Brain and Behavior

How to Become a Morning Person in 5 Steps

Different people prefer to work at different times of the day. Some find themselves most productive in the mornings; other are better as night owls. However, mornings are traditionally seen as the start of everyone’s day. Regardless of whether your body clock is ready for it, you’ll need to adjust to early mornings, especially if you’re in a 9-to-5 job.

You can try temporarily forcing yourself to wake up early in the morning, but it’s difficult if you aren’t fully committed to being a morning person. Want to learn to be a morning person? Here are five psychological tricks to train your brain:

Continue Reading

Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Healing with Nature

If you have ever tried tending a garden or plant, you probably have experienced both joy and frustration, as in life. Nature offers many examples of our human spirit, and how to navigate ourselves, relationships and change. Many great writers and philosophers have echoed nature's wisdom and ability to heal. Tuning into nature allows us to cultivate the following:

Patience.
We are so hard on ourselves about where and who we should be in life. We often forget that we have our own seasons of development and change throughout our life cycle. Do we expect newborns to dress or feed themselves? Of course not; we know they are not there yet in their growth and development. If a loved one became disabled due to disease or accident, we would appropriately adjust our expectations of their growth and development. Start with what you know and meet yourself where you are, just as nature does.

Continue Reading

Addiction

Psychology Around the Net: February 20, 2016


Good afternoon, Psych Central readers!

First, I have to apologize for the late post. Generally, I try to publish these earlier in the day, but, alas. Technology is a wonderful thing, but unfortunately there are some blips along the way -- and I've had a few connection issues over the last couple of days.

Fortunately, that didn't stop me from collecting some fascinating pieces for you over the week, so let's get down to business, shall we?

Read on for the latest about mountaintop removal's affect on mental health, how your personality affects your taste in music, yet another research report on marijuana use and its contributions to mental illness, and more.

Continue Reading

General

Loving the Small Stuff

I am really feeling the benefit of peppering my day with mini-meditations right now. The next one I want to share with you is this: loving the small stuff.

I learned this wonderful mini-meditation practice from one of my teachers recently. It’s one that she does every day and I can see why.

I am already a fan (and frequent practitioner) of gratitude practices. I include them in my online and face-to-face programs. But this one has a really delightful twist.
Continue Reading

Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

Is Your Microbiome Making You Crazy?

Anxiety, depression, brain fog, mood disorders, mood swings or just feeling out of sorts? It’s possible that the answers may lie in the health of the trillions of bacteria living in the intestine called the gut microbiome.

There is a profound connection between gut flora composition and mood. Depending on the different types and quantities that are prevalent, these bacteria can influence everything from the immune system, digestion, DNA expression, inflammation and brain function -- for better or worse. Bacteria are even known to play a role in serious conditions like autism and schizophrenia. Put simply, a balanced microbiome equals good health, but the opposite is true as well.

Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

Silence is Golden

The old song by Simon and Garfunkel was so right: silence really is golden, but maybe in more ways than we realize. In our urban, busy world we don’t get enough outer silence. There’s always the sound of traffic, TVs, other people in their apartments and the general buzz of the city as we go about our daily business. These days we have to hunt out the quiet spaces, but they are there as I discovered just the other day.

I’m selling my apartment, so we have the bi-weekly ritual of having to go out with the dog for 45 minutes during house viewing and find somewhere to be. As my dog is a bit old and grumpy (he’s 85 in human years), we try to seek out places that avoid other dogs and small children, which is hard in a café-obsessed beachside suburb of Sydney. As we took a walk up the road we discovered a small nature reserve that had been recently restored. Pristine bush tucked away in the city, green, tranquil and no sound, that’s bliss.

Continue Reading

Brain and Behavior

Old-School Interventions for Today’s Stresses

We are so busy being busy we approach the day with a vengeance. Today is not a marathon; it’s an Ironman triathlon. To stay ahead we cut corners: skip breakfast; work through lunch; eat frozen dinner while glued to a digital screen. And we wonder why we are tired (but can’t sleep), sickly (yet can’t quite pinpoint the malady), and unfulfilled (in spite of the sacrifices, things are still not coming together).

There are a few old-school interventions that can help to get your head back in the game:

Continue Reading

ADHD and ADD

Why Nature is So Good for Your Mental Health

Where did you go on your last vacation? If you live in the city or the suburbs, there’s a good chance that you spent it in a natural setting, perhaps at a national park, the beach or a cabin in the mountains.

Most of us have felt the inexplicable pull of the outdoors, even if it’s simply prompting us to take a neighborhood walk or sit in the backyard watching the clouds or the squirrels. Nature holds a special kind of energy: it is pure and wild and spirit-renewing.

Continue Reading

Depression

On Living Simply and with Integrity

In her young twenties, writer and activist Eileen Flanagan spent two years teaching English in the country of Botswana, which borders South Africa and Zimbabwe. She ate, lived, and slept in a 180 square-foot mud hut and was quite content.

Then life got a tad more complicated… she married, had kids, and eventually found herself in a three-story house packed full of stuff: Barbie condos, Heelys (sneakers with wheels), Wii games, electronic guitars, and microscopes.

In her engaging new book,
Continue Reading

Alternative and Nutritional Supplements

8 Ways to Feel Better in a Hurry When You’re Depressed

There will always be dark days, weeks or months where our problems seem insurmountable or every day feels like a journey through an obstacle course. Sometimes resolutions or positive progress can happen quickly. Other times we can only keep plodding forward in faith and with patience. We may not be able to eradicate the difficulties immediately, but we can ease them, make the expedition more bearable and keep going in the right direction.

Below are eight simple ways to make yourself feel better in a hurry. You can practice them anywhere and anytime.

Continue Reading