Family

5 Ways to Accept Gratitude Fully

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." -- Chesterton
In a recent post John Amodeo, , wrote about the “5 Ways that Being Appreciated Nourishes Us” … “if we can only let it in fully.”

Sometimes we are trapped in our own head-space, and we just can’t let appreciation in. We’re too busy thinking about our next big project, paying the bills, remembering to call...
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Anger

The Creative Act of Forgiveness

Have you ever found yourself driving down a dark desert highway, losing yourself in the mysterious groove of "Hotel California" by The Eagles? With such a great melody, some of the best lyrics may slip by unnoticed. Especially “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device.” There is no one way to interpret a good lyric, but this line elegantly tells you that you are the sole guardian of your emotions.

It’s inevitable that we’ll come across people who don’t treat us exactly the way we’d like. It could be the one who cuts you off in traffic or the one who made a snide comment about how your shoes don’t match your scarf.

On a bad day, it could feel like the whole world is against you. These moments sneak up on you when you least expect it. Then, in that swift second, the rainbow skies you were skipping under suddenly and rapidly turn into dark clouds of a looming thunderstorm.

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Anxiety and Panic

5 Ways to Lower Your Child’s Anxiety

As a child and family therapist, the concern I hear most often is, “I think my child may have anxiety, and I’m not sure how to help.” Quite honestly, I don’t need to travel as far as my office to see the various ways anxiety affects children in today’s world. As a mom of three, I see firsthand how the world we live in today incites excessive stress in our kids.

Our children are encompassed...
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Antidepressant

Living in a Mixed State

You thought depression was tough. You thought mania was exhausting. Well, get ready for something really awful -- the mixed state. Depression and mania mingle to produce an excruciating, unending, torturous feeling.

The mixed state has got to be the worst feature of bipolar illness. You feel both hopeless and electrified at once. One’s body and mind do not know how to process the mixture. One is miserable, and one is also miserable to live with. You’re moving so fast mentally that you have no patience, zero tolerance for anything. If any little thing goes wrong, you fly off the handle and never seem to find your equilibrium again.

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Family

Can Too Much Social Media Cause Depression?

Most of us are familiar with social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s easy to get caught up in the virtual social world. You may feel instantly connected to people you haven't spoken to in years. Hours of our time can be spent witnessing our friends' family vacations, children’s momentous occasions, birthdays, weddings and even difficult life transitions such as divorce, sickness and deaths.

Social networking relationships can have a positive emotional effect. However, numerous studies have been conducted and articles written linking social networking to depression and social isolation, eliciting feelings of envy, insecurity and poor self-esteem. On the contrary, other studies indicate that social media sites can be positive for people struggling with social anxiety and depression.

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Family

A Mini Guide for Expressing Yourself Effectively with Anyone

Expressing ourselves effectively is important in all areas of our lives. It’s important at work with our boss and colleagues. It’s important at home with our friends, partners and parents. It’s important when we feel strongly about an issue; when we need to communicate an important message; when we want to be understood; and when we are asking someone to meet a need, said Debbi Carberry, a clinical social worker in private practice in Brisbane, Australia.

But expressing ourselves isn’t exactly easy. For starters, we might not even know what we want, she said. Or maybe we know what we want but can’t articulate it. Maybe we’re afraid of being judged or rejected. Thankfully, by incorporating a few suggestions -- like the ones below -- you can express yourself effectively with anyone. Because it’s a skill you can sharpen.
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Celebrities

Whom Do You Respect?

Take a minute and consider the question, whom do you respect? Should this be a long list or a very short one? The problem with a long list is the candidates probably can’t be well vetted. A short list may make us out to be too cynical.

Let’s define the size of the list. You can only put five names on this esteemed list. This won’t restrict you, just possibly be a cause for adjustment of the definition.

Maybe you’ve gotten this far and can’t figure out why you should bother to make such a list. It’s because this list is a reflection of who you have become, failed to become, or still desire to become.
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Bullying

The Trope of the Closeted Homophobe: Is It True?

In one of the latest episodes of "It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia," a character named Mac finally reveals that he is gay after 11 seasons of being in the closet. A running joke throughout the show was that Mac has always been secretly gay, despite being outwardly homophobic. Because of his strict Catholic upbringing, Mac has shown plenty of hostility toward gays and lesbians in many different ways, such as fighting gay marriage or giving a five-hour sermon on the evils of homosexuality. When he finally reveals that he’s gay, the rest of the gang simply exclaims that they already knew.

The trope of the homophobic character who is secretly gay isn’t exactly new. It’s been used several times before in television shows such as "Glee" and films such as "American Beauty." In all these situations, a character is outwardly homophobic and may even bully gay characters. Later it is revealed that this character is secretly gay and his or her homophobia was likely a means of dealing with repressed feelings.
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Family

Child Abuse Survivors, Victims Need You to Talk About It

How do you recover from childhood abuse? Is healing possible? Will the shame ever go away? Will I always struggle with depression or anxiety?

These are important questions as we enter April, National Child Abuse Prevention Month. While the answers to these questions are different for everyone, sharing our stories can inspire hope and help other survivors heal.
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” - Nelson Mandela
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Children and Teens

The Benefits of Not Jumping to Conclusions

Human brains simplify information under stress. Largely out of awareness, we have a tendency to categorize experiences into extremes of good and bad, black and white, right or wrong. Most of life, however, happens in the gray areas. We lose the subtleties that are always there if we are too quick to know.

When I take something personally or feel stung by something someone said or did, I try to remind myself to get curious about other meanings, other ways of understanding the moment. For example, if someone is rude to me at a store, I could easily get angry and think to myself, “What a jerk!” But that thought process also gets me more riled up. That way of thinking fuels my anger, which makes me feel more agitated. My goal is to keep calm.

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Caregivers

Outdated Notions about Schizophrenia

Every parent’s worst nightmare. These are the words one mother used in a magazine article to describe her child having schizophrenia. When hearing her daughter’s diagnosis, another mother blurted out that she’d wished she had leukemia or some other disease instead. Even after the doctor told her that schizophrenia is much more treatable than leukemia, she said she’d still prefer leukemia. *

We see schizophrenia as a devastating diagnosis. We assume that our loved ones are doomed to a horrible life. This is something Psych Central blogger Rebecca Chamaa, who has schizophrenia, hears often. “People say it’s the worst thing that could happen to you. To hear that all the time and to be put in that category all the time, it’s a terrible thing to do to people.”
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Anger

Don’t Let Defensiveness Stand in the Way of Personal Growth

I can remember watching the popular girls in my elementary school bully another student, I'll call her Megan, because they thought she was “weird.” They would say rude things to her all day, making fun of her hair, her drawings, the way she spoke. And Megan would just sit there silently through it all, not even looking at them. She'd keep doing her homework, drawing, playing. Sadly, the other kids and I didn’t make any effort to help her, lest the mean girls turned their sights on us.

Megan was turning the other cheek, but I just didn’t get -- not then. I figured they were teasing her because she didn’t fight back. I promised myself I’d always fight back. Of course that only got me into a whole new kind of trouble -- Defensiveness.
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