Creativity

5 Tips to Help You Refocus and Get Things Done

Many things can derail our focus and stop us from accomplishing our work and what’s important to us. Technology, of course, is a big one. “Modern distractions like social media are designed to play on our psychology,” said Melody Wilding, LMSW, a therapist who works with female entrepreneurs.

“As humans, we’re cognitive misers, meaning that we will do anything to avoid mentally intensive tasks and conserve our brain energy.” Technology, with its rapid-fire updates and rewards, makes avoiding complex work that much easier.
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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: September 5, 2015


Happy September, Psych Central readers!

Our first Psychology Around the Net of the month covers habits to boost creativity, ways to deal with narcissists, how to protect yourself from negativity, and more.

Enjoy!

6 Unusual Habits of Exceptionally Creative People: How early do you rise? Are you getting enough exercise? What about your schedule -- how strict is it? You might want to brush up on these tips and more to channel your own exceptional creativity.

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Creativity

Happy Sadness: How Mixed Emotions Fuel Creativity

For a long time scientists believed that happiness sustained creativity and that negative emotions were detrimental to it. But a review of emerging research on the subject shows it's mixed emotions that fuel creativity. Generally speaking, the creative process includes not only inspiration and strong emotion, but also calm attentiveness.

"Creative people aren’t characterized by any one of these states alone; they are characterized by their adaptability and their ability to mix seemingly incompatible states of being depending on the task, whether it’s open attention with a focused drive, mindfulness with daydreaming, intuition with rationality, intense rebelliousness with respect for tradition, etc.," 
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Creativity

Social Exhaustion: Avoiding Introvert Burnout

Some people derive energy from being with others. These are extroverts. To introverts they seem to rule the world with their easy charm and ability to small talk just about anyone. An introvert doesn't derive energy from other humans. In fact, socialization exhausts the introvert, who must retreat to solitary in order to recharge their battery.

It's like a video game. In my corner is a little health meter. When it gets too low my character slows down and can hardly play. During this time I'm easily susceptible to injury, so I have to hide. The problem is I don't realize that my meter is running low until it's all gone and I can barely function.

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Anxiety and Panic

Biting the Hand that Controls: Authoritarian Parenting and ‘The Wolfpack’

A new documentary called "The Wolfpack" explores the life of a reclusive Manhattan family of nine and just what happens when a patriarch exercises an almost criminal amount of control over his family. Despite living in a city of 8.1 million people, the Angulo children were taught not to speak or even look at strangers and were not allowed to leave their apartment for 14 years. It sounds unimaginable because it's so unreasonable.

I watched "The Wolfpack" and found myself nodding at the screen again and again. I know this life. I grew up in a very similar way in what I refer to as a "clan."

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Addiction

Art Therapy in Addiction Recovery

The Breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep. ~ Rumi
As a survivor and “thriver” of a coma, 27 surgeries and a decade of medical trauma, I know firsthand the healing power of the arts.

As a child, the arts were my passion and identity. When my traumas occurred, they became my lifeline. Now that I am out of my medical crisis and into a life of health and vitality once again, the arts are how I can reconnect with the world, make a difference and raise awareness of the power of one’s internal resources. They make one aware of the human potential and spirit and that there are many ways to heal, externally and internally. They also raise awareness of gratitude. Every day and moment should be celebrated. Life is a canvas, an open score, a bare stage, waiting for us to join the dance.

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ADHD and ADD

ADHD and Adults: Are You Believing these Erroneous Beliefs?

When you’re first diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you might have mixed emotions. On the one hand, you might feel relieved to finally have an explanation for your symptoms. You might be relieved to know why you regularly lose your wallet and keys; can’t tolerate boredom; have a hard time concentrating; are easily distracted by seemingly everything sometimes but have a laser-like focus other times; and can’t seem to finish things.

On the other hand, you might feel disappointed, angry or ashamed. You might think there’s something seriously wrong with you. You might bash and berate yourself, believing that you’ve found proof of your inadequacies. Clearly, I’m lazy. I’m just not disciplined enough. I’m such an idiot. I’m such a failure. I can never do anything right!

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Alcoholism

I Am My Own Bipolar

Hi there. If you are reading this, please know everything written is coming from my brain -- which means these thoughts are all real to me, but likely unrealistic or potentially disturbing to “normal” people. I consider a “normal” person anyone that advises me not to act on everything I think and feel. How annoying is that? They must be the crazy ones, not me!

Everything my mind conjures up seems so brilliant in that moment. My feelings seem appropriate and valid in my head. How dare someone else tell me otherwise? But, alas, these nut jobs do deserve credit as they have kept me alive, stood by my side, taught me to be strong, and there is a special place in my heart and mind that loves and appreciates them more than words can say. So, thank you crazy people -- stay nuts.

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Creativity

8 Creative Techniques to Cope with Painful Emotions

Many of us have a hard time coping with negative emotions. This makes sense. “Painful feelings like anxiety, sadness, anger and shame tap into the parts of our brain that are connected to survival,” according to Joy Malek, M.S., a licensed marriage and family therapist. For instance, the anger we feel when we’re hurt is the same as the flight, fight or freeze response we experience when our survival is seriously threatened, she said.

We also tend to learn very early that getting mad or crying is not OK, said Meredith Janson, MA, LPC, a therapist in private practice in Washington, D.C. who specializes in expressive arts therapy. “As a mother of a toddler myself, I see every day how children can easily become overwhelmed by their feelings of sadness, frustration and anger. There is a temptation to distract the child or to cheer them up in order to make all the ‘fuss’ stop.”

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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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ADHD and ADD

Creativity for Better Performance

A long term-patient told a fascinating story a couple of weeks ago which points to the power of creativity in strengthening critical thinking. The person’s identity is well-disguised so no confidentiality is breached.

For several years I have been treating a young man (we’ll refer to him as Collin) with psychostimulants for chronic ADD and psychotherapy to address his perfectionism. We’re also working on finding a work environment conducive to combining his entrepreneurial proclivities and his considerable technological savvy. (He taught himself to code a complicated computer program that would benefit his industry.)

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