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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Brain and Behavior

Getting to Know Your Three Brains: Part 3

Click here to refer to Part 1 of this series and Part 2 if you want a refresher.


We cannot think our way through an emotion. Emotions must be experienced. We have to feel emotions viscerally, let them move through us until their energy releases. That is precisely how we feel better.

Most of us spend a lifetime figuring out how to avoid emotions. But that’s because we don’t know any other way to deal with them. It is not our fault that the culture we live in does not value or understand the science of emotions or the role they play in overall wellness. The great news is we can learn some basic brain science to help ourselves.

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Brain and Behavior

Life with Borderline Personality Disorder

Do you know what borderline personality disorder (BPD) is? Many people have never heard of it, despite the fact that more than three million people are diagnosed with it each year in the United States alone. Symptoms include but are not limited to: depression and anxiety; an extreme fear of abandonment; black and white thinking; reckless, impulsive behavior; uncontrollable rage at situations that do not call for it;; and suicidal ideation. This condition is usually (but not always) the result of abuse.

There are a number of reasons you may not have heard of BPD. It often is seen as a “fake” disorder, made up by those seeking attention. This is ironic, because needing attention is a symptom of BPD. However, studies such as this one have shown that BPD is a real disorder, and affects those who have it just as much as any other disorder.

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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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