General Articles

5 Tips for Becoming a Better Listener

Monday, January 26th, 2015

listenI’m a big fan of Elizabeth Bernstein‘s work in the Wall Street Journal, and she wrote an interesting piece, “How Well Are You Listening? We’re naturally bad listeners, even with loved ones; steps to avoid burn-out.”

Here are some of the key steps she outlines, for being a better listener:

1. Look for hints that a person wants to talk — and signal your willingness to listen. My husband rarely wants to “talk,” but when he does, I put my book down flat in my lap, to show that I’m paying close attention (and to prevent myself from sneaking a look at the page).

10 Ways to Win the War Against Workplace Stress

Monday, January 26th, 2015

10 Ways to Win the War Against Workplace StressWorkplace stress is one of the most common forms of stress. In order to cope with it, you need to accept that your job is the cause of your stress. Only when you come out of your denial can you overcome this form of stress.

Here are some tips you can use to deal with workplace stress:

1. Take on only as much work as you can do. Promotions and incentives notwithstanding, your health should be important to you. You should know what your limit is, and then you should work within that limit. If you just give your nod to work that you can realistically do, then you will be much happier with your job.

Siblings with Severe Mental Illness: An Evolving Relationship

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Siblings with Severe Mental Illness: An Evolving RelationshipThere is an undeniable connection between siblings. You came from the same family and grew up in the same environment. There will always be a shared past between siblings, whether they are close or not. But when your sibling is diagnosed with mental illness the personal history and the things you had in common can seem to disappear.

Life seems to stop and be consumed by their illness. An intangible connection can be seemingly swept right off the page. Something that therapists never told me was that one day I would just be happy to take what I could get.

Improving Your Child’s ADHD with Exercise

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

physical-fitnessGetting in a good run before work keeps us focused and productive at the office. But did you know exercise could also help children with ADHD perform better in the classroom?

“There is evidence that physical activity improves academic performance,” said Betsy Hoza, a professor of psychological science at the University of Vermont. Her recent study found moderate to vigorous aerobic activity before school helped children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder become more attentive.

“The immediate effects are that you’re much more alert — there’s that endorphin rush,” said Hoza. That rush has proven to boost mood, help ward off anxiety and depression in adults, and now to improve cognitive function in children with ADHD.

Should You Ask Dr. Google Your Health Questions? Yes, Absolutely

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Should You Ask Dr. Google Your Health Questions? Yes, AbsolutelyFor the past two decades, hundreds of millions of people around the world have done something extraordinary and unprecedented in human history. They’ve turned to the unlimited information resource we call the Internet to ask personal questions about their health and mental health.

And what have they learned?

More than anyone could have imagined. People today are better-informed health consumers than at any point in human history. They know more about their health — and about how their bodies and minds work — than even the best doctor or researcher did just fifty years ago.

We all have become experts on ourselves. And nothing could be better.

ADHD Tip: How to Organize Your Family and Household

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

ADHD Tip: How to Organize Your Family and HouseholdRunning a household takes effort. And it can be especially challenging for adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

ADHD impairs executive functioning in adults (and kids), making it harder for people to plan, prioritize, organize and follow through with various tasks — especially boring ones.

Of course, that’s exactly what you need to do when everyone in the family has a demanding job, goes to school, is involved in extracurricular activities, and has other commitments.

What Does Treatment-Resistant Really Mean?

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

3 Tips for Dealing with Anxious ThoughtsIn his book Economic Warfare: Secrets of Wealth Creation in the Age of Welfare Politics author Ziad K. Abdelnour writes, “One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever face in life is choosing whether to walk away or try harder.”

I face that decision every day.

Twenty times a day.

Several times an hour.

That one line contains the kernel of so much of my struggle, which is why I pray the Serenity Prayer every five minutes or so:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

10 More Things Your Therapist Won’t Tell You

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

10 More Things Your Therapist Won't Tell YouA few years ago, I wrote about some of the …

Isolation and Depression During a Long Winter

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Isolation and Depression During a Long WinterWith an Arctic blast bearing down across the U.S., I know I’d like nothing more than to cozy up inside with a blanket, some tea and my warm little bulldog. Then again that’s always the thing about January. It’s not until the end of February when I’m depressed and moody that I realize I’ve been isolating myself.

Depression loves to get me alone, just like a bully. Away from my friends and family for a couple weeks and surrounded by white winter clouds, I become an easy target for doubt, boredom, self-deprecation and loneliness.

Anyone who suffers from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) knows the pattern, but those of us with depression may not be so in tune to how the weather is affecting our mental health.

5 More Tips for Finding Love with a Mental Illness

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

5 More Tips for Finding Love with a Mental IllnessIn a previous post, we discussed five tips for finding love with a mental illness. Here are five more.

1. When to discuss your mental illness? It’s a dilemma: When should you reveal your mental illness? The first date should be fun and light so you can find common ground, but you probably don’t want to wait so long that a medical event suddenly thrusts your problems into the spotlight.

As you contemplate a future with your significant other, please remember: Don’t feel ashamed of your mental illness, medication, or counseling. It’s no different from needing medicine for diabetes or having a drug allergy; they’re just different types of medical issues that everyday people have.

How to Distinguish between Mature and Immature Emotions

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

How to Distinguish between Mature and Immature EmotionsDo you wonder sometimes why people act unreasonable and childish sometimes, often many times during a single day? Childish reactions are the cause of most conflicts and relationship issues. This known as age regression. Many people don’t recognize it when they do it, and instead believe that they were provoked by other people or circumstances.

Our brains constantly scan our environments and compare our present experiences with our memories from the past. When something triggers our past memories, our brains check those memories for additional information, such as possible consequences and possible responses. If there are unresolved or intense emotions related to those memories, they also will be triggered.

Emerging From the Other Side of Depression

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

fortressThere’s a great e-card that reads: “Dear whatever doesn’t kill me, I’m strong enough now. Thanks.” It was the second most-liked item I posted on my Facebook page. The first was a quote by William Gibson: “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, surrounded by xxxholes.”

Friedrich Nietzsche was responsible for the line, “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.” I’m not sure I believe that, given the long list of names of extraordinary people who ended up taking their lives in desperation. Sometimes the pain of severe depression — the hopelessness that is its constant companion — simply becomes too much to endure. Having visited the doorway to suicide for periods of time that lasted months and years, I understand that.

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