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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Law and Disorder: How Police Practices Antagonize

Charlotte. Baton Rouge. Tulsa. Minneapolis. Los Angeles. Ferguson.

The violence explodes on your television set. You seethe.

“This is 2016 -- not 1968. Does the U.S. now stand for ‘Under Siege?”’ you fume.

Your anger is righteous. Racism is prevalent in the United States. And, yes, there are racially tinged police officers infecting American police forces.

But is your anger misplaced?
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Anxiety and Panic

When Anxious Thoughts Just Won’t Quit

Maybe you can’t stop worrying about work. You’re convinced that you are an impostor, and everyone at the office knows it, too.

You’re bound to get fired. Maybe you fear that your partner will abandon you, because you know you’re not enough. Maybe you fear for your family’s safety after your neighbors were killed in a car crash. Maybe you’re worried about your own health after experiencing certain symptoms.

Maybe your thoughts involve a different anxiety. Either way, you carry them wherever you go. They are stubborn. They are persistent.
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Connecting to Your Core Self

We often come across the term “core self” in magazines or online. Maybe we hear it in conversation. Maybe we hear statements like it’s important to connect to your core self. It’s important to develop a deep understanding of it. Doing so is vital for building a fulfilling, meaningful life.

But what is a “core self”? What does it really mean?

According to psychotherapist Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, “core self is your true self, or most authentic self.” It is our “inner wisdom, inner nurturer, wise self, feeling self, inner voice…” It is our values and personality, she said.
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How to Stop Beating Yourself Up for Messing Up

We tend to beat ourselves up for all sorts of things—for making a bad decision 2 years ago. For making a rude remark. For not going back to school when we were younger. For getting into debt. For staying in a toxic relationship for too long. For bombing an interview for a job we so desperately wanted. For not being productive. For being too sensitive. For misspelling a word. For giving a boring presentation.

Basically, for so many of us, the list is endless.

And, of course, we beat ourselves up for days, months, years. An insult-fueled record that plays on repeat.
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Psychological First Aid for Mental Health: World Mental Health Day

When we think of first aid, we typically think of the kind of aid administered to someone when they've experienced a scrape or bruise, requiring use of a bandage or some other aid to help the wound begin to heal.

But what do people think of when they hear the term, "psychological first aid"? I imagine it's a foreign concept for most people -- that we could provide some sort of psychological help to someone in need. Today, on World Mental Health Day, it's important to better understand this concept as it catches on with people around the world.

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6 Signs You’re a Productivity Addict

Do a search on Google for “productivity” and you’re served up almost 18 million results.

Dive in and you’ll find blogs, websites, apps, op-eds, subreddits, consulting firms, podcasts, and scientific studies devoted to the art of efficiency.

Our obsession in modern society with doing more is rivaled only by our preoccupation with doing it harder, better, faster and stronger. We’re gunning the engines at max speed, cramming our work days full of tasks, then feeling guilty if we steal a quick second to call a friend or read a book for pure pleasure (gasp!).
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When an Apology Is Not an Apology

Why is apologizing so difficult? Saying “I was wrong, I made a mistake, I’m sorry” is more painful than root canal therapy for some people.

As a psychotherapist, I’ve found that our ability to apologize is directly related to the shame we carry. Burdened with a deeply ingrained sense of being flawed or defective, we mobilize to avoid being flooded by a debilitating shame.

When we recognize that we’ve done or said something offensive or hurtful, we may notice an uncomfortable feeling inside. We realize we’ve broken trust and done some damage.
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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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Stop Blaming Stigma: Take Responsibility for Yourself

Stigma: A set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something (Merriam-Webster).

Let’s get the full disclosure out of the way first: I have bipolar disorder (type II, leans far more toward the depressive side than the manic) and borderline personality disorder (would take too long to explain; look it up if you like). I have been on disability for four years because of a nine-month depressive episode for which I received nine months of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). It pretty much destroyed my brain. I no longer have a short-term memory of which to speak.

I can’t function in a lot of ways like I used to. I work part-time, for a psychologist who understands my many limitations and helps me work around them. But I could never go back to what I used to do in any aspect of life and expect to handle it like a normal adult.
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Children and Teens

5 Tips for Teaching Your Kids Self-Compassion

Self-compassion is vital for adults. It reduces anxiety and depression. It’s been linked to greater well-being, emotional coping skills and compassion for others. Unfortunately, many of us have a hard time practicing self-compassion. Instead we default to blaming, shaming, and bashing ourselves. We assume that self-criticism is a more effective approach. (It’s not.)

This is one reason why it’s important to teach self-compassion to our children — to give them a solid foundation for the future. A foundation for being kind and gentle with themselves and processing their thoughts and feelings without judgment. These are important skills for being a healthy adult and building healthy relationships.

But kids also need self-compassion now.
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