Children and Teens

Psychology Around the Net: October 22, 2016

Once again, my friends, I come to you from behind a computer screen with a box of tissues on one side and a trash can on the other. Tears are running down my cheeks, I can't stop sneezing, and even though I can't breathe my nostrils aren't too stopped up to -- well, I won't get gross.

Wasn't it just a few months ago I was suffering from allergies? Can you even get allergies in the fall? According to WebMD, you sure can, and thanks to a myriad of potential culprits (mold spores and pollen hiding out in fallen leaves and dust mites triggered from turning the heat on for the first time), I am once again down for the count.

Still, that hasn't stopped me from bringing you this week's latest in mental health news! Keep reading for healthy tips for how to break off a friendship, Instagram's new mental health "flagging" feature, ways you can beat election stress, and more.

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3 Tips for Helping Your Kids Develop Empathy

Every child is already empathic. We all are (with a few exceptions). We are wired for empathy. We are wired to connect, communicate and collaborate with others.

Empathy develops in infancy. “A child first learns to tune in to his or her mother’s emotions and moods, and later on to other people’s,” write Jessica Joelle Alexander and Iben Dissing Sandahl in their new book The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids.

They further explain, “What the mother feels, the child will feel and mirror. This is why things such as eye contact, facial expressions, and tone of voice are so important in the beginning of life. It is the first way we feel trust and attachment and begin to learn empathy.”
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Reducing One of the Most Painful Symptoms of ADHD

Many adults with ADHD feel shame. A bottomless, all-encompassing shame. They feel shame for having ADHD in the first place. They feel shame for procrastinating or not being as productive as they think they “should” be. They feel shame for forgetting things too quickly. They feel shame for missing deadlines or important appointments. They feel shame for not finishing tasks or following through. They feel shame for being disorganized or impulsive. They feel shame for not paying the bills on time or keeping up with other household tasks.

Shame is “probably one of the most painful symptoms of ADHD and one of the hardest challenges to overcome,” said Nikki Kinzer, PCC, an ADHD coach, author and co-host of “Taking Control: The ADHD Podcast." Some adults with ADHD live with shame every day, she said.
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How Do We Say No When We Feel So Guilty?

I take good care of myself. My family, friends and clients know this about me. I would not be surprised if behind closed doors I’ve been described as selfish. I am actually all right with that; I own this attribute.

Taking care of myself did not come easily. I worked at it as a matter of necessity. I take care of myself for many reasons, not the least of which is that it helps me be a better person. Quite a paradox! To be a better person, I have learned to be a selfish person. Let me explain:
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3 Strategies for Supporting a Loved One with Depression

Your loved one has depression. Maybe they’re isolating themselves. Maybe their energy and mood have taken a nosedive. Maybe they’re irritable and angry. Maybe they aren’t enjoying much, if anything, anymore. Maybe they’re having a hard time concentrating or remembering things. Maybe they’ve mentioned feeling hopeless or worthless. Maybe they make negative comments about themselves. All. The. Time. Maybe they wear a happy face, but you know they’re struggling.

And, understandably, it’s really hard to watch. Because all you want to do is fix their pain. To make it go away. To make it all better.
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Anxiety and Panic

Seven Seconds to Success

When you first encounter someone they make a decision about you in seven seconds. Beyond a first impression which is made during the first three seconds and is relatively shallow about your appearance and attractiveness, the next four seconds is where you seal your fate. Seven seconds is all it takes to make it or break it, whether it is during a job interview, sales call, or annual performance review. A lifetime of preparation can boil down to a seven-second encounter.
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There’s No Such Thing as a Simple Question

You would think that a simple question would be met with a simple answer. On occasion, that is true. But often, a simple question stirs up a barrage of emotional baggage. Here are two examples:

He says: Do you know where the flashlight is?
She says: You never put anything away and then you expect me to find it. How am I supposed to know?

She says: It’s raining; will you drive carefully?
He says: Get off my back! I’m not an idiot!

Communication is not what you say; it’s what the other person hears you say. And when you have a history with that person, a simple question can conjure up a frenzy of emotions.
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When You Rely Too Much on What Others Think

Caring what others think is totally normal. It’s also adaptive. “[V]aluing other people’s thoughts and opinions is what helps us build relationships [and] integrate socially into society,” said Ashley Thorn, a LMFT, a psychotherapist who works with individuals, couples, and families on improving their relationships. “[It] keeps us respecting and following rules and pushes us to think and challenge ourselves.”

Caring what others think becomes a problem when we hyperfocus on their opinions -- and let them override our own. When we do this regularly, we send “a message to our brain that says we can’t ‘look out’ for ourselves or self-protect.” Which triggers self-doubt and insecurity.
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What’s Your Listening IQ?

When people are “crazy in love,” they have the highest listening IQ. They make excellent eye contact, are totally focused on what their partner is saying, are tuned in to the nuances of the conversation, and freely give head nods, smiles, and chuckles to show they are listening.

As time passes, people become more relaxed with one another. When they do, their listening IQ tends to decline. Direct eye contact deteriorates. People focus on other...
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