Brain and Behavior

The Daily Grind

Rise and grind. 5:58 a.m. You jolt up; the blaring alarm clock interrupts the morning stillness. Rousing yourself from your morning stupor, the ritual begins: a glance outside, dry toast with jelly, and a quick part of your thinning hair. Lingering in front of the mirror, your sunken eyes and ashen face stare back. Middle age looms; those carefree university days are receding like your hairline.

Before turning down Reminiscence Road, you remember that you have a 6:45 a.m. bus to catch. Boarding the bus, you nod at the driver and exchange glances with your dreary-eyed workaholics; most are staring into space or mumbling into their phones.

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Brain and Behavior

Understanding the Fascinating World of Dreams

“I was walking down a dark street, whistling and enjoying the darkness. Suddenly, I heard footsteps. Somebody was following me. I tried to run but my legs were cement. I couldn’t budge. I screamed. Nobody heard me. My heart was beating so fast. I was terrified. I didn’t know what to do.”

Maria continued: “I woke up in a cold sweat, shaken by the dream and wondered what it meant. I couldn’t figure it out. I have no enemies. There’s nothing that’s scaring me in real life. So, I kind of just tried to get it out of my mind by telling myself it’s just a dream.”

Dreams are mysterious. We’re both fascinated and perplexed by them. When they frighten us, we try to push them aside, saying “it’s just a dream.” Too bad. We can learn a lot from our dreams once we learn to speak their language.
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Children and Teens

3 Hard Truths about Your Dream Job You Need to Accept

You’ve been told you can achieve anything you set your mind to, right? That’s the message that’s been ingrained in us since childhood when we imagined becoming astronauts, athletes, and movie stars. Most of us come to realize that we can’t all be LeBron James or Taylor Swift -- and that we don’t want to be, anyway! As we get older, we typically outgrow these fantasies of youth and begin mapping out a career that’s aligned with our personal goals and values.

Yet, in spite of this seemingly straightforward and logical process, many people still have a number of misconceptions about what a “
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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: April 16, 2016


Good morning (or afternoon, evening, or night?) lovely readers!

If you checked in with me last week, you know I was dreading a weekend of snow; well, Mother Nature smiled on my little neck of the woods and gave us a few inches only on Sunday.

All in all, not a raw deal.

Anyway, I'm probably working this weekend (boo!), but I have some great tips, resources, and other updates from the mental health community to share with you first. Read on to get the latest on tips for anger management, find out which of your seemingly harmless common daily habits could actually hurt your health, why sarcasm could be good for creative thinking, and more!

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Anger

Paying Attention to Triggers

Depression can hit at any time when you have bipolar disorder. Last night, I couldn’t sleep. Even with all the medications I take at night, my brain would not shut off. I lay awake in bed until close to 2 a.m.

I didn’t think I was manic yesterday. I knew I had written many articles in one day and I normally can only do one a day. Yesterday, though, I had completed five before 3 p.m. I hadn’t missed any medications, though, so I thought I just must be doing really well. Writing is my passion, after all. Maybe I have been compliant for long enough that my mind is finally coming around to being used to the medications and now I am able to concentrate on my writing fully.
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Creativity

Boredom Can Be Dangerous for Mental Illness

While I always recommend making time for relaxation, there’s one facet to having time on your hands that I must caution about.

All too often people with mental illness are left with idle time, myself included, which can lead to trouble. Spare time means more opportunity to worry and overanalyze things that happen. This is common among anxiety sufferers, but it can be even more of a problem for people in my situation, namely people who are living with schizophrenia.

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Creativity

6 Easy Ways to Add Excitement to Your Life

If you’re not content to allow life to slip by, you likely already have a good list of things you want to do. Some are for work, others for the family and still more just for you. Many of these items aren’t all that exciting, and they do nothing to jazz up your life. Below are some ways to get excited about life.

Start an experience list.

Instead of a bucket list of things you hope to do before you die, an experience list is uplifting and can be tackled now. This is an actively pursued and ardently desired list of things you want to experience to make your life richer.

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Creativity

Tips for Delving into Your Nighttime Dreams — Because Doing So Is Key

Many of us don’t think much about our nighttime dreams. We might not even remember them. While some dreams may not be particularly meaningful, most dreams offer a wealth of information about ourselves and our lives.

“Dreams are the psyche’s way of expressing and exploring issues pertinent to our psychological growth,” said Kathryn Bikle, MA, LMFT, a therapist who uses depth psychology techniques such as dream work in her practice in Pasadena and Monrovia, Calif. This growth can include our relationships, spirituality and creativity, she said. When we explore our dreams, “we expand our understanding of who we are and who we can be in the world.”
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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: April 2, 2016


Happy Saturday, sweet readers!

I'm hoping you all ended your week with some funny April Fools' Day shenanigans, and are ready to start the weekend with some of the latest developments in mental health!

Read on for news on how men are more vulnerable to developing stress-related depression, how people with mental health issues fit in when it comes to physician-assisted suicide, ways you can effectively help another person cope with anxiety or depression, and more.

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Brain and Behavior

The Importance of Being Yourself on Social Media


Over the last few months I’ve been sharing my photography on Instagram. It has resulted in a near-constant desire for validation through likes and follows -- I’ll write another article on that soon. The point is, scrolling through the newsfeed, I see copious amounts of photographers who are at the top of their game. Their craft is so refined and their style is so distinct that I can’t help but fawn over the pictures they take.

I decided I wanted my pictures to be like that. I really needed my pictures to be like that. Soon my admiration became a months-long effort to hone and refine my pictures to the point that they’d look exactly like these Instagram-famous photographers' photos.
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Creativity

8 Ways to Make Free-Time Fun a Priority

Fielding nonstop phone calls, juggling multiple projects, keeping the kids on schedule, making sure to eat and occasionally exercise, leaves little time for the fun stuff you’d much rather do. While everyday obligations can and do take precedence, it’s also important to carve out time for yourself, time to do whatever you enjoy. Here are some practical (and easy) ways to do just that.

Forget the to-do list when it comes to fun
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ADHD and ADD

How to Prioritize Your Life When You Have ADHD, Part 2

In an earlier piece, we explored how adults with ADHD can identify their priorities. Because often it can seem like everything is equally important and pressing. Your phone is ringing. Constantly. Your inbox is receiving new emails. Every few minutes. You have a meeting you need to prepare for. And there are 10 other things you need to do.

But sometimes this isn’t the issue at all.

Many of Casey Dixon’s clients tell her that they have a problem with “prioritizing,” but really they have a problem with following through. “They know what they need to do and why it’s important [but] they have a hard time doing it.”
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