Brain and Behavior

Coping through Comedy

I recently viewed “Misery Loves Comedy,” a 2015 documentary that examines the darker side of comedy. Do you need to be miserable to be comedic? Not necessarily, but this intriguing film highlights interviews with several comics who all wonder where their inherent drive to be funny stems from.

Interestingly enough, many relay that comedy can act as a mechanism to cope, to receive positive attention, or to manage personal distress. They’re certainly not alone.

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Celebrities

Authenticity: The Deep Hurt of Hiding Your True Self

"If I was lying on my deathbed and I had kept this secret and never ever did anything about it, I would be lying there saying, 'You just blew your entire life. You never dealt with yourself,' and I don’t want that to happen." - Caitlyn Jenner, Vanity Fair
We've all heard the expression, "live your truth." It means knowing and being yourself without the need for external validation. You're honest, you don't make excuses for yourself and you're not looking for something outside of yourself to complete you. You set healthy boundaries, care for yourself, and live your principles. You are yourself fully and respectfully, and you don't "turn it off" just to suit others' needs or desires.
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Brain and Behavior

Bruce Jenner’s Journey to His Authentic Self

Bruce Jenner, renowned for winning the 1976 Olympic decathlon and widely recognized as part of the Kardashian family, recently disclosed a deeply personal endeavor: He has decided to change his gender and finally embrace his true self. He has been fighting internal unrest his entire life.

He recently sat down for an interview with television journalist Diane Sawyer, letting the public in on his journey.

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Brain and Behavior

Am I a Psychopath?

If you’ve tuned in to any one of the many prime-time television shows in the last five years, you’ve likely come across a suspenseful crime drama replete with personality-disordered characters. Many of us find ourselves plotting the crime better than the criminal, solving the case quicker than the "good guys," or discovering the hidden agenda halfway through the episode. I wager that many of you even empathize with the charismatic antagonist, at times, over the logical hero.

We are all quick to judge, analyze, question, and shame characters on the screen, all while making general comparisons to ourselves or our lives. What happens if there are strong similarities? What if you could plot a murder better than the serial killer? Did you root for the killer to escape from his or her consequential justice? If you said yes to any of these questions, does that make you a psychopath, too?

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Antidepressant

Psychology Around the Net: April 18, 2015


Can you spot a genuine smile from a fake one? How much do you know about creating a mental health plan for your child before college? What about true happiness -- do you actually experience it?

Learn about these topics and more in this week's Psychology Around the Net.

Psychology of Smiling: Can You Tell a Fake Smile From a Genuine One? Psychologist Richard Wiseman and his new photographic test for checking empathy will help you find out.

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Anxiety and Panic

Larry Sanders & the Need for Understanding

Larry Sanders, the former Milwaukee Bucks basketball player, recently disclosed that he’d taken a leave of absence from the team in order to be treated for depression and anxiety. He later took a buyout of his contract and currently is not playing anywhere in the NBA.

Someone I used to work with, who apparently somehow has been oblivious to my mental health status for the last 10 years, made a comment on this story on Facebook. He said that he would never make as much money in his life as this "useless (expletive)" and hoped he would overdose.

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Anxiety and Panic

What Makes a Highly Sensitive Person?

My mom called me her "flapper" when I was a baby. Whenever I got excited, I would flap my arms, like I was young chick taking off for flight … in front of a hawk. I still do that, to some extent, but I manage to keep the arm movements to a minimum extension.

I am easily excitable, a "highly sensitive person," as defined by Elaine Aron in her bestseller, The Highly Sensitive Person. If you answer yes to most of these questions on her website, you’re probably in the club, which holds 15 to 20 percent of human beings:

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Brain and Behavior

What Suicidal Depression Feels Like

I don’t know if you have noticed, but ever since Robin Williams died, I have removed the filter from my writing that keeps me safe of jaw dropping, disappointing head gestures, and all kinds of judgments that authentic writing invites. I just really don’t care anymore what people think because lives are at stake.

If this brutal beast of an illness is strong enough to kill someone with the passion, determination, and genius of Robin Williams, than we must do everything we can to protect those who are more fragile. That means being brave and writing as honestly as I can, on a taboo subject so few people understand, even if it means getting disapproving stares from other parents at my kids’ school.
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Celebrities

No One Is Successful to Spite You: Being Happy for Others

"If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be fulfilled. If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the world belongs to you." - Lao Tzu
Have you ever found yourself in a funk about something and you weren't sure why? Maybe your coworker just got a raise, your sister just got her Masters degree, your brother just bought the most lavish house or your friend is moving away to start a family in the suburbs. With all this great mojo going on around you, why can’t you seem to be happy yourself?

Being happy for others may not come naturally for everyone. After all, we all have a competitive spirit. But when you find you’re able to feel happiness simply because others are happy, you gain a fresh perspective on life.

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