How to Eliminate Recurring Nightmares

All of us have nightmares. Maybe in your nightmare you’re being chased by some terrifying but unknown entity. Maybe you’re surrounded by bloodthirsty vampires or hordes of zombies. Maybe you’re trapped in a room with snakes or spiders or any other animal you fear. Maybe you or a loved one is involved in a car wreck or a violent assault.

Maybe you keep having this nightmare over and over. And it’s so real, so vivid, so frightening that the last thing you want to do is fall back asleep.

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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: March 28, 2015

This week's edition of Psychology Around the Net covers everything from psychology and environmentalism, a new smartphone app for teens dealing with depression, and various misconceptions about psychology.

The Surprising Psychology Behind Why Some People Become Environmentalists: Psychologists have started using tools such as surveys and questionnaires to delve into this polarized topic.

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How to Work with Your Dreams

A lot of us are drawn to working with our dreams. Knowing where to start and how to go about it can be confusing. Here are some basic tools to help you with the process.

1. Tell yourself the whole dream. Tell yourself the dream from start to finish so that you have a sense of it as a complete narrative. Dreams sometime seem to open somewhere in the middle -- things are already in process. Capture this information as fully as possible.
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Brain and Behavior

Circadian Rhythm Sleep Disorder: Do You Have an Abnormal Sleep Pattern?

I was always bad at sleeping. My mom still talks of nightmarish times trying to get me to sleep as a baby and toddler. As a child, I kept a flashlight and a book on my nightstand so I could stay up after lights-out to read. As I grew, this trend continued.

I’m never tired at a “normal” bedtime. In fact, late nights are when I do some of my best writing. I am, however, exhausted in the morning.

I spent years trying to fit the mold, and always just figured I was a night owl until I finally heard about circadian rhythm sleep disorders.

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Your Dreams Are Your Own and Bring Both Warnings and Gifts

“Letting go of the past means that you can enjoy the dream that is happening right now.”
- Don Miguel Ruiz

I grew up on a small cattle farm in the very small farming town of Savannah, Missouri with my grandfather and great grandparents.

My great grandmother used to sit outside on the back porch and string green beans or peel apples when the weather was mild, a worn dish towel over her knee and an ancient paring knife moving with practiced ease. As a very small child I would often sit with her, watching, and sometimes we would talk.

One evening we shared a conversation that would come to influence me for the rest of my life, though I didn’t realize it at the time.

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Alive in My Dreams: Grieving During Sleep

I dreamt I was walking out of a bar because I didn’t know anyone there and everyone appeared to be leaving. Outside I saw my friend Don speaking to someone. From the steps of the bar I dove into his arms and hugged him. He hugged me back and laughed. It sounded like him. It felt like him.

He turned to leave, and I took his hand. It felt like his hand. The sky was pink and purple like the sun was setting somewhere behind us. I said, “Wait, I have to tell you something before I wake up. I love you.”

“It’s so embarrassing,” he told me, like he didn’t want to talk about his suicide.
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4 Ways Dreams Can Help You

I tend to have bizarre dreams. Perhaps they feature sporadic compilations of the day, current happenings, abstract symbols or completely random montages. But sometimes, my dreams assist me; my land of nod attempts to tie up a few loose ends from waking life.

If you look closely enough, dreams could serve as a portal to resolution.

Here are four ways dreams can help:

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The Mysteries of Sleep Explained

We know we need it. If we don’t get it, we’re cranky, have trouble concentrating, tend to overeat and are more likely to make mistakes.  Yet, with the crush of demanding schedules, bad habits, or sleep disturbances, we don’t always get enough.

So what is happening during those precious hours when we’re asleep?  Is it really a time of restoration for our brains?  And is it possible that it’s more than that?

What happens in our brains while we're asleep is a question neuroscientist Penelope Lewis is trying to answer.

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Fresh Perspectives from Shambhala

One of my treasured books from favorite author Linda Schierse Leonard, “The Wounded Woman,” had the most beautiful, sacred, royal-looking design on a deep purple cardstock page insert, simply announcing the name of the publishing company, Shambhala.  That card, alone, I remember, was as fascinating to me as the book’s title and the mysterious, wise teachings of Carl Jung, brought to life by the woman author devoted to sharing archetypal insights.  (“The Call to Create” and “Creativity & the Veil of Addiction” are just two others Schierse-Leonard penned.)

Back in the ‘80s -- before the age of websites -- I filled out the card and sent it in to receive their catalog of books and see what else they had up their sleeve.  Over the years, it seemed I’d only sporadically receive a brochure (as fits and starts to publishing houses’ marketing efforts came into the digital age). 

Having the same effect as the cardstock insert, though, as soon as the first one arrived some 20-plus years ago, I was captivated anew.

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Connecting to Your Intuition to Enhance Your Life

Everyone has intuition, a "wise inner guiding system," according to Lynn A. Robinson, M.Ed., an international expert on intuition, and author of six books on the topic, including her latest book Divine Intuition: Your Inner Guide to Purpose, Peace and Prosperity.

And everyone can develop their intuition and use it to navigate their daily lives, make fulfilling decisions and discover and realize their dreams.

That’s because “when we pay attention to our intuition, it points us in the right direction.” Intuition “provides an additional level of information that does not come from the analytical, logical, and rational side of the brain,” Robinson writes in Divine Intuition. She describes intuition as “a way of knowing, of sensing the truth without explanations.”

Intuition can take many forms. According to Robinson, it might be an image, feeling or physical sensation, like goose bumps. Or it might arrive in a dream. Also, “Some people say they just know the answer.”

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Don’t Ask Me What I Do, Instead Ask Me Who I Am

I carry a few different business cards in my purse. Because I never know what conversation I will have with a stranger at any given time.

A month ago I fetched cream for my coffee at a café in South Bend, Indiana. Naturally my family didn’t know a soul in the joint. However, by the time I returned to my table, I knew some incredibly intimate (not to mention interesting) details about the daughter of the man next to me who was reaching for a napkin: his daughter is bipolar; she was anorexic as a teenage ballerina; and she’s on some of the same meds as I am.

I ended up giving him a business card with everything but my email scratched out.

I didn’t want to have the conversation of what I do for living.

It doesn’t have anything to do with who I am.

And that’s why I get so annoyed that we have to start all of our conversations with that question.
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3 Myths about Vulnerability

Vulnerability is scary. But it’s also a powerful and authentic way to live. According to author Brené Brown, Ph.D, LMSW, in her latest book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead, “Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.”

She defines vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” Think about the vulnerability it takes to love someone – whether it’s your parents, siblings, spouse or close friends. Love is filled with uncertainties and risks. As Brown notes, the person you love might or might not love you back. They might be in your life for a long time or they might not. They might be terrifically loyal or they might stab you in the back.

Think about the vulnerability it takes to share your ideas with the world, not knowing how your work will be perceived. You might be appreciated, laughed at or downright skewered.

Vulnerability is hard. But what can make it even harder -- needlessly so -- are the inaccurate assumptions we hold about it.

Brown shatters the following three myths in Daring Greatly.

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