Brain and Behavior

How to Stop Emotions from Controlling Your Life

Emotions are designed by nature to be fleeting. Biologically, emotion is meant to prompt us to action, give us important information about our surroundings, motivate us, and help us communicate with others. However, most of us have learned to ignore this internal guidance system and avoid negative emotions altogether.

We have learned to unconsciously shut down our body’s internal processing system when we start to feel any signs of vulnerability, fear, or rejection. We stop our bodies from allowing these natural emotions to rise up and convey their message. We do this when we overuse television, social media, alcohol or drugs, or partake in any addictive behavior. We also avoid emotion by distracting ourselves with meaningless activities.
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Addiction

Screenagers

"Babe, can you put your phone away for a minute? I am trying to talk to you."

We have probably said this. We have all probably had this said to us. Some of us are digital natives -- we grew up glued to a screen. Some of us are digital immigrants, awkwardly attached to our devices like scrambling-to-keep-up voyeurs.

If we took a Google picture of Earth from space at any time of day, we would see millions of stick figures hunched over tiny flickering boxes, as if their lives depended on it.
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Brain and Behavior

How to Use Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Once we understood the brain as a fixed, static entity. Now we see it as a changeable, growing organ. This should give much encouragement to those who feel limited by their beliefs that they are somehow stuck in habitual patterns of thinking, since the brain itself can be rewired because of its neuroplasticity.

Before brain imaging was possible, many psychotherapists were already using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to help people reframe their experiences and learn to modulate emotions and thoughts to rewire their brain into healthier patterns. The idea behind the method is that “you become what you practice.”
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Brain and Behavior

Getting to Know Your Three Brains: Part 2

In Part 1 of this brain mini-series, I hoped to excite your desire to learn more about the brain. In this post, you will learn what you need to know to enhance your well-being.

To begin, think of yourself as having not just one brain but three brains:

your thinking brain;
your emotional brain;
your body brain.

Although they are all connected, they act and are very different. The thinking brain conjures your thoughts. The emotional brain is where emotions and impulses arise. The body brain causes changes in the body when emotions trigger.

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Brain and Behavior

How to Become a Morning Person in 5 Steps

Different people prefer to work at different times of the day. Some find themselves most productive in the mornings; other are better as night owls. However, mornings are traditionally seen as the start of everyone’s day. Regardless of whether your body clock is ready for it, you’ll need to adjust to early mornings, especially if you’re in a 9-to-5 job.

You can try temporarily forcing yourself to wake up early in the morning, but it’s difficult if you aren’t fully committed to being a morning person. Want to learn to be a morning person? Here are five psychological tricks to train your brain:

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Brain and Behavior

Black and White Thinking: Finding the Space Between

You've heard it before: "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater!"

This is a frequently used saying, but what does it really mean? Picture it. Baby, covered in strained carrots, yogurt and dried cereal. I've been there. You put the little chubby giggle monster in the water, and it just gets gross. Things are floating around, and the water changes into this murky swamp of ick.

Does that water make the baby less precious and snugly? Not at all. They are separate things. Gross water. Baby. Gross water does not make gross baby. We can put that together so easily with the baby metaphor, but not so easily with other situations.

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Brain and Behavior

Possibility: More Powerful than Depression

When you are depressed, your mind sees no possibilities. You feel stuck, with no change in sight.

Depression is brilliant. It is an amazing example of “we are what we think.”

When we are depressed, our thoughts consist of things like “nothing will help,” “it’s useless,” and “I can’t do it.” These thoughts get even stronger when well-meaning people give suggestions on how to stop being depressed. Of course, these ever-so-helpful suggestions come right after we have gone on and on about how hard our life is. Right?
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Brain and Behavior

Does Posting Selfies Make You a Narcissist?

I've previously written how posting selfies is not a disorder (no, sorry, selfitis doesn't exist). Others have even suggested that posting selfies is simple a sign of healthy self-expression.

But last year, a few studies were published that linked taking selfies and posting them to a social network like Facebook to certain narcissistic traits. And this led some to believe that if you post a lot of selfies, you must be a narcissist.

However, the answer to the question of why people post selfies -- what motivates us to post selfies? -- is more complicated and nuanced -- as it usually is.

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Brain and Behavior

Never Feel Like a Loser Again with the Right Locus of Control

How you did on a test, how well you stick to your diet and how accurately you execute a new recipe is seen differently depending on your locus of control.

Who is to blame if you failed the test? Who should be rewarded when you lose weight on your diet? The way you view the control you have over your life will determine whether you have an internal or external locus of control.

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