Brain and Behavior

Why It’s OK Not to Make New Year’s Resolutions

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you stick to them? Many of us spend the last days of December thinking about what our resolutions should be in the coming year. This can lead to discussions with family and friends about what we should change and resolve to do differently. Then we make our resolutions and commit to them, or maybe not.

This has become rote behavior for many of us -- a ritual we follow, year after year. We typically choose resolutions to change ourselves into who we want to or feel we should be, but are not. Sometimes we choose something really big to accomplish, which can become too overwhelming. Why do we do this to ourselves?

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Brain and Behavior

Lumosity Pays Millions in Fines, ‘Deceived Consumers’

I haven't seen a Lumosity television commercial for awhile. I wondered why that was, and now I know.

As I pointed out nearly four years ago, Lumosity was apparently selling the equivalent of snake oil to unsuspecting folks. The company simply didn't have the research to back up its grand claims -- "improve [your] brain health and performance" -- from the company's inception through early 2015.

The U.S. federal government's Federal Trade Commission (FTC) finally caught on to the scam, announcing an enormous settlement with the company yesterday.

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Anger

What to Do When You Get Overwhelmed

Daily life is busy. There are constantly things that require our attention. Whether it’s work or family, there seem to always be things we need to do to keep everything together.

We are juggling numerous balls trying to maintain a balancing act on already-tenuous ground.

The point is, there comes a point in everyone’s life when things can get to be too much. We all get overwhelmed at times.
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Brain and Behavior

What is Affluenza? Is it Real?

Affluenza is a term describing a "metaphorical illness" whereby children or teens who grow up in a privileged lifestyle, largely isolated emotionally and developmentally from their working parents, feel excessive pressure to achieve in both academic and extracurricular activities. This can make children feel more isolated than their friends, while at the same time feeling an increase in pressure to perform. The result? Greater depression, anxiety and substance or alcohol abuse compared to their friends.

Researchers don't generally refer to this as affluenza, but rather as problems growing up in a culture of affluence. There is no official diagnosis of "affluenza," and research into this phenomenon is fairly scarce.

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Best of Our Blogs

Top 10 Important or Intriguing Psychology Articles of 2015

The field of psychology is diverse and large -- the American Psychological Association alone has divisions representing more than 54 separate topic areas. Tens of thousands of psychology papers are published every year in peer-reviewed journals. In 2015 alone, there were more than 2,000 meta-analyses papers (research that summarizes and examines other research) published in psychology's PsycINFO research database.

Here are ten psychology articles published in the past year that I think were important or intriguing, and advanced the field of psychology significantly.

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Brain and Behavior

Mindfulness: Essential for Everyone

What do Oprah, LeBron James, Derek Jeter, Kobe Bryant, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ariana Huffington, Hugh Jackman and Phil Jackson have in common? They are all famous and rich? Sure, but a core component of their journey to success is their regular practice of mindfulness.

What makes a life successful? What are its component parts? There is birth, school, college, drugs, alcohol, money, vacations, sex, children, aging, grandchildren, death, and yet there is no recipe for combining all of these to assure a happy life. Deciding that you can know how you will live by defining the number of children you will have, exactly where and when you will vacation, how much money you will make, and what your profession will be is as futile as assuming that you will know how you will feel after eating a slice of orange cake simply by knowing the ingredients that went into the cake.

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Addiction

Nomophobia & Smartphone Addiction Among Children

The term “addiction” is usually associated with alcoholism and drug abuse. Yet people do get addicted to different stimulants that are quite legal substances.

Smartphones changed our primary concept of a cell phone. It is no longer used strictly to establish audio communication. Smartphones allow us to have our camera, GPS navigator, video game terminal, and even our own library in hand. Nevertheless, the biggest and most important aspect is that a smartphone gives us access to the Internet.

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Addiction

Daily Rituals to Reduce Anxiety

Who among us has not experienced their fair share of anxiety? Whether it be from finances, school assignments, career troubles or relationship issues, we all - at least occasionally - get caught in the rainstorm that is anxiety. Some prefer to outrun this brewing downpour. I say, save your energy, and just bring an umbrella.

An anxiety umbrella can take many forms: medicine, therapy, self-reflection or alterations in one’s daily tasks that reduce the burden of anxiety and allow you to focus on more important matters. Here are a few examples that you can use when that cloud of stress turns threatens to turn into a perfect storm:

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Anger

4 Constructive Ways to Deal with Criticism

To live and be part of a community at work, home or school means we are sometimes told truths we may not like to know or hear. We get labeled for our shortcomings and judged on our failures and mistakes. While the temptation to block out the unpleasant feedback is strong, we stunt our personal growth and potential by doing so.

It’s terribly hard to be on the receiving end of disapproval and negative appraisals, but if we succeed in building our strengths and managing our weaknesses, the world can become our oyster. Below are four ways to deal with criticism:

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ADHD and ADD

I Am a Special-Needs Parent Raising a Special-Needs Child

My 11-year-old son Sam has anxiety disorder, for which he takes a daily dose of Zoloft. He’s also being treated with Adderall for ADHD. And he was recently diagnosed with autism.

I’m 52 years old and bipolar. I ingest a nightly cocktail of four psychotropic meds.

Because both son and mother have notable disabilities, the going, as they say, can get rough. Thank goodness, Sam's father and my husband, Pete, has both feet planted firmly on the ground and is without mental illness.
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