Anxiety and Panic

Tips for Thwarting Panic Attacks

I awake in the middle of a summer night, hot and uncomfortable and possibly disoriented from a disturbing dream.

Feelings of nausea intertwine with the heat, rendering me physically drained.

I sit in the waiting rooms of doctors’ offices, feet tapping in sporadic rhythm, nervous at the onset of blood pressure readings and other evaluations.
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Brain and Behavior

Is Mindfulness Meditation Safe?

There has been some growing concern recently about the safety of mindfulness meditation. Some claim that the practice can have severe side effects, such as panic, depression, and confusion. Are these concerns well founded? Maybe.

The main study cited by opponents of meditation is a British study of the effects of mindfulness meditation on a group of prison inmates. The inmates participated in a 90-minute weekly meditation class for 10 weeks. The study found that the inmates’ moods had improved and they had experienced a lower stress level, but remained just as aggressive as before the intervention.

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Brain and Behavior

One Way to Lose Weight: The Do More Good Principle

One of the interesting things about losing a lot of weight is that everyone wants to know your secret. It is as if there were some magic potion that only a select few know about.

When I was 275 pounds, I used to scour the web and magazines for secrets to losing weight; I was a little obsessed. I came into contact with people who were successful with weight loss and would probe them for their secret. They usually said “diet and exercise.” That is definitely not what I wanted to hear. I would try one television “secret” after another, all of them promising swift and long-term weight loss. I became so desperate to lose weight that I was throwing my money (that’s all they are after) at these advertisements.

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Brain and Behavior

Can’t Make a Decision? 4 Things to Try

You’ve just worked your third 12-hour day in a row, with no sign of the craziness winding down in the days ahead, when a client calls you with yet another problem that needed to be solved -- yesterday.

In that moment, it may seem like your brain simply gives up while your client is still on the line, waiting for you to provide another one of the quick, brilliant solutions that she’s come to depend on you for.

This moment of mental paralysis, or the inability to make an effective decision in a brief moment, even if it’s normally easy for you, is what’s known as decision fatigue.
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Brain and Behavior

The Power of a Morning Ritual

One of the first things teachers tell new writers is to sit down in the same place at the same time every day to write. It’s the ritual, a way of preparing to write that primes our minds and our bodies to do it. The repetitive steps of sitting down in our writing spot awakens our minds to the process ahead.

Rituals -- from how we stir cream into coffee and blow out birthday candles to wedding vows and funeral prayers -- influence how we experience these moments of our lives.

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Brain and Behavior

3 Negative Thoughts Holding You Back from Negotiation Success

If you’ve successfully started your own business, decided to go freelance, or work at a startup, you’re used to rolling up your sleeves, working hard, and doing whatever it takes to get things done.
But when it comes to negotiating, do you still freeze up or freak out?
If you find it hard to approach investors, raise your rates, or talk about money and contracts in any way -- you’re not alone.
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Brain and Behavior

Vote to Help Teach Kids Vital Mental Health Tools

Microsoft wants to #UpgradeYourWorld with $500,000 grant

Your vote can bring iFred’s Schools for Hope program to children around the world. Microsoft is celebrating people and organizations who do great things and make a difference every day by awarding a global nonprofit organization with $500,000, along with technology and support. If selected, funds will be used to expand iFred’s Schools for Hope program, a free curriculum teaching kids vital mental health tools for having hope, a skill that can be taught according to research and...
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Psychology Around the Net: August 15, 2015

Good morning (or, afternoon!), Psych Central readers!

This week's Psychology Around the Net covers information about mood disorders and heart disease, helpful tips for pursuing happiness, a new study for preventing schizophrenia, and more.

Enjoy reading and the rest of your day!

Teens With Depression, Bipolar Disorder Should Be Screened For Heart Disease, Experts Say: There's much evidence suggesting heart disease and depression are interlinked in older adults, but now the American Heart Association has stated teens with mood disorders might be at an increased risk for heart disease, too.

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Destigmatizing Dependence in Therapy

When I wrote my first article years ago about the power of psychotherapy, I was stunned by the reaction. Seventy-five percent was positive, but a very vocal minority attacked me viciously for either not having cured the patient or promoting a pathological dependence. They reasoned that had the patient received proper therapy she would not have needed anyone to solve her problems.

I was treating a woman for bipolar disorder with mood-stabilizing medication and monthly to bi-monthly psychotherapy. Her cognitive-behavioral psychotherapist referred her because she couldn’t get out of bed. She didn’t want to need medication.
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Psychology Around the Net: August 8, 2015

Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers!

This week's Psychology Around the Net covers everything from ways to beat anxiety at work to learning how you can stop denying yourself happiness -- and much more.

25 People Told Us What Relieves Their Anxiety at Work: Anxiety sufferers can agree the condition harms both our relationships with co-workers and our performance. Would any of these tips help you get a handle on your anxiety at work?

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Brain and Behavior

3 Strategies to Reframe Your Thinking on Exercise

Even though most of us put happiness near the top of our want lists, many of us are secretly convinced that it will always be just out of reach. But the truth is that happiness is already available to us. All we have to do is start moving.

Scientific evidence is mounting that moving our bodies changes our brains in ways that can lead to happiness. In fact, it turns out that moving our bodies is one of the best ways to foster a chemical reaction that leads to happiness. Even small amounts of movement -- as little as one minute – boost energy and mood. Research also shows that we are much more likely to stick with exercise that we choose autonomously, enjoy doing, and makes us feel great right now.

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Brain and Behavior

5 Marriage Rules from a Therapist

Below are five tips to help you have a fulfilling marriage:

Respect the perspective.
Everyone is a product of his or her upbringing. We all bring “family rules” into relationships, and most of the time we don’t even realize it. How did your family handle stress? Was money discussed with the children? How were children disciplined? Did the family eat every meal at the dinner table? Who handled the money in the house?
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