just yesterday I was hanging out with a girl I liked and she mentioned that she had a new boyfriend. That may seem trivial, and it probably is, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t taken aback. I’ve learned (with a lot of practice, though) to just roll with the punches. I don’t let trivialities get to me much anymore and I think it’s a skill that could benefit everyone.

How to Refrain from Getting Too Excited about Potentialities

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

How to Refrain from Getting Too Excited about PotentialitiesA lot has been happening in my life.

I’ve had a lot of really exciting opportunities, for which I’m incredibly thankful, but I’ve also had many potential opportunities that fell through. Sometimes they fell through based on my inability to do the work, sometimes it just wasn’t the right fit and sometimes it was no fault of my own and extenuating circumstances got in the way.

7 Habits of Highly Defective People

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

The Seven Habits of Highly Defective PeopleAfter you have known people for a while, you realize they are defective. They’re cheap, crude, pushy, ignorant, loud, and unattractive. How did this happen? How did people who seemed so elegant and gregarious become the varmint-like creatures you want to avoid? What made them change into the dirty froth of humanity right before your eyes? Believe it or not, science has done some research on this phenomenon.

Highly defective people (HDP) have several common characteristics that reveal themselves over time. Their habits astound and mystify us. They might look different on the outside, but on the inside they are very much alike. They share common attributes that make them a kindred clan. One or two of these traits alone wouldn’t qualify them, but with a cluster of seven, you are in the presence of a HDP. In no particular order, here’s what to look for:

5 Ways to Boost Optimism

Monday, November 10th, 2014

5 Ways to Boost Optimism

Choose to be optimistic, it feels better. – Dalai Lama XIV

Is your glass half empty or full? Are your glasses rosy or is your future shadowed by a dark cloud?

Whether you live in the best or worst of all possible worlds depends on your point of view. What we pay attention to and how we interpret it is essentially up to us. This is especially true when we think of the future.

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