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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Brain and Behavior

The Making of a Happy Mind

The mind, just like any other entity in nature, follows some specific laws. The mastery of these laws can be immensely helpful in improving mental health and generating happiness.

Long before the discipline of psychology was established, philosophers started providing answers to the question of how to reach happiness. Tested by science, some their claims have been refuted, while others were confirmed, such as the following statement made by Epictetus in The Art of Living:
Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control and some things are not. It is only after you have learned to distinguish between what you can and can’t control that inner tranquility become possible.
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General

Reconnecting to Yourself Every Day

We can get disconnected from ourselves regularly. Even on a daily basis. This can happen because we’re fully focused on checking off tasks from our to-do lists. Or because we’re fully focused on taking care of everyone else.

It can happen because we’re stuck in our heads -- “leaning too far into the future or obsessing about things that didn't go well for us in the past,” said Kelly Rose, LMFT, a psychotherapist who helps people reconnect to their authentic selves in Wayzata, Minn. Because when we’re disconnected from the present moment, we’re really disconnected from ourselves, she said.

Rose shared this quote from Eckhart Tolle: “Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now."

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Depression

U.S. Suicide Rates Go Up & Up: What Does It Mean?

For the past 15 years, the suicide rate in the United States has gradually inched upwards year after year, reaching its highest point ever. This according to new research just published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Starting in 2006, it's gone up about 2 percent per year, rising 24 percent in the study period from 1999 to 2014. Women fared worse than men, with women's suicide rates rising 63 percent versus men's 43 percent.

What does it all mean? Why are suicide rates increasing at all, instead of falling?

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General

10 Lessons Failure Teaches

No one likes to fail. In fact, most people would do almost anything to avoid failure. They consider the lengths they have to resort to a fair price to pay -- just so they don’t have to go through the experience of failing. But they’re missing something incredibly valuable: They’re losing out on the lessons failure teaches.

You don’t always have to be right.
It may come as a bit of a shock to realize that you don’t always have to be right. In fact, if you think you always have to be right, you’re likely going to experience more than a few disappointments. The beauty of having failed is that it takes away some of the pressure of having to be right. You can forgive yourself for the failure and move on.

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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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Anxiety and Panic

Mindfulness for Children

My youngest daughter has been having trouble getting to sleep in the last couple of weeks. The bedtime gratitude bodyscan I wrote really helps. It allows her to interrupt her now-habitual thoughts and place her attention on something more soothing and calming -- her body and a feeling of gratitude. It captures her imagination and provides almost instant relief and release. Many parents have told me the gratitude bodyscan is providing transformative relief for their children, too.

Tonight, I started to describe a practice my girls could use during the day, whenever they are feeling sad, angry, frustrated, worried, scared or overwhelmed. It worked well for my youngest at night, too. In fact, as I was speaking, she politely asked me if it would be OK to go to sleep. I said it would be a lovely way to go to sleep, and she promptly did so!

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General

How to Listen to Your Emotions

Listening to our emotions is vital. Emotions “seek to serve and empower us to explore the world safely and make meaning of our experience in it,” said Deb Hannaford, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Pasadena and Monrovia, Calif. Emotions are valuable sources of information. “[T]hey give us direction and help us know what we need.”

But many of us aren’t very familiar with listening to our emotions. Maybe we weren’t taught to process our emotions as kids. Maybe instead we avoid or dismiss our emotions. Maybe we’ve convinced ourselves that our emotions are inconvenient or useless at best and wrong at worst.

So how do we explore our emotions and know what they’re trying to tell us?
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General

Lost in Translation

“Matt, the project was due five minutes ago,” my harping boss nags.

“I am putting the finishing touches on it. It will be in your inbox momentarily,” I respond. I scan the PowerPoint presentation one last time and reluctantly click submit. The PowerPoint presentation is high-quality. With my exacting standards, I expect the highest quality.

My supervisor, a late 30ish woman, grumbles. She speaks the universal language of sighs, grunts, and slumping posture. I visualize her impatiently refreshing her inbox every three seconds.

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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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Addiction

Addicted to Distraction

Is there something you really need to do, yet somehow you just can’t seem to get to it? You tell yourself you’re going to do it, but then something else always gets in the way. If so, it’s likely that you are addicted to distraction.

Here are four questions I want you to ask yourself:

How many times a day do you check or initiate emails and text messages?
How often do you check out compelling headlines on your digital devices?
How much time do you spend game playing?
How much time do you spend on social media?

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Addiction

Treating Trichotillomania

As a hair stylist with over 15 years of experience, I recently had the opportunity to work with a client who suffered from trichotillomania. Also called "hair pulling disorder," trichotillomania is characterized by an obsessive pulling of one's own hair, leading to hair loss and baldness. It's often chronic, difficult to treat, and can lead to high stress and social impairment for the sufferer. The following is an account of our work with this client using my skills as a master stylist.

Our client had gone through years of hiding her pull spots and had become masterful at finding different up-styles to camouflage her problem areas. The idea was to add hair extensions, as the client and her behavioral therapist believed it would help her to stop her compulsive pulling.
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