The Positive Perspective: Replacing ‘Despite’ with ‘Because’

People often ask me, “How do you do your research?”

I’m a kind of street scientist. I don’t have a lab full of undergrads eating marshmallows to study; I rely on my own observations.

Really, I feel more like Samuel Johnson or William Hazlitt or George Orwell, in the way that I analyze human nature. I love reading the science, and I think about the science all the time, but in the end, I pay the most attention to what I see around me. And what I read -- not just science, but memoirs, biographies, novels.
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Anxiety and Panic

Don’t Let Your Creative Mind Fuel Your Social Anxiety

Many sufferers of social anxiety are highly sensitive, introspective individuals who simply fall into the mindtrap of extreme self-consciousness in unfamiliar social situations. Self-consciousness is essentially a fear-driven derivative of introspection, the ability to examine one’s own self.

Research also has shown that people who score high in traits of neuroticism, including anxiety, fear and worry, tend to have extremely active imaginations. In other words, the worrywarts and overthinkers of the world simply are using their creative minds to imagine the worst-case scenarios instead of the best. 

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Anxiety and Panic

Remodeling Your Brain to Enhance Your Life

The brain can change its neural structure and make new neurons. Here are a few tips on how to remodel your brain in order to enhance your life:

Identify what you think about most often.

Are you a worrier? Are you angry a lot? Paying attention to what we think about most enables us to identify where our brain wiring is faulty and unhealthy. Your brain could be wired for anxiety, anger or any other negative thoughts, feelings or perceptions about yourself and the world.
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Brain and Behavior

4 Steps to Stop Seeking Approval from Others

Humans share an innate drive to connect with others. We’re evolutionarily wired to crave inclusion. Eons ago, this was linked with our survival; in prehistoric times, rejection triggered fear. If someone became isolated or was ousted from the group, his or her life would be at risk.

Because the consequences of being rejected were so extreme, our brains and behavior adapted to avoid disapproval from others. In fact, research has shown that social rejection activates many of the same brain regions involved in physical pain, which helps explains why disapproval stings.
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How Introverted and Extroverted Colleagues Can Navigate Conflict

As an introvert, you might see your extroverted colleagues as poor listeners who speak before they think and use way too many words. You might get frustrated with their expressive nature. You might even find their questions to be intrusive.

As an extrovert, you might see your introverted colleagues as distant and detached and way too slow to respond. You might feel like getting any sort of answer is akin to pulling teeth. You might wonder why they decline invitations to social events and need so much time alone.
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5 Simple Ways to Practice Self-Care This Week

There are all sorts of views on what self-care is and what it looks like. (For instance, in this piece, several clinicians share their diverse thoughts.) According to art therapist Kim Ottinger, LPC, “self-care is anything that allows you to take a moment to appreciate yourself and your life.” Self-care sustains us when we’re stressed, she said.

It might “manifest in the form of an activity, an attitude towards yourself or others, a belief, or an action.”
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The Sneaky Way You’re Sabotaging Your Own Happiness (And How to Fix It)

You feel on top of the world, invincible, and light -- for about five minutes, until things start to go south.

You swear your boss has been looking at you funny for a few days in a row, your computer crashes just as you’re about to send in a report, you lock yourself out of your apartment, and you have one too many glasses of wine at the company happy hour.

So much for a few days ago, when you totally had your life together. Now you’re left wondering, “Where did that woman go and how do I get her back?”
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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: September 12, 2015

Happy Saturday, Psych Central readers!

We hope everyone made it through the week in one piece after the three-day Labor Day weekend! It's back to the grind now, and we've got the latest on boosting creativity, the country's current shortage of psychiatrists, new mothers and smoking relapse, and more in this week's Psychology Around the Net.


8 Psychology Hacks to Increase Your Creativity and Productivity: Learn to challenge yourself, practice mindfulness, and more if you want a creative and productive boost.

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9 Simple Ways to Exercise Your Brain

Research shows it's possible for both our bodies and our minds to age well. Try incorporating a few of the tips below to keep your brain sharp and strong well into your golden years.

Write a thank-you letter.
Research shows that writing with a pen on paper can create and sharpen existing neural pathways in the brain, while carving new neuronal connections. The hippocampus, which is responsible for memory formation, and stories of memories also is exercised. Research proves every day that cultivating and expressing gratitudecan make you healthier and happier.
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