Brain and Behavior

Awareness: A Hardwired Gift and the Science Behind It

Awareness is a hardwired gift. It may cause us to frown when we see another frown, find food when our stomach growls, smile at a baby, or hold the door open for another. You may or may not remember telling yourself to do these things. You just did it, because on some level you were aware, which led to your response.

Intentionally practicing mindfulness allows us to tune into varying depths of our awareness, beyond those that are on automatic pilot. This deeper level of awareness gives us the flexibility and buoyancy to self-correct, helping us to better serve and navigate ourselves and our community.

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Friends

Love Thy Boundaries

“Love thy Neighbor; yet don’t pull down your hedge.” -- Benjamin Franklin
Boundaries. You know you’re supposed to have them. Maybe your boundaries are abstract, and you just go with the flow. Maybe you think it’s only people who are “too nice” or forgiving that have their boundaries violated. But at some point everyone has their physical, emotional, and spiritual limits pressed.

Perhaps a friend going through a breakup leaned on you too much to meet their emotional needs. Maybe someone violated your spatial boundaries by standing too close or being touchy-feely. At some point, you’ve probably accommodated people who have fundamentally different core values at the expense of your own emotional well-being.
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Family

How to Curb a Smart Mouth

The tendency to shoot from the lip has doomed many an endeavor or personal interaction. If you are prone to speak first and think later, you could be missing out on opportunities. These tips can help to curb your impulsive blurts and make your life happier as a result.

Imagine you’re stepping off a cliff.

The next step you take could be momentous, or it could be disastrous. Before you open your mouth to say whatever pops into your head, think of the potential consequences or ramifications. This will give you a little time to edit your words before they’re spoken. Remember, you can’t take back what you said, so use your words wisely.

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Books

4 Tips for Really Hearing Someone Even When It’s Hard

How often do we actually listen to other people when they’re talking? I mean listening without focusing on how we’re going to respond, without interrupting, without debating what they’re saying, without getting defensive. Probably less often than we like to think, even though listening is incredibly important. It’s important for building beautiful relationships and for navigating every area of our lives.

We need to listen carefully at work to our bosses and colleagues. We need to listen carefully to our clients. We need to listen carefully to our partners and our kids and to all of our loved ones. This is how we gain a deeper understanding of the people we’re interacting with. This is how we avoid misinterpretations and miscommunication. It’s how we resolve conflict. And it’s how we genuinely connect and strengthen our bonds.
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Friends

Facebook Fame, Real-Life Shame

“People aren’t posting about their Pinto breaking down on I-80 or their glamorous work trip to Walla Walla,” a friend wryly observed.

No. No, they aren’t. Instead, we are treated to a barrage of adorable baby photos, beaming couples, and far-flung destinations. If Tinder requires every attractive female to proclaim their love of (insert hometown) sports team, Facebook stipulates that every couple proclaim their undying devotion in mushy status updates. Maybe Facebook should sponsor Prozac -- or, at the very minimum, provide every singleton with a complimentary bouquet of flowers.

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Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: April 23, 2016


Earlier this week, a recently unemployed friend of mine began a round of several interviews for a new job that, if all goes well, potentially could be the perfect fit for him. During the first interview he was asked, "What is your strongest attribute and how would it benefit our company?"

My friend is a quick thinker and delivered an answer that, after talking about it later, we both decided indeed summed up his strongest attribute; however, the interviewer's question made us both start thinking more deeply about our attributes -- especially as they relate to employment and personal relationships.

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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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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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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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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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