Brain and Behavior

Teenagers Can Benefit from Meditation

Teens are under more pressure today than in previous generations. This massive increase in stress and anxiety is believed to have caused an increase in teenage attention disorders. Often they believe they're doing things wrong. That makes it difficult to focus on the present.

Meditation can help. Most teens find it difficult to sit, breathe, and focus on the present. Their world runs at a mile a minute, and they need to keep up. This, more than anything, is why they should give meditation a try.

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Anxiety and Panic

Spirituality vs. Mental Disorders: God Doesn’t Hate Medication

I grew up in a family that had high expectations of me, and I have personally struggled with anxiety. For several years, I thought that my anxiety was a normal part of life. I didn’t realize that I should not have been having full-blown anxiety at the age of nine, but I was.

My family didn’t believe in mental illnesses, besides those that were obvious to the untrained eye. We did, however, attend a church regularly. I was highly interested in Christianity and studied it on my own. I was able to combat the unnatural anxiety through my relationship with God, and was able to overcome the anxiety throughout middle and high school. College, however, was different.
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Brain and Behavior

Psychology Around the Net: July 16, 2016


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

I must say, I hope you've all had a better week than I. During a quick getaway last weekend, I managed to catch a nasty summer cold (isn't getting sick during the summer the worst?) and, suffice it to say, I've spent a lot of time couch surfing with a box of tissues and all manner of cold medicine that doesn't. work. at. all.

Cue sneezing fit.

Still, I managed to scour the interwebs for some of the latest in mental health news just for you! Read on to find out the psychological benefits of writing, why time seems to go faster as we age, and -- oh yeah -- why the new all-the-rage app Pokemon Go is actually good for your mental health!

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Brain and Behavior

Mom Knows Best: Overcoming Life’s Hardships

Life bruises. For others, it cripples. And, for a select few, it empowers.

As we marvel at others’ resilience during uncommon adversity, what lessons are applicable to our lives?

On a gloomy October day, the doctor’s diagnosis numbed us. “Pancreatic cancer,” he spat out. My aunt and I recoiled. The word -- cancer -- buzzed in our ears. Shoulders slumping, our mist-filled eyes met. We were dazed; cancer happens to others. Not our familial matriarch.
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Addiction

Instant Gratification: When Right Now Means 5 Minutes

“If you act right now -- right this very instant, you can own this shimmering, heart-shaped pendant for the budget-busting price of $250. But you have to act this very moment,” a caffeinated TV blowhard shrieks into your television screen.

You cackle, questioning the (in)sanity of anyone spending $250 on a cheesy pendant. As the cackle disappears, you lean back and contemplate your own spending habits. You, self-described Mr. Thrift, just dropped $250 on a pair of must-have sneakers. The problem: Your exercise regimen consists of walking past the gym.

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Anger

6 Tips for De-Escalating an Argument

Arguments are a part of most relationships, friendships, and workplaces. Humans are social creatures, and inevitably we will come across a person's perspective or a topic area with which we disagree. While we try our best to be respectful, it can be difficult keeping things neutral.

If arguing is a normal part of life, how do we do it better? How can we de-escalate an argument, keeping a minor disagreement from turning into a major blowout?

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Bipolar

Kindred Spirits

As a mentally ill person, I try to surround myself with others who have mental illness, particularly bipolar disorder. Since I am always talking, I find that I am normally asking “do you do this too?” questions. Recently my “do you do this too” question was “I hate to shower. Do you hate them as badly as I do?” The answer I got was a very certain “yes.”

Then I felt better that I can’t stand to shower. I do it because it would be wrong not to. However, it takes a lot out of me to do so. I truly get in the shower and cringe. It makes me uncomfortable and I try to talk myself through them.

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Brain and Behavior

Getting to Know Your Three Brains: Part 1

Happy relationships make happy people. Perhaps the most important relationship we have is the one with our self. In fact, the better the relationship we have with our self, the better we feel, the easier life is and the better relationships we have with others.

When we judge our self harshly, we tend to judge others harshly as well. There is a direct correlation between how we treat ourselves, how we feel and how we treat others.

Regardless of whether you believe it, you do have power to change for the better. How do I know this? I know this because in my journey to become a health care professional, I had the great fortune of learning about the brain. This knowledge helped me tremendously.
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Brain and Behavior

The Thought Police

Embrace the thoughts.

I have been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Like you, my mind burps out intrusive, unwanted thoughts. They are real, striking at my core. I would banish them immediately. They would return with a sinister vengeance. Languishing in bed, sheets draped over me, I pleaded for divine intervention.

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Anger

Safely Communicating Negative Emotions

I will never forget the last scene of the 1975 movie, “The Stepford Wives.” I was only 14 at the time, but I understood the chilling implication: Meticulously coiffed, serene ladies -- even if they had to be turned into robots -- were more desirable than the messy, emotional women who openly expressed their feelings.

Unfortunately, this exaggerated tale exemplifies a deeply rooted theme in our culture, which is still alive today. That is, women have been taught and are encouraged to keep their negative emotions, such as anger and frustration inside, while maintaining an outward demeanor of calm cheerfulness.

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Brain and Behavior

The Healing Power of Hugs

One day several years ago, I spontaneously hugged a patient of mine, Gretchen. It was during a moment in which her despair and distress were so intense that it seemed cruel on a human level not to reach out my arms to her, in the event that she might derive some relief or comfort from an embrace. She hugged me for dear life.

Months later, Gretchen reported to me that the hug had changed her. “The motherly embrace you gave me that day,” she said, “lifted the depression I have had all my life.”

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Anxiety and Panic

How Do You ‘Do’ Fear?

We all feel fear at various moments in our lives. But we differ dramatically in how we “do” fear. Here are a few stories that illustrate what I mean:

Jake’s style: “Safety First”


When Jake feels fear, he has a knee-jerk reaction to retreat into safety. His favorite refrains are, “It’s too difficult” and “I can’t.” As you might imagine, his approach to fear has impeded his ability to move forward in his career and in relationships, despite his wanting to do so.
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