Brain and Behavior

Psychology Around the Net: September 3, 2016

Here in the U.S., we're currently in the throes of Labor Day Weekend (and I'm at a local music and arts festival, celebrating!).

Labor Day is the first Monday of September, and although it gives us a nice little three-day weekend, it's about much more than that: Labor Day honors our country's labor movement and "constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."

So, Happy Labor Day! I hope you're doing something to celebrate all your hard work and, once you get a chance, check out this week's latest in how your mood affects whether you live in the moment or the future, the new warning labels regarding opioid use with other medications, what your choice between iPhones and Androids says about your personality, and more!

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Brain and Behavior

The Denial of Trauma

“I don’t have trauma.”

“What happened to me isn’t trauma.”

“Trauma is something horrific.”

“I should have been able to cope with it.”

“It’s not sad.”

“I’m not upset.”

Accepting you are suffering from trauma is by far one of the most difficult aspects of recovery. I thought that admitting I was suffering from trauma suggested I couldn’t cope with the events in my life or I didn’t have the strength to deal with and process those events.
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Brain and Behavior

Harnessing Our Racing Thoughts

To stop overthinking (also known as ruminating), we first have to understand why we do it.

Our brains favor a hardwired "negativity bias." This keeps our subconscious scanning our environment for any kind of perceived threat to our physical or psychological safety. If our brains, consciously or subconsciously, interpret any kind of threat, we have a psychological and physiological response called "fight, flight or freeze" that will go into effect to keep us safe.

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Brain and Behavior

Upgrading Your Mind

How many articles have you read that start out with something like this?

Manage Your Weight: 10 Easy Tips
Five Simple Ways to Manage Your Money
Time Management Tips for Getting it all Done
How to Manage the Stress in Your Life

All these (fictitious, yet typical) articles suggest ways to manage some aspect of your life. Not bad, if you can do it. However, most people can’t. And here’s why.

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My Bipolar Care Plan: A 3-Legged Stool

I often find myself putting other people I meet who have bipolar disorder into two clearly different categories. Either they are like myself and they are manic, or they tend to have depression more of the time. For me, if I have depression, it is normally mixed in with feelings of regret of what has happened in the past. I try hard to not dwell on the past.

As a person with mania, there are many things that I feel are different for me than for other people. For instance, I tend to have manic rage and manic anger. I have manic disappointment as well.
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Brain and Behavior

10 Cognitive Distortions that Can Ruin Relationships

There is a term in psychology known as "cognitive distortion." This is when your mind convinces you that something is true, when it really isn't.

These thoughts are inaccurate and reinforce negative thinking. This is a problem because there is a direct link between what we think and how we feel.

Which means -- you may be dooming yourself and your relationship without even realizing it.

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Borderline Personality

Always Recovering, Never Recovered

"Always recovering, never recovered." A simple sentence that can be a harsh reminder. That's not to say your efforts or how far you've gotten were for naught, but to keep getting back up when you do fall.

I've learned over the years, of course, that it's extremely important to know you are not alone. Others are struggling and surviving alongside you and it's nothing to be ashamed of.

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Brain and Behavior

Why I Self-Sabotage

The mind is razor sharp, the water glass is refilled, and I am ready to unfurl my latest thought-providing Psych Central article.

Sitting down in my favorite chair, I fire up the trusty laptop and within minutes am listening to a belting Michelle, Missy, and James Corden in Carpool Karaoke. I am chuckling at Chris Martin’s delicious irony (stopping at a lemonade stand in a clever Coldplay reference). And, of course, I had to see if Jennifer Lopez had graduated from full-fledged diva into semi-relatable starlet. The answer: she was surprisingly likable.

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Brain and Behavior

Science Explains How We Choose Political Leaders

Wherever you might live in the world, you know what it’s like when it’s election time. The airwaves and the billboards are taken over by the electoral candidates. Your mailbox is flooded with brochures and mailers every other day while the newspapers ignore most events other than those related to the elections and the candidates.

We, of course, gobble up every piece of information that is dished out to us. After all, we need to know about the candidates before we choose a leader. But how do you think we make up our minds?

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Brain and Behavior

How to Overcome Passivity

“He who hesitates is lost.”

This well-worn adage applies to Cautious Charlie clutching the steering wheel. If you, like Cautious Charlie, are gripped with hesitation, you aren’t driving your life. Passivity is your destination.

The world, once teeming with possibilities, closes. And so do you. Ignoring text messages and phone calls from loved ones, you retreat into self-imposed isolation. While you were once determined, passivity drains you of your trademark vigor.
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