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Anxiety and Panic

The Science Behind PTSD Symptoms: How Trauma Changes The Brain

After any type of trauma (from combat to car accidents, natural disasters to domestic violence, sexual assault to child abuse), the brain and body change. Every cell records memories and every embedded, trauma-related neuropathway has the opportunity to repeatedly reactivate.

Sometimes the alterations these imprints create are transitory, the small glitch of disruptive dreams and moods that subside in a few weeks. In other situations the changes evolve into readily apparent symptoms that impair function and present in ways that interfere with jobs, friendships and relationships.
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Brain and Behavior

Is Stress Good for You?

Disparaged as dangerous, healthy stress levels actually can push you to peak performance. Too much of it, though, strains your heart, robs you of mental clarity and even increases your risk of chronic disease. A study by the American Institute of Stress reported that 77 percent of U.S. citizens regularly experienced the physical symptoms of stress. Thirty-three percent of those surveyed feel that they are living with extreme stress levels.

Researchers and psychologists now say that it is possible to learn how to identify and manage individual reactions to stress. We can develop healthier outlooks as well as improve performance on cognitive tests, at work, and in athletics.

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Brainwashing in Abusive Relationships

Being in an abusive relationship often feels like torture. Sometimes that's because your partner's behavior feels like the torture techniques used by mortal enemies instead.

Brainwashing is defined in the Psychology Dictionary as that which “manipulates and modifies a person’s emotions, attitudes, and beliefs.” It reduces a person’s ability to mentally defend themselves and makes it easier for another person to control them.

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The Sneaky Way You’re Sabotaging Your Own Happiness (And How to Fix It)

You feel on top of the world, invincible, and light -- for about five minutes, until things start to go south.

You swear your boss has been looking at you funny for a few days in a row, your computer crashes just as you’re about to send in a report, you lock yourself out of your apartment, and you have one too many glasses of wine at the company happy hour.

So much for a few days ago, when you totally had your life together. Now you’re left wondering, “Where did that woman go and how do I get her back?”
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Anxiety and Panic

How to Take the Edge off Stress

Imagine coming home from a stressful day at work and you badly need to unwind, de-stress, and get back into your zone. What options do you have to help you get there?

Perhaps you make a beeline to your computer or TV. Let your brain relax and veg out as you watch a favorite show, surf Facebook, and check out your favorite sites. Maybe you have a glass of wine. Perhaps you get yourself to a nearby yoga class or gym. Maybe you even get a massage or take a nice long walk in the crisp evening air.

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Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

8 Ways to Feel Better in a Hurry When You’re Depressed

There will always be dark days, weeks or months where our problems seem insurmountable or every day feels like a journey through an obstacle course. Sometimes resolutions or positive progress can happen quickly. Other times we can only keep plodding forward in faith and with patience. We may not be able to eradicate the difficulties immediately, but we can ease them, make the expedition more bearable and keep going in the right direction.

Below are eight simple ways to make yourself feel better in a hurry. You can practice them anywhere and anytime.

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9 Simple Ways to Exercise Your Brain

Research shows it's possible for both our bodies and our minds to age well. Try incorporating a few of the tips below to keep your brain sharp and strong well into your golden years.

Write a thank-you letter.
Research shows that writing with a pen on paper can create and sharpen existing neural pathways in the brain, while carving new neuronal connections. The hippocampus, which is responsible for memory formation, and stories of memories also is exercised. Research proves every day that cultivating and expressing gratitudecan make you healthier and happier.
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Screentime Is NOT Making Kids Moody, Crazy & Lazy

I'm sure Dr. Victoria Dunckley means well with her recent screed entitled "Screentime is Making Kids Moody, Crazy and Lazy." She cites research studies to back up her points, and buried in the middle of the article is the common-sense disclaimer that "restricting electronics may not solve everything."

But what Dr. Dunckley misses is how electronics today are to teens what the telephone and TV was to a prior generation (and the radio was to a generation before). The studies she references don't purport to show a casual effect, simply a correlation between two things. Generalizing from such correlations is a mistake too many well-meaning physicians (and even researchers) make.

Screentime is not "making" kids moody, crazy and lazy. Here's why.

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My Mental Health Journey in Surviving Cancer

I live with bipolar disorder, OCD, and migraines, and have recovered from complex PTSD, an eating disorder, and other difficult illnesses. I've survived homelessness, domestic violence, and other traumas. Still, when my doctor gave me a cancer diagnosis last winter, it was the hardest shock yet.

First I had to wait a few weeks to see my oncologists and get a treatment plan: six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy. The wait was gloomy, filled with dread and fear. I told only close family, not wanting to spread bad news.
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Brain and Behavior

Top 10 Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

Being a perfectionist is stressful. I get it. I consider myself a recovering perfectionist. I've made a lot of progress. I've learned to let go of a lot of things, to relax and enjoy my life, to be nicer to myself, and to take more risks. I've come to realize that people don't actually give much thought to my shortcomings.

Growing up I was a people-pleaser and a high achiever. I was a shy kid who didn't want to make mistakes or do new things (where I might fail). Ironically, because I felt so imperfect, it wasn't until I was an adult that I identified as a perfectionist.

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Brain and Behavior

How to Stay Motivated and Committed to Your Mindfulness Meditation Practice

Many people these days are starting a mindfulness meditation practice with great intentions and lots of enthusiasm. They’ve heard of its health benefits, and are eager to start meditating. However, few of them stay committed long-term. And those who don’t stick with it will have a hard time dealing with stress in their lives.

There are several reasons why many people quit soon after beginning:

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